Trip To Cairns

{May 2010}

My lovely employers at Kroombit put me on a holiday from a holiday. They gave me a Oz Experience bus pass from Kroombit to Cairns! I only had about two weeks to make it up and back and I also wanted to meet a friend in Cairns; so, I did the unthinkable…I went straight up! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Oz Experience, it’s a hop on hop off bus service. They have drivers with silly names and sometimes even crazier personalities. Unfortunately, it has been taken over by greyhound.

The route I took: Kroombit –> Airlie Beach –> Magnetic Island –> Cairns

Airlie Beach: The gateway to the Whitsundays (I didn’t get to partake in this amazing experience but just about everyone I met loved it!). Spent only a night in Airlie Beach and met up with one of my favorite gals from Kroombit. Airlie is a long line of restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. Fun for those who love to party but I thought it was a little seedy.

Magnetic Island: Wish I could have spent more than a night here! Stayed at Base backpackers which is nice because it is right on the beach. Maggie has a lot to offer. You can go on a nice hike, get your scuba diving certification or zip around in small barbie like convertable cars.

Jungle Surfing

Cape Tribulation

Cairns: A great jumping off point to other activities. There is plenty to do around Cairns but not much in the city itself besides partying, lazing about and shopping. If you have the money I would say get out and explore the Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas…the list goes on! I found the weather to be perfect in late May.

I took a day trip to Cape Tribulation and went Jungle Surfing! I booked everything through Back Country Bliss Adventures. They are amazing. They arranged my tour and transporation from Cairns to Cape Tribulation.
While in Cairns I also was lucky enough to travel with one of the Oz Experience drivers.

Thoughts on my activities..
Cape Tribulation – Wish I had spent more than just a day there.
Horseback Riding at Wonga Beach – The crew was top notch and it was fun but if you’re an adrenaline junkie this will definitely not satisfy your thirst for blood pumping adventure. Hard to get to the location if you don’t have a vehicle. My tour booked with Back Country Bliss took care of the transportation for me.
Jungle Surfing – Must do if you’ve ever wanted to ride horses on the beach. You’ll ride through the rainforest and on the beach. For experienced riders, you get to take your horse for a canter on the beach! Scratch that off my bucket list.
Northern Greenhouse – My favorite hostel in Cairns. I stayed at a number of different hostels but this one was my favorite. It has a great location and atmosphere. If you want a place that is quiet, clean and has friendly people, this is your hostel.

Memorable Moments at Kroombit Part I

{This is only for April 2010- May 2010}

Movie Time in Steffi’s Caravan
I’ll never understand how we managed to tangram our way into Steffi’s bed but we did. 8+ people in a double bed? No problem! Come to think of it I can’t remember a single movie we watched together (with the exception of that TERRIBLE horror movie about the two couples on honeymoon). I especially can’t remember a single movie that Steffi managed to stay awake for!

Sunset Hill Walk
We crazy kids decided we would walk up Sunset Hill to see the sunrise. 4:30 in the morning with flashlights in hand, a group of us set out on in the dark. Note to self for future sunrise walks…don’t wake up so early if you don’t need to! We got to the top of the hill a tad early and sat around for about 30minutes until the sun finally started to peek its head out. Best part was getting back to the park and eating some well earned breakfast.

Black Boy Hill
Girls trip out and we decide to work out! We got the thumbs up to take the troopy over to blackboy hill (in Kroombit Tops National Park). We decided it would be fun to walk up a steep hill. Then once we got to the top of that steep hill we thought it would be even MORE fun to climb over a barbed wire fence. We even made it down and back in the car just as it was starting to rain. WE SHEILAS ARE HARDCORE!

Napping on the Bull mats
The bull mats were stinky from Fred sleeping on them and Puppy humping them but we still laid there! Where could the staff be found before a bus came in? Laughing like children or napping like children on the bull mats!


The Billow Show
Who doesn’t love a good rodeo/carnival? Food that makes you sick and rides that make you even sicker (Tom and I should never have ridden that last one!) = Good Times! Special thanks to Benny…without your contribution the rest of the staff would never have been able to go.

Trip to Marble Waterhole
Nice dip in the water…o look Dennis and Andy are jumping off a cliff. Scenic ride back in the “coffin”…o listen to that, everyone screaming because Andy decided to go down the incredibly steep hill instead of the nice level path.
How do you end a day like that? Beer o’clock on Andy’s deck.

Dishwashing
Oh dishes how I love thee! Actually, I only really love you when I have about five other people there to help me wash you.

Never a dull moment in Kroombit Town.

Kroombit: The Best Group of People You’ll Ever Meet

5 Aussies + 2 Yanks + 2 Canadians + 1 Scot + 1 German + 4 Brits + 1 Swiss F + 2 Kiwis (where is Jonathan?) = A whole lotta LOVE

{April 2010- May 2010}

I am forever thankful to the first group of people I met; they set the tone for the rest of my time at Kroombit. I don’t think I ever remember seeing more love (or crazyness) in a group. My first day I was slightly petrified and intimated by everything! Although, some coworkers will say I don’t have a shy bone in my body (Brent!) I will say when I first arrived I was SHY.

What I loved about this first group was that everyone was incredibly kind and when everyone is so kind to you, you can either keep isolating yourself or get over yourself and join in.

The Girls

Where it all Began

{Dates in Australia: March 16, 2010- March 15, 2011}
I completely failed at updating my blog in Australia and now I’m back in the states. Oh well, better late then never!

When I left a year ago I was planning on only a 9 month stint; that changed. I ended up staying the full year and couldn’t have been happier with my choice.

I arrived in Brisbane, went to Rainbow Beach, toured Frasers and then finally got to the training farm.

I’ll back up a little on how I got to this point.

To those who have ever thought of doing a working holiday visa in Australia…DO IT!

Google search “Australia Working Holiday Visa” to see the requirements and follow the steps to what will be an amazing year!

Once you have a Visa there are a number of paths you can take. A lot of travelers I met flew to Australia with their backpack and went from there. I took the more cautious route and went through a program with a company called AIDE. I realized later this company acted like a middleman and I could have just gone to VisitOz. VisitOz offers a traning farm program and GUARANTEED job placement in rural Australia. When I saw “Guaranteed” I jumped at it. Along with a guaranteed placement they help you with travel insurance and a bank account.

What did this training farm entail? Horse riding lessons, motorbike lessons, tractor operation, cattle work, fencing and chainsawing…sounds fun right? The training farm was great in the sense that I got to try new things, hung out with a great group of people and got my meals cooked for me! You can’t possibly learn everything in only a week but they try their best. A picture of you and your stats are posted on their website where employers can then call in and offer you a position. I had horse riding experience under my belt and with that I had a number of horse riding jobs. I had my mind set on traveling with a show competition rider but then I got the call from what would be my first employer.

I will say that when I look back on my trip this wasn’t a highlight for me, but it did get me my first job, Kroombit Tourist Park. This place was the best part of my trip.

Brisbane

I made it safe and sound!! I realized NOT planning in advance was very bad on my part. First, I didn’t realize Brisbane would be so hot! Then I found out it’s a sub-tropical town. Second, I didn’t look up things to do in Brisbane. I figured I’d be too exhausted to do anything. I found the opposite to be true. After my shower I was wide awake and ready to explore. I found out there were three other girls from my program (1 french and two South Africans). Silly of me to have assumed they would be American as well.

My day in Brisbane consisted of A LOT of walking. I got lost so many times and instead of just asking for directions I said I’d try to figure it out on my own. That was not smart…I ended up getting lost and having to take the bus back to the city and find my way again. On the plus side I met a nice Indian guy who helped me navigate Brisbane’s bus system and I found a secluded path by the River.

I also visited the Museum of Modern Art in Brisbane. It was FREE. Isn’t that awesome? More art galleries need to be free. You know what else was awesome? The gallery itself. Installations, mixed media, videos, paintings, drawings…basically a whole gallery of awesomeness. My favorite part (besides the hot Aussie worker) was this one installation. Imagine a bunch of thin strings hanging down from the ceiling. At first it is only touching your head but as you go farther in you feel like it is a waterfall that you are walking through. Slightly claustrophobic (and slightly unsanitary) but an ingenious idea/experience.

I’m currently in Rainbow Beach but I’m itching to get to the training farm. I’ve never really enjoyed the hostel/backpacker experience. I like meeting people but I also want my own space to escape to…but this trip is about getting outside of my comfort zone; so, I should just embrace that everything isn’t absolutely clean. Right?

Tomorrow I’ll try my hand at some Rainbow beach activities. They crossed horseback riding off their list…damn. Maybe some dolphin feeding? Or just a stroll along the beach. We’ll see. All I know is the training farm experience should be VERY interesting.

Will hopefully post pictures soon!

Signing off
Turtle Wexler

Dear World, I want an adventure!

What am I planning on blogging about? My work and travel trip to the Australian Outback. I leave March 16th and return December 14th. Yup, I will be in the Oz for 9 months (who knows maybe more!).

What made me decide to explore the unbeaten path? (And I’m not just talking about the outback). With so many of my friends already working for various financial companies or applying to law school you’d think I would jump on the bandwagon. Hell, I joined a professional business Fraternity and majored in Managerial Economics, all with the hope of working for a Fortune 500 Company. But then I got that feeling. Do you ever get that feeling of dread? The dread of knowing you’re about to join countless others in the wonderful thing known as the daily grind. Well, I got that feeling big time fall quarter of my senior year. I was interviewing for jobs I didn’t want and already wishing I could rewind time back to when I was a sophomore. Fast forward to my graduation date…I decided to help my parents at their agency. My days consisted of work work work and insurance insurance insurance. Don’t get me wrong, I am learning A LOT but it isn’t the job for me.

Fast forward once again to a conversation with the ex over tea. He told me about a book called, “Delaying the Real World: A Twentysomething’s Guide to Seeking Adventure”. I immediately bought it and was hooked! I spent 3 weeks crazily searching different adventures all over the world.

I ultimately picked Australia because 1) I’ve heard wonderful things about it 2) It wasn’t too hard to get a work and travel visa 3) I can tick off another continent that I have been to. Funny thing is the outback wasn’t my first choice. I was actually signed up to work in Sydney but changed my mind a month ago, but that story is for a different blog.

The road I’m about to embark on isn’t for everyone. I certainly do not look down on those who have chosen to work instead of doing something insane like me. In fact I’m proud of all my friends who have jobs or are furthering their education and I plan on joining them in a year….who am I kidding? More like in 3 years.

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