The next chapter of our journey was fruit picking! It wasn't quite as simple as it could have been though. We had initially booked a flight to Cairnsbut the closest place to Cairns where we could work was Proserpine, a 12 hour drive! Luckily we could change our flight route so we were now flying to Mackay then getting the bus to Proserpine. Annoyingly we could have got a direct flight to Proserpine but Tiger didn't fly that route. It was a long trip, we had about an hour and a half on the bus to get to the airport then the flight with all the screaming kids again then another bus journey to Proserpine. But our flight was delayed, only by about half an hour, but this meant that we missed the bus. We could either wait around for the next bus at midnight (about 5 hours) or check into a hostel. That seemed the better plan bu it wasnt 'so easy to find a hostel. We left our bags with Dave from Melbourne who was in the same situation and went exploring for a room. Luckily Lou found one not too far away just when we started to fear the worst. All we saw of Mackay was hot wok, but that was enough. We got the bus early the next morning but when we arrived in Proserpine we couldn't check in for an hour and the man wasn't very nice about it.He basically told us we were wasting our time being there because it was near the end of season. Not quite what we wanted to hear. It took us 5 min to see the town (1 street) and it was an odd place, fulll of country folk. I was also attracting unwanted glances by wearing my england shirt. The only good thing we got when we checked in was a double room. Weirdly we had to buy all our own plates etc too but they have actually come in handy on our travels.
The whole job was quite vague and we didn't really know what was going on. We got a minibus at 5.30 am and were driven a little more than an hour to Bowen where the farm was. However, we didn't know how long the day was going to be and sometimes they worked for 12 hours. Luckily we only ever worked half a day with 3 o clock being the latest we finished. We worked in teams of 13 to fill a big blue bucket with our little buckets and one blue bucket was $100 split between you. We basically looked like we were on a prisoner of war camp! We were filthy and walking around looking depressed in large groups. It worked out that we only worked 3 days because there was nothing left to pick. So many were bad or too small or green. They looked more like apples. It was hard work and days off were long and boring as there was nothing to do. There was little point in us staying any longer than a week as we only made enough to cover our accommodaton for the week.
The day that we left there was a knock on the door at 5.30 asking if we were coming, NO was the answer, we were checking out so off everyone else went to work, but they returned not much later. We basically weren't always needed and weren't told before hand. So one day we started drivig there, weren't too far away and then were told we weren't needed. SO we turned around and drove back, then when we we nearly there we had another phone call, they changed their mind and we had to drive all the way back! Annoying! This was now the 3rd day off in a row that veryone was having, thank god we were leaving. And finally that was the end of our Australia working experience.