So we have made it out bush into the outback in Queensland. We are staying with a friend that we met in Fiji (emily from Penicuik), in a place called Charleville. The town is small, quiet and probably just how you would imagine a bush town to look! The roads are really wide (built to allow horse and carriages) and a lot of the buildings in town have the old saloon look. It's not quite as we had imagined it would be - more populated and houses closer togeter etc, and the town much larger. In saying that however, there isn't a lot here and the nearest McDonals is 3 hours away!! Thank goodness after the amount we saw in America. We had imagined it to be barer and more open within the town, but it is really nice! Emily's house looks out onto the bushland where there is usually a river, but at the moment it has dried up. The weather has been very cold in the mornings and evenings, but up to 24/25 degrees during the afternoon.
We spent 3 weeks in Brisbane in the end, it was a lovely city, similar to Edinburgh in the sense that there is a beach, rivers, a large town centre and nice green areas all in one place. It was very busy and energetic and it was amazing to see the amount of people that go out on their lunch breaks for runs in the parks and walks along the river etc. I suppose when the sky is clear and the sun is shining, it is a lot easier to drag yourself away from a desk!
During our time in Brisbane, we went to the Steve Irwin Zoo where we held Koalas and fed Kangaroos. We also went to a croc show where we saw just how dangerous and strong they can be! The rest of the time was spent walking around the city and getting to know each of the areas; Southbank - really nice area with th ebeack, markets and loely reasonably priced restaurants; The Valley - home of Chinatown and outdoor swimming pools, along with more alternative style markets and the main trading district which is very chic with expensive shops and restaurants and good looking people. Something for everyone in Brsibane!
Eventualy though, we decided that we didn't want to be in a big city for long as we had wanted to get away from that in Edinburgh. So, we finally found a car that we wanted to buy (Toyota Surf 4x4 - big enough to sleep in) and decided to head out to Charleville for some time in the bush! The car was chap in itself, but then we had to get Road Worth (which is MOT equivalent) and the Rego and Insurance etc, so in the end not really a cheap activity; but cheaper than lots of trains, buses and planes etc. Lots of money was spent on repairs as it's 21 years old, but we were ready to go within a few days.
120km later.... smoke is billowing out of the exhaust, the car is truggling to even readh 50km p/h going up hill and it's not looking good! Bearing in mind only 2 days ago the bloody thing passed it's MOT! Anyway, we pull in at a service station and call the RACQ (who we thankfully joined the night before). They come and think that maybe Petrol has got mixed in with the Diesel somehow (probably a cost of aroun $500 to repair). We got towed to their nearest workshop and the worst happned.... the headgasket had blown and then even worse, the head cracked! $2500 to fix!! more than the car had cost! Anyway, long story short, the garage we bought it from clearly didn't want any trouble so paid for half and we left it in the garage to get fixed - 9 hours away from where we were trying to get! We then booked into possibly the worst Motel in the world and spent the evening freezing to death, then woke up with ants all over the place! The next day we got the greyhound 9 1/2 hrs to Charleville and have been here for 2 1/2 weeks.
There are sooo many kangaroos out here and they are attracted for some reason to the headlights of cars at night. Basically they just get bashed out of the way by the cars and there are literally hundreds of dead 'roos all over the roads.
We got the car back last week and it made it back out here without any problems, well one minor problem that does need to be fixed.
Now we are looking for work which is proving to be quite difficult and are thinking that we might head up north next week or the week after. We are looking for work on a farm but it seems hard to find as everyone wants the same, and with the floods and cyclones etc, crops are not as good as they might have been otherwise.
Hopefully we will find something soon and will be sure to keep you all updated.
Ciao for now, Jess and Mat xxx