Thursday, December 24, 2015

Work & Devils Marbles

As I wasn't getting any work done I was becoming increasingly bored in Alice Springs. After days of wandering around aimlessly in the heat, I got word of a guy looking for workers somewhere north of Alice Springs. Ringing him up I found out that he was still looking for someone to do a fencing job with. Due to me having a bit of experience in fencing from King Island and Reds I had no problem with it. When he revealed the location I was a bit baffled. For anyone from Germany it would be if you are living in Munich and you go to work in Flensburg. Anybody else, I had to drive 850km to get there. After mulling over it in my head a bit, the distance didn't seem that far. I have lived in Australia for ten months now and done a fair bit of driving. 850km seem to be the neighbourhood now as you only pass through about three towns in that distance out here (and all towns have under 500 inhabitants).
Set off as soon as I could and approx. 30km out of town I realised I had forgotten a few things at the hostel, typical. Turned round near the Tropic of Capricorn and drove back to retrieve my belongings before being back at the same place one hour later. Driving along in Australia gets relaxing/tiring fast. As you round a corner after driving straight for 20km the next stretch of straight thirty kilometre road awaits.
Shortly before reaching Tennant Creek the Devils Marbles are located. A tourist attracting national park were round bolder of rock stand stacked on one another. Climbing around I meet three girls on a bus from Alice Springs to Darwin. One from England, the other from Wales and guess where the third was from*. Had a chat and found out they had an entire tour bus for themselves as no one else was driving to Darwin currently. After some pictures we went separate ways again, but met shortly after at the fuel station in Tennant Creek again.
A short stretch (short in Australian terms) I turned of right to the road that leads to Cairns and got hit by a few lightning storms. I am getting closer to the tropics up here now and the wet season is just starting up. That’s the reason a lot of people are avoiding Darwin at the moment. After a few hundred kilometres I turned back north at the Berkley homestead, a sign warning that there is no fuel for 325km.
Up until that point I had evaded stock on the road, but out on the Tablelands they where clogging up the road here and there. I met very few people, a Ute here or there and that was it. Driving along the scenery is the flattest I have ever seen. Even the Outback around Lake Eyer had rivets here and there, but the tablelands are just flat plains filled with grass and animals. In the distance a thunderstorm was ragging, which made for some dramatic scenery whilst I was trying my best not to kill any wildlife, cattle or my car. 

Arriving at Brunette Downs Station I was greeted by Station Hands that where left over from the slowly expiring mustering season. Frosty (my boss) was just a way behind with his caravan, his co worker Darel and another backpacker from the UK called Tom. Had a few beers with them watching above mentioned storm pulling over and got to know each other. Frosty and Darel are both from Queensland about an hour drive from Cairns and come out here to do work like this regular. They employ backpackers nearly all time around and they had gotten Tom and me there for two others that had just left. Tom himself was from Norwich and working up a bit of money to go back home and join the Navy. His girlfriend was working somewhere along the east coast, but the promise of quick money made him come all the way here.
Pitched my tent after a while and slept in it for a few days before we got an air conditioned room. The room was lovely after spending a few night out in the heat, waking up in the morning covered in sticky sweat. The work was, as mentioned, primarily fencing. Ten kilometres of fencing. Basically you stand in the middle, look left until to the horizon and right until to the horizon and all you can see is the fence line. Due to the rain surprising us a few times we had to catch up over a few days and worked over 12 hours a day in 35 degrees (dam English keyboard doesn't have the degree sign). When we had only about two hours work left on the fence it absolutely pored down so we couldn't get out. Frosty was, understandably, very happy. It ended up raining so much the helicopter couldn't fly out to retrieve some belongings, so we left later that day. Frosty and Darel back to Queensland, Tom to his girlfriend and me to Alice Springs. The next feasible time we can carry on is probably after New Year. Getting of the station was just barely possible. Had I not got a Subaru with AWD, I wouldn't have got of the station. As it was I sometimes was sliding along at 45 Degrees to the desired route. Dropped Tom of at the Berkley Homstead for him to catch a bus back to Cairns and headed of back to Alice to watch the new Star Wars film and wait for a phone call for the work to be started again.

*Oh, and the third girl was from Scotland.  

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