Andy: Australia has always been somewhere I’d wanted to visit for as long as I could remember, but I’d just never had the chance……until now.
Seda: As soon as we landed at Gold Coast Airport, I sorted a local SIM card and notified our host (Yes we had our first house-sit arranged and we were very excited about it) and Andy collected the keys to our hire car. We needed a coffee though so before heading off, we had a quick stop at this coffee shop at the airport with a few outside seats. As I was waiting for Andy to get our coffees, I met this handsome guy just hanging around the arrivals area of Gold Coast Airport. I wonder if he was waiting for someone…
Andy: When we finally got underway after our little coffee break the driving was incredibly easy. Of course Australia drive on the same side of the road as the UK so that makes it simple, but the roads seemed to be extremely quiet too which was great. After all, I hadn’t driven a car in 6 months and so wanted to take it easy to start with. It was 148 miles (239km) to our destination which took us around 4 hours with a couple of stops. We had just flown through the night also, and so didn’t want to push it too much. One thing that made us realise the scale of Australia right from the start was a sign telling us it was 1782 km to Cairns!
When we arrived our host John was there to meet us. He showed us around his beautiful 90 acre farm in Queensland on the Sunshine Coast. On the farm there was 5 horses, 14 chickens and 1 Tina – a German Short-Haired Pointer.
We took Tina and went for a walk around all the fields of John’s farm to get familiar with the place, or rather she took us. There is a creek that runs within the farm, and as we were walking past it we saw a kingfisher perched in a tree. We knew we’d be happy here.
We were meant to be house sitting for 2 weeks for John taking care of his dog and chickens (the horses are not his, they just graze on his land), but his plans had changed slightly and so we spent the first week all together. He was an amazing host and made us feel very welcome. He’s even let us cook some old favourites in his kitchen-something we’ve missed over the last few months.
We had wonderful conversations over a good bottle of Australian wine in the evenings.
The first morning I was struggling to get out of bed before Seda came in to tell me there were some kangaroos waiting to meet me outside in one of the paddocks. Yeah right I thought. She will use any old trick to get me out of bed! But I thought I’d best get up anyway as I was the only one in bed still. Sure enough there were 6 kangaroos grazing in one of Johns fields! We had to go and have a closer look as neither of us had ever seen kangaroos before, so we walked down to the paddock. They saw us approaching but carried on grazing happily. As we got closer though, they fled across the field splitting into two groups.
Seda: It is important to note at this point that Andy was wearing grey shorts and a grey T-shirt matching with his kangaroo mates with the only difference being a sponsorship by Chang beer! Of course, in a few minutes, Andy spotted one of his camouflaged mates in the bushes so we started following that one which eventually lead us to the whole group hiding nearby. The routine of kangaroos hopping away and us following them went on for a bit with Tina running around like crazy. What a joy this farm life is!
Andy: So, our first impressions of Australia are…
- Driving is quite easy. Most cars are automatic and the roads seem empty…so far!
- There are loads of cows in the rural areas, but no sheep.
- Eucalyptus trees smell amazing
- Wine is not expensive if you know where to shop, contrary to what we kept being told!
- People like to greet you with a friendly “How you going?”
- Wild kangaroos are cool