tisdag 19 juli 2011
Brisbane - Darwin
I did spend quite some time in Brisbane, alltogether around 6 months. Staying all the time(except the last week) in S/Y Nekton, by the Botanical Gardens mooring right in the city center.. Time went fast as always.. I were working most of the time as a kitchenhand in a Cafe in the suburb St.Lucia. It was nice job, i learned alot about cooking and had nice time. I had also some other jobs, picking glasses in a bar, another kitchenhand job(or shall we call that one dish-monkey). Winter in Brisbane was cold, heading north felt like an excellent idea. Lukasz and Nekton left in the beginning of June for the sunshine coast to pull the boat up on land for some maintenance. That was 14 months staying on Nekton altogether, great, absolutely great time!
Staying with friends for the last week in Brisbane just finishing work off, i head north. Having lots of luck hitching, everything works out just the way it should, i don't worry cause i trust luck, following intuitions and keeping positive. I get some long rides, jumping Sunshine coast - Bundaberg - Rockhampton - Mackay. Waiting between 5 to 15 minutes between the rides. Talking about Pine trees and crocodiles, roads and work, future and life. In the evening I've made it to Mackay, huge mining up there, the road trains passing by with machines that big ive never could imagine.. Mackay, around 1000 km north of Brisbane its still cold in the night. The wind goes through the mangroves beside the road. Occasionally i hear weird sounds and imagining crocodile eyes observing me from the dark shadows of the swamp. Cars fewer and fewer and i decide to get some sleep and an early start.
Next day im up to early. And im tired. I listen to music and try to get a ride but most people seem to go to the mines for work. Suddenly a car stops and two french girls takes me all the way to Townsville. I decide to go in to the city(something i would regret later) walking around having lunch in the park. Im on my way to meet up with french friends i met in Brisbane with a van. To travel with then up to Cairns. Im meeting them in Ingham, 100 km north of Townsville, a short hitch but it takes time. Walking for hours to get out of Townsville i finally get a ride to a petrol station. From there another couple of short rides , jumping 20 k's 30 k's, by dusk i get the final ride with two road workers. Joining up with Claire, Gwen, Ben and Dennis we travel to a national park that night. And next day to beaches, beaches and national parks, and fun, lots of fun! Ive never before travelled in a van like that but i like it. For a while atleast. Heading up to Cairns the girls try to sell their Van and we're hanging around in different beaches with lots of people and having a good time. Watching out for the rangers and their fines( $140(or was it 120) for sleeping in a tent, in a van or on the ground in a place where its not allowed(everywhere except the $10-$15 campings more or less)) We get two warning during 10 days or so.
Deciding its time to leave i head for the outback.. A slow start, short rides, Mareeba, Atherton, Ravenshoe( Highest town in QLD, and probably coldest too) Dark clouds of rain following me but never really catch up. As dusk comes so does the rain and the cars are few. Almost giving up for the day, a van stops and a Canadian couple saves me from the rain and takes me to Innot hot springs where we set up camp and bathe in medium hot springs, hot springs and extremely hot springs. The day after they take me to Mount Garnet where they will stay and dig for Topaz. I continue the hitching. Run into a(probably very bored) cop who in a guardian voice explains i shouldn't stand in the middle of the road(which i weren't doing anyway) cause he might have to scrape me off the road and we don't want that do we?!? No sir! Sorry sir! Ironic on a road where one car every 5 minutes passes.
I get a ride with a man in a caravan heading for a fishing trip. He takes me few hours, the landscape getting flatter and flatter as further in we get. He drops me off in Georgetown(population 250) There i meet another hitchhiker heading the other way. He is from Czech republic and has been working on a farm. He says he's been standing for 5 hours and the place is cursed. 30 minutes after he gets a ride with a truck heading east. I stand for hours.. Mostly caravans pass, older couples.. More hours, more caravans, local traffic (driving 500m to the pub) As the evening comes i still hope to get a ride but the traffic is less and less.. Decide to put up my tent in a close by park. Wake up in the night as the sprinklers wash my tent. In the morning im up early.. hours pass.. hours. The Malaysian couple owning the petrol station gives me a muffin, wishing me luck. Says trucks will pass.. I juggle. Sitting in the shade. After 21 hours in Georgetown a family from Cairns takes me to Normanton and we see birds, a snake, a crocodile(freshwater), a pig and cows along the way. I stay in Normanton 1 hour to take a look at the replica of the biggest Estuarine crocodile ever captured (8.6m) Walking out of the town i get a ride in 5 minutes. 400 km of flatness and bushes to Cloncurry. Sneaking in and setting up a tent in a trailerpark. Sleep, wake up, shower, breakfast(dry bread n peanutbutter), sneak out.
I get a ride to Mount Isa, one of the worlds most productive mines (lead, silver, copper, zinc). A quick look through the city then hanging out in a petrol station, planning getting a ride with a truck going in to Northern Territory. I spend a couple of hours.. Finally a get a ride with Marty, he's heading for Camoweal just before the border of NT, and the day after he goes to Katherine just 300 km south of Darwin. A couple of hundred k's to Camoweal where he takes in to a motel(and goes to the pub) and i camp down by the river, beautiful place. In the morning we were supposed to meet up early in the morning to get early start but he wakes up 2 hours later blaming the jukebox and the rum. For the whole day we drive, Marty knows alot of things about the outback, about cattle, about many things. In the evening we arrive in Katherine where i get my final 300 km ride to Darwin, the driver is a a young helicopter pilot/hunter . 5 days it took me from Cairns to Darwin.
Good times here.. Staying in a couchsurfers garden, in my tent, lots of people there. We were 14 people the other night. Brendon is a friendly guy, letting so many people stay there. I was helping building a boat made out of beercans for the annual Darwin Beercan regatta. The first week i was searching for a boat and i did find one, a 45 ft catamaran that will take me to Bali atleast. More about that another time cause now alot of things to do before leaving and short of time. Sailing on the 23rd.