Morgen beginnt mein nächstes Camp (vier Tage)!- danach habe ich endlich Zeit für meinen nächsten Artikel ;)
Aus dem ersten Camp heil und munter zurück!- Morgen gibt es meinen ersten Blogeintrag. -Versprochen ;)
Well, that’s it... I just got back from my last camp. Compared to all my camps before, it was more a holiday trip than hard work.
I spent my first six days on a beautiful bay on Orpheus Island. It was a quite and peaceful beach with a really nice jetty (Yanks Jetty) and surrounded by hills. Every second day a school group arrived and we hiked for a day to the other side of the island. The walk was fairly painful and after one time hiking this way, the walk was quite annoying: the hike was up and down, cross-country, Lantana was making our life hard and additionally the surface full of rocks was dangerous to roll your ankle. Nevertheless the view from the top of the hills was awesome and we had a pretty good perspective to the other islands around.
Our destination was a marine biology research station from where the kids got picked up by a little boat to get them to their next activity on a different island. The teacher Bill and I were heading back with another boat to Yanks Jetty. In between of the hiking days we always had one day off. I really enjoyed being almost alone on such an amazing place. I went for a swim in crystal clear water, cracked by hand my founded coconuts, fed a big variety of fish with bread and Vegemite and lay down on the jetty for a nap… It was just another day in paradise. Another big advantage, making this lovely spot more comfortable was a real toilet and a barbeque grill. Although I normally sleep in bivis during my camps, I spent my nights in the food tent (with all the food supplies for the groups), saved from mossies and rain.
After the third big hike, I didn’t return to Yanks Jetty instead I went to Pelorus with my last walking group. Pelorus Island was an excellent place for snorkelling and discovering the corals. I was really surprised about the huge range of sea life.
I went snorkelling a couple times and had my first scooper diving lesson. Unfortunately I had problems with my ears, so I wasn’t really able to dive deeper than three metres. However it was an amazing experience and I wanna try it for sure another time again.
At the end of my camp I spent two days on the South Passage, a big sailing boat, which brought us back to Townsville’s harbour. Being on the South Passage means to be a part of the sailing crew with many different jobs for example being a “Port Lookout” (scan the sea for other ships or other obstacles in the water, a “deck
Check” or a “Helm” (you have to control the boat and steer it). We had perfect sailing weather and I enjoyed the knot competitions on board. Doing knots, one handed or blind in your assigned group and the main crew stopped the time. The work in different groups was going all day long and even at night people had to get up to do their shift. Definitely one of my highlights was to see an actual whale. It was quite far away but still an incredible moment.
On the one hand I’m said by thinking that this was surely my last school camp and I will absolutely miss it. I’m glad about all the experiences I was collecting due to this time and I learned a lot about myself, Australia, nature, animals and of course camping.
On the other side I’m convinced that I camped more than enough for the next two years- so I’m actually looking forward of being in civilization for the next while. :)
It’s unbelievable, my last big holidays are over ...but we had a splendid time- I really wanna tell you about it.
One week before my birthday, Inga and Kathleen came up from Rockhampton. We spent the weekend together in Townsville. We walked up the Castle Hill, went for ice-cream at the Strand and spent a whole day on Magnetic Island.
The following week Kathleen left to catch up with a friend and Inga and I wanted to drive up to Cairns for a couple of days. It wasn’t really unusual that we changed our plans from one day to another and stayed in Townsville doing day trips.
We used Warren’s car (luckily without crashing it ;) ) to check out the surroundings of Townsville. On one day we went up to Paluma to do a rainforest walk. Later we went for a swim at Crystal Creek. The water was freezing, but it was such a beautiful place.
The next weekend was my 21st birthday- how exciting to turn 21 in Australia. J
Even though I hadn’t organized a big Party, I was looking forward to this date. On Saturday evening Inga and I went to town to celebrate into my birthday. We caught up with some Townsville mates and had a great night. The problem was that we were only able to sleep for less than one hour, because I had planned a breakfast with all my closed friends on the beach to see the sunrise. Unfortunately Inga and I didn’t hear our alarm so that we almost slumber my birthday breakfast. Luckily, Georgia ( a good friend from Townsville) was knocking on my door and woke us up. We hurried with the food I bought to my waiting friends at the beach. Although Inga and I were exhausted and tired, the brekkie was amazing and the sunset was so pretty. It was such a great way to start this special day (..only a little bit early. J ). Afterwards we went straight to bed again to be fit for my birthday dinner. But before it was possible for us to fall in our bed, Warren had to come to bring a second key, because we were locked out.. It was the first time that it happened.
In the evening was my birthday dinner with around 15 other people at Cactus Jack’s. It was awesome, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was great. On the same day at 12am, Inga and I left with the Greyhound to Cairns to start our holiday trip. This was the end of my birthday but only the beginning of an incredible adventure.
After 6 hours “sleep” in the bus, we arrived at 6 am in Cairns. We didn’t know at this point, that this was only the beginning of a sleepless holiday trip. During the day we visited a Aboriginal Centre. It was such an interesting place to get to know their history, culture and lifestyle. We learned how to throw a Boomerang (it’ s now proved: boomerangs are able to come back, if you use the right technique! ;) ) and we tried our best in javelin.
Early the next morning, Inga and I took a shuttle to the airport to fly to Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory. At the airport we had to unpack all our stuff after we got informed that our flight will be international (the flight is going to Singapore). Therefore we weren’t allowed to take food in our hand luggage. Because of our upcoming time in the camper van, we brought a lot of food leftovers from my school camps. After a big mess in the middle of the airport caused by Inga and me- J We decided that Inga is taking a Coles bag as her check in luggage (with all the food) and her big bag full of clothes as her hand luggage. It was really funny, but we had no other choice.
We arrived safely with all our food supplies in Darwin. Darwin, as a city was a little bit disappointing for us due to the reason that the city itself has not much to offer. Accordingly we used our nights to get to know Darwin’s nightlife. We slept two more nights in a hostel, directly placed in the city centre. What a benefit! ;)
The city was full of American Marine guys because three huge ships tied up in Darwin’s Harbour on the same day. These ships stayed for the next 4 days. I have never seen so many shaved heads in my life- thousands of them everywhere. It was really impressive, like a big ant family. These guys haven’t seen girls for ages, probably they forgot their existed- however, when Inga and I went out we had to be really careful who we smiled at, if we didn’t want to have a line of guys next to us.
After two sleepless nights, our Roadtrip adventure started. Finally Inga and I got our own Wicked Van. This day was a pretty good example of a typical Inga & Jule on Tour day. Guess why? Yes, it was the most chaotic day of our trip. J
Here the day summarized in keywords:
- two hours sleep, we had to pick up our car- of course too late…
- I forgot my driver licence- puhh still able to get the car
- We couldn’t chose a van- we got an GTA van, pretty old and pretty ugly (we didn’t know yet that our van we get the next day will be worse J…)
- First drive back to our hostel: we got stuck facing the wrong direction in a one- way road
- We checked out of our hostel one hour too late, we weren’t able to get the rest of our stuff out of our room- finally everything was on the car park to put it in our van- but where were our brochures??
- We forgot all our info brochures on the floor in our hostel- cleaning lady threw everything out into the rubbish bin. Even if they were for free, Inga and I crawled into the bin to get our stuff out- smelly brochures were laying next to smelly rubbish! – But we got them back- yeah!
- Wrong time management- spent two more hours in Darwin to visit the wave pool.--we thought we have enough time
- Later we drove to the crocodile jumping boat trip- we were late, drove over two red lights with control and we had to take a short cut across a closed road area to find the right way.—what a start of a Roadtrip…I wasn’t sure if we were able to survive 9 days in this van…J
- We arrived at the boat tour 15 min. too late but fortunately they waited for us because the people saw our car coming (20 km away). This is only possible in the Northern Territory, where all the roads are straight..- what luck we had. J
- The crocodile trip was AWESOME- wild crocs, 20 centimetres away got feed with a stick- so close to touch them- so close to get eaten.. J
- Back in Darwin Inga and I sneaked into a hostel for a shower
- Later we went out for dinner: Crocodile meat!!!- First we took pics of them and afterwards we ate them. :)
- We were allowed to stay over night on a parking ground in front of a friend’s apartment –our first night in our van…
Sorry my keywords were still pretty long…;) After our first exciting day we found out that the backdoor of our car was not working. On the next morning we went back to Wicked to get it fixed. We had to wait 3 long hours before we got another Van and after all our fears, this van looked even more worse: a van with guns on it- what a perfect car for two young girls. We sucked it up and started at lunchtime our trip to the Lichtfield National Park. We listened to our Cds, sang the songs without knowing the words J, went for a swim in the bottom of a waterfall, and drove towards a beautiful sunset- yeah our Roadtrid had started….
For the night we went back to Darwin to find a sleeping place next to other camper vans. By a fluke I met one guy from my school from Germany and he gave us the perfect idea where to stay with the car over night. We followed his directions and finally we parked on a fishing jetty, surrounded by water.- What a peaceful place- without paying anything.
The next morning we started very early to head to the Kakadu National Park, where we spent the following two days. It was really a pity that it was only possible by fourwheel drive to get to the best and worth seeing places of the park.
Nevertheless we saw some really nice places, went to a Ranger talk about Aborigine culture and art and saw some impressive paintings by aborigines. On our first night we passed bush fires directly next to the road. Due to the dark it looked really spectacular.
We didn’t expect it, but we were able to watch the soccer game Germany against Argentina in the middle of the park in a sports bar with 20 other Germans. The first time for both of us to see one of the world cup games with German fans- and we really enjoyed it! After an amazing game (score: 4 to 0 –yuhhuu!:)), we got the permission to stay over night on the parking place. This was a better place than all the expensive camping places around that were full of mossies!
Two days later we started our way down to Alice Springs. Our first stop was another National park close to the city called Katherine. We went for a swim in a beautiful gorge- surrounded by small waterfalls. We arrived in Katherine by nighttime and couldn’t find a camping place. Finally, we found one that was booked out and the reception was closed...however we drove in and parked our van next to other cars on the unpowered campground. We stayed over night, used the shower in the morning and left..
On the next morning we went to the School of the Air for a visit. It was really interesting and it is such an important school system in the Northern Territory.
Living in the large continent of Australia can mean isolation and loneliness. Children living in the vast Australian inland are often miles away from the nearest school. This modern school system offers kids who live for example isolated on farms in the middle of nowhere the chance to get an education due to Internet lessons. We were able to watch a recorded lesson on TV and we took a look into the Studio.
The further south we drove, the colder it got. The weather changed constantly. It was freezing cold at night and during the day it was raining. Yeah- I’m not joking- it was really raining cats and dogs. It rained last time in this area on Easter- perfect timing! We wore two pair of socks and only left the van when we had to...all day long we were driving to get in time to Alice Springs.
The driving was fun, even if the road was the whole time straight without any turns. The Highway was a way busier than we thought, so waving and honking the horn to other vans helped us to stay awake. Although we drove through nothing, in the middle of the outback, we never felt alone. If we stopped somewhere to get food out of the back of our car, suddenly another camper van had stopped to ask us if everything was ok. Before we drove the Highway down to Alice, we imagined red sand everywhere, no trees no plants, only the wide outback. Disappointing to see that the surroundings of the road were still green and didn’t really change till we arrive in Alice. Someone told us that they had more rain as usual in this area and this was probably the reason.
We spent our next two nights on camping grounds, not far from the highway. These places had nothing: no town, no supermarket, and not even any lookout. Nevertheless the first camping place called Daily Water was incredible and many vans stopped here for the night. It included a pub, a restaurant and all night entertainment from an old Aussie, sitting on the stage with a real chicken on his head, playing guitar. The pub and even the restaurant were full of traveller stuff that people left here with a signature as a memory: Bras, underwear, Ids, thongs, banknotes...there was nothing that they didn’t leave behind. This place was really unique and worth to stop.
After another day driving in the rain, the next camping place was the complete opposite from the night before. The camping place was expensive, much smaller (only three other cars joined us), and the toilets were freezing cold and dirty. Our Wicked got stuck in the mud- only with luck we got him out. Inga and I didn’t leave the car again. We were cooking our dinner in front of the van door- so we only had to hang out of the car to stir the rice. This was our coldest night and Inga wasn’t sure if she could survive. ;) Thanks for the next morning…it was our release, we couldn’t wait to start the engine to sit in a warm car and we jumped immediately on our front seats to drive away.
After 400 km, we arrived in Alice Springs and picked up Kathleen, who joined us for our last two days. Without any lunch break, we drove to the Kings Canyon Resort where we stayed overnight. The weather changed and it wasn’t raining anymore- thank god!! Our sleeping bed shared by three of us was smaller but we cuddled together to be safe for the cold.
Early the next morning we left the Resort to do the 6 km hike on the top of the Kings Canyon. It was such a breathtaking walk with an incredible view. Afterwards we drove to the Uluru, which was around 400 km away. In the afternoon we finally arrived. The size of the Uluru is immense and the red sand colour is so pretty. We watched the sunset (with hundred other people..), but it was such a beautiful evening. It was almost cloudless and we took thousand pictures of the same rock from the same position- sounds boring but every minute the colours changed due to the sunset.
We spent our last night on a parking ground with other camper vans. Inga and I couldn’t sleep very well- probably we felt that it was our last night in our van…
The next morning we drove the whole way back to Alice Springs and we gave up our car at the Wicked station. Even though it was only a car with guns on it, saying goodbye wasn’t easy. It was a reliable, old car, which never let us down- even if we drove up a pedestrian way and came up from the road by 90 km/h. The car must have had a really attentive guardian angel. ;)
We spent the day in Alice Springs, walking around from shop to shop. Later we cooked dinner in our hostel. The last Inga & Jule dinner was really delicious- we were surprised about our cooking skills. The day ended with some apple sider in the hostel pub, enjoying our last hours together.
On the next morning we had to get our stuff together, to check out and wait till our shuttle is taking us to the airport. At 5 pm I said goodbye to Inga, to my chaos sister, and of course my best travel mate. Even if we can’t see us again in Australia, we will definitely catch up in Germany. We spent a splendid time in Oz with millions of great and amazing memories, we will both never forget.
I flew alone back to Cairns- and of course these holidays couldn’t end without losing something. J I forgot my German, favourite pillow at the airport, that was the reason why I had to steal a Quanta’s pillow from the plane- they really had enough of them.
I slept the night on the international airport in Cairns. I slept in my sleeping bag on a comfy bench for almost 8 hours. On the next morning the Greyhound bus took me back to Townsville and I couldn’t wait to sleep in a proper bed.
After all my holiday trips together with Inga- there is one thing what we definitely learned. - Even if we can’t learn not to lose things or not to get in an unorganized situation, we learned how to suck it up and get the best out of it. We saw everything with humour and I think that’s what have made our time so unforgettable funny and great.
Everyone was saying that the Yr 9 camp is the toughest one of all of them- and now I have to admit that this comment is true.
Not only the organization and the preparation were much more work than usual, the main staff people had to go on camp two days earlier to prepare everything, to set up the ropes for the climbing and abseiling part and to get the food to the different camp sites in different areas. Lexi got sick two days before we left on camp. This was really a shame, because it was a lot of work coming up and we were short on female staff.
On the first day we had to pack all the food (for around 100 kids) on trailers and drove it to the survival campsite, where we slept the first two nights without the children. We went out for dinner in Hidden Valley, this is the only time of the year, where it’s allowed to eat in a restaurant during a camp. The food was really tasty.
All the next day, I helped Kerine, who is responsible for all the climbing and abseiling work. Getting all the climbing gear on the top of the gorge, was really hard work, but it was such a beautiful place. The whole camp is taking place on a private property, where the school has a special admission. That’s the reason why the entirely area is deserted, peaceful and quite. After finishing all the climbing stuff, we had time for abseiling. It was so much fun and a little bit scary too, to push yourself away from the wall like Spiderman.
On the next day the actual camp started. Because of two less female staff, I had to join another group every second day. My first two days were with a group of 20 kids and two funny teachers, who joked the whole time and made me laugh. We walked 6 km to our first campsite where we stayed over night. On this camp the kids weren’t together with their familiar class and friends. They had to work in groups with people they perhaps normally ignore or never recognized before. Through this technique the school tries to prevent bullying and encourage teamwork.
The second day was the biggest hiking day. We had to navigate ourselves to the next campsite. We used a compass, a GPS and a map to help. The way was cross-country, so much more exciting then walking for hours on a road, even it was sometimes a really rough way. In the late afternoon we arrived after 22 km walking our destination.
Dave drove me directly to my next camp group, with whom I hiked again for the next couple of days. Because of all my group changes I never had a longer rest- and I have done more than one big hike. I got many blisters and I regretted bringing so many clothes because I had to carry them in my bag … but during cold nights I was happy to put on a second jumper. The camp was not only a challenge for the kids- it was challenging me too. After a long day of walking, the beautiful and peaceful campsites help to forget your sore feet and back.
On most of the camping places was the food arranged in tents. For two days every group had to walk through the gorge. The distances were shorter, but the “way” was rough and not easy to manage with a heavy backpack. Additionally people had to carry their own food for two days. The kids cooked in small groups over this time. I liked the small group cooking because it was to observe that all the kids worked together and no one was sitting lazy around and let the others do the work.
My favourite campsite was the survival place, which had a lot of different activities. The kids had to build a raft to get their backpacks dry to the other river side. I really enjoyed the climbing and abseiling work. Kerine, the supervisor of this activity, had done a great job and almost every child went abseiling. It was interesting to see how different children behave and cope in a stress situation. Kerine had the this ability to get every child to its limit. I loved to help him.
Every group had one survival night. The kids were divided into girls and boys. Every group had two hours to build with wood, sticks or whatever they were able to find, their own sleeping place. Aside from that, they had to collect firewood, which should be enough for the whole night. It is the only night where the kids were isolated from everyone else and their sleeping place was around 200 metres away from the stuff campsite. Every child was allowed to bring their sleeping bag, their torch and a raw potato. Their challenge was to work as a group together and keep the fire going all night. Every two hours one staff person had to check that the fire is going- if not, they would lose the challenge.
This camp was a great opportunity to find out about their kid’s strength and weaknesses, about their teamwork, about their limits and fears. I think this camp helped many children to understand a little bit more about themselves and their effects of the environment.
I’d like to mention one child, from this camp who is autistic and many teachers had doubts that he would be able to do the whole camp. He is a wonderful child, always polite and helpful and thinking about everyone else. His name is Lachlan and he has done a fabulous job on camp. Sometimes he got nervous if he couldn’t find his stuff, but he learned to get over something. It was amazing that he has done the abseiling. Kerin went down with him together and always encouraged him. “You are bigger than the mountain, you’re bigger than the mountain”.
While Lachlan was standing on the bottom next to the 30 meter abseiling, he said to me: “Jule, now I can do everything what I want.” I smiled: “Yes Lachlan- everything is possible for you! Good job!”
I will never forget this situation- it will always reminds me that everything is possible in life, we only need the courage to go the next step.
Our second grade 8 camp was again the alternative camp because the weather conditions hadn’t changed. Although we had the same campsites and activities, the order of our sleeping places was different.
We started at the campsite next to the swimming hole. On our second day we hiked 26 kilometres. It was also a very good walking group even if one guy had … (and had to walk 13 kilometres with straddled legs..) and another one wasn’t able to walk the hole way because of his knee problems and too much weight. This guy was walking only one small part of the hike, together with Lexi and Warren.
My favourite camping spot was at the Burdekin river. Lexi and I built the greatest Bive ever!
During the whole camp we played the game “murdered by words”. Everyone got a name from our group and a special word (could be everything). The challenge was to get the person to say the word without knowing which word was forbidden. The person is murdered by saying the prohibited word. It was a great game. People sometimes found out which word they weren’t allowed to say and it was really fun when even so somebody got the person to say the world.
On our campsite at the lake we were very successful with catching crawfish. They were very delicious and our second breakfast. J
The kayak tour on the lake was much more muddy than last time…which was sometimes annoying because we had to carry the kayaks through the mud. Afterwards we were covered in dirt…thanks Richard! J
My highlight of this camp was our lilowing –rafting tour on our last day. We spent two hours on the lilos , floating with the stream. It was a great adventure! The river contained a few good rapids. Sometimes it was a little bit scary even if we had to wear life jackets and helmets. It wasn’t really possible to control the lilos, so that smashing into rocks wasn’t very unlikely..:) Nevertheless, all the kids got home without any injuries, besides of scratch and bruises.
Now, I have one week off before my third kayak camp starts. Hopefully it’s not raining the next days that we’ll be able to spend 7 days at the Burdekin river…fingers cross!
I just got back from my camp and I already had to pack my stuff for my holiday adventure. My trip was going to be two weeks long, so I decided to travel only with hand luggage. :) I needed hours to decide which of my clothes were really important and which stuff is only useless and heavy.
Georgia, a friend of mine, picked me up to drive me to the airport. I was in time and even early enough to drink a coffee with her. J Because of my hand luggage I thought I didn’t have to go to the check in point. So I was sitting, relaxed with Georgia drinking coffee and waiting for boarding. How could I wait for BOARDING without a BOARDIND CARD? J I guess that’s me- I don’t know what I was thinking! ..:)
Finally I had to show my boarding card at the gate which I didn’t have because I didn’t check in..:) So I wasn’t allowed to get on the plane, had to change my bookings for the next possible flight (that afternoon) and I had to pay 50 Dollar. What an expensive coffee this morning! :) The good thing was that I still was going to arrive early enough in Brisbane to get my second flight to Perth. What a indirect blessing!!
After this amazing start to my holidays, I believed that it couldn’t get any worse- but I was wrong: It actually could... :)
After this chaotic beginning, I arrived in Brisbane and met Inga at the airport. It was great to see her again and we had so much to talk about. We flew together to Perth and didn’t stop talking the whole way. :) The stewardess weren’t too happy about that…:) Finally we got to Perth and I got to know Inga’s friend Eva, who just arrived in Australia and was going to spend the holidays with us. She is a lovely and funny person and it was great that she joined our exciting west coast trip. On our first day in Perth we visited all the important places, buildings and parks of the city. After one day I was convinced that I really, really loved this city. The atmosphere was incredible and so different from what I have seen before in Oz. Perth is neither too big nor too touristy. There are many nice spots and a lot of trees in the middle of the centre. In addition to that, it’s a very active city. People ride bikes, jogging around and doing workouts in groups. You felt bad if you didn’t wear sport shorts. :)
One of my favourite places of the city is the “Kings Park”. It is such a peaceful and wonderful park with an amazing view over the city. In the evening, to the surprise of us all, I found out that the Greyhound bus, where Inga and Eva already had their seats, was completely booked out. This was terrible because the Greyhound Bus on the west coast only runs every third day. We had no time to stay longer in Perth if we really wanted to see the coast.
I reserved my seat from Juriem Bay- this was the first possible stop when somebody was going to be dropped off. But this town is 5 hours away from Perth and in the middle of nowhere. We only had the following day to find a solution of how I could get to Juriem Bay because one day later the Bus was going to leave Perth. We booked a trip to the beautiful “Rottnest Island” on this day, which is located 40 min via ferry from the mainland. Although we had to think the whole time about a plan B, we pleasantly surprised by this quaint little island. We toured it on bicycles. We also borrowed snorkel gear because the island had a few good snorkel spots. It was really worth it to visit this great place: clear, torques blue water; peaceful and quite beaches with white sand; no cars, not many people- what a wonderful place…
While I enjoy the island, I phoned 12 car hiring places, asked people for a lift and phoned a few more times to the Greyhound service practically begging for some help. But nothing worked out. It was Easter, the busiest time of the year for the west coast and everything was booked out. It was useless. There was only one possible way left: I have to be a stowaway on the Greyhound Bus- We had no other choice. Inga, Eva and I planed everything carefully and we thought through every possible scenario.
On the “big” day, I was very nervous, couldn’t eat anything and I was very doubtful. What if I couldn’t even get on the bus?. This morning we had to realize that everything was much more difficult than we thought it would be. The bus arrived with two drivers, one of them checked the tickets at the door, the other one was busy with the luggage from the passengers. Inga and Eva checked in (plus my luggage) and they got seats together in the back of the bus because of Inga’s “stomach ache” ;).
I found a way to jump into the bus without catching the driver’s attention. Now I had to sit 5 hours, covered under a blanket and wallets, etc on the ground at Inga’s and Eva’s feet. What an uncomfortable place…I was sweating, couldn’t move or stretch my legs, my bum hurt and my shoulder was pressed against the seat in front. Good thing the man never tried to put his seat back! The bus driver was walking up and down the isles the whole time, making it impossible to take the blanket from my head. The “highlight” was that he finally decided to take a nap in the back of the bus. Now he had a perfect view of our seats and I had to stay completely under the blanket for the last 2 hours. From my strategically positioned feet-seat, the hardest part was that I had a clear view of the empty seat. This was so terrible, but now that I’m looking back at it can see it’s ironic hilarity. All I could think about was sitting in that seat, but it was too late now.
After 5 hours of horrific driving I was saved. In the big break (at a gas station) I got off the bus in the middle of the crowd. I had no time to put my shoes on again and no time to take more than a plastic bag outside. What an amazing moment- when we knew that we got it! J After the break I checked in as a legal passenger, and with a few strange looks (no shoes, no luggage…) I hopped on the bus without further difficulty. Nobody can imagine how great it was to sit finally on a seat! I will always appreciate the seats of a bus!
We arrived after a 10 hour journey to the small town of Denham that is located 20 kilometres away from Monkey Mia. We spent three nights camping (Eva brought a tent) on a very clean and family oriented camping spot. The camp ground was just bought from a lovely mid fifties couple, who looked after us and helped us enormously with everything. We called them Camp Daddy and Camp Mummy. They were so passionate about their camping place. J We got a big torch, a cooking pot, a mattress, and they even helped us to set up our tent after we arrived in the middle of the night. The next day, Camp Daddy gave us a lift to Monkey Mia. What amazing people!
On the way to Monkey Mia the camp daddy stopped at every interesting spot to tell us about the area, animals and landscapes. Monkey Mia is one of the world’s first natural dolphin sighting areas. This dolphin resort is located at Dolphin Beach, famous for its kilometres of secluded crystal blue waters and pristine white-shell beaches. Although it was very touristy (hundreds of people lined up along the beach edge), it was an incredible moment, seeing these dolphins in the wild and only a couple of feet away from me. This is the only place in Australia where dolphins visit daily, (not just seasonally), the beachfront. Everything was very controlled by the marine biologists so that the masses of people didn’t disturb these amazing creatures.
On our last day in Denham we hired a “car”- it was a funny looking old vehicle that people could hear us from miles away. But it worked and was a lot of fun. J
I enjoyed driving it, especially on the sand roads where it was much more harder to control it. The car made it possible for us to visit the Shell Beach that is located in the Sark Bay World Heritage Area, 45 kilometres southeast of Denham. This beautiful snow-white beach is made up of millions of tiny shells up to 10 metres deep and stretches over 120 kilometres.
Another highlight on our “road trip” was the seeing “Eagle Bluff” lookout. From this point we had a spectacular view of the sea. The clear water made it possible to see the contours of sharks and the other sea dwellers.
The next day, we left Denham to catch the Greyhound (of course as a legal passenger ;) ) to Coral Bay. All these little towns along the west coast are worth visiting because of their beaches and reefs. The small town of Coral Bay consisted simply of one small super market (very expensive…), one hostel, one camping place and a few souvenir shops. The hostel wasn’t too big and I spent a lot of time playing table tennis. It was so much fun and I got very hooked on it…
The next morning we joined a kayak and snorkel trip to the Ningaloo Reef that is directly located 50 metres away from Coral Bay’s beach. This tour was really worthwhile and one of the best adventures I have had so far. Kayaking on the sea was awesome and we had the perfect weather. The underwater world was incredible. I have never seen, even on the east coast, such a wide variety of fish. The greatest moment was swimming next to a really big turtle and seeing my first wild shark.
The last stop of our west coast tour was Broome. An 18 hour bus ride away. This was my longest bus trip I’ve ever had, but truth be told, not the worst one. There was only one problem: Eva had to arrive in Broome in TIME because of her flight back to Germany. (There was a misunderstanding in the planning before…) The bus arrived one and a half hours late in to Coral Bay…we were absolute helpless, and Eva’s chances of catching her flight were significantly lower than optimal.. BUT due to our positive thinking: “there is always a way and at the end everything works out”, we arrived just in time to Broome and Eva was, after two exciting and very chaotic weeks of holidays Eva caught the plane and was safely on her way back to Germany.
Inga and I spent a couple more days in Broome in a beautiful hostel- Probably the best one I have ever stayed at. It seemed more like a holiday resort than a backpacker accommodation. We hired a scooter for our last day; “Hardley Davison”. We hardly expected them to hand us a motorcycle (although only with the speed of a scooter). Our baby was a dream of a motorcycle. ;) All in all we looked rather ridiculous: two girls sitting on a big motorcycle, wearing dresses, thongs, and carrying two full bags of food on their laps (we thought the scooter would have a pocket…J). During our drive I burned my leg really badly on the exhaust. My gosh…it hurt for ages. The same happened to Inga when we sat down on our bike to get a last picture. At least we are both going to get an unforgettable scar.
I really love the west coast! I am so glad to have had the opportunity to visit such a gorgeous area. It is unbelievable how different this side from Australia is, compared to the east coast. The west coast seemed to capture the typical Australian image, which is in everyone’s mind. I got an insight to the real Australia, and I felt much more connected to the country. Between each specific visiting places you could find: NOTHING at all. It was so incredible and special to drive hundreds of kilometres through desert. You’re lucky to see one gas station after hours of driving and maybe even one small super market, before you are once again in the middle of nowhere. J
Peaceful and quite beaches, white sand, crystal clear water, never ending straight roads without any turns at all, emptiness but still so full of live- Australia’s nature is stunning: one place of the earth, which is not yet destroyed by human beings.
I can’t believe that this was only my first camp of the year. It is March and the time is running fast. The first camp in February was cancelled because of the bad weather. The rain season is finished but the rain hasn’t stopped. The river where we were supposed to go was still too full of water, and therefore too dangerous for the kids. Before we started our first camp, in March, the staff members Richard, Dave, Lexi and I had to check the river conditions to make sure it was safe for the school camp. We kayaked in one and a half days 60 kilometres, which is the entire journey which we were going to kayak with the kids in 7 days. This short trip was great. Of course, we had to kayak a lot but the weather was lovely, we caught fish and we had time to enjoy the peaceful and beautiful nature (and had incredibly sore arms!)
Although it was possible for us to kayak the whole way, the river would be flowing too fast for the kids. That’s why our first camp in March had to be the alternative camp. All in all, we stayed at three different camp sides, where we got to by bus.
Our first camp side was a big lake and a perfect place for the kids to train their kayaking skills. My first night was the worst night I ever had on a camp. We slept in “Bivvy“ but on this night I wasn’t able to fall a sleep. It was warm, no wind but I had to stay under my sleeping bag because of the masses of mosquitoes. I was so sweating, itchy all over my body, and the sound of the mosquitoes in my ears made me crazy. In addition to that the kids didn’t stop talking, laughing giggling...What a nightmare! J
We spent the next whole day in the kayaks. It was strange to kayak on a lake. But the lake was connected to another lake and to a small creek which we used to get to a big swimming hole.
Our second campsite was at the Burdekin river (where we would normally spend 7 days for kayaking). We used the fast river stream for floating on the water by wearing our sexy life jackets. J
In the afternoon we drove with the whole group to Charters Towers. Charters Towers is a scenic gold mining city that is big on history and character. From a chance discovery of gold in 1871, Chartes Towers was soon turned into a bustling metropolis, which in its heads boasted being the second largest city in Queensland. The town is located 100 km inland from Townsville. We visited a gold mine museum which still has the remain from a large mine. It was very interesting and descriptive.
Later we watched a short documentary film on the top of Charters Towers hill with the name: “The ghost of Charters Towers”.
The third campsite was located on a creek in the middle of nowhere. The “road” condition to this last camping spot was terrible. The way was rough, muddy, with many potholes and really, not the best way to drive if you get carsick! ;)
The next day, we started early in the morning for our big hike. We walked 13 kilometres under a cloudy sky and continuous rain. I guess it was more acceptable than a scorching 40 Degrees. So I imagine it was actually the best weather for such a long trip. After 13km we stopped for lunch that the cooking group had to carry in their backpacks. A half hour later we walked the same way back for a grand total of 26 kilometres. The class was a good walking group without too much whining, but still you could see in their exhausted faces that they were happy to got back. J
Compared to the last day, the following day was very relaxed. We drove to a very beautiful spot where the scenery was great. It was a river with rapids surrounded by a big rock wall. We spent the morning sitting and climbing on the rocks while most of the kids went for a swim or fishing. On our way back we had to walk 2km to get back to our bus. The teacher and I arrived first with a group of 6 people. We couldn’t see the rest of the group coming so we started to think about playing a joke on them. Because we knew that the key for the bus was under the front wheel, the teacher and I got the idea to move the bus so that the others couldn’t see us anymore. All the kids had to stay outside, the teacher was sitting next to me and I was driving the big bus. What a great joke! J The kids loved it and yelled to drive further. When the rest of the class arrived they weren’t very surprised to find the bus moved and on the wrong side of the road. I guess it was more fun for us who chartered the bus. J
In the afternoon, back at our campsite, we started a two hour liloing trip down the river for every one who wanted to. The way contained a few rapids, which was really fun. The only problem was that some parts of the way weren’t able to lilo because of trees and big snags in the water that blocked the way. One of the girls got a big hole in her lilo so I had to share mine with her. It wasn’t easy to stay together on the lilo without smashing with our legs against every single barricade. J Nevertheless it was fun and a challenge for us to try to get the lilo without a hole the complete way.
On the morning on which we packed up to drive home, Lexi and I couldn’t wait to get back because we were going to leave on the next morning in our holidays and there was still lots more to plan, buy and organise. As luck would have it, the bus broke 60 kilometres for Townsville so that we had to wait on the highway for one and a half hour to be picked up by another bus.
I was so glad as we finally got back to school and excited to head towards the Wild West the next day. What a great adventure waiting for me… J
Welcome back to Townsville!
On the one side, it felt a little bit weird to be back at work after my 2 month holidays and travel time. On the other side, coming back to Townsville was like coming home even if I’m only staying here for a year. It was great to sleep in my own bed again. Also getting fed by the Boarding House, working in the pool, and spending time with people I got to know before vacation, got me back the daily routine which felt good after this long break.
My new timetable contains way more pool lessons than before. Due to the bloody heat the pool was the best place to spend time anyway, besides cold air-conditioned rooms. In addition to our pool lessons with the little ones, we also helped with grade 5 and 6. In comparison to the work with grade one and two, we don’t have to stay in the water. In these lessons we have to walk along the pool and correct their stroke. I loved the work in the pool especially with the younger kids. They are so cute and it was really amazing how they developed their swimming skills after just a few months. Besides my work in the pool Lexi and I helped to train the netball team. These lessons weren’t very organised and it was always very chaotic. I realised very fast that I still prefer basketball over netball. J
After my work, I always have a lot of free time. I met new people and to spent time with them. I got more connected to Townsville and its people. One of my favourite activities is to walk up the Castle Hill. This mountain is located in the middle of Townsville, surrounded by the city. During the sunrise and sunset, it seems the whole city is walking, running and riding up the hill. It is a lot of fun and the view from the top is amazing!
On Sundays I have been attending the evening service from a special church in Townsville, named Calvary Church. I was very surprised and impressed by the way the services take place. The services on Sundays are a big event and resemble to a music concert. The hall (there is no traditional church building) is always flooded with people. They come together to eat, to sing, and to listen to the pastor’s words. I never saw so many people (mostly young people) involved in a service. It is really amazing how they work together, especially with the music and all the lovely voices.
Every Monday evening, I have a beach volleyball game. These competitions are just for fun. I play in a group of four people and every week we have a new opponent. It’s always a lot of fun and I have a great time on the court. J
Last weekend, I watched my first NBL Crocs game (basketball) in Townsville. Although the Crocs (“Never smile to a Crocodile” ;) ) is the most successful club in Australia, the Stadium wasn’t crowded. Also the play level wasn’t very high and can’t be compared to the German Bundesliga. Nevertheless it was a good and fast game and the Crocs won, of course! J During the whole basketball game the music was turned on and it got very annoying after a while. It was a real pity that only fans from Townsville visited this Stadium. The competition would be much more enthusiastic if fans from both teams were to cheer for their favourite. Australia is too spread out and only certain cities in Oz have a NBL basketball team. Therefore, the distances between the clubs are too far to go to the games played away from home.
This week my outdoor education work started. On Monday and Tuesday the outdoor staff, Lexi and I were kayaking at the Ross River with the grade 8 classes to prepare them for their camps that are coming soon. It felt great to be back in my outdoor work. We started early in the morning we carried all the kayaks from the trailer to the river. What a lot of work…The kayaks were so heavy and the grips were slippery. After this exhausting work, the best part of the day started. We kayaked the river up and down to train the kids to feel comfortable with sitting and controlling a kayak. “You have to feel one with the kayak!” ;)
Between the lessons we often had more than one hour free. Lexi and I stayed at the river for a swim with the crocodiles. J. It’s true that crocs live there, but they are small and harmless- we hope J!
Carrying the kayaks, kayaking and bringing the kayaks back to the trailer was an ideal workout for my arms. J After 4 camps kayaking (6 days long) I’m going to be perfectly trained or so exhausted that I never want to even look at a kayak again. J
My first camp is cancelled due to the bad weather conditions. The river is flooded making kayaking too dangerous for the kids. Now I have a bunch more time in Townsville, and I’m loving it! J
My time on the eastcoast included 3 weeks of driving up from Melbourne, at the far South side of Australia, all the way back to Townsville. I have never packed and unpacked my luggage so often in my life, nor spent so much time in hostels. It was an amazing experience to meet so many different people and visit so many new places. Inga and I traveled with the Greyhound bus. This was a great way to get from one city to another in a very relaxed manner. We could get on and off the bus any time we felt like it.
The Bus stops at many different places, including all the popular cities like Byron Bay, Brisbane, and Sydney. Sitting in a bus for more than ten hours was sometimes very tough. Inga and i were always freezing. The air conditoner was way too cold. That was the reason we mostly had to wear warm jumbers and used a sleeping bag to keep us warm. J We couldn’t understand how people could sit there in shorts and a t-shirt. Due to the air conditioner, our voices were often gone by the end of a long bus trip.
Our first stop along the eastcoast was Port Macquarie. We arrived there without having booked a hostel in advance. This was very risky because it was busy holiday time. Nevertheless we found a place to sleep. We slept on camperbeds for the first night which they set up at 11 o’clock at night in the living room. J It was not very comfortable but a pretty funny experience.
During our 2 days in Port Macquarie we visited a Lighthouse and a Koala Hospital. This hospital is the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to the care and preservation of koalas.
Our next stop, was Coffs Harbour, where we spent two nights. At this place Inga and me took our first surfing lessons. It was a lot of fun. The boards were very big, so it wasn’t too difficult to stand up. It was an amazing feeling to stand on the surfboard as the wave pushed you back to the beach. I was sure that this would not be my last sufing adventure. J The next day, we hired surfboards with two other friends. It was a lovely beach day!
Next, we stopped in Byron Bay. This city was reallly busy, but the beach was lovely and I liked the small shops, where you could buy gifts and of course surf clothes. Our hostel room was horrible. Too many drunk and smelly guys, too expensive, and too dirty. We were glad we booked into there for only one night. We went out on this evening, fleeing our disgusting room. J
Surfers Paradise was our next. We imagined this to be a really great city, but were very disappointed when we got there. We imagined a nice and lovely small town with a great beach and of course good waves. The beach was pretty good, but the atmosphere in the city wasn’t our taste. Surfes Paradise had too many hotels and too much concrete. All the nice gardens, green fields and trees were missing.
After two nights in Sufers we left for Brisbane. For a change, we visitited a much bigger city and didn’t spend all our time on the beach. J
We took a Harbour Cruise, walked through the Botanic Gardens, went for a swim in the Lagoon and walked in the market. Our hostel wasn’t very central, but was in a very busy and popular club area, called “The Valley“.
After 4 days in Brisbane, Inga left for Rockhampton to see her parents, and I went on to Noosa. Noosa is a lovely small city. I like the National Park there and the quiet beaches. It was a real pity that I could only spend two days there.
I met Inga again in Hervey Bay and we started our drive tour on Fraser island with 7 other people. It was a great adventure. We drove in a truck on the biggest sand island of the world. The roads were in bad condition, so the car shook a lot. This was good fun, even when it hurt sometimes. Driving and camping on the beach was really fantastic, We saw dingos and swam in a very beautiful Lake Mc Kensie.
However amazing this was, it was still not the highlight of my eastcoast trip.Three days after our Fraser Tour we went sailing in the Whitsundays. Our ship, “Samurai“, wasn’t very big but it still fit 20 passengers and 3 staff members (a cook, a snorkel/- and diving teacher, and the skipper).
We visited a beach of the Whitsunday Islands with an wonderful lookout and a lovely white beach. It was a pity that we couldn’t go swimming in the sea without having to wear a stinger suit. However, it was a great trip. Snorkeling during the day, sailing and night snorkeling with torches have made this tour to an unforgettable adventure.
As time would have it, our eastcoast adventure was coming to an end. On the same day that we got back from our sailing trip, we left for Airlie Beach, making our way back to Townsville. After Townsville, I flew back to Rockhampton with Inga and Kathleen. I said goodbye to them and I took the Greyhound Bus in Rocky, arriving at 1:30 am in Hervey Bay, where mum and dad were awaiting my arrival. They picked me up from the bus stop, and I was able to spend more time with them. I was really happy and excited to see them again and to do a small part of the eastcoast together as a family.
On our first day we went on a guided Fraser Trip! It was a great day and a completely different experience than my self driving tour. Thanks to the guide, I learned a lot more about Fraser Island and its nature and wildlife.
The highlight of this trip was swimming with mum and dad in the Lake Mc Kensie. It was really awesome that I could spend time in this beautiful place, twice! J
After Hervey Bay, we drove up the coast to Rockhampton where we spent a night.
In the evening we went out for dinner to eat one of Rockys famous Steaks. Unfortunately all our Steaks were burned and the waiter wasn’t very friendly.
Our last stop before Townsville was Airlie Beach. The weather wasn’t as good as the last 4 weeks had been. It was very cloudy and sometimes it rained. The 26th of January was Australia day and the nation celebrated everything great about Australia and being Australian. On this special day we ate an Australian food box at the Lagoon. It was a fantastic atmosphere.
Finally we drove to Townsville. I was really excited about showing my parents my new home. J It was too bad that it was raining when we arrived. Even worse, it didn’t rain only one day, it was pouring one full week. Nevertheless, we still did all the stuff that I wanted to do and show my parents. Due to the bad weather conditions, my parents didn’t leave Townsville to drive up to Cairns as they had planned, so they spent an extra 2 days with me. On one hand, I was a bit dissappoined about the weather. I wanted to show everything when the sun was shining. Townsville has over 300 days of sunshine each year, and my parents visited exactly on the few days it was raining. On the other hand, we had never seen so much rain, thunderstorms and streets transformed into rivers. It was really impressive. Two days before my parents left for the cold, snowy, Germany again, the weather changed and we enjoyed two lovely, sunny days.
All in all I had great holidays and a wonderful time with my parents.
Sydney is a wonderful city. I was so glad to have visited this beautiful place over Christmas and New Year.
I spent my Christmas time with 5 other Gappies (volunteers) in a YHA Hostel.
From the first day, I was impressed by the atmosphere: Sydney is very big, busy, and full of people (mostly tourists), nevertheless the city has charm. You can find peaceful and quite areas where you can forget your daily routine, One of my favourite places is the Botanic Garden that surrounds the city. If you visti this garden you don’t have the feeling that you are still in a big city. You can find all sorts of different animals and plants there. It is really lovely.
Besides this wonderful place, I like Sydney’s Harbour. In contrast to the very quite Botanic Garden, the Harbour is very busy. Anyway the view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera is amazing!
I went on a cruse around the Harbour. This was a great way to see Sydney from another angle. It was lovely to see the skyline, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera from further away. From the water, there is very much to see. Besides Sydneys huge variety of buildings, I was impressed by all the sailing boats, kayaks and motorboats.
Us gappies decided one day to do a sightsseing tour on a red double- decker bus. We had a 24 hour ticket, so we were really able to get to know Sydney central and all the surrounding areas. You could hop on or off at many different spots. We visited Bondi Beach for a couple of hours. I didn’t like this beach very much. The white sand and the big waves were lovely, but it was far too busy to have any fun. It seemed like people come here to present themselves. Good looking and attracting attention seemed to be the underlying ideas.
On the 24th of December we spent the whole day at Manly Beach. I really enjoyed this beach. Before we went to there we bought typicall german christmas food in a supermarket (named Aldi). J We ate Lebkuchen, Zimtsterne and Speculatius while basking in the sun and sitting on the sand, listening to the waves crashing against the shore. It was a little bit strange to eat Lebkuchen in the heat, but this food made us feel a little more at home. In the evening we picniced in the park. It was a lovely atmosphere. The next two Christmas Days weren’t very special. It rained the whole day and we played “Who am I?“ in the Hostel (even so, we still had a lot of fun), went out for dinner, to the cinema, and ate dessert in the best chocolate shop ever!
Two days before New Year I went on a road trip to the Blue Mountains with four other friends who I met in Adelaide. These two days were oodles of good times. We drove in one car all the way to the Blue Mountains National Park (one hour away from Sydney) and vistited many different lookouts. The Blue Mountains are lovely and I love all the differnt waterfalls. We were so lucky that the weather was better than the couple days before. We spent the night in a car park, camping with many other backpackers. The park ground was packed.
The day before the New Year I moved from my hostel to the apartment from Inga’s parents where I could spend a couple of nights. New Years Eve was very chaotic. Inga and I stayed out far too late shopping for food fort he next day, and we still needed to buy drinks. Good fun. At midnight we were still shopping in the supermarket and haden’t realised that the shop was closing. Consequently we were the last people in the supermarket, going on with our shopping business, unaware that no one else was in the store. Affter a while a seller from the store came and walked us to the cash desk. J
It was one night before New Year and Inga and me didn’t know where we want to go for our New Year’s party. Most of the other Gaps wanted to go to the Botanic Gardens, but this place is always very busy on this special day and you can only see a small part of the fireworks.
As luck would have it, we met a friendly Australian guy who invite us to his New Years party at a very good spot, where he goes every year with his friends.
The next morning, Inga and me took the ferry to Milsens Point where we met the Australian guy. He walked with us to his favourite place. I was really suprised and impressed when I saw that our spot for the New Years party was a large dock right on the water, just across from the Opera House. We could see the right side the Harbour Bridge, infront the whole skyline and of course the Opera House. It was the better than we could have ever hoped for! We arrived there at 11 am. A little early, but this time was not boring. We had a barbeque (I ate kangaroo fort he first timeJ) and we went for a swim in the ocean. It was a wonderful feeling: sitting together with very nice people, talking, drinking and eating. We also got to watch all the decorated ships cruising through the harbour. At nine o’clock the first firework was blown up and it was breath taking. A wonderful start to an awesome night. The firework at 12 pm was the biggest and greatest firework I have ever seen. It was an amazing moment, which I will never forget. A great start to 2010! After the fireworks, we went back to the city centre where there was a very big party. All the people danced in the main streets, and we joined them. It was a lot of fun and a perfect end of a perfect night.
Two days later my parents arrived in Sydney. I was so glad to see them. We only had one day together before I had to keep traveling. We went out for Dinner with Ingas parents and afterwards ate something in the chocolate shop. It was a really joyous day. It felt good to know that my parents would be here for the next 5 weeks, and that I would be seeing them again. The next morning Inga and I got up at some ungodly hour to continue with our eastcoast adventures - but this is another story J
Nach meinem Besuch in Rockhampton für 2 Tage, machten Inga und ich uns auf den Weg nach Neuseeland.. Unser Hinflug verlief ohne Schwierigkeiten und ohne Verluste, was sich später, nach diesem Urlaub vom Urlaub, als große Ausnahme herausstellte.:)
Unsere ersten vier Tage verbrachten wir in einem kleinen, gemütlichen Hostel etwas außerhalb von Auckland. Eigentlich hatten Inga und ich uns vorgenommen, die ganze Reise über Englisch zu sprechen, diese Idee war spätestens verfallen als wir in einem Hostel ankamen, dass größtenteils nur von Deutschen bewohnt wurde. Herzlich Willkommen Backpacker Life- Ein Leben, in dem man den ganzen Tag Deutsch sprechen könnte- auch wenn man sich am anderen Ende der Welt befindet. Nach unseren ersten paar Hostels stellten sich Inga und ich die Frage, ob überhaupt noch irgendwelche Deutschen in Deutschland zurückgeblieben sind. Wir bezweifelten es stark. :)
In Auckland hatten wir sehr viel Glück mit dem Wetter: 3 Tage durchgängig Regen.. Nur an unserem ersten Tag beglückte uns die Sonne. Trotz unserer Befürchtung bei kaltem und eisigem Wetter zu landen, hatten wir keinen Kälteschock bekommen. Im Gegenteil, zwischen 18 und 22 Grad waren auch mal eine ganz schöne Abwechslung zu unserem Tropenwetter. Nur auf den Regen hätten wir gerne verzichtet. Trotz konstanter Regenschauer und fehlender Regenjacke (Inga :)), haben wir die Tage in Auckland sehr gut genutzt.
Wir haben uns in der Stadt einen Multipass gekauft, wodurch wir vier verschieden Attraktionen in Auckland besuchen konnten. Wir besuchten ein Aquarium, in dem uns am Besten die Pinguine gefallen haben, waren auf einem Skytower, mit einer super Aussicht auf die Stadt, in einem Freizeitpark, der nicht größer war als wahrscheinlich der kleinste Freizeitpark in Deutschland (aber dafür war es der größte in Neuseeland :)) und wir machten einen Ausflug zu Rangitoto Island.. Diese Insel ist ein ehemaliger Vulkan und die Landschaft war sehr beeindruckend. Obwohl wir leider für diesen Ausflug das schlechteste Wetter der letzten Tage erwischt hatten, nach einer halben Stunde schon komplett durchnässt waren und eine sehr waghalsige Fährfahrt hinter uns hatten, haben wir es nicht bereut. Endlich fühlten wir uns in Neuseeland angekommen. Die grasbedeckte Hügellandschaft war einfach unglaublich. Auch wenn Auckland eine sehr schöne Stadt ist und die Menschen sehr liebenswert und freundlich sind, ist die Stadt jedoch sehr europäisch und deswegen für uns nicht so besonders.
Nach diesen ersten Tagen auf der Nordinsel flogen wir auf die Südinsel nach Queenstown. Die Stadt ist umgeben von einer atemberaubenden Natur: eingebettet von hohen Bergen und direkt an einem wunderschönen See. Inga und ich verbrachten drei Tage an diesem Ort und übernachteten in einem YHA Hostel, das direkt am See gelegen war. Die Lage war super, aber trotzdem mussten wir feststellen, dass uns die kleineren, gemütlicheren und familiären Hostels viel mehr zusagten.
Durch eine Radtour und eine „Wanderung“ zu einem Aussichtspunkt, wo man einen super schönen Blick über die Stadt hatte, lernten wir die neuseeländischen Natur besser kennen und schätzen. :) Dabei erinnerte sie uns manchmal sehr an die skandinavischen Länder.
Die letzten zwei Tage unseres Neuseelandstrips verbrachten wir dann noch in Christchurch. Wie der Name schon sagt, besitzt Christchurch ein paar sehr schöne Kirchen. Von dieser Stadt aus machten wir dann ein Schiffstrip zum Dolphinwatching. Das war einfach traumhaft. Die Delphine umrundetet das Schiff und schwammen neben uns her und jedes mal freute man sich, wenn wieder irgendwo ein Delphin auftauchte. Nächstes mal möchte ich mit im Wasser sein :).
Die Zeit in Neuseeland war sehr witzig, aufregend und wirklich sehr abwechslungsreich. Wenn Inga und ich nicht irgendwelchen Bussen hinterher rennen mussten, in letzter Sekunde noch auf Schiffe sprangen ,oder alles stehen und liegen lassen mussten um noch unser Shuttle zu erreichen, waren wir meistens am essen. :) Unsere Verluste nach unserer ersten Reise umfassten ein schwarzes T-Tshirt, eine Haarbürste, ein Hostelschlüssel, den wir schon am ersten Abend verloren hatten und unseren Käse, den wir immer wieder gerne in den Hostels liegen ließen.
Insgesamt war unser Neuseelandausflug einmalig, aber leider viel zu kurz um wirklich dieses wunderschöne Land richtig kennen zu lernen. Dafür muss ich wohl doch noch einmal wieder kommen, vielleicht bei meiner nächsten Reise ans andere Ende der Welt.
I’m sorry that I haven’t written something in the last few weeks but I have been very busy. J
I will give you now a short flashback.
Working and living at the school:
My last weeks at school have been very easy going. The term was for the most part finished and many lessons were always cancelled.
Lexi and I spend many hours in the school pool. It is really amazing how well the children can swim. In Australia it is very highly regarded to be able to swim. The children have a few lessons in the week and learn many different strokes. The swimming teacher Michael is a very nice man. He is very good with children. He is friendly, funny and knows how to work with kids very well. The lessons are a lot of fun but after two hours working in the pool, it gets very cold. I am always glad to take a shower. J
Moreover I love the sports lessons on Thurthdays with the grade 12s. Every week they get the choice to do different sports. One bus drives to a bowling and squaching centre, one to the beachvolleyball courts and one to a very nice excercise gym. Every week it’s my own choice where I want to go.
On Fridays at 12 am I help to coach the school basketball teams. This is a lot of fun and I feel a little bit more at home. J
The food at the school is really fantastic. The cooks do a great job! The food is better than every canteen food in germany. The food is for the whole boarding school and it is freshly prepared every day. In addition to two or three different dishes, you can eat fresh salads. After dinner we eat nice desserts. I think ist good that I don’t have a weighing machine here. J
After school most daysI go to the gym for an hour or two. It feels great after the workout. One day every week I go to basketball training. It’s not as good as my team in germany but it’s better than nothing. JThe people aren’t very communicative but I hope it will change after the off- season once I have more training.
In the last weeks I got to know more and more the nightlife here. There are few good bars and clubs to spend the evening and of course the night. J The nightlife starts very early. At 6 pm people are sitting in bars and at 10 pm the dance clubs are full.
The Australians get very dressed up when they go out. In comparison to the women, the men look rather normal. Every women wears a dress and highheals even when they can’t walk on these shoes. – They are dressed like people from a wedding or other special occasion. No girl would wear a normal jeans here.
All in all I enjoy going out in the evening. The bars are a good place to meet new people. Over my last two weeks, I have spent a lot of my time with an other german girl who works here at the moment as a nanny through Au Pair. We have had a lot of fun. Long, nice talks, great shopping trips and of course clubbing!
Now I’m looking forward to my holidays which start on Friday. I’m really excited to travel around as a Backpacker. Nevertheless I’m glad that I know that I come back after two month because I am really enjoying my time here.
Lexi and I got the oppurtunity to go for the weekend with Warren to Cairns. Warren is a very nice, funny old man (decended from the Aboriginals) who works at the school.
Every 6 months Warren drives to Cairns to go fishing with a friend on his boat. Warren is a grounds person here at the school, as well as a farmer. We met him on the grade 7 camp for the first time.
We drove on friday evening for 4 hours to a camping place (45 minutes away past Cairns) to stay there in a small apartment. The next morning we visited an animal reserve, where we ate breakfast. This sanctuary was like a Zoo but more natural.
Then we headed back to Cairns. Once we arrived there we had to change our plans, because Warren’s friend had a car accident with a cow (he is allright compared to the cow...) and it was too windy to go fishing anyway. We drove to a shopping mall, a pet store (Lexi’s favorite store...), and afterwards to our hotel for our next night. Lexi and I swam in the pool before we went to the city centre. I was a little bit dissapointed with Cairns because I didn’t know that Cairns didn’t have a beach. My expectations of Cairns were different. Nevertheless Cairns had a nice promenade, lagoon and a harbor where the boats can get to the Great Barrier Reaf. J
At the evening we ate stuff from a supermarket in our room and watched a movie. It was a really fun night.
The next day,Warren wanted to show us a crocodile park on the way home, but the weather was too bad. It was raining the whole way back to Townsville. It rained cats and dogs and there was a lot of water on the streets. Rain in this area is very normal- it rains there the whole year but more extreme in the rain season, which starts now. .. We were lucky to be able to get home without the streets being closed.
I’m very fascinated by the australian mentality. I never met people as relaxed and easy going as the Australians. They are very laid- back, and nothing can destroy this mood. We drove the whole weekend (over 8 hours driving) with a boat on the trailer for nothing, and I never got the feeling that Warren was stressed. The Australians don’t worry about things which they can’t change. This is a very nice adjustment and it would be a good idea for the germans take a leaf out of the australian’s book. J
Work at the school is really different from the camp’s work. Last week I got my timetable for this month. I’m glad that I can help in sport and english lessons. The ESL lessons are for people, who have English as their second or sometimes as their third language. Many people from Hongkong or Thailand have to join these lessons. The classes are very small and familiar. In some lessons there are only sitting 6 students, working on their own and getting individual help. This english support is very important for these kids because they sperate themselves in the school day, like during lunch and sit at separate tables in each lesson, speaking their native language.
I joined a few of these lessons to improve my english. In my sport lessons, I play different sports with the students, for example tennis or softball. Softball is a little bit like baseball, it includes for instance a pitcher, a catcher and a batter.
Every morning at 8:45 am, my school day starts. This is a really good timeJ. I only have to walk for a couple minutes to get to all the differrent places on the campus. Mostly in the mornings Lexi and I have to work at the pool to help the younger children, who can’t swim. Our work is to hold them in water J so that they don’t drown.
For my first three days, these swimming lessons didin’t take place because the teacher was ill. Instead of working in the pool we played different games with children from the junior school. This was a lot of fun and the kids were so cute. Perhaps i will join some of their lessons , too. J
As you can see, my work at school is not really hard ,but makes a lot of fun and it’s really different from a german school. I enjoy the time- and of course my free time. Tonight I will go to a very intense basketball game and tomorrow I’ ll have my first basketball training. I’m really excited...
Yesterday was the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s very popular Thoroughbred horse race, which runs a distance of 3,200 metres.
The whole country watched this race on TV, on radio, or live in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria.
This race stops the nation. It started at 2 pm and everyone stopped doing and working to watch. All the people of the state of Victoria have a holiday for this special occation.
This horse race is not only a national celebration, but it’s also a day of fashion for the Australians.
Even the teachers from our school, up here in Queensland, were dressed for the occation, with nice dresses and elegant hats to show that they participate in this national event.
This race has been held in Melbourne since 1861.
Mein letztes Camp für dieses Jahr war mit einer weiteren Klasse aus dem 5 Jahrgang. Das Campinggebiet und die Ausflüge waren gleich. Die Kinder waren jedoch gesprächiger und beschäftigten sich in ihrer freien Zeit mit Criquet spielen. Ich habe dieses Spiel noch nicht durchschaut, es stehen immer so viele Spieler nur rum, aber ich glaube, dass wirkt nur so. J Ich hoffe, ich lerne hier noch die Spielregeln J.
Das Wetter war diesmal sehr verregnet- was eigentlich nichts besonderes ist, wenn man sich im REGENwald befindet. Die Regenzeit fängt gerade an und es wird langsam immer heißer hier. Der Regen ist somit eine gute Abwechslung und sehr erfrischend. Die Notwendigkeit von Regen für Leben und Wachstum ist hier täglich nicht zu übersehen. Wenn wir durch das Outback fuhren erschien alles komplett trocken und leblos. Einen Tag später sind wir dann dieselbe Strecke noch einmal gefahren (-es hatte über Nacht geregnet-) und auf einmal ist nicht mehr alles grau und rotbraun: an den Straßenseiten wuchs Grass und alles wurde immer grüner und farbenfroher- und das nur durch Regen von einer Nacht.
Dieses Land ist wirklich unglaublich und die Natur so einmalig. Man muss es selber gesehen haben...
4 Tage in einem Basiscamp mit Dusche und Toilette- ein Luxus im Gegensatz zu meinem letzten Camp. J
22 Kinder, 2 Campleiter, ein Lehrer, Lexi und ich- das war unser Team für diese Tage im Camp.
Die Kinder waren jünger (zwischen 10 u.11 Jahren), frecher und nicht so gesprächig, wie die Kinder in meinem ersten Camp.
In diesem Camp handelt es sich um ein Basiscamp, da wir die kompletten vier Tage in einem Campinggebiet geblieben sind. Die Kinder konnten sich aussuchen, ob sie in einem Zelt oder in einem Biwi schlafen wollten- beides war am Ende etwa gleich verteilt. Die Aufgaben als Volunteer sind bei jüngeren Campgruppen einfacher zu erkennen. Wir bereiteten mit den Campleitern das Essen vor, verteilten „Morning Tea“ und „Afternoon Tea“ und wir passten auf, dass kein Kind im Wasser unterging.
Die Aktivitäten in diesem Camp waren: schwimmen im Fluss, auf Luftmatratzen Flussabwärts paddeln, ein Ausflug zu einem Wasserfall (Wallaman Falls) und ein Ausflug zu einem ehemaligen Vulkan (Mount Fox).
Der Wasserfall war wirklich gigantisch. Wir sind einen schmalen Pfad, bis zu der Stelle gewandert an der das Wasser aufkommt. Diese Strecke war sehr lang , aber führte durch ein total schönes Regenwaldgebiet. Der Rückweg war für die Kinder sehr hart- manche kamen an ihre Grenzen und manche mussten einsehen, dass sie nicht ausreichend getrunken hatten. Am Ende kamen aber alle wieder oben an und für die letzten gab es einen extra Applaus.
Der Ausflug am darauf folgenden Tag zum Mount Fox war sehr langatmig . Wir saßen insgesamt 4 Stunden im Bus um 20 min. einen Berg zu besteigen. Die Aussicht war super, aber der Zeitaufwand war riesig und das bei einem Camp, das nur aus zwei vollen Tagen bestand J. Lexi und ich lernten somit die australische Denkweise gegenüber Entfernungen kennen. Es sind andere Dimensionen- und alles was ein paar hunderte Kilometer entfernt liegt, wird hier als Nah gesehen.
Besonders gut gefielen mir die Abende an diesem Camp. Wir machten eine Nachtwanderung um die Tiere im Regenwald zu beobachten, saßen auf Steinen und beobachteten den super klaren Sternenhimmel, tranken heiße Schokolade und lauschten der Gitarrenmusik eines Campleiters.
Obwohl dieses Camp über sanitäre Anlagen verfügte, freute ich mich nach dem Camp auf eine schöne warme Dusche. (ja auch hier in den Tropen duscht man manchmal warm) und ein richtiges Bett.
Das Abenteuer beginnt!!.
Am 08. Oktober Abends in Townsville angekommen und am nächsten Morgen für 6 Tage auf mein erstes Camp...viel zu schnell. um einem bewusst zu machen, dass man sich nun in Australien- am anderen Ende der Welt befindet.
Doch als ich ca. 2h entfernt von Townsville im Regenwald- im wirklichen Dschungel stand, wurde mir klar, dass ich mich nicht im Harz oder im Lilienthaler Wäldchen befinde.
Mein Camp bestand aus 21 Kindern (durchschnittlich 12 Jahre), ihrem Lehrer, 2 Campleitern und natürlich aus mir- ihrem neuen GAP- Volunteer.
Unser erstes Campinggebiet, befand sich auf einer Anhöhe mitten im Regenwald mit Blick auf einen wunderschönen Fluss. Dieser Fluss war unser Trinkwasser für die kommenden Tage und die einzige Möglichkeit sich etwas zu waschen-(natürlich ohne Seife, um nicht den Fluss zu verschmutzen).
Unsere Toilette war ein selbst gegrabenes Loch, dass etwa für ein Tag reichteJ. Der Schlüssel der Toilettentür war eine Klorolle- wenn die nicht an ihrem Ort lag, wusste jeder, dass die Toilette besetzt war. Für sanitäre Anlagen war somit gesorgt.
Geschlafen wurde nicht in Zelten sondern in so genannten „Biwis“ – diese bestehen aus Planen, die man an Bäumen befestigt. Unter diesen Planen lagen wir dann mit Isomatte und Schlafsack- (meistens war das jedoch zu warm..)
Zu essen gab es ausreichend- womit ich auch sehr zufrieden war J. Zum Frühstück gab es Müsli (Cornflakes) und meistens noch Spagettis oder Bohnen in Tomatensoße. Etwas später gab es dann „Morning Tea“. Was aber nicht aus Tee, wie erwartet bestand, sondern meistens aus einer Orange und einem Keks. J
Mittags gab es dann Wraps mit Gemüse und Thunfisch zum füllen. Etwas später gab es dann „Afternoon Tea“- und am Abend meistens einen Nudel-oder Reistopf und eine Suppe vorweg. Der Abschluss von jedem Abend war eine heiße Schokolade.
Die Arbeit als Volunteer auf diesen Camps besteht darin, selber raus zu finden, was die Aufgabe eines Volunteers sein könnte. Es geht nicht darum bestimmte Aufgaben auszuführen, es geht viel mehr darum herauszufinden, was einem für Richtig und natürlich für Wichtig erscheint um damit die Campgruppe zu unterstützen, mit ihnen Spaß zu haben und mit anzupacken, wenn es nötig ist. Ich war somit auf dem Camp eine Person, die versucht hat darauf zu achten, dass keiner ausgeschlossen wird, hatte ein offenes Ohr für Kummer und Sorgen (z.B Heimweh), habe den Kindern beim Aufbau der Camps geholfen und Fragen beantwortet, wenn sie irgendetwas nicht wussten. Das schöne war, dass ich alle Spiele, alle Aktionen mitmachen konnte und somit eine freundschaftliche Ebene zu den Kindern aufbauen konnte.
Ich möchte nicht über jeden einzelnen Tag im Camp berichten, was wir gemacht haben oder wo wir waren, ich denke, dass würde zu lange dauern. Aber ich möchte noch ein bisschen darüber erzählen, was mich an diesem Camp so beeindruckt hat.
Dieses Schulcamp auf dem ich war, ist mit keiner Klassenfahrt in Deutschland zu vergleichen. Ich habe Kinder erlebt, die 10 km mit einem schweren Rucksack durch den Regenwald gewandert sind, ohne einmal zu nörgeln, die in Gruppen selbstständig gekocht, aufgeräumt oder Wasser geholt haben. Kinder, die zu allem Danke sagen, bei Dingen, die eigentlich total selbstverständlich waren. Besonders gut gefiel mir ihr Respekt vor ihren Lehrern, aber trotzdem ein freundschaftliches Verhältnis zueinander hatten und ihre Teamfähigkeit. Wenn wir bei einer Wanderung an eine Stelle kamen, die nicht alle Kinder ohne Probleme überwinden konnten (zum Beispiel ein Fluss überqueren über einen schmalen Baumstamm, oder einen steilen Abhang..), sind alle stehen geblieben und haben sich gegenseitig angefeuert.
Süßigkeiten und technische Geräte sind auf diesen Camps tabu, aber es brauchte sie auch keiner.
Dieses Camp bestand hauptsächlich aus schwimmen in verschiedenen Flüssen, das Wandern war nur Nebensache und hielt sich in grenzen. Besonders gut gefiel mir das Luftmatratzenschwimmen bei Strömungen oder aber das Schwingen an einem Seil ins Wasser. Insgesamt wirkte das Camp, obwohl es klar strukturiert war freier- den Kindern wurde vertrauen geschenkt- wir sind an abhängen lang gegangen, wo ich gehofft habe, dass kein Kind runter fällt. – ich habe in diesem Moment gedacht, dass niemals eine deutsche Schule, diese Strecke mit den Kindern gehen würde. Und am Anfang habe ich gedacht :oh gott, sind die wahnsinnig, solche Wege mit Kindern zu gehen, die nicht unbedingt alle sportlich sind. Aber ich hatte das Gefühl es war genau richtig und die Kinder hatten die Chance über ihre Grenzen hinauszuwachsen.
Australien hat den schönsten Sternenhimmel, den ich bis jetzt gesehen habe- man hat das Gefühl man steht im Himmel, wenn man nach oben blickt. In Australien wird es das ganze Jahr über sehr früh dunkel- schon ab 18:30 Uhr ist es hier Nacht und dann erwacht der Urwald zum leben. -Und die nervigen Bremsen vom Tag lassen einen endlich in ruhe schlafen- bis zum nächsten Morgen, bis sie dich wieder durch Stiche ins Gesicht aufwecken.
An meinem zweiten Abend habe ich mein erstes Känguru- gesehen- ja wie es aussieht bin ich nun wirklich in Australien!..:)
Dieser Artikel wird nicht besonders lang, da meine Orientation in Melbourne nur auf einen vollen Tage beschränkt war. J
Meine erste Nacht in Australien war nicht besonders gut. -Hab kein Auge zugekriegt- wahrscheinlich weil es in Deutschland ja eigentlich15Uhr Nachmittags war. Alle halbe Stunde habe ich auf meine Uhr geguckt und mir gewünscht, dass ich wieder aufstehen kann. Eigentlich stehe ich nie freiwillig um 6 Uhr auf.- J
Das Frühstück war dann wieder Miami Hotel Niveau: Toastbrot mit Butter/Marmelade oder Müsli. J
Anschließend sind wir zu einem YMCA Gelände gefahren. Dort waren wir dann in einem Hochseilgarten, was wirklich sehr viel Spaß gemacht hat. Den Abend haben wir dann in einem Pub in Melbourne ausklingeln lassen.
Nach diesem langen Tag habe ich mich sehr auf mein Bett gefreut und konnte endlich schlafen J.
All in all ich habe nicht wirklich viel von Melbourne gesehen- aber dafür sehr nette Leute kennen gelernt -und sightseeing in Melbourne werde ich auf jeden Fall in diesem Jahr noch nachholen!..
Als ich in Frankfurt in den Flieger gestiegen bin, hatte ich das Gefühl, ich fliege in den Urlaub. Die ersten 10,5 Stunden von Frankfurt nach Bangkok habe ich gut überstanden. Das Flugzeug war sehr groß, mit großen Bildschirmen und ganz bequemen Sitzplätzen- das war auch nötig, wenn man über 10 Stunden fast nur sitzen muss J. Besonders beeindruckt war ich aber nicht nur von der Größe des Flugzeuges, sondern von der Atmosphäre im Flugzeug. Ich bin mit einer thailändischen Airline geflogen und das war echt super. Die Thailänder in ihren bunten Gewändern, die zur Begrüßung ihre Hände falteten wirkten sehr beruhigend auf ein und strahlten eine Harmonie aus, was ich vor so einem langen Flug, als sehr positiv empfand. J Auch das Essen war zum größten Teil thailändisch und sehr lecker. In Bangkok angekommen um 01:30 Uhr deutscher Zeit hat jede Frau beim Aussteigen eine Blume geschenkt bekommen. Der Flughafen in Bangkok ist sehr groß und sehr modern. An diesem Flughafen habe ich dann erstmal meine Jacke liegen gelassen,, was mir zum Glück gerade noch eingefallen war, als ich ins Flugzeug steigen wollte. JIch habe die Jacke wieder bekommen und die Thailänder haben sich sehr gefreut mir zu zeigen, dass sie per Videokamera schon rausbekommen hatten, wem die Jacke gehörte. Der zweite Flug von Bankgog nach Melbourne verlief wesentlich ruhiger, als der erste Flug. Endlich kam ich zum schlafen- obwohl ich jedoch andauernd durch Essenspausen und Trinkpausen unterbrochen wurde.
In Melbourne kam ich dann schließlich um 09:00Uhr Abends an. Dort habe ich dann am Flughafen noch alle anderen Volunteers kennen gelernt, die ebenso für ein Jahr in Australien bleiben. Am Flughafen wurden wir dann alle mit einem Bus zu unserem Hotel Miami gebracht. Der Name hört sich viel versprechend an, aber das war auch das Einzigste. J Das Hotel war nicht besonders schön, und das Essen war nicht besonders gut, aber für 2 Nächte war es auf jeden Fall ok. Ich habe mir dort ein Zimmer mit Lexi geteilt, die auch an der gleichen Schule wie ich arbeiten wird.