10.09.2014 - 11.12.2014
After a long wait for that elusive permanent farm job and the blur of 5 day working weeks that ensued, not to mention the weekends that were a blur all of their own, the day finally came last Thursday to leave Innisfail and the place that I had called home for the last 20 weeks of my life and I have to say it felt weirder than I had anticipated. Don't get me wrong it felt absolutely brilliant to know that my farm work was done and it had all been worthwhile as my Second Working Holiday Visa is in the bag, but because of the tight knit feel of the hostel it felt strange to be leaving such good friends behind. I can honestly say that it was one of the best times of my life, and it felt like another little family. At the hostel you would hang out with and be around people you probably never would back home, which is largely true of traveling in general, but there because you are all in the same boat you form such strong bonds with these guys, and they form much quicker, perhaps over the course of a drunken weekend or a night at Rumors, and so come to miss them when they move on.
So what of this job that I had waited so long for I hear you ask? Well I could not have wished to be on a better farm, Locke Investments is such a well run family business and the farmer himself is genuinely one of the nicest guys I have ever met and I can not thank him enough. His laid back approach to managing the staff and allowing them to just get on with their given task, without feeling like they were being micro managed or screamed at to work harder, definitely worked. It would however be remiss to think that this was borne out of laziness or not taking an interest as this could not be further from the truth, as Barry Locke was a farmer who was across every facet of his farm, from helping with the dipping or packing of the bananas to assisting with the more physical tasks like stacking and even humping. It was so good to see, as lots of other farms employ managers, who have probably never been out to the paddocks and look solely after the shed. My role on the farm was stacking and this was more like a warehouse job to be honest, as it involved building pallets of boxes, its just that it so happened the boxes were filled with bananas. The work was hard at times, but as I said before it was all worth it for the second year visa, not to mention the fact it got me in the best shape I have been since I don't even know when. At times I hated the job but ultimately I look back on the time on the farm as a good time.
It was the fact that I landed this great job that afforded me the financial comfort (which was rare at the hostel) to enjoy three of the best weekends while I was there at the hostel and possibly my life, and these all came three consecutive weekends in October, each one being brilliant in its own unique way and for what they represented. One was camping on Mission Beach with all the guys from the hostel which was the typical Australian experience you dream about before coming here, one which gave a little taste of back home was visiting Innisfail races and one for being probably a once in a lifetime opportunity was the weekend I visited Sydney to see Elbow.
The trip to Mission Beach was unbelievable, and made all the better for the fact that so many people from the hostel went along and all got down there early and had such a laugh on the beach. Although I was unable to spend all day on the beach owing to the fact that me and about 20 of the guys were there for something above and beyond just camping on the beach.....Literally. We were there to skydive and land on the beach itself! This was as you can imagine AMAZING!! I would probably run out of words to describe the skydive itself, as it was just so brilliant. Climbing through the sky in the plane gave us some truly breathtaking sights of the beach and some of the surrounding islands, this was a good thing just to take any last minute nerves away. The jump gave me such a buzz and the fact everyone from the hostel was waiting on the beach where we landed made it such a good feeling. Then we all camped out for the night and it was really funny to see all the same cheap tents that everyone had bought from K Mart all lined up on the beach, we had a fire to sit round and so just sat out under the stars and had such a laugh. It was just perfectly Australian. The weekend at the races was just as fun as it ever is back home but once again made even better by the fact that everyone from the hostel had got so into it, put on their best clobber and had a good if not very loud day out at the races. It wasn't exactly the St Ledger but it was every bit as enjoyable, and I actually backed a winner, so all good. The hostel antics were in full force, with the singing and drinking making us less than popular with the security staff, but it was all just in good fun. Finally my little weekend away to Sydney was so brilliant, it felt like I was a jet-setter just nipping somewhere on the plane for a weekend, ha ha. It felt weird to be back in a big city again after being in Innisfail so long, but instantly felt familiar again. It was good to catch up with some good friends both from the swagman and the walkabout, to visit the old stomping ground of kings cross for a night and have a day over at Manly beach but the main event was obviously the gig. I got to see one of my favourite bands in a setting that I never thought I would and also don't think I'll ever get to see again, Elbow in the Sydney Opera House. What can I say about this, the show was soooooo good and the Opera House provided a surprisingly small intimate setting to listen to great music. Guy Garvey proved once again why he is one of the best front men, with his story telling and interaction with the crowd. It was perfect and all things considered the best gig I have ever been to I reckon. The sights from the balcony out the back of the Opera house over the harbour were another added bonus as well.
I should probably just mention my last weekend in Innisfail as well, as this would probably sum up the craziness of the place. The weekends were always the best times and especially when something was organised by someone. This last weekend it was the turn of the brothers and F4 to arrange a beach party and everything was going so well with a BBQ and the drink flowing, until a huge storm turned it into a bit of a surreal time. Only at the walkabout could you go from a beach party to a "cyclone" party in a matter of minutes. It did with it though bring some pretty good laughs as we all took to slip and slide, "played football" in the pissing rain and watched the hundreds of lightning strikes. This led to an even more surreal thing, as the power cut that followed plunged the hostel into darkness. All good fun, just very weird but what else should I have expected from my last weekend there.
All in all the experience has been so good for me, I feel I have definitely changed for the better and I thank everyone who played a part in making it such an awesome time. But now it is time to see what Melbourne is like! Looking forward to another new adventure.