First, I would like to express my apologies to anyone who has been waiting in anticipation for our next Blog update. I am a little behind due to our hectic new lifestyle called “work”. It has been a remarkably busy week; our bodies are feeling fragile and our minds are exhausted… but all for a good cause! We are lucky in a way as we have found a great spot to settle down for the next three to four months working on a citrus farm on the outskirts of Gayndah QLD. Plus, a Queensland’s Winter will be good for the soul! We are only four days into work, it has been tough! Hopefully soon our bodies will start to recover and adapt to our new working lifestyle. But enough of Gayndah, we have many months to write about that chapter, let us get back to Toowoomba!
Greetings from Toowoomba everybody! 11 days, our longest stint yet. Our previous blogs have been more of a diary entry, day one, day two, sleep, eat, repeat. Toowoomba has kind of rolled into one big lump for us, much more relaxing than our previous weeks prior and we managed to find a lazy routine.
We arrived in Toowoomba on Thursday April the 2nd, still feeling anxious after our border crossing into Queensland. We found that the Showgrounds in Toowoomba had the best deals in town for a powered site at $25.00 a night so we decided to stay four nights. We were lucky in a way, we arrived on Thursday the day before Queensland’s border protection increased their protocol for entry and the police had started cracking down on unnecessary travel.
Four nights tuned to six and six turned out to be nine (no Hendrix reference intended). We were kind of stuck in Toowoomba it turns out, without work we had no purpose and work was becoming hard to source.
We sent out job advertisements all over Queensland where we intended to travel on our journey. We had a few nibbles in Emerald where we had possible work on a cattle farm, this however fell through with the pandemic. We also had another bite north of Emerald in a small town called Clermont for two to three months, however the job was more of a voluntary role, caretaking an old farmhouse in return for accommodation. Communication was difficult with this job and with no word for a few days, we decided to come up with a plan B.
We either had two choices. Stay in Toowoomba until we found work or, drive to Hervey Bay, find an accommodation deal for a “14 day self-isolation package” (gives us reason to travel) and find work whilst there nestled amongst the seaside. The beach was looking particularly good to us, so we decided if we hadn’t heard any word from our job advertisements the next day, we would head North East to Hervey Bay.
Yasmin put a ban on my phone that day as it had had become a part of me the last few days, applying for jobs and clicking refresh on my emails awaiting a response. 12 o’clock came and I was “allowed” to have a sneak peak, no word from the email department however a job popped up on a Grey Nomads website seeking paid employment for an individual willing to do part time work as a cleaner on a citrus farm. I ended up writing a lengthy email explaining our situation, telling the employer we were happy to share the role however being two of us and being young we would be happy to do other roles around the farm if available.
We did not hear anything from the citrus farm that day so plan B was looking like the go, until we received a phone call later that night from the citrus farm. It turns out they had a full-time position for me in their packing sheds for the season and Yasmin could have potential work maintaining the gardens on their property as well as her cleaning errands. We had till the next day to decide, we messaged back in 5 minutes, the opportunity was too good!
The next day we left by 9am and hit the road to Gayndah where we would be spending the next three to four months working away in isolation, saving our pennies to hopefully travel further up the East coast (if the pandemic restrictions ease by then).
But enough about our plans and strategies let us talk about Toowoomba…
Toowoomba was beautiful, exceptionally clean, and much bigger than we anticipated. It is Australia’s largest rural town, and even beats Darwin and Cairns in regarding its population. The old architecture was incredibly special, the city was made of late 1800’s buildings as well as art deco era buildings. The main architecture that stood out though was the beautiful old “Queenslander” homes that were scattered around the CBD. I could live in one of those!
Toowoomba is home to many parks. I did some research whilst writing this in regarding how many parks there were in Toowoomba. I guessed maybe 70-80 turns out there is over 150!!! And these were not just ordinary average parks, majority of them were beyond “okay”.
Our favourite Parks were ‘Queens Park’ that was nestled on the edge of the CBD and ‘Picnic Point’ that overlooked the valleys of Toowoomba and these parks became the staples of our everyday routine whilst in Toowoomba.
Queens Park was huge! It has an open amphitheatre, cricket and rugby fields, kids areas, botanic gardens and the best till last the best off-leash dog park ever! Before I get back to the dog park, I would like to express how great Toowoomba is at being a dog friendly town, so many facilitated dog areas, off lead reserves and everyone seemed to love dogs!
Once again, the off-leash area at Queens park was our highlight. All we would have to do is find a nice shady spot under a tree on the well-kept lawn, unclip their leads and watch them run amuck with all the other dogs and their owners. We would sit there for hours either watching, reading a book, or eating ice-creams and the wonderful take away options Toowoomba had to offer. It was a nice way to unwind and relax and during my busy days of work I am sure to reflect on it and miss the peace and tranquillity of Queens Park.
Picnic Point was amazing! It overlooked “Table Top Mountain” (which I will get too next) and the valleys of Toowoomba. There was a huge Pole that towered over the hill that flew a giant Australian Flag that danced through the blue April skies. There were many walking tracks that started and finished at Picnic Point that wound up and down the mountain face. There were parts of the trails that were a little gruelling, especially when on the ascend, but overall, it was a good moderate walk to get the blood pumping and dogs panting. The loop we walked on finished at a beautiful waterfall where the dogs had a swim and a much-deserved drink.
Now on to Table Top Mountain! What a walk!! I mean Climb!
We drove to Table Top Mountain the morning of a predicted thunderstorm, we thought it would be a good start to the day to tire out the dogs (and Yasmin) before a rainy-day in. The dogs were extremely excited when we arrived at the base of the mountain, a few stretches later and a big drink of water, we were off!
The walk turned into a rock climb very quickly, it was hard to climb the rocks when we had our dogs on leashes so we removed them from their harnesses and watched them bolt up the rock formations without any drama. The formations then turned to paths and the paths turned to loose stone rubble. There was a particular part of the climb where Moose started to whine whilst he was hopping down, he and Yasmin were not impressed by the steepness of the rock climbing and were both a little scared. Dixie on the other hand could not care less!! We think she may be part mountain goat! We were almost at the pinnacle of the mountain where that last 100 meters turned to a 70-degree elevation (this was much harder to come down then climb up!) with making it this far and our prides on our back we struggled up the last 100 meters to where we defeated Table Top Mountain and enjoyed the 360 degree views of the Valleys. The overcast day made great cloud coverage that in return made for some great photos.
As I stated before we stayed at the Toowoomba Showgrounds for 10 nights. The Showgrounds were noticeably quiet which made for good camping, we set up camp right next to a big pond that accommodated many species of bird. There were Stalks that would talk, Ibis’s perched or Ficuses, Pelicans that hovered like Zeppelins, Geese that did a silly walk like John Cleese, Ducks that would run amuck, Magpie-Larks that would leave a mark (shit all over your car), Lorikeets that sound so sweet and Corellas that drive you fucking bonkers!!!!
The Corellas were amazing…… at first…. There were Hundreds of them that would nest behind the pond, in the morning and evening they would fly overhead squawking and crying, 100 decibels of chaos! Luckily, the caretakers had a big air gun that would frighten them away, unfortunately though it would frighten Moose too! Overall, the Showgrounds were rather good, the only thing I could rant about was the cleanliness of the amenities, there was a band-aid in the corner of the shower that was staring at me for a week!
That about does it for Toowoomba. It is a beautiful, big, clean country town with plenty to offer and extremely dog friendly if you are wishing to take your pups. They also seem to love their Windmills! So many windmills! Yasmin and I play this game in the car where we count and tally windmills on our journey. I thought I would be a smartarse on our morning walk prior to leaving Toowoomba where I counted all 15 windmills that I knew of! By the end of the day Yasmin had beaten me by seven windmills 48 to 41. She has not let it go since!
Thanks for reading our Blog entry of Toowoomba. I will probably write a Blog entry in the next few weeks of our progression into working life on a citrus farm, until then keep safe, sending our love your way.