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Lucy went to work Down Under in lots of weird and wonderful jobs around Australia. Her first job, working on a farm in Lowood, check out her 5 memorable moments.
Becoming a farmer
Working holiday visa granted, flight tickets booked, rucksack packed, the wait was over - we were finally off to Australia.
I never knew what to expect when finding a job in Australia. Me and my friend Ellie had done so much research before we left but what we really wanted to do was travel Australia. So 2 hours later we booked our full trip down the East Coast - and our adventure really began. Little did we know the jobs we would do over the next 12 months would make our Aussie adventure truly unforgettable. Let me take you over my adventure and hopefully make you realise there is more to Australia than its amazing cities.
For those who are not familiar to WWOOFing, let me explain. It stands for willing workers on organic farms. In a nutshell organic farmers throughout Australia ask for help on their farms in return for food and accommodation. More importantly, for those who want to stay on in Australia for 2 years it counts as your 3 months agricultural work to obtain your second year working holiday visa. We were keen to stay on in Australia for 2 years so this seemed like a great idea. Over a coffee we trawled through the WWOOFing handbook ( also known as the farmers bible) and came across something that appealed to us. “Helping hands needed for small organic farm in Lowood , Queensland. Friendly farmer living with his teenage sons. The farm specialises in cucumbers, onions, beetroots and lettuce. Helpers will have their own room and the farm has a pool". A pool! That's all it took, before we knew it we were travelling on a small local bus from Brisbane into the Queensland outback. A few hours later (and the realisation that civilisation left us 3 hours ago) we had arrived into Lowood. The town boosted a handful of shops and a couple of pubs that were only ever filled with men in their 60s wearing coy boy hats.
Having spent 3 months in Lowood I could talk for ages - instead I want to share my 5 most memorable moments.
The pool - Yes the key decider in us choosing this farm to up sticks and head to the outback. If only we had known the pool was usable 2 decades ago, but now it bared more resemblance to a green swamp (the dream of sunbathing by the pool after work was shattered within 2 minutes of arriving).
Cucumbers , cucumbers, cucumbers – The Star veg of the farm. We spent a lot of our time on the cucumbers. This included pruning the branches, feeding and watering the plants and eventually I was promoted to the packing station. This involved packing up 5kg of cucumbers ready for the market. I picked and boxed around 5000 cucumbers during my stay. It's not a surprise I can no longer stand the sight or taste of them!
Karaoke - As I explained previously, the only bars in Lowood were filled with men in cowboy hats. But tonight we were joining them and to my delight it was karaoke night. I don't know what was going through my head when I signed up to "Girls just want to have fun" ! An eyry silence, a sea of cowboy hats and next thing I know everyone was joining in. This was one of those moments where you realise it's all about the random experiences that make your trip extraordinary.
Friends - We made some awesome friends during our time at the farm. We worked with Niamh, who was Irish and Tammy a lovely Korean girl (she was great at picking beetroots). Being thrown together in such a close environment brings you close together. Our favourite weekly activity together was heading into town and hitting up the local dollar shop and buying the most hideous random stuff we could find! Honestly - this is the type of fun you have when you are a million miles from the big cities.
Wildlife - The wildlife around the farm was awesome. After each day we would take a walk and watch the sunset - which was always truly magical. In one day you could see Koalas, kangaroos, snakes, cockatoos and so much more. I always preferred the type that couldn't bite me.
After 3 months our time was up. We had come to love Lowood and it was an emotional farewell. If you every have the chance to WWOOF I would highly recommend it. You get to experience a different type of Australia away from the cities, where local people become your friends, where buying silk shorts for a dollar is normal and the unusual is the usual.
Fancy bagging a farm job in Oz? Check out our Work Australia programme and optional WWOOFing package. You can find out more by giving us a call on 033 3999 7516.