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Published: December 17th 2008
Heading off from Karen and Derek’s early, we needed to get to the bank. I still had problems with my Visa card. The banking system does not quite work the same way in Australia, so getting started has not been easy. We drove back up to Maroochydore to see Belinda who is the Branch Manager; she has been exceptionally helpful in getting things sorted out for us.
With that done we headed out to see Nick at Australia Zoo. From our experiences there we felt strongly that we wanted to give them feedback in how to make the Volunteers feel more like part of the team. Unfortunately for us, we felt that some of the zoo keepers did not appreciate that people were giving up their free time to help out and had no respect for those of us that did.
That said, there were some people at Australia Zoo that did appreciate the time given and in fact, Kate in the Kids Zoo explained to me that they needed 2 volunteers to help in order to make their day run smoothly. A lot of people volunteer at the zoo so that they can get a foot in the door and hopefully gain a permanent job with them. We saw a number of teenagers who were either in their last year at school or had just finished school and wanted gainful employment.
Nick had one of his colleagues with him and they were both very attentive of our comments. Not to mention that we were also grateful that they gave up their time to listen.
We had our say, and put or proposals forwards, which they took in the spirit in which they were delivered.
2 hours later we headed back to Caloundra. Where we were getting hitched back to the trailer and pick up the rest of our gear before heading South.
We decided to take the trailer to Port Stephens for a number of reasons. One being the heat. If we stayed somewhere for a couple of days the swag would offer no protection from the sun. At least with the trailer we could put the awning up on the tent and stay out of the sun. Besides we have a lot of gear and I wondered if we would be able to fit it all in the back of the Chelsea (the Nissan) without the trailer.
By 4.00 we were on the road and heading south. I knew that we would be able to knock a couple of hundred kilometres of our journey in one easy hit. My plan was to get South of Brisbane to a place called Fassifern. As the crow flies, Fassifern is probably just 40 kilometres from the New South Wales Border.
We pulled up onto a rest area in Fassifern, in Australia a number of rest areas allow you to camp overnight. It is such a vast country people are travelling huge distances by road and need some where decant to take a break. This was a lovely spot and it was good enough for us. So we took 10 minutes to flip open the camper trailer and put the tent up so that we had somewhere comfortable to sleep.
We had a cup of tea and sat at the picnic bench watching the traffic go by, mainly road trains. A lot of them seemed to be lit up like Christmas trees, even though it is Christmas, I am sure that some of these are well lit year round.
The thing about camping in places like this, once it gets dark there is nothing to do. I think we were in bed by 8.30. I read for a bit as we have some light fed off 12v power from Chelsea.
After the lights were out, you listen to the sounds around you. The traffic now is quieter apart from the road trains, which I am sure will go all night. After a while you become accustomed to the sounds and drifting off to sleep is easy.
Until of course Andy woke up from a deep sleep exclaiming that the tent was crawling with beetles. We checked, the tent was fine and we both went back to sleep.
During the night a road train came into the rest area and parked up for some hours. He had a reefer (refrigerated trailer to the uninitiated) this was off for most of the night, but you could hear it come back on again around 5.00 in the morning.
For the truckies amongst you, most of the trucks are Kenworths, some Whites and Internationals, which are all American, We think this is because the wagons have to pull such big weights and long lengths, mind you a few Volvo’s, Mercedes and Scania’s do grace these roads.
We slept well and woke early.
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