Hell and Heaven (Cairns and Kiama)

Walks along the beach in Kiama

Poor Cairns. I must say, before I begin, it really wasn’t Cairns’ fault that it is now one of my least favourite places on earth.

So I am on my own in a hostel in Cairns. My parents and brother have gone onwards and I am without a plan and quite poor after my east coast adventures. I am also feeling rather emotionally vulnerable and lonely… Woe is me. So after moping and crying and stressing I finally gave up on looking for regional work in the north of Queensland and may have panic booked a flight to Brisbane in the hopes that my luck would turn around further south. It also meant that I would be closer to Hannah who, at this point, was having to deal with a sobbing Charlotte on the phone to her every day around 5. With both of us being in the same boat (jobless and strapped for cash) we decided to put our heads together and job search/workaway search for two. At this point I will elaborate, as with my previous job in Sydney, we were happy to find a place for us to work in exchange for food and accommodation not for cash payment. Hopefully this would mean we could stay until the end of our visa and not run out of money. I had been looking for somewhere for a while but was having no luck however Hannah stumbled upon a position south of Sydney advertising help with an organic spice company. With us both being foodies and loving organic anything (especially involving spices) we sent off a little email introducing ourselves, a shot in the dark but we crossed our fingers. The result of a few phone calls and a little internet stalking of the other party (from both sides I’m sure) we ended up agreeing on coming down at the beginning of June and staying until the end of July, perfect timing as both of us were returning home not long after.

So heres the kicker this is the most perfect situation that could possibly have happened ever. We literally couldn’t have planned anything this well. The ladies who we are working for are a couple living in Kiama, a beautiful little spot on the coast, about an hour and a half from Sydney. They are going away on holiday for six weeks and need people to take care of their business, packing up spices and send them out to customers, organising their Air BnB rooms and going to tastings of the products. We are living in their completely gorgeous house with money for food and full use of their car and business credit card. Believe me we were a little shocked at their level of trust and, like most Australians, they didn’t ask for any type of security or to see proof of identity. Obviously myself and Hannah haven’t stolen all of their things and are highly reliable young ladies BUT STILL!

So at the current moment in time we are coming to the end of our workaway and still cannot believe how lucky we have been to have two months in Kiama. I honestly can’t spout enough praise upon it. If you get across to Oz I would recommend coming here. We have come to the decision it like the Australian Holmfirth; charming, quaint, beautiful and also has the added bonus of being right by the sea. The shops and cafes are gorgeous and of course we have a favourite place which we visit every week for stunning sourdough bread, delectable sweets and stunning coffee… Oh Flour Water Salt!

My favourite building in Brisbane

After wishing away the rest of my time in Cairns I finally made it to Brisbane, for the third time during my travels, and felt much more at home. Also at this point I had recovered slightly from my emotional breakdown in Cairns. I knew my way round and managed to get Hannah up for a little visit. Taking her round my favourite buildings, accidentally ending up in a circus show and of course stuffing our face and hunting down coffee. We then hopped down to Surfers, again my third visit, to hang out for a couple of days before our flight down to Sydney from Gold Coast Airport. We finally got to try some infamous Ze Pickle burger (mine had deep fried cheese sticks on top and I died and went to burger heaven) which we had attempted to get two twice before but had previously been thwarted. Hung out with Hannah’s brother Tom and his girlfriend Amber and even squeezed in a little sunbathing before heading to colder climes. To Kiama…

Brisbane Tourists

Our first week in Kiama was spent cooking and learning how the business works. As part of the job Jess and Bel wanted us to get to a few tastings around Sydney in stores that stocked the Love My Earth Products. We had a crash course in cooking curry (all delicious) and basically ate curry for every meal for a solid five days. We picked up the essentials for the business with little difficulty and were assured that Jess would be contactable whilst they were on their holidays. In no time at all we were left at Sydney airport with a car that was not ours and a business resting on our (inexperienced) shoulders. Unfortunately for Hannah I am incompetent and cannot drive so our journey back from Sydney Airport was thrust upon her and it was the first time she would be driving on a freeway (motorway). Luckily we made it back unscathed and Hannah was finding an automatic car quite the revelation. We drove part of the way along the beautiful coastline on the tourist drive, stopping for a coffee in the Royal National Park Sydney.

Kiama Markets

My little friends at the market

Since being left in Kiama we have done a fair bit of work but what seems like much more of our own thing. We have eaten LOTS, most of it to be our own creations to be fair. Lots of running and workouts to counteract all the eating. Plenty on Netflix binge watching (Orange is the New Black, Broadchurch and Game of Thrones) and reading have been done. We’ve also managed to fit in a few sections of the costal walk taking in the Kiama Blowhole and the Little Blowhole plus Cathedral Rocks. We even made it up to Saddleback Mountain, although we underestimated how brutal the walk would be and I had to lie down when we managed to get to the top for the spectacular views. Budderoo National park is also nearby and had to be explored, if only for the wonderful Carrington Falls.

Working hard on our photoshoot

Our product photos

Kiama is amazing and will hold a special place in my heart as one of the best places I have had the privilege to spend time in, I’ll miss it.

Beautiful Coastline

Looking back on Kiama

Pro walkers

Cathedral Rocks

The view from Saddleback Mountain

Carrington Falls

Fauna

Just around the riverbend

Rebels

And What...

Top of the falls

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