The Walker-Turner wildlife Tour

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
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Trip End Dec 21, 2004


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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Having spent 7 weeks mixing with Aussies & other johnny foreigner types we decided that some proper company was needed, i.e English company. So off we trotted down to Albury which is in the the borders to see Kerry's cousin Darren & his Mrs, Wendy (I suppose now Paul's cousin-in-law?).

It didn't look that far to get there on the map (about 3cm from Melbourne)so we were looking forward to a short(ish) leisurely trip. Oh how wrong we were. First off it must be said that arriving at Melbourne's Spencer Street train station is like walking into the third world. Major renovation has rendered the place chaotic & to divvies like us unfathomable (God help us in Asia). None of the signs made sense, most of the staff didn't have Australian (it's not the same as English believe us) as a first language & the staff we could communicate with didn't understand what they were doing. EG "Two return tickets to Albury please."

"$93 please"

Paul hands over cash. Ticket prints out, stapled to a card thing, handed over to Paul. Paul checks ticket been only given one.

"I asked for two tickets."

"Yes, ticket for two trips - there & back."

"No I want TWO RETURN TICKETS TO ALBURY PLEASE."

"Oh! You want another one. It will cost you twice as much. Another $93."

Paul turns to Kerry, "Come on, he's scaring me."

Had two hours before our train so we checked our bags onto the train (just like an airport), another very confusing conversation ensued with the baggage man, can't be bothered to repeat but in my defence how many of you lot have checked your bags onto a train? Exaclty! See Mr baggage man I'm not a divver, just naive. Walked into Melbourne's CBD & it was dead, not a soul. Eventually found all the shops etc. but it was too late to have a proper look (thankyou God, said Paul).

Set off from Melbourne at 6pm for the 3 hour journey eventually arrived in Albury at midnight. The flippin train broke down & there was loads of kerfuffle meaning that we were v. late (sorry again guys). This meant that since leaving Alice Springs that morning we'd been travelling for approx 14 hours. It must be said however that it was well worth the trip.

Darren, Wendy you are stars! Waiting for us was a lovely warm house, loads of booze & a gorgeous Thai meal. Heaven. After loads of eating & drinking we headed to bed at about 4am.

No rest for the wicked. Early(ish) Saturday morning we set off on the Walker-Turner wildlife adventure experience & blimey charlie what wildlife we saw. Albury's about 100km from beautiful countryside (a bit like the Lake District but in Australia)full of all kinds of animals. In just 6 hours we saw a red belly snake (basking in the road, flattened about 2mins after we saw it by a car), a wild dog/dingo type thing, a dead wombat, loads of kites, loads of 'roos, millions of cockatoos, a turtle (dead unfortunately but it was in the water & we did see it saw it still counts). We also saw some wild dogs which were definately dead. Apparently wild dogs are a bit of problem in the area so one fella known locally (probably) as Mick Mad-Dog-McMad takes it upon himself to hunt the dogs & then string their carcasses in front of his house. He gives a lot to charity though so don't be too judgemental.

During the day Darren & Wendy decided to play a trick on us. They said we could have a drive in the country, find a nice little pub & then have some lovely lunch. After 2 hours of searching for a pub that served lunch after 12:05pm we gave up & called at a shop to get supplies for a picnic - though we couldn't get bread as the shop only sold frozen bread on Sundays, it was that kind of place. Things turned out for the better because we had a gorgueous picnic about 3 inches from the side of a river, not another person in sight & no other sound but those of the wild life (admittedly some of it getting run over or being shot by Mick).

Albury's a nice town with an English pub that serves a v. respectable pint of Tetley. Finally the icing on the cake was Monday's dinner; D&W cooked us A PROPER ROAST DINNER!!! You name it we had it - even Yorkshire pudding & onion gravy. Guys, we salute you.

Albury - a home from home (but in Australia).
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