Apologies for the poor homemade joke..
After a train, then a bus I met cherry picking friends (and now blueberry picking friends) Kevin and Minnie. They took me to my new home, a huge mansion, 6km from the nearest road, deep into the state forest. They helped me settle in to my new room. I slept the first night, getting used to the creaking and groaning of the old house, wondering what the morning would bring.
The farm was very small scale compared to previous experiences, an orchard growing on his front lawn, me and 4 other workers, half picking and half packing! Blueberries are a kind fruit to pick, few prickles, no need to keep the stem so you can pick quickly. The trees are densely spread meaning some ducking and diving, squatting to reach underneath. We were once again paid per kilo so having picked before was a huge advantage and you feel yourself improving as the days go on.
The day started early and we stopped in the heat, finishing about 3pm. Back in the forest there was little to see and do, although a beautiful view over the Yarra Valley.
Friday night after a warm day at work, storms began to build. I managed to meet with Esther, a Yarra Valley local who I had met in Europe, some 3 years before. We had catch ups at the local pub, watching the clouds darken overhead. Withe severe weather coming she dropped me home. Kevin, Minnie and I watched a movie to forget about the fact it was Friday the 13th and we were deep in a forest, in an atmospheric mansion with Victorian portraits, lightening flashes going on around us.
The next day it was too wet to work, but seeking an escape I walked the 6km track to the main road and hitchhiked to beautiful Warburton. Only the third car to pass stopped, a Warburton local, Adam and he took me to the town. Explaining that I wanted to see the sights and bright lights of the town, and failing that get a good coffee, he took me beyond the town to Mount Donna Buang. The mountain dwarfs the town and is covered in dense rainforest and we took a short boardwalk walk which started 15 metres high in the midrith of the huge tree, dropping down to ground level to see shed strips of bark, gnarled fingers draped in moss and a recently filled creek. The mist from the heavy rain hung around giving it an atmosphere of unfamiliar lands.
Back in the town, Adam offered that he was having a birthday BBQ that night, and a friend returning to my area later in the day, people are always willing to feed hungry looking backpackers, so we left it as a possibility and I went to explore Warburton.
The town has a ‘rather nice’ aqueduct, a beautiful river walk, and a string of coffee shops and op shops which helped to while away a pleasant afternoon. Having only been isolated 5 days, it was nice to see people doing their normal Saturday things of picnicing and walking the dog.
In the evening I did go to the gathering, made up of families with young children, but felt very welcome and met some lovely people. When people asked me how I knew the family and I replied, ‘because he picked me up when I hitchhiked this morning’ it was a funny reaction but little understood that it was far from my usual means of transport, and somewhat of a random adventure.
When later that night I got a lift home, the forest was alive which nocturnal life and I saw two wallabies which I had been very keen to glimpse. The bear come concrete block blob we saw had a funny run, and I took many pictures in which you can make out very little. This one isn’t one of mine…
After one more day of work, I had passed the week which I had agreed with myself and fled for the city. It was a great relief! With great anticipation, next stop Sydney!