Perth to Manjimup – Part 2

“In proper outback of Aus’ now haha!”

“We’re getting Fish ‘n’ Chips b’cus we ran out of time to fill our gas cylinder for the stove”

Pat and Jess arrived at the Belivdere Camp Ground in Bunbury in the dark.

“One dirt track running through the camp ground n u choose a numbered bay on either side”.

“It’s nice”.

“There are people nearby so don’t worry!”

They left the next day, and drove along the picturesque coastline of the Indian Ocean, world famous for surf.

Road Trip

The direct route from Bunbury to Margaret River is an hour and a half. However, they visited Busselton and Dunsborough and soaked up the beauty of the area before arriving at Margaret River, which has been described as having one of the Planet’s most beautiful oceans and landscapes!

They were booked into Fair Harvest Permaculture Farm campsite for a few nights, which looks like a gentle, restorative and healthy place to stay. There is fresh produce to eat on site at the Farm Cafe, such as freshly harvested honey comb. Also, courses in Mindfulness, Bee Keeping, Cooking, Permaculture and Sustainability are on offer at the Farm. Plus, Yoga classes at the Yoga Barn. I sent Jessie an early Birthday Gift of £20 and she bought a $35 Class Card for 2 Yoga Classes that week.

Margaret River is known for its Wineries, Craft Beer, Boutiques, and Gourmet Food. So they ate Deli-Style Gin soaked Olives and refreshing Australian Wine with their alfresco Spaghetti!

Margaret River is not so good if you are on a small budget and need a job! With the season already underway Pat and Jess found it very difficult when they began their search for work.

As well as online job searches they looked for jobs advertised in shop windows and talked to other travellers in Coffee houses and Skate Parks. Jessie bravely enquired about a job advertised in the window of a Boutique. She had the desire, drive and experience to work in this clothes shop and messaged her old boss for a reference, who was happy to help.

The following day, the pair continued their job hunt and passed by the boutique.

“She’s taken down the add in the window, so she’s found someone or has enough applicants”

Feeling rather demoralised they cheered themselves up with Jessie driving the car!

“Was so much fun :)”

A bit of 4X4 off-roading is bound to be fun! Some of the tracks go through the Karri Forests and some go to the Beach at Joey’s Nose.

Unless you get STUCK!

Pat and Jessie’s friends – Matt, James and Charlie, followed them in their little Hyundai Getz. As you can see they got stuck.

Of course, sometimes you can become BOGGED DOWN

Pat and Jessie went off along the track (photo below) to get help, only to return to find four 4X4s being blocked, but helping them out.

4WD in a Forrester Suburu

Then in convoy, they continued on to this beautiful beach.

“We’ve had a big change of plan”

“There’s absolutely no work in Margs so we going back to Perth”

“Back to square one”

So after packing up the car – they wen off again.

Back in Perth they restarted the job search

“There’s 3 good potential jobs.”

“1 is milking cows n feeding baby calves, so a dairy farm.”

“Another is picking strawberries way down south where it is quite cold now.”

“And another is picking potatoes also down south.”

“I also applied to a cat shelter”

“It’s annoying bus most of the farm jobs advertised are for people with licences to drive or operate machinery”

A week later and Jess is in better spirits. A bit of retail therapy in a Charity Shop for warmer clothes and Jess has her new #OOTD – Second hand Vans, Dungarees and Jumper – Nice and snug all ready for the Australian Winter!

Excuse the mess – we’re sofa surfing!


“Me and Pat start table Grape Picking”

“About an hour south of ere”

“In a place called Hamel”

“Start in 3 days”

Auntie Teena spoilt them both a bit. They went to the cinema where Jess also won a T-Shirt as she had the winning envelope stuck to the underside of the seat she was sitting on. A cool Skate T-Shirt made by a Company from Western Australia called BEYOND, lucky thing!!

Teena also bought Pat, Jess and Pat’s cousin Genevieve AFL Tickets. So they got to go to an Australian Football League Match, a mixture of Rugby and Football – definitely an experience they won’t forget!

After a good weekend they travelled an hour South from Perth to Hamel to start their job at Frutico – picking and packing graded Table grapes. They would camp in the car at a Pinjarra Campsite as no other accommodation was provided. And would have an early morning drive to start work at 6:15 am and a late night drive back after 10pm.

After a couple of days driving this long road to Hamel with the occasional massive dead Kangaroo in the road, they moved to a campsite closer by in Waroona where other workers were staying, cutting down their travel time 30 minutes each way.

“Pat picks the grapes n I pack them”

After a week they had a day off, so drove back to Perth to celebrate Jessie’s 20th Birthday, the original idea was to have a picnic at Kings Park. But it started to rain??

Beautiful Kings Park

So they went for lunch instead!




Jessie’s friend Cat who had been travelling alone around South East Asia and now Australia decided to surprise Jessie on her Birthday. Jess had been missing her friends horrendously so this was a well treasured visit.

The Grape picking job they were doing didn’t make her feel happy.

The work wasn’t paying them as much as they had thought it would too. A French couple in the grape vine next to theirs were able to pack 160 boxes of grapes a day, and Pat and Jessie’s record was only 75 boxes. So if you get paid per box which you then divide by 2 there is not as much money coming in as expected. Jessie was covered in bruises from carrying the boxes, and living in a car was hard after long days working.

So they decided not to go back to Frutico but stay in Perth and try looking for more jobs.

Trip to the mechanics to check over the car before heading off on the road again.

Matt told Pat and Jessie to go down to a Working Hostel in Manjimup where he was working as they had some vacancies. Finally a bit of luck on the job front.

So deciding to hit the road again, they left Perth once more and 3 hours later arrived at Normalee Hostel Jessie felt a sense of relief arriving at the farm. A nice private room to themselves with a view and some friendly farm dogs running around.

View from Hostel Room

“Every night Bella puts a list up in the kitchen of who is going to which farm job the following day.”

“So later on I’ll find out where I’m going”

“Bella said she’s taking me to work in the morning.”

Bella sorts out where the people staying at the hostel work. There is still rent to pay but the hostel paid an hourly rate of $23.66.

The Road to Manjimup

Pat worked in the Apple Orchard with the other lads at a different farm and Jessie was taken to the Lettuce farm. Her first day was 6:30 am – 2pm and the rest of the day was free. She was with 5 others on a small farm in a nice group. They only worked till lunch time as it gets too hot later on. So Jessie filled her free time up with reading and Yoga and cooking as there wasn’t anything else to do – it’s a 2 hour walk into town, so would have to wait for lifts into town, which was fine!

Jessie had heard that Gilbert Street in town had a couple of Cool Upcycling/Charity shops.

“Matt went there last week n I can’t wait to go”

After a few days Jessie asked Bella if there were any other jobs she could do as Pat was working much longer days and so she felt she wasn’t bringing in as much money as him. Luckily for Jess, Bella offered her some cleaning work in the Hostel. Jessie jumped at this and so had 3-4 hours work after the lettuce farm to clean the place, which she actually quite liked.

The first day she spent a good 6 hours getting the place into shape so she could keep on top of it and get a routine going. They paid her in lieu of rent plus what ever else they owed her into her bank account. The rent was $160 a week for their room so it helped! She celebrated by going into town and buying a new book.

One morning Bella said that she didn’t need to clean as there was work at the Potato Farm so she dropped Jessie off there. Unfortunately the potato dust didn’t agree with Jess.

“I inhaled so much dust n mud n soil n I just had a gurt nosebleed”

The experience was good, but she decided the Lettuce farm even with cold feet was better.

“If anything I’m excited to go back to lettuce farm tmr “

I’m glad Bella and co’ were on hand at Normalee as they did help and look after Pat and Jess. One Saturday evening when they were driving to Dunsborough to go to an event the clutch on the car went! They were stranded an hour away from the hostel in the outback.

“We rang the women at the hostel n they’re coming to get us but the car has to stay”

“the clutch has completely shattered”

Unfortunately, the adventure off-roading and towing in Margaret River might have finished it off. Very sad and unlucky!

Pat had to visit the car in Busselton a 2 hour drive away to see the mechanic and work out what to do.

“he’s decided to scrap the car”

“Bcus will cost $2000 to replace gear box and clutch”

“So the guy offered him $200”

“We’re gutted”

“Was a bloody good car!”

Pat and Jess picked themselves back up quickly. They tend to look forwards and enjoy life too much to let things hold them back!! Not letting this trouble them too much they carried on working and living at the Hostel, going to Skate Parks with Jess reading and sewing as she doesn’t skate. She also keeps time and like a Mother lets the boys know when time is up! They normally respond with –

“Just one more go!”

Except on this occasion Matt was also saying

“Lets’ go it’s staring to rain!”

Pat and Matt are both excellent Skaters.

Somehow at this park something went wrong and Matt and Jess heard a scream!!

Pat had messed up his ankle.

“He can’t walk at all”

“So we’re going to go to the hospital soon”

Pat stayed off his feet for the week and Jessie carried on working, but 6 days later they got a lift with some French guys from the hostel back to Perth so Pat could get more Hospital X-Rays and treatment before making any more plans.

“We listened to French Rap for 3 hours!”

Meanwhile I went on my Holiday to Seville and Malaga and enjoyed myself not worrying about anybody as I knew everyone was safe and sound. Jessie kept in touch via Whats App.

My son called me on my return to ask if it was OK to visit.

While washing up and staring out the kitchen window I heard the front gate go and saw Kez my son coming up the path. I was about to shout out ” Shut the Gate” when I saw another familiar face peering around the hedge.

Instead of being happy, I felt like very wobbly! In shock I held onto the wall as got closer to the door.

Still shaking I went to hug her, then couldn’t let go. She had flown back alone and her brother had picked her up, bought her lunch and driven her over to me. I think I might have said to her

“But I’ve only just got use to you being away”

Poor Pat wasn’t able to fly yet as his leg wasn’t stable enough.

It turned out his injury was much higher than his ankle, more below the knee. He wouldn’t be able to fly with a cast on, so would only have a boot and crutches. Six days later Pat alone flew back to Heathrow with his massive Rucksack and crutches. Matt followed shortly after too.

He was booked straight in for MRI scans etc and has been told so far it will be a 6 month recovery period.

Jessie’s plan to Work Abroad and travel for a Year took 6 months. She wouldn’t go away for that long again she said. She found it much harder than she thought but amazingly she did it and has learnt more about what she wants to do. Her plans for the next few months are already sorted. I am very proud of her and so happy she is safe and sound. My son is now talking about his future plans, which will be another major Roller Coaster, but this is what life is about. I am pretty sure I scared the pants off my parents when I was that age!

There will be more adventures and I have lots to write about too. So this Blog will slowly adapt itself . Like I said at the beginning, I have turned 50 now and have wanted to write one for a long time, so I need to keep it up.



a piece of land where people can camp on holiday, usually with showers and toilets.


the practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.


systems for growing crops , with little damage to the environment.


the idea that goods and services should be produced in ways that do not use resources that are irreplaceable or damage the environment.


serving food that is of a very high quality.

craft beer

Beer made traditionally in small, independent breweries.


a small shop that sells trendy clothes, shoes, jewellery, etc.


Often used as an adverb.
Originating from the English West Country including the city of Bristol
Originally meaning “great” as in “great big” or “gurt big”, but now is also used in place of “really”, “well”, “very” and “exceptionally”.

gurt lush

These can also be abreviated to simply “gurt”

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