Please read down after this to get fully caught up with my Magnetic Island scuba travels. I’m backing up for a sec to tell you about Kroombit before I forget!
It seems fitting that I ended up at a cattle station with a bunch of Virginians. There aren’t many Americans down here in Oz, but somehow I fell in with the calvary in the outback.
The Oz Experience of Kroombit sounds like something out of a country western flick: Muster goats on the range, then rope a goat, then shoot clay pigeons, then eat a big hearty meal of steak and potatoes! I was actually excited (though less so after finding out the horseback riding was $40), and by golly, it was everything it was actually cracked up to be!
We left Hervey Bay at 7 a.m. and made our way inland, over the Great Dividing Range and into the serious desert of Australia. Beaches and green pastures faded to orange-dust colored fields, tall bluish-green plateaus lingering ever closer. Already, it just felt different. The dividing town, if you will, between my “southern” and “northern” legs.
Bus days are always long, continuous stretches with a few breaks thrown in for the toilet and the supermarket, but we pulled into the cattle station at around 2:30 p.m. — reasonable, at least. Those doing the horseriding went off to herd goats while the rest of us crossed what was possibly the muddiest field I’ve ever been on in my life to throw some boomerangs. A month has made no difference -— still can’t throw the damn thing. Instead I tried to catch one for a free drink later, but failed at that task as well. Oh well.
Here’s where I say we all got cleaned up and refreshed…
Muddy and disgusting, we trudged back over the field to a just-about-broken-down 4X4 to drive over to the shooting. Now, I’ve shot a pistol before at a shooting range in L.A. (thanks j!), but I’ve never even held a shotgun. It was, you know, “southern.” Ick. But seriously, it’s just something I’ve never done, nor thought I had any real desire to do. But at this cattle station, I could not wait to pick up that gun.
After a few demonstrations by Steve, the English guy who came to the cattle station two months ago and never left, I picked up the gun. “Pull!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. A bright orange clay disk flew out of the contraption beside me into the air, and I followed in my sights. “Bang!” aaaaand a miss. “Pull!” again. “Bang!” Then something unexpected: “Crack!” I looked up in disbelief at the shattered pigeon falling down to earth. Ridiculous. In the end I got 2 out of 5. And yes, I felt like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
Post-artillery I successfully lassoed a goat from 3 ft. away, learned to crack a whip and rode a mechanical bull for 14 and 22 seconds respectively. And that video my friends, will have to be posted ASAP J
Other than that, dinner was tasty, beer was cold and the drinking games were top notch.
We left the next morning at 7 a.m. for Airlie Beach, back from the mountains to the beach and the Whitsundays…
It was 9 hours. We watched Team America and Joe Dirt. I wanted to kill myself.