Northcliffe is a small town situated 350km south of Perth. With population less than 700 people, the town looks very quiet even in the day time. There are people around, but if you walk down the main road, you would barely see human or car. Just to be clear, the main road only consist of one hotel and pub, one salon, one general store, one veggies store, one op shop, one tourist information center, one post office, one cafe, one museum, one community center, two gas stations, and…that’s it. Ah ya few miles from the main road, we still have another bar, called Northcliffe Workers Club. Please do not imagine that it is a club with the DJ and the dance floor. It actually is a regular country bar. Yes, those are all what we have in the town. Yeaa, now its kinda make sense why we don’t even have ATM machine!
Though the town seems boring, but the people are lovely. I was amazed by how easy it is to have a conversation with people, even if they are not in my age. Yep, 80% of the people I regularly see in Northcliffe are the oldies. But it was fun to talk and hang out with them. They can be as funny and spontaneous as appearing in the kitchen and helping us washing amount of dishes in the busy hour. LoL
And through them I jotted how fully satisfied they are of Australia. They believe that Australia is the best country that provides human basic needs and opportunity to have a better life. And I think I understand what they meant.
Here, everyone knows everyone, which automatically makes every single news a.k.a gossip spread with 100 knots speed. Pardon of my exaggeration. I mean, if someone found out you were cheating, don’t be surprised the whole town would know the same thing just in hours. Frankly, they also have a weekly tabloid where you can get exposed even you are just the girl next door. I once found my work mate being featured in one of the page, just because she got engaged. Hahaha.
My work mates are adorable too, we spent enough time together so that we know each other, shared a lot of stories from our own life until political views. Such a sweet Northcliffe bound 🙂
I’ve been living here for 1,5 months now and I’m completely happy that I made the decision to work and stay in here. It surely gives me a new experience and new perspective of life. Anyway these are things I’ve been doing during my stay to maximize my country side experience 😉
Learn Aussies Slang
Once I had chat with a guy in Northcliffe, he asked me whether I came to Australia to learn English. Then I said, I would rather go to England or States to learn English. I came here to learn Australian instead. I was joking of course, if you know what I mean. Sometimes it drives me crazy to speak with them. They barely open their mouth when talking and worse, they use slang!! To me, who is not a native English speaker, it is pretty annoying. But since the people here are nice, I found it was fun rather than depressing, they didn’t mind to explain what it means to me whenever I showed my innocent confused face. Hehehe
Anyway, here are some Australian Slang I got so far :
# Down Under : Australia/New Zealand
# Arvo : Afternoon
# Bloke : Guy
# Sheila : Girl
# Dead Horse : Tomato Sauce
# Cuppa : Cup of hot drinks (coffee/tea/chocolate)
# Barbie : Barbeque
# Heaps : A lot
# Brekkie : Breakfast
# Sanger : Sandwich
# Mozzys : Mosquito
# Click : Kilometer
# Stoked : Happy/Very pleased
# Exy : Expensive
# Snag : Sausage
# Sarvo : Gas Station
Go to the Neighborhood Town
Pemberton and Manjimup. Or Pemby and Manjy, that is how local people abbreviate it. These two are the nearest towns where local people likes to go if they want to buy groceries or something they can not found in Northcliffe. And apparently things are also cheaper too in both town.
As simple as body wash, I gotta buy it in Pemby. Well, the only General Store in Northcliffe does have it, but the brands are just strange and the price is bloody exy (expensive). So, when my friend said that she’s going to Pemby and asked me whether I wanna come too, I was stoked (very pleased) to take the offer. Yep, if I want to go there I have to wait until somebody wanna go to the same direction, because both town are situated about 30-40 clicks(km) away, and there is no reliable public transportation to get there other than a lift offer.
I’d like to say that I love Pemby better than Manjy. Pemby is surrounded by hills, woods, and fields. Other than that, edgy places also can easily be found in here. While Manjy is just typical town in Western Australia with a shop complex and residential. Observing both towns and Northcliffe, I could learn that the indicator of how big is a town in Australia can be identify from it’s available dept store. If there’s Coles or Woolies then it can be considered as big town. Where the town has none of them, but has IGA instead, then it could be considered as medium town. If none of the three available, then it should be a small town. Just my thinking though, feel free to correct me.
is the only attraction that Northcliffe has. I went to two of them. The first one is just nearby my place-behind the museum, named Bardi Creek and Gardner River Track. I was by my own and to be honest, it was a bit creepy. If something happened, nobody would knows! To get rid of that negative vibes I put the iPod on and tried to focus following the track. I don’t know how many spider web I had hit, I walked fast and hoping I wouldn’t encounter any snake or other dangerous animal– you know that Australia full of those, don’t you? Well, actually nothing I could really enjoy during the walk, except when I finally reached Gardner River. It has nothing special, just a regular river, but I love the moment when I took my head set off, I heard sounds of bird chirping and water stream from the river. I stopped for a while just to enjoy the smell and sound of nature, undeniably relaxing!
The second bushwalking was to Southern Forest Sculpture Walk. This place is located right in the heart of Northcliffe, just behind the Visitor Center. And we have to pay AUD 10 for entrance fee. Luckily, one day, I went for afternoon walk with work mates and a local guy and his dog, Jumanji. He directed us to walk through the bush which finally I knew that it was a shortcut to the Sculpture Walk. He showed us all the sculpture that made by creative professionals across Australia. It was a new thing for me to walk in a forest where we could see not only trees but also various interesting artworks. We took about half an hour walking the trail and it was worth it because we didn’t have to pay any penny. Hihihi, thanks double J!
Most of locals in Northcliffe work in dairy farm. And I had the chance to visit one of them one day. Thanks to my cook who has a friend that own a farm in town and she asked me whether I was interested to pay a visit or not. Of course I was!
This family, not only has cows, but also piggies. Unfortunately they don’t have hairy cows, but I was glad enough to see the pigs. They were surprisingly so cute. As the owner coming to the field, one of super spoiled pig approached to her and laid down her own body on the ground, asking the owner to pat her on the belly. And a minute after the owner started to pat her, she just fell a sleep that easily. LoL, Hilarious!
Go to the Beach & Mountain
Nothing more relaxing than went to the beach in the shift break. I did it few times whenever someone kindly offered me a lift. Northcliffe has two beaches that can be reached after driving for 30 km south. The beach called Windy Harbour and the other one called Salmon Beach. Just like its name, Windy Harbour, is literally a windy beach. But the water remains calm and perfect to swim.
I like Salmon Beach better. Though the beach is not for swimming due to the waves and high stream, but the landscape around was very awesome. Your eyes can be spoiled of hills, cliffs, and beach at the same time. Wonderful. I went there with 4 of my French friends, was super windy that the flying sands slapped our skin. Yes, it was hurt, but fun!
Other than beach, I also had chance to climb Mount Chudalup. This is not a mount that you probably think about, this is actually a giant granite dome with 185 meter height, quiet steep but it was worth the effort! When I reached the top, I could see Northcliffe from above in 360 degrees view. The view up there was very-very breathtaking, definitely the most stunning place in Northcliffe.
Act like Local
First time I heard about Melbourne Cup was in the kitchen, I thought it was a Footy Match and people sued me for that. Well, excuse me, there’s nothing like that in my home country! LoL! turns out Melbourne cup is the most prestigious thoroughbred horse race in Australia. It is extremely popular, as World Cup to the world. It is even marketed as a race that stops a nation. On the day, Aussies will dress up and gathering in a place to watch and put the bet on. Sounds spectacular, isn’t it?
How was Melbourne Cup going in country side? Well, loads of people came to the country pub where they can put the bet since the morning. Women, men, oldies and youth all together in one crowd. I saw many woman dressed up with a long dress and fascinators in their head. Unfortunately none of the man were, they just used regular clothes as in short pants or jeans and shirt. All of them took a line in front of the betting machine with eyes curiously staring at the TV which was airing live from Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne. I was pretty stoked to see that moment, and curious enough to join it. Then I asked my boss, Kathie how to do the bet. And…yes! I got 4 bets in my hands. LoL. Nah, I wasn’t lucky enough though. But that was such an experience. Love it.
I finally know how it felt to crash in someone’s birthday party. Sorry if this sounds weird, I always wanna know how Hahaha, and it happened in Northcliffe. After working, a local mate asked my friend and I to join him to his friend’s birthday party somewhere not far from our house. Because it was weekend and we had nothing to do so we were delighted to come, even though we didn’t have any idea who was having the birthday. When we arrived at someone’s garage, where the party took place, bunch of people were already there. Some were talking to each other on the table, some were gathering near the bonfire (yes, it was freaking cold that night!), some were dancing, and some were playing ping pong. Frankly, I didn’t even feel awkward to join them, just had random chat to everyone stood near me, or went dancing with workmates. That was enough to have fun!
By the time I post this blog, I might already left from Northcliffe. I got nothing to say than I LOVE THE PEOPLE THAT I MET IN NORTHCLIFFE!! my last day was awesome…and I Thanked God for that! Really looking forward to the next adventure 🙂