"What is Dubbo?" That was the first question 24-year-old Maria Goltermann had when she found out she would be visiting Australia from Denmark. Maria has 12 weeks to learn all she can about Dubbo, its visitor offerings and the Australian lifestyle.


“To travel is to live” 

A quote by the amazing Danish author – Hans Christian Andersen, and as you all probably have realised by now, that is quote I like to live by. 
Last week I went on a little day trip to Wellington with the PR department at council, a quick stop for lunch at the local pub “Cow and Calf” and then we were off to take photos of attractions. Wellington is a really nice little town that really indicates, what I would have thought to be, the authentic Australian country town, with beautiful buildings and cute little shops and houses. Not to mention an amazing bakery! 

 
Kangaroo talking to cows 
 
We found the Burrendong Dam! 


The place to go for a good meal in Wellington! 


A few days later I went with my host family to Wagga Wagga for a birthday getaway (or escape) for my host father. 

I was told that Wagga would be cold, so I put on 3 layers of clothes a jacket and my scarf, all ready for the close-to-snowing weather. After the 5 hour drive, we arrive in Wagga, get out of the car ready to watch rugby at the Uni, stands there for 15 minutes and realise if I don’t get out of all that clothes I would probably pass out! What is it with this Aussie weather? Getting all ready for a Danish-like winter day and turns out to be a Danish summer day. 

Anyway, it turned out for the better, if you ask me. Perfect day to spend watching rugby. And although I’m still struggling with the rules, I find it a lot of fun to watch and of course the team that, I was told to go for won! I feel sorry for the people that watch the game with me, as they spend more time answering my questions than actually watching the game. I’ll get there one day! 


Game on at Charles Sturt University!

Moreover, I also got the chance to get a little insight to how Uni-life in Australia is. The school spirit and social community is such a big part of uni-life here, and the fact that many of the students actually live together on campus or just outside seem to bring people even closer together. Whether it was at the game or at the party later, the school spirit was there. 

Uni-life is a lot different in Denmark. People are spread out all over the city, and you mainly just get to know the people from your course and Uni sports teams are not a big part of it. Not said that going to university in Denmark is not great though. We do have major events throughout the year where thousands of people turn up, however I believe that we could learn something from Aussies here. :)

 
Cake and a whole rugby team singing Happy Birthday. 
- Not bad getting old(er). 
 
Amazing dinner with my host family in Wagga. 

Sunday in Wagga, was spent at the beautiful Botanic Garden, a perfect day in perfect weather. I nearly couldn’t believe it myself, but it was actually warmer here than back in Denmark that day. Fortunately, my father told me yesterday that the temperature had gone up to 48 degrees. YES, Denmark does have summer! 
In the Botanic Garden, I just enjoyed that little bit of sun I will see this year. 

AND my gorgeous host brothers taught me how to do a line-out. Maybe I don’t know the rules but I always thought the line-outs looked like so much fun! HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY! :)

Anyhow, a great weekend in Wagga, and it was a tired Dane that came home to Dubbo that Sunday night. We came back to a big roast feast, and unfortunately I’m still struggling with the lamb, but boy is the beef good here in Australia! :D 


My attempt of a line-out. Coming down! 



Hope you all have a great last week of July out there! :)



Oops.. time flies and so much has happened in the past 10 days! Although I enjoy my life in Dubbo – going to work, doing crossfit and watching sports on weekends, I’m only here for a short period of time so I like taking advantage of the fact that people in Dubbo like to travel. And… that they are the nicest people so they invite me along. This means I get to see places that I most likely wouldn’t see if I travelled on my own. 

I’ve been out to see Cotton farms near Warren, I’ve seen towns such as Nyngan, Mudgee and Geurie etc. I wonder if anyone at home have been to these places… 


Picnic Races in Nyngan.. yes I actually watched the races.. I won 2/2 times!


A few weekends ago, I was invited to lunch in a little town called Capertee, just a short trip, we left in the morning around 9.30 and was supposed to be home around 5 o’clock. We stopped for coffee in Mudgee, did a little browsing through the stores and continued on to Capertee. 


Beautiful church in Mudgee

My home country may not be very big, but I’ve lived in big countries before, so I don’t mind driving, and Capertee is only a few hours away from Dubbo. Have I ever driven for 2 hours to have lunch? Kept in mind that this would have been a trip half way across Denmark, just for lunch? Never.. That must be another Aussie experience that I can now cross of the list! Lunch was amazing at the Royal Capertee Hotel - so if you guys ever drive through, its worth stopping and enjoy a meal in authentic surroundings!


At the Royal Capertee Hotel 

On our way back to Dubbo, we just went on a “little” detour to the Capertee Valley.  My parents were at Grand Canyon in America, at the time so we thought it would be a good idea to take a picture at the Canyon at Capertee and go for a little drive…. 6 hours later and we were back in Dubbo!! 

I went to bed very early that night, I can tell you! – Apart from that it was the most beautiful drive and I was really happy I got the chance to see the gorgeous Capertee Valley. 

The next day was spend here in Dubbo in beautiful weather and I got to watch my first Aussie soccer game! Perfect Sunday and warm up game to the big European Championship Final the following day, which (of course!) was won by Portugal! 


The sun didn’t stay for very long… But coming from a country where this weather is pretty normal, you learn to enjoy the time indoor. Hope you all will too! 

   
Capertee Valley




Sunset on the way back to Dubbo 



So… the other day, I thought I was just going to go with Lana to the radio station 2DU, to watch  her do her usual Friday “What’s On in Dubbo” feature. Buut, Lana and Richard, had other plans and suddenly Richard was asking ME questions on air! So, on what I thought was a usual Friday morning, my radio virginity was taken! I’m telling you guys, these council people sure are making sure I get the full experience here!


But how great is that!! I’m really thrilled that they engage me in so many projects, so I get as much out of my internship as possible.

Another big experience for me last week, was my visit to the Royal Flying Doctors Service. I know this is something that is really special to Australia, and it does put things into perspective, when we in Denmark complain about the hospital being a 1.5 hour drive away.

It was really fascination to hear about the Flying doctors, nurses, dentists and so forward that fly out each day to assist people in the rural areas of the outback. Can you believe the crew only has 45 minutes to plan the flight, assess the patient and be up in the air again??

Coming to the Education Centre, we were greeted by some of the volunteers that showed us around and told us the story behind the Royal Flying Doctors and the aircrafts. E.g. that these mini intensive care units are actually purchased from the U.S., brought back and painted in Australia and are now worth about $9M. Another thing I found out, from watching the video at the education centre, is that people in the outback actually would do their own treatment, if it wasn’t for the Flying Doctors…
I believe it’s better they let the doctors do their job and they stick to their farming instead.

Anyway this experience was a real eye-opener, of how important the RFDS is to these communities.

 

 Radios that have been used for communication between the RFDS and the remote areas and medicine.

One of the first thing I learned when I came to Dubbo, was the RFDS $20 bill and how it features the founder of RFDS John Flynn and that the body with numbers on the different body parts would, and still is, helping doctors for remote consultations to identify where the patient is injured.

Additionally, School of the Air, is where children in remote areas are schooled via the RFDS radio service and is also a big part of RFDS and something I had not heard or thought of before I visited the education centre.

The real-life stories behind RFDS as well as School of the Air is what made this a really fascinating experience for me.

As I thought the tour was over, we were invited out to see the hangar, where an aircraft had just come in, and I got to see what one of the real planes looks like inside and had a chat about the equipment they use when going out with one of the nurses at RFDS.

 

Inside and outside one of the aircrafts that are used today

You gotta admire what these nurses, doctors and dentist are doing! It mustn’t always be an easy job.

This was another awesome place that is definitely worth a visit when in Dubbo! You are sure to have an interesting time, and the people working there are just great!

Back to work, hope you all have a great week :)

 

Me as a pilot - probably the reason for the incident on the right!?

 

   

 


In the freezing cold, I Friday went to Dubbo’s big pride: The Taronga Western Plains Zoo! But with a coat, scarf, gloves and boots nothings too cold.
I have to admit thought that I was too big of a chicken to go around in one of the carts.

Everybody tells me I should be used to the cold weather, but in my 24 years, I never got used to it…
 
However, that doesn’t matter when you can drive around in your car! And by the time you start watching the tigers, rhinos and all their friends, you don’t even think about the weather anymore.
Anyway, I was so excited to finally be going to the famous Taronga Zoo and I was so lucky to be able to say hello to Wiley the ring-tailed opossum and the 3 year old and 8 kg. koala, Leuca, at the zoo’s Education Centre. Yes, they were as cute up close as they look from afar, and if you have the chance to go to the Education Centre and meet some of the animals, DO IT! It just makes the experience even more unique.

 

Saying hello to the zoo residents

Next, I jumped in the car with my local guide and went for our adventure around the park. I was really amazed about how big the park was, and quickly understood that it wouldn’t just be a few hours walk around the zoo as it is back home.

I would definitely suggest to plan the trip around the park so that you at least see some of the animals being fed. I saw the wild dogs at the zoo entrance… and apparently when getting fed a kangaroo leg that is not a time they want to pose for my blog photos.

 

Dinner Time!                                                              Chilling with the hippos

My favourite part of the park was the Australian park, it was pretty awesome getting so close to the local animals. I wasn’t as cool as some of the children that got really close to the animals, one step at the time…
In my part of the world, we don’t walk out in our backyard and find a large wild animal starring at us, like people here would find rather normal.
My host family think it’s really amusing to scare me with snake stories, as they were probably one of my biggest worries coming here, but lucky enough for me, I’m here in the winter, so they can just keep on talking ;)

 

Connecting with a wallaby and her joey

Anyway… The snakes I saw at the zoo were in cages, and the kangaroos and wallabies did not kick or try to fight me! Maybe next time I’ll try to get closer…
Because I will definitely come back and I now understand why Dubbo is so proud of the Zoo.

I can’t wait for my next adventure in the Great Western Plains. I feel really lucky I’m able to explore this region, I think tourist are missing out not coming here.

Have a great day you all!  :D

 

 

 


A 50 Km. drive from Dubbo and you are in Wellington! Not everything is long distances here in AUS.

And that was very convenient when someone wanted to show me the Wellington Caves, on Thursday.

After a visit to the Visitor Centre in Wellington, to gather info about the town, we were off to the caves. Here we were greeted by our own guide. I was a little sceptical about going into these caves, but I was really drawn by her passion for the caves and the history behind them.

Strike a pose and ready for the caves!

You Aussies keep telling me that the history of my country is much older than yours, but hey! These caves were millions of years old, I’m pretty sure you won’t find many castles in Europe that old.

It is hard to wrap your head around the fact that fossils and full skeleton casts from a Thylacaleo and Diprotodon from the time of the dinosaurs have been found in these caves! We even got to touch bones and teeth from these animals! This all happened in the Bone Cave and Fossil mine. The cool thing is, that you are allowed to come so close to pieces of the history that goes way beyond the time where people were even in Australia, and the guide will tell you stories that you wouldn’t even have thought of going into the caves yourself. Who knew that the Wellington Caves were where palaeontology was born?

Another Must-See is the astonishing Cathedral Cave. This Lime-stone cave is just beautiful and well presented with the famous stalagmite “The Altar” that reaches 15 metres in height. What made it even more stunning was the water coming down the sides of it due to the rainy weather, as well as the water dripping from the stalactite.

I would definitely recommend this to visitors to the area, not to speak of locals who haven’t been! Put an orange helmet on and go back in time with the Wellington Cave guides :D – We even made it back to Dubbo for lunch! How great is it to have all these activities basically in your own backyard!

This also means that I can cross off another town on the list! I’m sure I will be able to go home and talk to many European backpackers that haven’t been to the same places as I have here in AUS, which I think is pretty cool.

I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since I got to Australia, and I’ve already been to so many places. Not to speak of the weather that has dried up a whole lot more than when I arrived. And it seems like next week will almost be as warm (or cold) as it is in Denmark at the moment, which I find really amusing, as people back home didn’t understand why I chose to leave when it was finally summer :D

 

Entering the Fossil Mine (I'm not sure what's more scary, being in a cave or my face)

 

 

Taken back to when the cave was actively used in WW1

The beautiful Cathedral Cave

 While you are there, take a stroll through the Japanese Garden

 

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