How To Get Great House Sitting Assignments in 10 Steps.

Our journey was forced upon us by the loss of our 27 year old company after the world financial crisis. At retirement age, stressed to breaking, we needed a long holiday at low or zero cost.
Since then we have been travelling Australia, living in ordinary homes, mansions and farms, driving tractors, riding quads, walking dogs, been given vehicles to drive for sight seeing, discovering impossibly beautiful natural places, living a privileged life really, meeting wonderful people and learning how to live again or maybe for the first time.
This is how we did it here in Australia and I guess it would work the same way in other countries too.

No Brakes – No Problem

I doubt that most house sitters travelling Australia have an aversion to highways and freeways, but we were happy to plot a course north that kept us on the Great Dividing Range for as long as possible.

We could of course, stay on the Range for the entire 1,000 kilometres, all the way to Toowoomba (itself on the GDRange about a hundred ks west of Brisbane) but I was keen to stop off in Ballina to catch up with family and to take advantage of some free time to do some badly needed maintenance on the camper.Paul Carol Julie 65

We fueled up before leaving Crookwell so our next stop was in Oberon a few hours later, then Muswellbrook, not far short of Scone which was our target for the first long day.

Driving along any section of the world’s third longest mountain range (on land anyway) stretching the full length of Australia, is a very pleasant exercise. The Great Dividing Range begins off shore in the Torres Strait, just off the tip of Queensland and finishes in Victoria.GDR It’s between 150 and 300 kilometres wide and 3,500 kilometres long but in height probably only averaging 500-750 metres, although Mt Kosciuszko gets up to 2228 metres a fairly modest mountain in international terms.

Everest for example is 4 times higher, but then it has India pushing from behind making it taller all the time. Kosi on the other hand has had a couple of hundred million years of erosion to wear it down so it’s probably not a fair comparison.

Read moreNo Brakes – No Problem

Kangaroos Don’t Jump Fences

Once a week it was town day. It’s funny how simple things, a change of routine, a change into ‘town clothes’ can be something to look forward to, but every Thursday we’d get out our non ’work’ jeans and after chores, jump into the ute and head for ‘town’. A coffee in one of the half dozen coffee shops was first call after getting the mail. Then it was a little stroll, maybe a visit to the newsagent, before loading up the back of the ute with supplies from the local IGA supermarket. Our faces became so familiar, we chatted with the deli staff, we even exchanged addresses for a future farm sit for one of the locals and generally did what country folk do on ‘town’ day. This is an aspect of life in which I never imagined participating when stuck in my office 14 hours a day.

Bugger. I Think I Broke My Hip

The small problem of a broken hip. With a thousand kilometres and six interesting days of travelling Australia house sitting and free camping behind us, the short morning drive from Gunning our last camp, to this, our fourth house-sitting assignment was full of promise and just a little excitement. The hills presented the usual challenge for our valiant little Nissan Urvan, working through the gears, struggling up one side and being chased down the other by the trailer, a cross between a cattle dog and a rhino.

We were coming into Crookwell from the south west, the same track taken on departure from our brief introductory visit to the farm back in July. Just before the town, about 5 ks out, we reached the highest altitude of our travels so far, 1017 metres or 3,370 feet, before barrelling down the side of the valley into town.

Gunning to Crookwell 60 percent

We stopped briefly to pick up a few supplies and shortly afterwards we took up the side road north to places no one has ever heard of. It was just like the first time, up the hills ever climbing the last 1,000 feet, over the top then a little run into the valley beyond where the bitumen runs out and that country feeling begins. Just seven kilometres from where the gravel begins, we pulled into the driveway of our home for the next two months.

Ian and Jo were, as always the gracious hosts and although we were a day early, this extra time gave us confidence that whatever challenges lay ahead, we would manage. Ian produced a map of the farm with all the paddocks named and the approximate boundaries inked in. Acting on my request had also compiled a procession of items taken from his comprehensive “to do” list.

I understood some had been on the list for several years and few had been on the list for a long time but he stressed that I should feel no obligation to perform any of the outstanding jobs.

Read moreBugger. I Think I Broke My Hip