Griffith, NSW

 I'm a city girl - look at the name of this blog.  No matter where I travel, I always feel most comfortable in the bright lights.  So for me, a big factor in whether or not I could hack three months (or more) living out in the sticks, was not only working in agriculture but living somewhere remote on top.  As it happens, Griffith, where I eventually found myself is technically a city but good lord, not by a Londoner's standards.  Let me be clear straight-up though: I fucking loved my time in Griffith and I wouldn't change it for the world.

I stayed in a working hostel, Shearers' Quarters, owned and managed by a Chilean guy who is a kind of benevolent dictator that runs every aspect of your life.  He finds you work, wakes you up every morning, drives you there and back, and asks you a lot of personal questions.  That or he has his lackey Greg do it, a special fellow who looks like a backwoods axe murderer but has a very kind heart.  You sleep in a room with 3 other people who will become your best friends.  The kitchen is underequipped, the toilets and showers are in a tin shed outside, and the TV room (above) is an odd cinema consisting of ragged sofas and one apathetic cat.  Give it a couple of weeks and you'll love it.

Downtown Griffith is basically one street, Banna Avenue, wherein you can find all your basic amenities and maybe three clothing stores.  There are actually several places to drink in Griffith (this is Australia after all), but for some reason the backpacker hotspot is The Area Hotel. It's a bar during the day populated by men in hi-vis jackets but on a Saturday night they push the tables aside and hey, you got yourself a dancefloor!  The only other 'club' I tried is The Griffith Hotel, aka "The Griff" which is a lot rougher but the music is just as bad.  You really don't have a lot of options in this town but from what I hear it's at least better than Mildura.

I arrived in Griffith in winter, and the cold was ferocious as the town is situated in an irrigated desert, so while the sun is out and hot during the day, nights are bitter.  I purchased a fluffy blanket and wore it everywhere.  But towards the end we started getting beautiful weekends and I realised there is actually fun to be had in Griffith.  Our hostel was right next door to the Pioneer Park Museum, a deceptively large open air museum of historical reproductions.  Griffith was founded in the early 20th century so it's really not that old, but Australia at that time was a real frontier kind of a place and walking round the museum is like stepping into the wild west...surprisingly enjoyable.

On my very last day two buses loaded with backpackers headed to Lake Wyangan which is the most hilariously underwhelming lake ever, it really only has room for like a few boats.  But it's nice and open and there's places to picnic and barbecue so why not.  We got very day-drunk and I ended up leaving behind looooads of stuff when I took my train back to Sydney...which is a very representative story of my time in Griffith.  It's messy and strange but goddamn you'll have fun!

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