Hey! – Dave here.
We decided to stop in Cairns for a couple of reasons – we had to buy and replace some parts on the Troopy, and we’d run out of money. We needed to get jobs, but it turns out that the unemployment rate in Cairns is really high. Fortunately, Juz found a job at Subway, but I wasn’t having any luck with the countless job applications I was sending out. I applied for admin jobs that I’m more than qualified for, as well as retail and labouring work and anything else that sounded decent. After three months of automated rejections, a guy we were living with ended up getting me a job working with him and his boss as a gardener.
I naively expected the work to be all about planting trees, pruning roses and re-potting plants. It was nothing like that at all. Almost all of the work was body corporate funded garden maintenance for apartment blocks.
When we arrived at a job, we’d pick up any rubbish and fallen palm fronds, snip and mow the grass, use the leaf-blower to clean up, and finally spray any weeds. Sometimes I’d use the hedge-trimmer to cut back overgrown bushes or the extendable pole-saw to cut off seed pods high up in the palm trees.
There are lots of companies doing garden maintenance in Cairns, which means the industry is highly competitive and they have to keep their prices low to get the work. As an employee, it means you have to work really fast. With temperatures up in the mid 30s and humidity around 90%, it was hot, sweaty, thirsty, exhausting work.
Overall, I enjoyed the work and would do a similar job again, just not in the tropics.