Catching the Ghan to Darwin

  • From: Katherine, Australie
  • To: Darwin, Australie
  • Distance: 316km

We spent the night in Katherine before catching the Ghan to reach Darwin.

The Ghan

This is a famous railway line very appreciated by the retired australian people. With the Ghan indeed, you cross one of the most iconic features of Australia, the outback, and you can enjoy a remarkable service on board (private room, restaurant, shower, …)

Well, this is for the passengers in the “premium gold platinium vip” service (who have paied around $5000 to take the train). For some evident reasons, we’ve decided to choose the backpacker rail explorer pass (only $500) which allows us to travel as much as we want on 3 railway lines (including the Ghan) and to reach many places in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaïde, Darwin, and Perth!). So it’s kind of cheap! Of course, the service is more basic (no private room, no fancy restaurant, …) but it’s still quite confortable! It’s even the most confortable train we had the opportunity to take so far. That’s good news, because with all the trips we’ve planned to do, we will spend a few days in that train…

After 5 hours in the train, this first Ghan experience brings us to Darwin.

Relaxing in Darwin

We’ll stay one week in Darwin for… for nothing in particular but having some rest! Being itinerant is fun, but sometimes you need to stop for a while somewhere. Our activities for the week will be reading, running, going to the library and the markets, etc.

AFL Game: Melbourne vs Freemantle

To really appreciate australian culture, we’ve bought some tickets to see an AFL game (australian football): Melbourne demons vs Freemantle dockers! We had a great time, it was fun to discover this sport and to spend this australian evening! If you want to know more about this sport and its rules:

Stop-over in Mataranka and Katherine

  • From: The Gap, Australie
  • To: Katherine, Australie
  • Distance: 1348km

It was a long way from Townsville, but we are still far from our destination: Darwin. So we’ve decided to make a few stops on our way there.


We took a night bus to reach Mataranka and it was quite tiring (we had to shift to another bus in Tenant Creek in the middle of the night…) so we are happy to arrive in Mataranka Homestead! Mataranka Homestead is a motel/backpacker/caravan park, a bit lost in the middle of the outback. But many tourists are coming there every day to enjoy a famous hot spring. We spent 2 days there because we really needed a real bed for a few nights! And the hot spring was very enjoyable!

We have even been for a run. At least we tried… Because here you are in the bush. It’s a lot a fun to run with kangaroos, but when we met some kind of wild dog (a dingo?) showing us his teeth, it was less funny… So we’ve been back to our room, and next time, we won’t run in the bush!


After our short stay in Mataranka, we hit the road again, but just for a 2 hour trip to Katherine, where we’ve spent one night. Nothing in particular to say about Katherine. It’s the last big city befor the outback, for the people who are heading south and people are stopping there to make some groceries and to fill their fuel tanks.

Tomorrow, we will take the Ghan, the famous train linking Adelaide to Darwin!

+ Last trip with Queensland Rail!

  • From: Innisfail, Australie
  • To: Ville de Townsville, Australie
  • Distance: 259km
  • From: Ville de Townsville, Australie
  • To: The Gap, Australie
  • Distance: 1003km

This is now almost the end of june, we’ve just finished our WWOOFing at Kate & Stuart’s near Innisfail. It is now time to leave Queenland, but before, a looooooooong journey is ahead of us !

A trip on “premium seats”

So it is now time to say good bye to the far north of Queensland, its rainforest and its gigantic cane crops. We catch a train from Innisfail to Townsville where we will have to make a stop for the night, because the next day we’ll take another train to Mount Isa at the far west of Queensland.

This portion of journey to Townsville is rather confortable, because on this trip only premium seats were available. Usually our train passes wouldn’t allow us to book on such seats, but this time we had the opportunity to do it. Only we had to wait 7 days before departure and try to book last minutes premium seats.


And we have to say that these premium seats are really premium. We feel just perfect! Heaps of room to stretch your legs, a private screen with a wide selection of movies, TV shows, music, and radios to choose from. A real pleasure! We should have travelled this way all along ! Only if we could afford it… ahah !

A quick stop in Townsville

Our comfy trip stops after a few hours because we have a connection in Townsville. We find a backpaker for the night since our train to Mount Isa is only leaving the next day.

We now know Townsville pretty well for having stayed here twice before (before and after our WWOOFing on Magnetic Island). Almost feels like home ! We even take time to have a run early in the morning before we catch our train to Mount Isa. Not a bad idea, considering the fact that we have more than 20 hours of train ahead of us…

Townsville > Mount Isa : See ya Queensland!

Our last trip on Queensland Rail lines, one of our partners. Nothing better than a few thousand kilometers to end our Queensland adventure. Yes, Townsville and Mount Isa are both ends of the Inlander line.

The name of the line suits it well! The Inlander makes us cross Queensland from East to West. A good way to discover the Queensland outback, enjoying the sunset and the sunrise (yes this is a looooong trip) over the landscape which is getting more and more red…

Here we are now in Mount Isa, waiting for our bus to the Northern Territories. It is now time to say goodbye to Queensland where we spent 2 amazing months! Also time to thank again Queensland Rail, our partner who made us safely travelled through Queensland during these last 2 months!

WWOOFing in Japoonvale

  • From: Cairns, Australie
  • To: Innisfail, Australie
  • Distance: 88km

We just left Kate & Stuart’s where we wwoofed for the last few days.

Since we started this adventure, we really love WWOOFing because is gives us the opporutnity to meet some very intersting people which taught us a lot of different things. This time, the experience was once again tremendously interesting because Kate & Stuart are amazing people!

It’s going to be tough to explain everything with only a few words but we’ll do our best!

Amazing people!

Kate & Stuart, a couple in their 60’s, are artists. They live on many different things like selling made out of fibers from which Stuart has some kind of gift! He can recreate some fiber patterns just by looking at pictures! They sold some of them as pieces of art for collectioneurs and museum, or in the street as simple fiber baskets. We even had the chance to have a handcrafting lesson during which we made or own hat out of a coconut tree leef.

During all of our conversations, we figured out that they travelled a lot around the world as street artists, selling for instance “the smallest kites in the world!”. They also often work with aborigenal communities to teach them how to make basket or more generally how to weave fibers.

To describe how uncommun their lifes are, we could also tell you how they setteld in the 80’s, on a 4 hectares property in Japoonvale, North Queensland. Nothing unusual so far… but what is unsual is the fact that before they built their house on this property, they lived almost 10 years in a tree house (with their children) next to the river runnning at the bottom of their property.

An incredible house!

Nowadays, they live in a big and beautiful house they built with their hands and some recycled materials. This house has (like Trudie and Tony) the specificity to be a very open house… which means no windows. In a area like the far north of Queensland, it seems a bit surprising for us because from what we know there are a few interesting wild animals in the area (venomous snakes, spiders, possums, rats, etc.). Kate and Stuart didn’t really try to hide us the truth… In fact, they told us that a bat was usually staying in our room and that a few rats used to come at night too… and also that a few snakes were living in the house. Which happened to be very true when we saw a snake skin hanging from a beam in the living room the next morning. To be honest we were a bit frightened for the first night but eventually we got used to it!

WWOOFers vs wild

Regarding our WWOOFing job, we helped them clearing their jungle garden! So we did a lot of weeding, cutting, pruning, prepared the soil for Kate’s veggie garden, etc. That wasn’t easy because when we arrived, the rainforest was covering what used to be there garden. We used cane knifes, matiks, forks, etc. to clear all of this. That was fun!

It might not sounds like lot of fun for you, but in fact it was just great! We really enjoyed Kate and Stuart’s company, their generosity, their amazing stories, all the delicious veggies and tropical fruits, the swimms in the river at the bottom of the property… A great WWOOFing that made us think a lot about our modern western way of living.

Hunting Cassowaries

Last funny story of this adventure: this morning at 7am, we have been waken up by the telephone. It was the neighboor calling us to come and see the cassowary in her garden! Still a bit asleep, we are running to the neighbour’s garden. The good thing is she’s living very close to Kate & Stuart’s. Unfortunately, she’s living on the other side of the river… so we had to cross the river. Refreshing! Of course, once there, the wassowary was gone… But luckily we got the chance to spot it on our way back: a big female cassowary, impressive! That will be our reward for our morning run!

It is now time to catch our train to the outback! Once again thank you very much Kate & Stuart for your hospitality.

Road trip around Cairns !

  • From: Cairns, Australie
  • To: Cairns, Australie
  • Distance: 692km

We are back from our 1st roadtrip around Cairns!

Our itinirary

We’ve started our trip with Cape Tribulation. Cape tribulation is located 2 hours drive North of Cairns, where the rainforest meets the ocean and the great bareer reef. The area is less touristic, beaches and landscapes are wild, how beautiful! But the area seems to have suffered a lot from the lasts cyclones because many places (restaurants, shops) are closed and abandoned.

To reach Cape Tribulation, we have to cross the Daintree River. This is the opportunity to take a cruise on the river to spot a few crocodiles! Thanks to our experimented guide, we had the chance to see some saltwater crocodiles. We may have not mentioned that before, but even if the beaches and rivers look nice in the area, we don’t take the risk to take a swim!

After Cape Tribulation, we’ve visited the Tablelands area: its green hills and vales, its rainforest, its rivers and waterfalls. We were not expecting that kind of landscapes in Australia, but we loved it!

We’ve finished our journey in Mission Beach, another loooong (2.5 miles) and beautiful beach.

The RAINforest

This program sounds great, doesn’t it? Plus, from May, this is the dry season, so we should really have a great time in the far North Queensland. We SHOULD… Because the rain almost didn’t leave us for a minute (which is quite exceptional at this time of the year). So, we couldn’t make all the walks we were planning to do, and had more coffees than expected…

So we got wet, but we still enjoyed the area, the rainforest and the wild beaches. Edouard also took the chance to use his spare time to his new hobby: playing didgeridoo! (Apparently, it was not challenging enough for us to travel with 2 massive backpacks, 2 small backpacks, and a guitar, we decided to add a didgeridoo!). In most of aboriginal tribes, playing didgeridoo is dedicated to men. In respect for these traditions, I prefer not to play (and not because this seems extremely dificult!)

Local Wildlife

The area is inhabited by the famous cassowaries, some kind of emus with a blue neck and some kind of “hat” on the head. We didn’t have the chance to see one, but we are not too disappointed because those nice animals can apparently be quite agressive. We wouldn’t have been happy to be face to face with one of them in the middle of the rainforest!

We’ve also missed the tree kangaroos, the platypus, the pythons and other tree snakes, and the cute white-lipped tree frogs…Luck was not on our side this time!

On the contrary, there is another little creature that we would have prefered to stay away from!
We were quietly walking in the rainforest. Well, no, actually we were a bit stressful because the path was steep, muddy, not well-marked, and we were listening to all the noises, afraid to meet cassowaries! Once back in the car, we took the road again. That is when we’ve noticed that we were not really alone… We each had leaches on our legs!!! That’s when we started to panic! We stoped the car as soon as we could, and managed to get rid of them. Fffiu, we can keep going now… Unless… Apparently, the battery of the car is down! Hopefully, a few minutes later, we found someone to help us. What an adventure!

We are now spending a few days in Cairns, before doing some WWOOFing again in a few days!

WWOOFing in Mossman

  • From: Cairns, Australie
  • To: Port Douglas, Australie
  • Distance: 67km

We’ve just spent one week in Mossman, at Trudie and Tony’s farm. They produce wine from tropical fruits at the Shannonvale Winery. They are producing and picking most of the fruits they use in their wines.

“No, it’s not sweet and sticky”

It’s very interesting to know more about tropical fruit wines. Plus, it’s very good! We had the pleasure to taste some of them: passionfruit, mango, jaboticaba (a fruit from Brasil), ginger, and lime! These are the main wines they sell, but they also produce some fortified wines from lytchee, cocoa, black sapote, orange, ginger, and lime.

As they are advertising about their wines: “No, it’s not sweet and sticky”! As grape wine amateur and great conoisseur, they know how to fight against the wrong ideas people can have about tropical fruit wines. Even if tropical fruit wines do have a fruit taste, it is possible to get dry wines! For instance, the passionfruit wine can be compared to a riesling.

A lot to learn and discover!

Of course, as WWOOFers, we didn’t have the opportunity to learn everything about the production of tropical fruit wines. But still, it has been a great experience. We have learned more about what have to be done to produce that kind of wine. We have helped to bottle wine, to label bottles, to press some fruits, etc.
And we also had the chance to get some individual lessons during the diners shared with our hosts!

Mossman area

We were working during the morning. We had our afternoons (and two bikes!) to explore the area. We have been to Mossman Gorge in the Daintree National Park, a huge and beautiful piece of tropical forest. This area is also famous for its sugarcane plantations. From what we have heared, this is the kind of habitat where you can meet the famous Coastal Taïpan!! We even think we have met one (but he didn’t see us, cause he had no head anymore)… crushed on the road.

We are now spending a few days in Port Douglas, before going back to Cairns. From there, we will hire a campervan for one week. In the area, no bus nor train! If you want to explore the surrounding, it’s better to have your own wheels… This will be the opportunity for us to experiment the campervan life. Sounds fun!

As usual, here are a few pictures of our stay in Mossman!

WWOOFing on Magnetic Island


To WWOOF on an island near the great barrier reef sounds nice, don’t you think? We do. So this is what we did! And we don’t regret it, it was another great experience.

Maggie island

A month ago, we didn’t even know about Magnetic Island. This island is facing Townsville (where we did our last WWOOFing) and is not so far from the great barrier reef.

Here the climate is sub-tropical, the vegetation and the weather are really different from the south-east part of the country. National parks are covering a big part of the island, lots of beautiful beaches, and also nice forest with a very rich fauna and flora. This time, we met nice spiders, koalas, lizards and once again a whole bunch of colorful birds! Didn’t get the chance to meet snakes and rock wallabies which also live on the island.

What we especially liked about Magnetic Island is that it is less touristic than all the cities and islands where we have been so far.

Our hosts : Rodrigo, Shereene and Ishtar

We spent one week at Rodrigo, Shereene and Ishtar’s (their daughter). Rodrigo was born in Mozambic and lived in a lot of different countries since : Mozambic, Portugal, Macau, Australie. He also travelled a few times around the world. Our trip around Australie didn’t really impressed him, but he knows what it is for having done it himself. Shereene, his wife, is australian, has polynesian origins and is a wonderful cook. Her leitmotiv would be: “Why buy what you can do yourself”. So yes it takes more time, but the outcome is just delicious… and very healthy !

About our job as WWOOFers, as Rodrigo and Shereene do not own a farm but a lovely house with a beautiful garden, we helped them in this garden. We also cut bamboos to build a fence and did another big wooden fence at the back of their garden.

We really enjoyed our time there with them, discussing about cooking, travels (and they did a lot), family, etc. We even had the chance to sit around a fire in their garden playing (at least learning…) Didgeridoo and djumbe which Rodrigo is very good at. Apologies to the neighbours because I must say that I still have to practice Didgeridoo… Rodrigo also practices meditation every morning. Also very interesting to talk about.

So once again, we met lovely people and learned a lot of interesting things!

+ Gardening in Townsville

  • From: Airlie Beach, Australie
  • To: Proserpine, Australie
  • Distance: 26km
  • From: Proserpine, Australie
  • To: Ville de Townsville, Australie
  • Distance: 265km

After our cruise in the Whitsundays, we took a train to Townsville. Towsnville is a rather big city, but not so touristic. There, we have been helping Thalia in her garden. Thalia is a young woman (half greek, half german) living in Australie for 10 years now. She lives in a beautiful old queenslander house in South Townsville. Last february, a cyclone hit the area and broke a few things in her garden. Thalia doesn’t have much time to do it herself as she’s working at the university in Townsville, so we were here to give her a hand (mowing the loan, weeding, pruning trees, etc.).

This experience was a bit different than the other ones because we were really autonomous and alone during the day. Thalia also found us 2 bikes which we could use to visit around. We went on the strand (Townsville esplanade), visited the Reef HQ aquarium, climbed the castle hill which has a great view over the city and Magnetic Island, etc.

And of course we spent a lot of time chatting with Thalia who worked as a psychiatrist in Townsville before she worked at the university. She worked with a lot of aboriginal people, and could share with us her knowledge about their culture, but also tell us more about their sad recent history (since the “white” arrived in Australia) and all the traumas that it causes to them and how it goes from generation to generation. In north Queensland, we meet a lot of aborigenes, but the perspectives for these people seem very limited in the cities as most of them are prisonners of alcohool and other types of drugs…

Like we said above, Townsville is facing an island called Magnetic Island, our next stop. We will tell you more about it in a few days!

Sailing Cruise in the Whitsundays!


We are just back from a 3 day sailing cruise in the Whitsunday Islands. The least we can say is that is was “pretty awesome”! Long story short, we have been on a sailing ship called the S.V. Whitehaven for 3 days. This ship can take on board up to 30 people, crew included. This time we are only 12 which is great! Because to be honest, being on a boat is fun but you have to like small spaces. Alright, you are surrounded by the ocean. But your room… Don’t expect it to be biger than your toilets (I hope you have big toilets at home…).

Great activities, Rough sea…

On the agenda for this 3 days: sailing, beach, snorkeling, kayaking and snorkeling again. And if we are nice people, maybe a bit of snorkeling again. Great because we love snorkeling!

In the end we have to say that they didn’t lied to us! Or maybe a little bit about the sailing part… Because we mainly did “engine assisted” sailing without sails… But we had so many things to do and see, it wouldn’t have been wise to rely in the wind! Plus, we do prefer snorkeling and the see was a bit rough. So good thing we went quickly through this weather with the engine on!

Whitehaven beach… under the rain!

This cruise is made to enjoy some of the most beautiful spots of the Whitsunday Islands. Unfortunately for us, weather was not so good and we had to deal with a few showers. Our bigest regret might be Whitehaven beach because the rain started to fall at the very moment we went on shore. And of course stopped when we left…

Kayaking with the turtles

It is hard to describe our kayaking experience with the turtle… But in a nutshell, it was simply amazing!

We went kayaking in the bay right next to whitehaven beach. This bay is know for sheltering a lot of green turtles. And indeed we met a looooooot of them! We were kayaking just next to them. So close that we were able to touch them!

Snorkeling… with turtles too !

Regarding snorkeling, the whitsunday islands is a great spot! Water is crystal clear, you get a great visibility underwater. Fishes are so colorful we think we even found the one that inspired the sporting clothes in the 90′ (

We did many snorkeling sessions in different spots. The crew gave us interesting speech about fishes, corals and shellfishes in the Whitsundays.

To end this post (because we could talk about it for hours), during the last snorkeling session, I had the chance to meet a huge green turtle which didn’t seem surprise to see me, neither was I (yes I am lying, it scared the shit out of me…). So we decided to have a swim together. And this is how I ended up swimming for about 15 minutes with a giant green turtle. It made my day!

As you can see, we had a great time during this cruise. If you have the chance to come around and you want to try go on a sailing cruise, we definitely recommend you the S.V. Whitehaven!

Sorry we only took a few a pictures, we hope you will like them: