+ + Byron Bay: still enjoying holidays

  • From: Port Macquarie, Australie
  • To: Wauchope, Australie
  • Distance: 20km
  • From: Wauchope, Australie
  • To: Grafton, Australie
  • Distance: 247km
  • From: Grafton, Australie
  • To: Byron Bay, Australie
  • Distance: 177km

We just spent three days in Byron Bay, Australia most easterly point! The town is well known for its great surfing spots and its hippie community. This place is very different from Port Macquarie which was more of a place to spend the hollidays with the family. Byron bay is a mandatory stop for all the young backpackers and you can feel it: lots of fast food, bars, night clubs, and shops.

Besides there is nothing much to do. Just relax, work your tan on the beach, surf some waves, have a swim. Important note: the water is rather warm, 25°c ! It helps a lot to enjoy a morning swim. That’s a good reason to try a sunrise surfin’ like we did in Port Macquarie. We loved it the last time so why shouldn’t we try here!

So here we are at 5:30am heading to Tallow Beach because Ed decided to go to the beach dedicated to the “experienced surfers” (hum…). A few minutes later (actually almost 45min because this beach wasn’t the closest one…), we are finally in the middle of the waves with real surf boards (not like foam board we had the first time) and real surfers around! Yes, even at this time there are already a lot of surfers! Ok, we will try to do our best and not annoy them!

There might a bit of hope for Ed, but for me it seems to be harder… I almost exclusively adopted a vertical position. On the surfboard at first, and then… on the beach! We’ll another time but with smaller waves, alright?

Since Port Macquarie weather is just great! Don’t worry about us, we are getting used to wear shorts and swimsuit! Even if it is fall season! The only annoying might be the fact that the days are getting shorter (sunset is around 5pm). At least we can enjoy sunsets!

Sorry if we are getting boring, but here are a few pictures… Of the beaches!

+ Happy Easter from Port Macquarie

  • From: Taree, Australie
  • To: Wauchope, Australie
  • Distance: 69km
  • From: Wauchope, Australie
  • To: Port Macquarie, Australie
  • Distance: 20km

We leave Willina after a one week WWOOFing. In the morning, our hosts drive us to Taree where we will catch a train to Wauchope at the end of the afternoon. Once again, we have to say that this luggage check-in service is very useful for backpackers! It prevents us to carry our 20kg backpacks all day. Then we will take a bus from Wauchope to Port Macquarie.

After 5 intense weeks of WWOOFing, it’s time to have a break!

First stop : Port Macquarie, a charming city on the coast between Sydney and Brisbane. How did we end up in Port Macquarie? We were supposed to meet a friend of a friend. The thing is this friend of friend is away this weekend! Bad luck… but in the end we are more than happy to be here!

Port Macquarie is a lovely town, with amazing beaches (two of them are even dedicated to dogs!!!) and a lot of fun activities to enjoy. We spent 4 relaxing days there, doing many different things: going for early morning runs along the river, walking along the coast on these amazing beaches, visiting the koala hospital and chill beside the backpacker’s swimming pool. Again, we saw a lot of strange animals on our way: some flying foxes and a few giant lizards.

Last but not least, we finally tried surfing!! Quick theoretical lesson the day before to learn the basics (with Richard, the australian surfer stereoptype: long blond hair, well tanned and rather fit!), then the next day around 6am we went to Flynns Beach to practice on the ocean at sunrise! Awesome! Edouard quickly discovered his new hobby! For me, it was a bit more difficult, but I did managed to stand up on the surd a few times! (it was some “baby waves”, but still…). Anyway, we had a lot of fun and we will do it again for sure!

A few pictures to end this post:

WWOOFing in Willina

  • From: Karuah, Australie
  • To: Forster, Australie
  • Distance: 112km

Hi guys! We are back after a one week WWOOFing in Willina! We have a lot of interesting things to tell you about this experience. We’ll try to be organized!

What we did

We were WWOOFing at Bill & Jiliana’s farm. Together they manage a tree nursery and also work as herbalists. We helped them at the nusery and in their “laboratory” where they prepare herbal medecines.

At the nusery, we achieved many different tasks: potting, weeding, fencing and helped for the market (fill the truck, then empty the truck, then fill the truck, then empty the truck). The market experience was a lot of fun, eventhough we had to wake up at 3am to hit the road to Newcastle!

About the fencing thing, I also had a bit of a surprise! At first, fencing can sound like a lot of fun… but I guess I didn’t think the whole through! I didn’t realize that I would have to dig 60cm deep (and 1m in diameter) holes, and of course in a soil mostly made out of rocks… Hard but good for me (at least for my back and my arms)! Oh and I almost forgot… while fencing I had to kill my first snake with a shovel: a brown snake (OK it was a baby but still… it counts).

In the laboratory, we also did a few things. We helped them to prepare herbal tea, some pills and some face cream. It was fun! Plus they offered us some of the products we helped them prepare (Marie seems very happy about that!)

What we ate

This is where things are getting real! Yes, usually when you are WWOOFing you eat great food. But here we will have to tell you more about it. Bill & Jiliana are vegan which means they don’t eat any food that comes from animals (no meat, no milk, no eggs, etc.). You could say that it doesn’t sound very funky at all. But there are many ways to have very good meals without any of these animal products. In fact, we didn’t miss anything at all during this week (not even Ed!!!).

They also follow a specific diet which pay attention to the food combination that are good or not for your digestion. It’s a bit tricky to explain quickly, so we will let you make your own research on the subject.

Bill & Jiliana’s didn’t force us to follow their diet but we decided to give a try for a week. So we had to follow this unusual meals:
No breakfast (or a fruit juice only)
Only fruits and nuts for lunch (very yummy!!!)
Veggies and cereal for dinner

The “No breakfast” thing frightened us a little bit at the beginning but eventually we got used to it (even when working from 7am to 12am). We might think that a lunch with fruits only could be a bit boring. But you have to trust us, our hosts are very creative and manage to make a feist out of a fruit lunch: banana ice cream using frozen bananas only, muesli with nuts and dried fruits, a large variety of fruits, almond milk, etc. Everything home-made!

Very interesting diet! We will analyse the pros ans the cons of such diet on our way of living, but we will keep a few of their recipes and tips for sure!

Where we slept

This is the fun part of our stay at Bill & Jiliana’s (don’t get me wrong, everything was great but what’s following was very fun..). Right in the middle of their farm, at the top of a hill, stands a train carriage. And this is where we slept! We couldn’t really understand how they managed to bring it here but that’s not the point. It was AWESOME! Jiliana set her sewing workshop there and the accomodation for the WWOOFers. That was great to stay there. The view up there is great. Plus, goats and kangaroos were around to wake us up in the morning. Very exotic!

Here are a few pictures to illustrate this post:

+ WWOOFing in North Arm Cove

  • From: Sydney, Australie
  • To: Broadmeadow, Australie
  • Distance: 155km
  • From: Broadmeadow, Australie
  • To: Karuah, Australie
  • Distance: 51km

We leave North Arm Cove tomorrow, where we wwoofed for 1 week at Philippa and Darral’s.

About 20 years ago, Philippa and Darral built the house in which we stayed. Darral designed the house himself by using pentagonal shapes and the golden number. The outcome is a rather unusual house without any right angle, but very comfortable to live in. The environment is also very pleasant! North Arm Cove is located by a river and very close to the ocean. We even have an amazing view on the cove from the house. We are still close to the bush which is good enough for our morning runs (sometimes with kangaroos!).

We mainly helped Philippa in the garden (weeding, collecting wood, pruning, etc.). Darral, who’s working in Sydney during the week spent the weekend with us. we helped him cleaning and organizing his shelter. The only annoying thing were the mozzies, well inplanted in the area! And unfortunately they seem to like our blood…

We had the chance to explore the area (Tea Gardens, Hawk’s Nest beach). And Philippa brought us to a game night organized by their community. We tried bowls, some kind of australian pétanque with balls that don’t roll straight… interesting! Once again the food was delicious! Philippa is a very good cook and made us try her homemade pesto, homemade hommus and some kangaroo meat (very tasty!).

Like we said, we leave tomorrow for another WWOOFing near Coolongolook, a bit up north from here. It will be our last WWOOFing before a touristic period. It has been almost one month that we are wwoofing now and we will be happy to do something else for a little while! Even if all of these experiences were great, it will be good to have a rest from WWOOFing.

Living with australian people is very interesting for us, espacially to learn more about australian culture and traditions. But living in someone else’s home also requiere to adapt each time we arrive in a new house. When you are used to live in your own house and being independant, it can be a bit tiring sometimes… And simply working in farms and gardens for almost one month is rather tiring when you are used to work in an office !

So, we are still enjoying WWOOFing but we will be glad to enjoy this little break from WWOOFing. Next time we will probably organize differently and try not to do 5 weeks of WWOOFing in a row!

Moss Vale > Sydney: crashing at Matt’s

  • From: Moss Vale, Australie
  • To: Sydney, Australie
  • Distance: 127km

Rhondda didn’t seem to be in a hurry today… We have been afraid to miss the train, but we didn’t! We arrive in Moss Vale station right on time to take our train to Sydney.

So, once again we are stopping in Sydney on our way north. Matt (my US roommate we met last time) is hosting us for these two days! His apartment is great and very well located! He is living a few minutes away from Sydney Central station in Surry Hills. The apartment is great and it even has a rooftop with this massive BBQ!

We will make some french crepes to Matt. He said last time he had some was when I cooked him some… 10 years ago ! And of course we also had a BBQ on his rooftop!

That was two very relaxing days between WWOOFing. Thanks a lot Matt for hosting us!

Back in Robertson


We are back in Robertson, where we have spent 3 days at Rhondda’s farm. Like last time, we did a lot of work!

The apple season is over now, so on saturday, we have picked the last apples and removed the nets (the apple trees are protected from the birds by nets). On sunday, we have cut, crushed, and pressed all these apples (a few thousands!). At the end, we have been part to the production of around 200 liters of cider! We even had to do the last pressing by ourselves (and we didn’t have any problem with the machine this time). On monday, we have helped Rhondda to move all the cider’s bottles because there will be some renovation work in the cider house.

We have worked a lot, but once again, we have been well rewarded. Rhondda (a really good cook!) prepared us delicious meals (with fresh vegetables from her garden), always going with a (few) glass(es) of good cider. On sunday evening, we had the chance to meet her husband Paul, with whom we had a great dinner. To finish the week-end, Rhondda took us to show us around on monday. The weather was sunny, so we have been to the coast, to eat a good and fresh fish ‘n’ chip and have a nice walk.

Once again, we have really spent a good time at Rhondda’s farm, and she seemed glad to see us again too. She even offered us to come back again if we are going back near Robertson!

Bungendore > Bowral

  • From: Bungendore, Australie
  • To: Bowral, Australie
  • Distance: 160km

New trip with NSW Trainlink to Bowral, where Rhondda is going to pick us up. Until now, our trains were always on time, but this time the train is delayed. So it can happen even in Australia!

Can we compare to France?

Not at all! For many reasons:

  • When we had bought the tickets, we had been informed that the train would maybe be delayed due to some work on the line
  • We recieved an SMS a few hours before telling us that the train will be 60min late
  • We received another SMS telling us that the train will be only 45min late
  • NSW Trainlink called us on our mobile phone a few minutes before the train arrival to check if we were in the station and to tell us that the train was arriving.

Good service, isn’t it? After that, the trip was quite good, and we finally arrive in Bowral 45 minutes late, and after havig taken our diner in the train!

WWOOFing at Millpost farm


We are back from a week of wwoofing in Bungendore, near Canberra.

We were at Judith and David’s farm, a 60 years old couple who manage a wool growing farm (Merino sheeps). They run a “small” property of 1100 ha and 2500 sheeps (that seems huge for us, but apparently this is quite standard in Australia!). In January, sheeps are sheared and the wool is sold all around the world. They also have a few cows, some choocks and ducks, dogs and a veggie garden. There is always a lot to do in that kind of farm: building a new house for the family, maintaining paddocks, planting new trees, …

During our stay, we could help for some different jobs: picking-up some veggies, chopping wood, weeding, … This really was a farming experience!
During this week, we had the chance to discover Judith and David’s lifestyle. They are trying to live simply and to be as much self sufficient as possible: eating mainly what’s from the veggie garden, cooking on a wood stove, reusing or recycling everything that can be. The environment at the farm is really peacefull and you can have long walks in the property.

This really was an interesting experience. Unfortunately for us, it rained most of the time so it seemed sometimes dificult for our hosts to find us some work. But the rain is really good for the farmers who often suffer from severe drought, so we were happy for them!

We are now going back to Robertson. This name rings a bell? Of course, this is were we had our first wwoofing experience. We are going back to Rhondda’s farm for three days, to help her at the cider house.

+ + Melbourne > Bungendore

  • From: Dunkeld, Australie
  • To: Bakery Hill, Australie
  • Distance: 148km
  • From: Bakery Hill, Australie
  • To: Melbourne, Australie
  • Distance: 114km
  • From: Melbourne, Australie
  • To: Bungendore, Australie
  • Distance: 764km

Wow, this trip from Dunkeld to Bungendore was quite an adventure! Yesterday we arrived in Melbourne in the morning after taking a bus from Dunkeld to Ballarat, and then a train from Ballarat to Melbourne. We left Melbourne at the end of the day around 8pm. We took a night train to go to Bungendore, where we are going to do some wwoofing.

To sleep in the train, we are trying a new technic. Marie is lying on the fllor and I try to lie on the seats. Not so bad. We manage to sleep a bit in the train!

The funny part of the story is that this train doesn’t go to Bungendore. We have to stop in Goulburn (at 4:10am!) and wait for the train to Bungendore (at 9:55am). We have the chance to sleep on the carpet in Goulburn’s station! Finally it was not so bad, but we will be happy to sleep in a real bed tonight. If we have a real bed! When you are wwoofing, you don’t always know what you can expect!

Moss Vale > Melbourne: Night train!

  • From: Moss Vale, Australie
  • To: Melbourne, Australie
  • Distance: 750km

We now leave our first WWOOFing host. We really had a great time at Rhondda’s farm. We are now heading to Melbourne. Rhondda drops us off at Moss Vale station, from where we are taking a night train. Our train leaves at 10:18 pm and arrives in Melbourne at 7:30 am. 9 hours in the train, by night, we’ll see how it goes with NSW Trainlink!


This time, we have booked our tickets online. Very convenient! We don’t need to print them because we can show them on our smartphone. Here, no need to validate your ticket, everybody is controlled!

Thanks to the discovery passes we’ve got, we can travel as much as we want on the NSW Trainlink network, on economy seats. For the night train, we could have upgraded our tickets for sleeping berths, but we would have to pay the difference (for this trip: around $250). So, it’s going to be economy seats for us!

The trip

The train is still on time and very quiet this time. Great for a night train! Inside, it’s once again quite spacious. Seats can lean back a bit. We’ll see if we can sleep.

For the first hours, it is quite difficult. Sometimes we are falling asleep but 15 minutes later, we are awake again, struggling to find the good position. We won’t blame it on the train…. Sleeping while seated has never been easy!

The miracle

At around 3 am, a miracle occurs! The train stops at a station and the couple who was seating next to us got off the train. We wait 5 minutes to see if someone else is going to seat here but it seems not! We can now use two seats each which is quite better to sleep and indeed it works! When we arrive in Melbourne (10 minutes ahead of schedule), we are not so tired. We have managed to get some rest during the night. We won’t even need to take a nap during the day!

We have been quite satisfied with this night train. We would certainly have had a better sleep on sleeping berths but that’s all right! We’ll probably take the train by night again because it seems that we can save a lot of time, compared with driving, for long and direct trips!

It is now time to enjoy Melbourne, where we will stay during the next 2 weeks!