Airlie Beach

Les Whitsunday Islands sont un groupe de 74 îles dont certaines font partie d’un parc naturel autour de la grande barrière de corail où les amateurs de plongée sont aux anges.

J’y j’ai trouvé ce que je voulais, auprès de la Whitsunday Marine Academy: une école de voile et donc je n’ai que pu en profiter! Le plus amusant, c’est que j’avais trouvé cette école sur Internet avant de partir du Luxembourg et au final j’ai toqué à leur porte sur place. L’instructeur était sensationnel et avait des astuces mnémotechniques incroyables. La formation s’effectue en deux parties: introduction et competent crew.

L’introduction à la voile s’est faite sur un vaisseau remarquable: Eureka II – 60 pieds de long, il est impliqué dans la prestigieuse compétition Sydney-Hobart. Comme un cyclone se formait au large, le vent était de la partie et la navigation se faisait à 30 nœuds et l’on tanguait de 45 degrés. Les compagnons de voyage étaient tous des gens incroyables mais je plains la fille Irlandaise qui était malade tout au long du trajet. Les quelques plongées dans la barrière de corail (grâce à une combinaison contre les piqûres mortelles de certaines méduses) ont été sensationnelles aussi – certains seront peut-être jaloux quand je leur raconterai ce que j’ai vu parmi les poissons de toutes les couleurs et toutes les tailles nageant autour des coraux dansants dont certains mesurent plusieurs dizaines de mètres, le tout à proximité des dauphins et tortues.

Je suis ensuite parti quelques jours plus au sud, au niveau de la côte du Capricorne (car située au niveau du tropique du Capricorne) pour revenir ensuite finir mon apprentissage maritime.

Et pour finir, voici quelques images sélectionnées:

Airlie Beach
Sailing in the Whitsundays Whitsundays
Whitsundays Whitsunday Islands
Rainbow in the Whitsundays from Eureka II sailing boat
from Eureka II sailing boat Airlie Beach beach walk Airlie Beach Airlie Beach


This is not about the cartoon Powerpuff girls; Townsville is a city named after Robert Towns, founder of the city located in Queensland, Australia.

The city in itself looked quite special and it took me half an hour to walk from the railways station to the city centre. On the first day it looked like a ghost town: no one in the streets and many buildings were for lease, even on the main mall (Flinder Street). This is where I found one of the greatest opened wireless networks during my trip, just on a picnic table near a kiosk where I could get soft drinks and snacks.

A few minutes after my arrival, a shower caused a minor flooding but this did not stop me from visiting the area. I directly went to the marina to look for sailing lessons and the only note I found looked more like a scam quite similar to those who offer you a cheap and quick university degree.

The Strand was a great place to chill around with the historic pool and all kind of attractions for all ages, and a beach that includes a swimming enclosure that protect against stingers so people can swim and avoid the deadly jellyfishes. I played on some of the “rides” and tested my strength and balance

The Museum of Tropical Queensland has a part dedicated to the Pandora Ship Wreck that has been found after two centuries.

Townsville is the gateway to Magnetic Island, an island mostly in a natural park where I hired a push bike, managed to get my first sunburn (despite the rain!). So I cycled and hiked along and between the bays and took many pictures.

Warning signs in Magnetic Island:
General Warnings Marine Stingers

Found in the streets of Townsville:
Spider Men chair

The Strand and around:
Townsville's park Townsville's Marina
Trees and boats Tree
/me in Townsville

Magnetic Island:
Magnetic Island


Climate and weather

I always wanted to visit either an equatorial or a tropical area during the humid season, so I took the opportunity to try this time; when I landed I was first very impressed by how green the land and vegetation were.

The second strange (enjoyable) feeling appeared as soon as I got outside from the plane or any air conditioned building: an unexpected heat wave. In Europe this is quite unlikely as rain and humid weather comes with fresh or cold temperatures.

The weather was very similar during my stay: mostly cloudy with isolated rain drops, then once in a while a heavy shower and possibly a few sun rays.

Below: sunset in Cairns and weather forecast.

Cairns sunset Cairns weather forecast

People visiting Cairns

The city in itself is really a special place with many tourist resorts and a very high percentage of stores are named tourist information and booking centre (understand: travel agents who make a commission of 20% on tours booked). I noticed that the average people visiting Cairns stays in shopping malls that could have been named either New Tokyo or New Berlin due to the amount of Japanese and German tourists crashing around. I believe that Cairns is a good place to open a store as so many of them are not original at all – got my idea :D.


Despite it was the low season, many people had the idea to visit it because it was. Despite it, I was the only person hiking outside the city where the only persons I met on my way were a couple of aboriginal people. At least now I know why they call rainforest rainforest; the experience was awesome despite the extreme humidity. I could not figure out if my outlet was wet because of the rain or my sweat: a shower was so enjoyable afterwards!

Due to the rain, I did not take many pictures, but below a sample is available:

Crocodiles like Germans. Crocodiles may be in this river.
Crocodile River

Rainforest, creek, tropical plant and heavy rain:
Rainforest Rainforest creek
Tropical plant Heavy rain

Next stop

I caught the train to Townsville and did not know if it would have been on track as it was flooded. Fortunately, everything was fine and I jumped into the Sunlander, a train where the economic class was more like the 1st in European trains with an excellent service like in old fashion trains. In addition, it was almost empty and I shared the car with a youth going to Townsville too who I met twice there! Sugar cane and banana plants were common on the way; in addition the flood was impressive – the rest of Australia is (was) experiencing one of the worst dryness.


I arrived in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon and left on Monday morning.

This was quite a shock! Leaving Tassie’s bush-camping activities to the metropolis city during Chinese new year is just so much contrast. I was quite used to greet and talk to anyone I met in Tasmania, but here it is just not technically possible to say a quick “hi” to anyone you meet on your way. Honestly, it was not even possible to look at each person you meet.

Melbourne was really hot: 38 degrees Celsius (~100°F) in the shade but I didn’t find any shade on my way. Locals have been waiting for rain for months and I brought rain with in Melbourne too. Sometimes I am wondering if I could be a professional rainmaker?

I stayed in North Melbourne – close to the zoo and shared a place with an student from Canberra.

I bought on Sunday a transport pass for trams, trains and busses, for $2.50 – valid in three zones so I spent a few hours at St Kilda and the only stop announcement from the driver was “next stop: the beeeeeeeeeeach!”, so I went to the marina; it was one of those where you will only find boats from fortuned people who believe a boat is a another great sign of wealth to show; there was not even a single sailing boat there.

On Monday, I was quite happy to leave this place; big cities are definitely not for me. It’s time for me to take off to Cairns, gateway to the tropics and I feel insanely good about going to this area during the humid season and certainly won’t regret it! Crocodiles, jellyfishes, stingers, cyclones and other adventures are waiting for me.

Now for the lazy, here are the pictures!

This car parked on a cycling lane is normal, it’s only a cycling lane during commuting hours, followed by chinese new year:
Cycle lane in Melbourne Chinese new year in Melbourne

A few buildings by night:
Melbourne bynight Melbourne by night

and during the day:
Building in Melbourne, reflecting clouds Building in Melbourne
weird Flower in Gardens

To finish, a flower in the botanic gardens and what it needs to survive, the rain which was coming:
Flower in botanic gardens Thunderstorm is coming

Two weeks in Tasmania

I spent two weeks around Tasmania where the devil may become extinct due to human agriculture’s policy against the environment. Thus for economic reasons they use chemic products (fertilizer) that literally kill the Tasmanian devils; who is the real devil? The way they are protected against this tumor disease is very simple: lock them in a park where they can’t escape. Which choice would you make between liberty and life? Maybe life as if there is no life there won’t be any liberty either. But would you let anyone else take that decision for you?

Plane from Melbourne to Hobart
So I flew to Tasmania; despite the least environment friendly, it’s the cheapest way to go to Launceston, a 70 000 inhabitants city that left me quite indifferent until I spent a second day after I discovered the Cataract Gorge Reserve.

As I forgot to take with me all cartography software, you’ll have to be a bit patient until I draw a map of my journey. The way I travelled across Tasmania was from North to South on the western coast and from South to North on the eastern coast, from Launceston to Launceston. This was a tour from an eco-tourism certified professional where we left for camping adventures across the island where we were 6 people (7 for the last days) traveling together feeling close to the nature: for example cooking potatoes in sea water on campfire. After this tour I spend some time hiking around Launceston and quickly visited Devonport before heading on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry to Melbourne.

On the first day, we stopped for a warm up walk and visited the Marakoopa Cave and we hiked up to over 1200 meters (4000 feet) high on Cradle Mountain and stopped at the point named Marion Lookup and we ended up camping in a historic mining town.
Marakoopa Cave Cradle Mountain

On the second day, we continued our trip and hiked up Macdonald Mount after a walk in the biggest Tasmanian rain-forest, followed by a swim in the Pieman river and we set up our camp on a beach beside the Great Southern Ocean where the wind decided to join us. On the next day we left to the Montezuma falls (near Zeehan, old mining town). Montezuma was the mexican company that exploited the mines in the mountains. These falls are the highest in Tasmania and are reachable only after a walk through the rain forest. Then our camp was settled in Hells Gate, a place that people don’t want to leave when they saw it, where I swaged until rainfall woke me up. During that day, I found some Wonka chocolate – but it’s all eaten…

Forest coast

On the fourth day of the trip, we went through a place named Queenstown, also known as Mordor due to acid rains that occurred in the area; thanks to these clever people who only think about short term.

The trip went on, and we stopped at Hobart where a shower was more than welcome after spending five days swimming in rivers, lake, or washing ourselves in the sea, without soap. Anyway all the nature around was worth the effort.

In Hobart, I visited the Wooden boat festival where I fell in love with many (if not most) of the boats – and met one of the exponent on the Ferry leaving Tasmania and we spent hours talking about sailing; I’m currently looking for a sailing school and will move to the area where their concentration is high as low holidays season just started.

Leaving Hobart, we went straight to Port Arthur but just had a quick look around this prison where the british used to jail starving people who grabbed a simple piece of bread. We walked to Cape Raoul then had a tour to Devils Kitchen and Tasman Arch. On the next day we went to Freycinet National Park where only three people of our group chose to climb to Mount Amos where the view is a symbol of Tasmania.

On the last day of the tour, our nice and engaged guide showed us an area where tourists don’t go. They even recommend not to go there as the lands are private and belong to a forest exploitation company that uses a violent technique to exploit the forest: throw napalm gas over it so they only keep the massive trees and make some paper out of these multi centenary rare eucalyptus trees. Since the rest of the rainforest doesn’t have enough commercial value, they just burn it. This paper will be sent to Japan to meet bureaucratic requirements that will always require more bureaucracy – and I believe (Joerg told me once) it would destroy the capitalism system one day. Afterwards, this forest will most likely be a monoculture area. To finish, it was the most beautiful rainforest I have seen during my Tassie trip and I did even fill my water bottle from a creek and drank all the water, proving that the environment is clean.

Below are some pictures taken from this rainforest:
Native Tasmanian rainforest

Later on that day, Dave brought us back to Launceston, where I hiked around and even climbed and jumped between rocks on the river for two days before I left to Devonport, the city where I took the ferry back to Melbourne: Spirit of Tasmania.

Deux semaines avec le diable – l’extrême Nord

Un ciel magnifique m’a accompagné au long du trajet.

Tasmanian sky Spirit of Tasmania Ferry

Et bien, Devonport n’a rien de particulier, si ce n’est que c’est la gateway du Ferry Spirit of Tasmania. J’y ai certainement dormi à l’endroit le plus vétuste de ma vie où les douches m’ont plus fait penser aux douches des camps nazis et le lieu était rempli de Koréens travaillant à la récolte des fruits sur leur visa Working Holiday. Il y a tellement de touristes qu’à peine sorti, des policiers ont patrouillé et m’ont demandé si tout allait bien.

Stars Sea and East Devonport
Devonport's Lighthouse bynight

Le lendemain matin, lever de bonne heure afin d’attraper le Ferry pour Melbourne qui embarque à 9 heures, pour débarquer à 19h.

Le trajet fut bien sympathique, j’ai partagé ma table avec une dame que je pensais seule, mais qui était accompagnée par son mari (je suppose) et un ami; qui a exposé au Festival des bateaux en bois de Hobart. On a donc beaucoup parlé de bateaux au long du trajet, ce qui renforce mon envie de faire le pas vers ce monde 🙂

Cargo Boat Boat transporting cars
Boat Another boat

L’arrivée dans la baie de Melbourne s’est sentie d’un coup de chaud; en l’espace de 30 secondes, la température extérieure est montée à 38 degrés.

Melbourne Skyline

À bientôt pour de nouvelles aventures!

Deux semaines avec le diable – Launceston

Trois jours passés à Launceston – principalement à randonner autour de la ville. Le confort et la sympathie du Bed & Breakfast de Hi George étaient simplement sensationnels.

Le nombre d’habitants de Launceston est comparable à celui de Luxembourg ville, et pourtant on peut manger en ville 24h/24 et magasiner 7j/7 jusqu’à minuit – au supermarché du coin.

Le must, selon moi, à Launceston, c’est bien The Cataract Gorge Reserve. J’y suis même allé deux fois et durant mes périples. j’y ai perdu trace d’un chemin de randonnée et j’ai commencé à marcher le long d’une rivière, ce qui a continué en escalade et sauts au dessus de l’eau présente entre les roches (et je le referais bien!). On peut passer de longues heures à marcher jusqu’à Trevallyn State Recreation Reserve.

bridge Launceston Many rivers to cross
Real pizzeria birdie
Cataract Gorge Reserve dam lake
dam lake

La découverte de cette réserve à proximité de la ville m’a fait apprécier cet endroit car je sais qu’à chaque instant on peut s’échapper de la civilisation.

Deux semaines avec le diable – jour 9

Cette journée s’est passée hors des senties battus qui sont reconnus pour le tourisme, mais cette journée à été celle du tourisme responsable. L’endroit que j’ai visité est totalement interdit car les terrains sont privés et appartiennent à une compagnie d’exploitation forestière dont le but est de récupérer un maximum de bois en faisant un minimum d’efforts. Comment? Il suffit de bombarder la forêt de Napalm et seuls les grand arbres ne brûlent pas, multi-centenaires et qui serviront à fabriquer de la pâte à papier qui contribuera au fonctionnement de la bureaucratie japonaise. Ensuite ces arbres d’une rare essence seront remplacés soit par des vergers, soit des forêts à monocultures.

Cette rainforest est la plus belle que j’ai visité (mais aussi la plus hostile, avec des bêtes qui s’accrochent à nous et nous sucent le sang comme des vampires), j’ai rempli ma bouteille d’eau depuis l’eau d’un ruisseau: rares sont les endroits sur terre où cela reste possible aujourd’hui.

native tasmanian rainforest tree trunk
cascade Feather

Puis, retour tranquille vers Launceston…

Merci Dave pour ce tour passionnant et engagé!

Deux semaines avec le diable – jours 7 et 8

Septième lever sur l’île du diable, de bonne heure, le voyage continue après cette journée de pause.

Pour l’anecdote, certains chocolats chaud que l’on peut trouver en Australie sont dégoûtants – de la crème mélangée à de la vapeur d’eau, avec une millidose de chocolat, mais cela est vite oublié car la randonnée qui m’attend à Cape Raoul (à proximité de St Arthur, ancienne prison où les anglais envoyaient les mendiants qui avaient volé un morceau de pain…) va être géniale (et l’a été!).

Ensuite, nous avons visité des curiosités locales qui sont des formations rocheuses peu courantes: Devils Kitchen et Tasman Arch.

Puis la journée s’est terminée comme d’ordinaire, à monter les tentes et préparer un feu pour le campement.


Huitième lever sur l’île, toujours aussi passionant!

Direction le parc Freycinet National Park où j’ai escaladé (avec un suédois, une écossaise ayant récemment emménagée à Melbourne et Dave notre guide) le Mont Amos – escaladé est peut-être un peu abusé, mais certaines parties étaient un peu plus que de la marche. Du haut de ses quelques centaines de mètres, on assiste à une vue imprenable sur les baies aux alentours qui ne fait rien regretter de l’effort accompli. Une rencontre avec un wallaby a eu lieu lors de la descente, mettant encore plus d’authenticité au voyage.

cute wallaby

Après l’effort, le réconfort, et donc: picnic sur la plage! Je me suis laissé tenter par un dessert que faisait un Brisbanais: une tartine de Nutella sur laquelle on rajoute de la confiture de fraise – et bien – j’aime bien!

L’après midi, nous sommes allés visiter Nature World, seul endroit où j’ai vu des Diables de Tasmanie. Malgré les animaux qui sont toujours plaisants à voir, je n’ai pas trop apprécié la politique de ce parc, où le garde fait toucher les animaux aux visiteurs – j’ai refusé et il avait l’air surpris.

birdie Tasmanian devil
snake kangaroo

La journée s’est terminée à faire du camping sauvage dans une forêt d’eucalyptus, après la pluie. Les essences ressortaient et je me sentais au paradis! Et dire que les koalas passent leur temps dans ces arbres, je suis jaloux :).