When we are not travelling, we spend time hosting couchsurfers in order to keep our link to this world and to continue to meet new and exciting people. On the 29th November Nick and I were fortunate enough to host the lovely Cliche-Ferguson family; a French Canadian couple and their two gorgeous girls. This post is about the time they spent with us here in Townsville, which was originally posted on their own blog about family travel off the beaten track;

In Townsville we were greeted by Ashlee, Nick and Aryanah.  Upon our arrival the girls quickly adopted their role of big sisters and friends with Aryanah, Ashlee’s 5 year old cousin who resides with them.  It was wonderful to see the three girls play together in the yard with the dogs, Jess and Toby.  Furthermore, Karianne was finally allowed to pet a dog and Zoé, well, was more or less avoiding them.

We had wonderful discussions around the dinner table about Australia, Canada, children and for Stéphane and Nick, they found a common interest, emergency services since Nick is a Paramedic.

Nick and Ashlee did not only host us in their home but also spent the entire day with us around the town, since it was their day off.

Our first stop was Castle Hill, a large granite hill which stands 286 meters above the centre of the city with a 360 degree view of the neighbourhoods, the ocean and Magnetic Island. From a top the mountain, we had fun watching the WWII artifacts, the ocean and F-18 Hornets take off from the base in Townsville.  Zoé and I then raced against the car to the bottom of the hill, and of course Zoé and I won!

We then headed towards the “Kissing Point Fort”, a fort erected at the end of the 1800s to protect Australia against the Russians.  During WWII the fort was reinforced and had foundations and canons added to defend against the Japanese who attacked in July 1942.

Further, we visited the Cape Pallarenda Regional Park which was the chosen sight for the new immigrants when arriving in Australia (Queensland), this area had all the required equipment to disinfect and quarantine individuals or groups and in the process to avoid the spread of disease.  During WWII, this was also the site of a hospital. On the pictures below you can observe the disinfecting equipment that was built in 1915 and used until 1973.

After our visit, we headed towards the famous “Strand” because, in Nick and Ashlee’s opinion, a visit to Townsville would not be complete without eating “fish and chips”  by the beach.

Our day ended with a BBQ at the park and marshmallows around the camp fire, a big treat for Karianne and Zoé who had not yet gone camping this summer.  It is very interesting to note that in Australia there are as many parks as in Canada, if not more.  The particularity of the parks in Australia is that they are equipped with gas BBQ that you are free to use, certainly an idea to share with Canada to reunite families and members of the community.  We even had the opportunity to see a mommy possum and her babies.

It was a great two days with our new friends and it was touching, upon our departure, when Aryanah said bye and that she was sad that she would not be able to play with the girls when she came back from school.

Then we were off to Mooloolaba and the Sunshine Coast…

Written by Isabelle, from

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