We love couch surfing. It is a great way to meet local people and really get to know an area. Cities always have quite a large number of hosts to contact. Darwin is different to other cities as it is the end of the line for back packers, or in some cases the start. They have bought an old van and travelled around Australia or just along the popular east coast and now it is time to sell the van and fly out to the next destination. What better way to end the Australian adventure than staying with a CS host. Also most of them are very “cash strapped”.
Most hosts get upward of 50 requests a week, so we considered our selves lucky to be accepted by Stephanie, her husband Regis and their adorable young daughter.
The very nature of couch surfing means a host must be a very trusting and accommodating type of person. They are opening their home and heart to complete strangers. The CS hosts we have stayed with around Australia have all been very interesting people. Most have travelled widely and have lots of interesting stories to swap. Generally they are interested in conservation and we have learnt a lot from them.
Stephanie believes passionately in recycling, re-using and conservation. She practices what she preaches in her blog www.frugaldownunder@blogspot Visit her blog for lots of money-saving tips and ways of making every thing go further. We went to see the vegetable plot they have in the Darwin Botanic Garden, Snake Bean community garden. It is shared and run on permaculture principles by approx 29 people and was a riot of lush, edible goodies. I helped harvest tomatoes, a number of different varieties, eggplant, snake beans, cucumber, rocket, spinach and a number of herbs. All manner of things are collected by Stephanie to be recycled. It was a revelation of frugality.
We were also very lucky to have Regis as our own personal guide for an hours tour around the Darwin Museum. To be given the back ground history and stories behind the exhibits was a special privilege and brought the museum alive for us. Of special interest was the fishing exhibition which Regis had curated and personally put together. I never knew that there were so many different lures that could be used in fishing. Fishing is a passion for Regis and he has a blog on that subject <theramblingexpat@blogspot>
We spent a week parked in the car port outside the apartment. It had a shade cloth roof that was high enough to push the roof of the van up so we could sleep in Matilda and it was cool in the evening.
I used to live just a few hundred metres from that garden! Nice local story and great find in terms of accommodating hosts!