Australia, Workaway
comments 20

Finding My Love For Astrophotography And Stargazing In Australia

As I grabbed myself in the middle of a pitch-dark forest with nothing but a cosmic diffusion of blackness spread all around and looked above, the sky glittered in the distance. It felt like a fairy tale with a million stars twinkling in my eyes. I couldn’t recall when did I last saw something as beautiful and surreal.

They say that the Southern Hemisphere holds all the good stuff, with most of the largest and brightest galaxies visible directly through a naked-eye. I couldn’t agree more. Here the central parts of the Milky Way are always directly over your head, stretching from the horizon to horizon, like an open, brilliant bruise.

As the night grew darker, and any sort of artificial light disappeared, the many diffused nebulas and a hazy Milky Way took over the reality, giving an unbelievably strong bright light, casting dramatic shadows of anything and everything that stood tall on the ground.

At about 3-hour drive, in the east of Perth, The Space Place Observatory (the place I was volunteering at) offered people around Perth a quick escape and an ideal way to explore and learn more about the universe.

The business was run by a middle-aged couple Hans and Bella, who were, themselves, fascinated by the idea of stargazing, hence decided to pursue their passion by running a family business around it. Owning a few high range telescopes and giving people a flabbergasting experience of their lifetime, to me, at least, it felt like a wonderful retirement plan.

I remember the first time I looked through the telescopes, as it pointed towards Saturn, it was an experience of a different kind. So far in this lifetime, I grew up hearing and reading that name, but now I was actually looking at it. Never did I feel so real and insignificant at the same time.

And the fact that some of the galaxies, that I later saw, were a few billion light-years away, (meaning that the light that made me see them was) belonging to a time when dinosaurs were still alive on earth, was totally overwhelming!

The first “wow” moment of my stargazing adventure, however, took place before I had even looked through a telescope. Staring up at the cloudy night sky one cold August evening when winter hits the southern hemisphere with all its might, I spotted a bright pinprick of light to the south-west. “Which star is that?” I asked Bella, who was too consumed repeating “gorgeous” over and over again. A few moments later, she replied, “Rigel, one of the few brightest starts up there,” sounding a little irked as if I’d almost disturbed her from a meditative state.

I happened to stay with Hans and Bella for nearly a week, as a workawayer, helping them in the garden, managing guests during the nights of stargazing event, and a bit of help here and there, including feeding and looking after their bunch of cute Alpacas.

I had a one bedroom caravan to myself, parked in an open field, with nothing but a few acres of garden surrounding me from one side, and a stable with four cute Alpacas inside, on the other. Right above, was the beckoning infinite space that sparkled almost every-night, during the time I stayed there.

I think volunteering is a wonderful way to travel and learn more the world we live in, as it allows you to absorb a place more closely and relatively than you otherwise can. And because of the fact that you’re volunteering for someone, they are always more eager to share ideas, their learning, and expertise with open arms — forget about the all money it saves for you.

[Also Read: Using Workaway For Travelling The World Without Spending Much Money]

During my one week stay with Hans and Bella, I visited the nearby towns with them every-time they went shopping, visited the community fire-department station (because they’re volunteering there) and met almost all the guests that visited them in the house. The learning was unlimited, and the memories, long-lasting.

In just one week, I learned more about the outer-space and the planets that surround us, than the entire life put together. Though I think I still know (almost) nothing about it because there’s so much to learn about it that you never believe in yourself no matter how much you know. Almost like my two weeks of volunteering in a Horse-farm in Germany, where even a daily riding lesson felt like nothing in the end.

But just like many other experiences, that came my way as I continue travelling footloose and free, while following the idea of slow-travel, this one-week of stay with Hans and Bella, in their lovely property, with all the unique experiences we shared together, is going to stay in my happy memories, almost forever!

[My Other Workaway ExperiencesStaying With A Roman Family | Getting Horse Riding Lessons In Germany]

If you like my way of travelling, why not…

  • Follow my journeys more closely on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.
  • You can also Subscribe to my monthly newsletter (only once every month!) and get my posts and some free giveaways delivered to your inbox!
Filed under: Australia, Workaway


After my couple of years of corporate career, I left that lifestyle behind, and with it, everything that didn't fit in a backpack. I've learned that this world is too big (and too interesting!) to spend your life working at one place, and that's what inspires me to remain footloose and fancy-free for the rest of my life!


  1. Buy Contact Lenses says

    Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amazing man, worderful post by you. Made me wish to be there with you. Keep up living this way, Kudos to you. I so feel like being there. Amd fantastic clicks. Feel so inspired. 🙂
    All the best for your future endeavours.

  3. Summer says

    Your pictures are fascinating! I cannot believe you learned all of this through volunteering…that is incredible. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!!

  4. harjeet singh says

    Your pictures are so good. And the way you write your articles….. such a talent.

  5. Great post. Volunteering is definitely the best way to learn about yourself and other people. Ive always been interested in space, the stars, the planets etc. Fantastic photos, it sounds and looks like an incredible experience.

    • Cheers. It was definitely a wonderful experience. Have tried volunteering in Italy and Germany too, they all were memorable experiences, and not to forget, you make a lifelong relationship with the people you end up staying with.

  6. Love your story and the photos are amazing. Always wondered how people cappture milky-way like this, or that star-trail. Any tips how it can be done, and can I do this with a phone?

    • If your phone allows you to play with shutter speed, ISO and aperture, you can do this. Put your phone on a tripod or on a surface, have over ISO anywhere over 1600, Shutter Speed slower than 10 seconds and Aperture as wide as available.

  7. One Degree, No Direction says

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to volunteer in exchange for a place to stay but never got around to doing it. I’ll have to do that soon. Your experience sounds incredible and the photos are beautiful!

  8. Steph says

    This sounds like such an incredible experience! How lucky you are! And those photos – unbelievable!

  9. Jithin says

    Great narration Dev. I really liked reading your experience. Explore more and write beautiful stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.