WWOOF in Australia
Work Your Way Down Under
Willing Workers on Organic Farms International (WWOOF), www.wwoof.org, is an organization that helps travelers connect with organic farmers all over the world. It was an ideal way to get around the many challenges I faced when traveling in Australiaa limited budget, meeting others as a solo traveler, and traveling long distances.
With WWOOF Australia I was able to give four to six hours of labor each day in exchange for a nights food and lodging. Organizing my wwoof experiences around my travel itinerary helped me to break up long journeys between destinations.
The more than 1,600 hosts all over Australia give you plenty of options from which to choose. For example, work is available at a horsebackriding business in Tasmania, a sheep station in outback Western Australia, a yoga center in Sydney, and an artists retreat in Queensland.
In addition to the woof positions available in the book, being a member of WWOOF can provide travelers with other spontaneous work opportunities. While at a hostel in Adelaide, South Australia, I found an advertisement on the notice board seeking two wwoofers to housesit for 10 days on nearby Kangaroo Island. And in the Australian outback I helped an artist restore her art gallery.
Becoming a WWOOF Australia member is easy. The cost is AU$50 (US$30) or AU$60 (US$37) for two people traveling together. You can become a member by visiting WWOOF Australias website. WWOOFING is open to any nationality.
WWOOFING in Australia is limited to those who are at least 18 years old with a tourist visa. Many hosts are happy to have children stay but they will not be covered by the insurance plan.
To find a good host thoroughly read all entries in the WWOOF book before selecting those that sound interesting. Make a contact and call to ask any questions you might have before making a decision. Selecting a host with whom you have something in common makes a key difference.
Give of yourself. The WWOOF Australia book says it best: If you see your host as free food and accommodation, your host will see you as cheap labour.
If youre from outside Australia, share your culture: offer to cook your national dish and bring photos so your hosts can learn about you too.
Dont say youll stay for two weeks and then decide half way through to leave early. Instead, stay a few days (the minimum is two) and see how it goes. If you are getting on well with your hosts, they may agree to extend your stay. WWOOFERs have been known to stay for more than a year!
The WWOOF books are updated a few times a year so dont order yours too far in advance. Plus, your 12-month membership will start from the date of issue.
Have your own travel insurance as the plan included in the membership is limited.
Many hosts can accommodate multiple workers, so you can consider traveling with a signficant other or friends.