If your family loves to travel, enjoys meeting people, and doesn’t mind a little bit of hard yakka, perhaps you should give wwoofing a go. Wwoofing stands for Willing Workers on Organic farms. The concept originated in England and has been operating successfully in Australia since 1981. Wwoof are a non-profit organisation that meets the standards of the National council for Volunteering.
Anyone over the age of 17 can become a wwoofer, a yearly membership gives you access to over 1600 hosts Australia wide. Hosts open their doors to international and aussie travellers of all ages. They expect 4 to 6 hours of work per day in exchange for food and board. The minimum stay is 2 nights and the maximum usually 2 weeks. Wwoofers contact hosts in advance, so all arrangements are by mutual agreement. Accommodation may be a room in the owners’ house, a self-contained cottage, bunkhouses or your caravan on the front lawn. Work varies, from gardening to governessing or fencing to fishing, the list is endless. Although, the name suggests organic farms you will discover a choice of hobby farms, large commercial ventures, outback stations and more.
Wwoofing is for everyone, young or old, singles, couples or families. We have successfully wwoofed as a family; our boys aged three and four embraced the experience, the food was fantastic, and the accommodation provided was a welcome change from our tent. My husband would work with the host, whilst the children and I helped around the house, cooking, cleaning, feeding animals, picking veggies or collecting eggs. With workers from all over the globe, you are part of a wonderful cultural exchange. Our hosts took into consideration the age and ability of their helpers, shared their local knowledge when sightseeing and ensured all wwoofers left with a full stomach and plenty of great memories.
Wwoofing allows people to travel on a tight budget whilst experiencing someone else’s way of life. We learnt to milk cows, speak Korean, play the guitar, farm organically, and at the end of a hard days work, there was a sense of achievement. So next time you are planning a break, consider getting back to basics on an outback station, farming sea kelp in Tasmania or perhaps lending a hand on a nearby hobby farm.
Annual membership costs are approx $55 single or $70 per couple or family (includes basic insurance)
Membership book listing all hosts updated twice yearly
Worldwide wwoof list is available for around $25
wwoof head office ph (03) 51550218
NZ – www.wwoof.co.nz
Artcile by courtesy of Leah Squire www.byokids.com.au