If you’d like to experience life working on an organic farm you could WWOOF your way around Australia. No, no, you don’t have to do dog impressions, even though you may find yourself digging in the dirt. Being a WWOOFer is a great way to travel around Australia and save money on accommodation and food costs by offering to volunteer. So here is the lowdown on how to WWOOF your way around Australia.
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What does WWOOF stand for
WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and it is an exchange program. WWOOF Australia is part of a world wide network.
How does WWOOF Work
In exchange for your willingness to work, you’ll receive food, somewhere to sleep, first-hand knowledge of agricultural methods and experience your host’s way of life. The usual hours worked are between 4-6 hours per day with a maximum of 38 hours over 7 days.
Work you can do
Maybe learn to milk a cow
Work is varied and will depend on the farm you choose to volunteer on. These can include, but are not limited to: Vineyard Operators, Coffee Producers, Tea Tree Farms, Eucalyptus Oil Distillery, Oyster Farm, Pearl Farmers, Cattle Stations, Hobby Farmers, Butterfly Farms, Animal Rescue, Herb Specialists, Dairy Farmers, Bio Dynamic Farmers, Garlic Farmers and Agro Forestry. So you could be milking cows, tending to fruit and vegetables, pulling in fishing nets, rounding up cattle, bottle feeding baby animals, driving farm equipment – the opportunities are endless. Duties should be confirmed between you and your host before you decide to volunteer there.
Advantages to being a WWOOFer
There are a number of advantages to being a WOOFer and they include:
- Learning first-hand from Aussie Host Farmers about organic farming, permaculture and bio-dynamic farming techniques.
- Know Hosts have agreed to WWOOF guidelines ensuring your safety.
- Learn new skills. These could be milking a cow to growing organic vegetables
- When you volunteer you live with the host and experience Australian life with your host.
- It is a cheap way to travel Australia as your accommodation and food are included in exchange for your work.
- Farms are located all over Australia so you can experience different areas.
How to become a WWOOFer
Tending free-range chickens
To become a WWOOFer you will need to register for a 12 month membership. Membership provides exclusive access to the online directory of organic farm hosts, and other volunteers. After purchasing your membership you can go online and peruse the directory of some 1300 organic farm hosts, contact one or two in the area you wish to experience and voila, your life as a WWOOFer begins. A 12 month membership currently costs $70 for singles and $120 for a dual (2 people) membership. You can purchase your membership here.
How to become a Host
If you own some land and need some help consider becoming a WWOOF Host. Being a host means you have access to volunteers who wish to learn about the farming that you are doing. To become a WWOOF host you will need to apply for a membership. Once you have this you can post on the WWOOF website that you are looking for volunteers and can contact potential WWOOF volunteers. You can purchase your membership here.
Becoming a WWOOFer will allow you to travel around the Australia to not only gain experience on an organic farm but will offer an insight into a unique Australian way of life of your host.
PS: WWOOF Australia is part of WWOOF Worldwide so if you want to volunteer in another country check out www.wwoof.com.
PPS: Attention Working Holiday Makers – If you are interested to extend your Working Holiday Visa read this article on when you WWOOF as part of the Bushfire Recovery you can qualify to extend your working holiday visa. Visit www.wwoof.com.au for more details.