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Wonga Beach
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1
Persons: 1 or 2
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 46714
Region: Queensland

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Last Updated: December 14, 2017

Hello everyone, welcome to our "profile"! Helpers who have stayed with us say our English is very easy to understand, probably because we have worked a lot overseas. We are patient and understanding to those learning English and easy to speak to on the phone.

Looks like our next vacancy will be in February. This will be either for a non-smoking single person, couple or two friends to help with a variety of work, including in the house, cooking, some gardening and some light landscaping work. We also need help with small-scale, sustainable cutting of timber from unwanted trees, for house construction. This is not as hard as it may sound!

If there are two of you, it would be good if at least one of you has an outdoor, practical background, preferably with some experience with hand tools and/or interior decoration/painting. Chainsaw and carpentry experience very useful but not essential.


Our family home is practically on the beach, just 135 metres from a sandy shoreline in the small community of Wonga Beach (90 minutes drive north of Cairns). We are located between rainforest clad hills and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This is the only area in the world where two World Heritage Areas meet.

There is a small coral reef just 500 metres offshore, where turtles frequent, and nearby but further offshore are the beautiful sandy beaches and coral reefs of Low Isles and Snapper Island.

Weather permitting, we should be able take you out either sea fishing, snorkelling at Low Isle, exploring the Daintree river by boat, or the World Heritage Daintree rainforest, one of the oldest tropical rain forests in the world and home to the amazing cassowary, at least once a week.

Dave is well qualified from a safety perspective, being a PADI SCUBA dive master and a qualified Queensland marine coxswain (small boat captain). He has extensive fishing, diving, underwater photography and boating experience, holds a first aid certificate and is a lifelong birdwatcher.

We have a good-sized swimming pool, maintain a home gym and have 3 very different small boats, two of which you may use by yourselves if you have the necessary experience.

Helpers who value peace and quiet have found ours a good place from which to escape the hostels and chill out for a while. Having a car can be useful however we are not a base from which to sample the Port Douglas night life!


We can be reached by bus, about 90 km north of Cairns, 30 km north of Port Douglas, 17 km north of Mossman and about 50 km south of Cape Tribulation.

Dave will be in Cairns on 27 December so could pick you up then.

Otherwise the most convenient service for us, and the cheapest, is the Transnorth bus service leaving Cairns Central at 7 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, arriving usually before 9 a.m. Book on line for Wonga Beach (Caltex Service Station) via the Cooktown coastal route service.

There are also other shuttle busses to Mossman or Port Douglas leaving regularly from the airport.

If you are arriving in Australia for the first time and have little or no Australian experience, Dave can arrange an airport pick up for you.


We like to host active outdoor people of a practical background who love nature and are happy to work on the land. Those who love seeing the sun rise and can start work early in the first cool hours of a tropical morning will fit in well here.

If we are to invite you to stay in our home with us, as part of the family, a photo on your profile or sent privately by email is expected.

Experience with hand tools, and interests in timber, carpentry, woodworking would be an advantage but not essential.

We do not normally take bookings more than one month in advance unless you have good timber working, carpentry or chainsaw skills.


On our two small properties, we grow a selection of tropical vegetables, herbs and fruit using organic principles. We regularly bake wholemeal bread and eat mostly fresh whole, unprocessed, free-range home and locally-grown produce. We also make sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha (fermented vegetables and a fermented drink).

We do eat a lot of local fresh fish, mostly caught by us, so best do not apply if you don't like delicious fresh fish cooked to a variety of recipes (always happy to try your recipes:-).

Dave does a reasonable home-brewed beer whilst Julie doesn't drink alcohol and of course we run a drug-free household.


Originally from Papua New Guinea, Julie works in a government department in Cairns during the week and is home just for the weekends. Julie is the one to teach you how to husk, crack-open, and grate coconuts (hundreds, free on the beach ...) and if you are really keen, perhaps make coconut cream for use in cooking. Julie has a lifetime's experience of growing PNG vegetables and puts that to good use in our veggie gardens.

Dave, a biologist with post-graduate qualifications in fisheries management, is originally from Scotland. He has worked widely overseas but is now semi-retired from a career in tropical coastal fisheries research, development and management.

We are just starting to cut timber on a sustainable basis from unwanted re-growth trees, mostly pioneer species such as rainforest-edge wattles, and some introduced Caribbean pine. This is for the purpose of building an environmentally friendly, low-footprint timber house for our retirement. Most helpers would be expected to assist but would not be expected to use our chainsaws without significant prior experience.

Recently Dave worked for three years managing the planting of 20,000 trees and establishing and managing nature refuges in the Daintree rainforest for the not-for-profit conservation organisation, Rainforest Rescue. Hence he does take a conservationist's approach to his timber selection and cutting!


You should be prepared to stay for a minimum of two weeks subject to confirmation after a few days trial. So far, six weeks has been the record.

The work will be mainly back-up assistance to Dave whilst he is cutting timber (we emphasise, on an environmentally friendly, sustainable basis) from re-growth trees on private properties in or on the edge of the rainforest (see photos) and plantation pine trees on the tablelands.

It might sound hard but actually it is not: every consideration is given to your comfort and safety!

When in the rainforest, it is usually possible to have a good swim in a rainforest creek at lunch time. Beautiful and so refreshing!!

You would work, on average, around 4 hours a day, excluding coffee/tea breaks and travel time which often involves crossing the Daintree River by ferry. Work is either daily or on a flexible basis. This would be by prior arrangement, e.g. one day's work and then day off.

These 4 hours (and we don't keep a strict count of the hours and minutes but you are welcome to!) are in addition to helping with cooking and washing up. In return we provide your accommodation and all food and offer a long-neck bottle of home-brewed beer or ginger beer every evening. We cook, eat and wash-up together in a family atmosphere.

If you had your own car you would be welcome to take off for the weekends, to explore the area, staying away Saturday night if you like and returning Sunday evenings.

Be prepared, it is a quiet spot, only basic shopping nearby!


You will have your own double bed, bedroom, bathroom and toilet in the other half of the house. You are welcome to lock the middle, partition door and bedroom doors for your complete privacy. Laundry etc is of course free, subject to economic use in the evening.


We snorkel at Low Isle, in a marine reserve, where fish and corals are protected, are numerous and varied, whilst risks are minimal. At this time of year it is best not to swim off our beach as this is the stinging jelly fish season. Hence we make good use of our swimming pool and snorkel offshore where it is safer. If weather is really calm we can take you to the outer reef if you share half petrol costs.

We can also offer good quality, unlimited free WiFi, good will and good humour.

Folks, if you would like to help, then we would love to hear from you! :-).

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