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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: March 10, 2018

Hello and welcome to our profile.

Our next vacancy will be in early April (or if you have tiling experience, you can come as soon as possible - we are redecorating both our bathrooms!)

We will need a non-smoking, single person to help with a variety of work, including:
- house keeping and cooking,
- some gardening and some light landscaping work,
- when it is raining some painting or rendering of rooms inside the house,
and when the weather is good,
- general assistance with small-scale sustainable cutting of timber from unwanted trees for house construction.

(Helpers do not actually use the chainsaws).

Helping with the timber cutting is not as hard as you might think and can be done by both men and women who are fit and active and like the outdoors. Tremendously satisfying to turn "waste" trees into valuable timber.


Our family home is just 135 metres from a sandy beach 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 in 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, once a week 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. This is one of the oldest tropical rain forests in the world and home to the amazing cassowary.

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, have a home gym (treadmill u/s at the moment, others OK) 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.

The most convenient service for us, and the cheapest for you, is the Transnorth bus service leaving Cairns Central at 7 a.m. (near Platform 1, approach via Bunda Street) on Mondays (best day for us) arriving Wonga Beach usually around 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 or carpentry 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 makes a reasonable home-brewed beer whilst Julie doesn't drink alcohol and we run a drug-free household.


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.

Originally from Papua New Guinea, Julie works in a government department in Cairns during the week and is home just for the weekends. Julie has a lifetime's experience of growing PNG vegetables hence our veggie gardens growing yams, sweet potato, aibika, cassava, moringa, turmeric, etc.

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.

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 12 days or longer (arriving Mondays, leaving Saturday mornings e.g on 11 a.m. Transnorth bus to Cairns). This is subject to confirmation after a few days trial.

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. 2 x 6 hours per day and then a day off.

The 4 hours average per day are in addition to helping with cooking and washing up. In return we provide your accommodation and all food. We eat together in a family atmosphere and all help with cooking and washing the dishes.

If you had your own car, you would be welcome to leave for the weekends, to explore the area, staying away Saturday night if you like, 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.


At this time of year it is best not to swim off our beach as we are in the stinging jelly fish season along the mainland shoreline. It is much safer to snorkel at Low Isle, in a marine reserve, where fish and corals are numerous and varied, whilst stinger jellyfish risks are minimal.

We also make good use of our swimming pool. 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 until 10.30 pm, good will and good humour.

Folks, if you would like to help and feel you could fit in, then we would love to hear from you! :-).

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