All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 67 (165 acres)
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 5396
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Last Updated: December 25, 2017
Do you want to experience a completely off-grid lifestyle (in comfort!), surrounded by nature and wildlife and friendly horses and chickens?
No prior experience necessary, but enthusiasm is a must. Non-smokers only. Couples or two friends preferred over solo travelers, but motivated solo travelers will be considered.
In your free time, volunteers can go swimming, enjoy many of the hikes on and around our property, choose from an enormous selection of movies to watch, and meet/spend time with our animals. Two horses on the property who enjoy trail rides (for experienced, confident riders only though - they are not suitable horses for beginners to take on trails as they will test you. Claire may be able give beginners a few lessons or some pony rides in your free time).
We take volunteers for one week only as we have other work commitments. We prefer to take people who appreciate that 4hrs of daily work is a very fair exchange for wholesome meals & snacks (you'll be well fed), your own private room, free Wi-fi, a comfy bed to sleep in at night and access to beautiful, natural surroundings.
We have a lot of info on our page, mainly so we get the right people applying to volunteer here. The work is physical (ie no cute animal feeding - that's in your free time if you are interested), but we offer a very fair exchange for those motivated to contribute their 4hrs of daily work. You don't have to have prior experience, but must be enthusiastic. We don't want surprises on either side (and we've had a few in the past!!), so please read it if you want to be prepared for a help exchange experience with us. :-)
ABOUT OUR PROPERTY:
Our property is 165 acres and adjoins two national parks (Mowbray & Kuranda NP's ~8000ha). It is half tropical rainforest and half typical Australian bush. There are several walking trails on the property that have been maintained with the help of volunteers. These go along ridges, across flats and through the rainforest. There is a creek that runs through the property and a dam near the house that we call our swimming pool. It's the perfect place to cool off after a sweaty day of work. The property is remote, so it's best suited for those who like to be off the beaten track. There are no shops or towns that you can walk to.
There is plenty of wildlife to see on the property if you make the effort to go out and look for it. Wallabies, kangaroos, reptiles, lots of birds, possums, even platypus in the creek behind the house. Naturally, because this is the real Australia there are also spiders, snakes, and other innocent creatures that irrational people are terrified of.
If you want to experience something a little different and see some of the nocturnal animals we can also take you for a night walk through the rainforest. It can be a little scary if you're not used to it, but it's worth it, just for the experience. And we haven't lost anyone, yet. :-)
We are registered and licensed wildlife carers (it is illegal to have native wildlife in care without an appropriate permit) and often have a number of young orphaned agile wallabies, swamp wallabies and pademelons (small, rainforest wallabies) in care, preparing for life back in the wild through a very carefully monitored soft release program. We currently have pademelons who come into the house at night time, so volunteers must be respectful towards them.
HelpX is a two-way street and we are very fair when it comes to work, as long as you put in the effort. We only ask for four hours of work from you each day: usually two hours in the morning before it gets too hot and two hours in the afternoon when it cools down again. If you prefer to do 4 hours straight or work a longer day to have time off the next day we can work something out. We'll have a chat via email and then again when you arrive to arrange work times. There are a variety of jobs we do here: weeding, animal care, track maintenance, revegetation planting, gardening, construction, and housework.
We'll provide you with work gloves and loose, long sleeve work shirts. Bring a hat for sun protection and long pants to protect your legs from bites and scratches (we strongly prefer you to use covered loose clothing rather than insect sprays as these are toxic to the wallabies in our care).
**We also expect volunteers to clean up after themselves. i.e. You do your own breakfast and lunch dishes. We have a rule with dinner - Whoever cooks the meal, doesn't clean up, so we're happy to wash up if you cook and expect volunteers to do the dishes if we cook dinner. :-) Cooking or doing dishes is not counted as part of your work time, as this is just courtesy **
We have two friendly horses on the property, that we use for trail riding. If you are interested in horses, you can learn about them in your free time. If you can already ride, you may be able to go with Claire or Marcus on a trail ride, but please don't expect this, as we'll need to assess your abilities first so you don't damage our horses.
This is a beautiful property located on the Northern Atherton Tablelands near the small townships of Mount Molloy and Julatten. It's inland from Mossman and Port Douglas (50mins), about 1.5 hours drive North West from Cairns and about 45 minutes north of Mareeba.
We do not pick up volunteers from Cairns. To get to us you need to catch a shuttle or bus to Mareeba or Port Douglas, where we will pick you up and drive you to our property.
From Cairns - Take the transnorth bus to Mareeba (Atherton Route) Cost = ~$20
Or Shuttle bus (sunpalm, krystal's, exemplar, coral coaches) from Cairns Airport or Cairns Central to Port Douglas. Cost = $25-$40 depending on company and time of travel.
On a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, the Cooktown route transnorth bus will drop you directly at Mt Molloy ($36pp).
Volunteers are expected to sleep in the shed with the goat. Just kidding, you'll be living/sleeping up at 'the lecture theatre', a beautiful space with your own cooking and bathroom facilities. The house is fully off-grid (ie solar power, we pump spring water for the house and use a composting toilet) so you need to be energy conscious. ie absolutely no hair dryers, straightening irons/brushes or other high energy things...we don't have a microwave or electric kettle, so you'll need to get used to cooking with gas. We also expect you to turn off lights in rooms etc.
We will provide you with three meals a day and snacks. We have a collection of tropical fruit trees including bananas, avocado, citrus, passionfruit, papaya, mulberries, ice-cream bean, and other exotic fruit so depending on what's in season you're welcome to help yourself. We also have a vegetable garden in which we grow a variety of normal and some very unusual vegetables that we use in our cooking whenever we can.
Breakfast is self serve and normally a choice of cereals/bread/toast with a variety of spreads and fresh eggs from our chooks (chickens), plus tea/coffee. Lunch is sometimes self serve or something cooked/prepared by us.
We (mainly Marcus) cooks dinner and it's usually amazing and very rarely average. So cross your fingers you miss out on the rare average day. If you have an adventurous pallet you'll find yourself looking forward to dinner and the new ingredients you won't find in supermarkets. If you would like to show off your cooking skills, we're always interested to taste someone else's creation. Unless you've done the cooking, we would appreciate it if you do the dishes as a "thank you for cooking". We'll do the dishes if you cook dinner.
Snacks are fruit or cookies from the cookie jar with the annoying lid. (You'll see what I mean)
If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know before you arrive so we can cater for you. Vegetarian food is no problem for us, but please, no vegans as we incorporate a lot of dairy and our own fresh organic eggs in our food. If one of you is vegetarian, we will all eat vegetarian meals to keep meal preparations simple. If you need crisps/chips or chocolate we suggest you bring your own secret stash with you as we usually don't have this in the house.
A beer or wine is usually on offer with the evening meal, but if you would like more than that you'll need to bring it with you as Marcus and Claire are not big drinkers and can't fund excessive drinkers.
We gets lots of applications, but we only take two volunteers for one week of every month, so we are pretty fussy with our choices. If you would really like to come here and experience our piece of paradise, but we are full, you may wish to consider our farmstay program as an alternative to being a volunteer. You get to enjoy all the best parts of our property, with us as your personal guides. Check out our website for more info on that.
We have satellite internet which takes a lot of power from the solar (like running a microwave!), so we don't leave the internet on all day. If it's sunny we can turn it on once or twice a day,for a short time, but if it's rainy we do limit our usage. Please don't expect to be able to jump online whenever you like. There's plenty of other wonderful things to do here to keep you occupied! :-)
There is zero mobile coverage on our property as we are remote.
You can use a prepaid card from our landline to contact family or friends. You can also give them our number so they can call you during your stay with us.
We are both very passionate about the environment and educating people about nature. Claire is a professional entomologist/ecologist and Marcus is a botanist/geologist. Our bookshelf is full of nature books and field guides. We love hosting volunteers who are keen to go for walks and be immersed in nature. :-)
See our website: www.sheoakridge.com for more information about our property.
1 Photo of the property (our property is the bushland, not the cleared land. The dark vegetation is rainforest and the lighter veg is Eucalyptus woodland)
2 The main house
3 Guest rooms: One with queen bed and other with bunk beds. Both of these rooms now have more beds than pictured here. Will update pics again soon! Below this are photos of Eric and Claire helping to make the roof to the loo! :-)
4 Building a veggie garden for our neighbours, watching the sunset from the ridge with a glass of wine at the end of a big day, helper Fee kayaking in the dam, one of the rainforest walks on the property.
5 Us - Your hosts: providers of food & shelter (thanks to fab volunteer Matte Vonnee for these pics! :-)
6 Some pics of volunteers riding our horses and some orphaned wallabies (swamp wallaby, pademelon and agile wallaby) in care