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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: August 10, 2020

KEY WORDS: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation, islands, beach, coral reefs, boats, fishing, sailing, snorkelling, turtles, bird watching, wood working, timber, carpentry, carpenter, building, construction, landscaping, gardening, permaculture, healthy cooking and eating, living as a family, no drugs, reduce, re-use, repair, re-cycle, stay minimum of 12 days (usually), free wifi till 10 pm.

Come north and enjoy the warmth and tropical sunshine whilst living right next to the beach! :-).

We currently have a vacancy for one person or a couple to help with household cleaning, cooking and some gardening. If you have practical skills then we could use those too as described later.

We do have one other Helper with practical skills working with us at the moment.

We give first preference to people with some experience in either farming, gardening, landscaping, carpentry and/or D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) who have the ability to work effectively with minimum supervision or instruction.

Right now, if you are not confident in these skills, you are still welcome to apply as your work may be mostly in the house, depending on your experience. Note that anyone else with practical skills is also always welcome to apply.

For tasks outdoors you would work with Dave on average, about 24 hrs a week with at least one full day off. Sometimes it may be one day working and the next day free. Work may include basic landscaping activities, gardening and helping cut timber (which is actually quite fun and enjoyed, usually, by both men and women, see later).

Bookings are made less than one month in advance and a photo of you is required before we can offer you a place.


You would live in the family home with us and up to 2 other helpers. Julie is working in Cairns during the week and home on Friday evenings for the weekends.

Our house is just a 135 metre walk through the trees on the beach reserve to the sea, in the small community of Wonga Beach (90 minutes drive north of Cairns). We are located between forest covered hills and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

This locality is the only place in the world where two World Heritage Areas meet.

There is a small coral reef just 500 metres offshore where turtles are often seen. 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 and/or snorkelling at Low Isle, or exploring the Daintree river by day or night by boat, or else visiting the World Heritage Daintree rainforest.

The Daintree is one of the oldest tropical rain forest areas in the world, home to the amazing cassowary and many endemic species. The Daintree River is good for seeing crocodiles.

Dave is well qualified to take care of your safety. He is a PADI SCUBA dive master and currently is doing some diving. He is also a qualified Queensland marine coxswain (small boat captain) with extensive international fishing, diving, underwater photography and boating experience. He holds a first aid certificate and is a lifelong birdwatcher.

We have 4 very different small boats, 3 shown in the photos. You may use the Hobie Adventure Island kayak with outriggers (= trimaran) for sailing, or without outriggers and sail but with paddles, a Coleman 5.5 metre, three-person canoe, or our one-person kayak, on the nearby reef, 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 regularly sample the Port Douglas night life!

Carpenters and people with woodworking and/or hand tool skills hopefully will find this an especially interesting experience. We have a good workshop with most woodworking tools, including planer-thicknesser, table saw, drop saw, circular saw, biscuit jointer, routers and the usual hand tools. There is also a home gym.

Depending on your skills, work will include:
- assisting with sustainable small-scale timber cutting, (ladies can do it too, and enjoy it)
- some landscaping work and gardening (tropical vegetables and fruit trees).
- cooking and some housework,

We are using chain saws, with the Alaskan mill attachment, for small-scale sustainable cutting of timber from over-mature, otherwise unwanted and usualy non-native trees. The timber will be used for the construction of a low carbon-footprint house on our other property. The new house will be our retirement home.

Helpers are not expected to actually use the chainsaws because of insurance concerns.

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 enjoy the outdoors. It is tremendously satisfying to turn "waste", unwanted or dangerous trees into beautiful, valuable timber. Most Helpers enjoy the timber cutting experience and appreciate the beautiful areas where we work.

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 so he does take a nature conservationist`s approach to his timber selection and cutting!


We can be reached by bus. Wonga Beach is 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 transport service to Wonga, and the cheapest for you, is the Transnorth bus service leaving from inside Cairns Central TRAIN (!) STATION at 7 a.m. (near Train Platform 1, just as soon as you enter the train station via Bunda Street) on Mondays (best day for us) and Wednesdays. You will arrive Wonga Beach usually around 9 a.m. You should BOOK and PAY ON-LINE for Wonga Beach (Caltex Service Station) via the Cairns to Cooktown COASTAL ROUTE. Dave will meet you at the service station.

There are also other shuttle busses to Mossman or Port Douglas leaving Cairns regularly, including from the airport. Talk to Dave about pick-up from Mossman.

If you have your own car,paint a good time to arrive is on Sundays about 5 pm.

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


We have been very fortunate to have hosted some great helpers over the last three years who have made a really beneficial impact on our lives. The people we most enjoy hosting are those who love working outdoors, can get up early in the morning, love wildlife, care for the environment and are of a practical background. If you are in this category and have the right attitude, you will have every opportunity to have an enjoyable experience here.

We do believe in minimising our carbon/ environmental footprint by reducing, re-using, repairing and recycling, subject to a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.

We are a non-smok8ng family and ask Helpers not to smoke in the house or on the patio but there is plenty of space in the garden for that! :-)


On our two small properties, we use permaculture/ organic practices where practical to grow a modest selection of tropical vegetables, herbs and fruit for our own use. We have our own hens and have fresh, free-range eggs daily.

We regularly bake wholemeal bread and eat mostly fresh whole, unprocessed, free-range home and locally-grown produce.

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 yours:-). Some helpers who thought they didn't like fish soon changed their minds when they tried ours! :-).

Dave makes a reasonable home-brewed beer: Julie does not drink alcohol. 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

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 grow yams, taro, 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 retired from a career in tropical coastal fisheries research, development and management.


You should be prepared to stay for a minimum of 2 weeks. Please do not apply if you are just seeking cheap accommodation whilst looking for a job and intending to leave as soon as possible. Nevertheless, how long you stay is subject to confirmation by both sides after a few days trial.

An average of four hours work every day is required but this may need to be arranged as flexible, e.g. 6 hours one day and two the next, or one day working followed by one day off, depending on what needs to be done and what the weather is. This does not include travelling time or lunch or tea breaks. The work is not too hard nor too tiring if you are reasonably fit.

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 with only basic shopping in Wonga Beach. There is big Woolworths supermarket in Mossman (17 km) which we usually visit weekly.


We live and cook together in a family atmosphere and you will have your own bedroom and double bed. The bathroom and toilet in the other half of the house is for HelpX use only. You are welcome to lock the middle of house, partition door and bedroom doors for your complete privacy.

Laundry etc is of course free, subject to economic use after 8 pm (because we are on a solar power tariff).


We do our snorkelling mostly at Low Isle, in a marine reserve, where fish and corals are numerous and varied. Snorkelling depends on favorable light winds and does require you to be a competent swimmer. You can practice using snorkel gear in our pool if necessary.

If weather is really calm we may be able to take you to the outer Great Barrier Reef if you share half the fuel costs. There is no need to contribute to fuel costs for fishing trips or to snorkel at Low Isle.

We can also offer good quality, unlimited free WiFi until 10.30 pm, good will and good humour.

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

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