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help exchange   Host 46714
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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: July 19, 2018

Hello and welcome to our profile!

KEY WORDS: Non-smokers, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Fishing, Snorkeling, Coral reefs, Turtles, Wood working, Timber, Carpentry, Carpenter, Landscaping, Shed building, Gardening, Islands, Swimming pool, Beach, Healthy eating, Gym and Home Brew ;-).

Our next vacancy is for a couple who should have strong outdoor skills but is not until late August. Please note we take only non-smokers.

Depending on your skills set, work may include:
- assisting with the timber cutting, wood working, carpentry and wooden shed building,
- cooking and some housework,
- some gardening (tropical vegetables and fruit trees) and some light landscaping work,
- we also have a BMW motorcycle, a F650GS Dakar, 2000 model, registered, running OK but needs a bit of a service, love and care, should any motorbike enthusiast be interested in working on it.

Dave is presently using power saws 3 days a week for small-scale sustainable cutting of timber from over-mature and/or, unwanted trees, some of which are on private properties in the Daintree rainforest and some being Caribbean pine near Julatten.

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 and dangerous trees into beautiful, valuable timber and even furniture.


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

There is a small coral reef just 500 metres offshore, where turtles frequent. Nearby but further offshore, where it is safer to swim, 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 to take care of you from a safety perspective. Though not currently doing much diving, he is a PADI SCUBA dive master and a qualified Queensland marine coxswain (small boat captain). He has extensive international 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 can use hand tools safely and effectively, 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 is 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 to establish the feasibility of building an environmentally friendly, low-footprint timber house from locally cut timber, 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 nature 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 by both sides after a few days trial.

You would work, on average, around 4 hours a day, EXCLUDING coffee/tea breaks and travel time which may involve crossing the Daintree River by ferry. At the moment this is often on a flexible basis: 2 days x 6 hours per day plus 2 x 40 minute one-way trips to the table lands, and then a full 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.


We do our snorkelling mostly at Low Isle, in a marine reserve, where fish and corals are numerous and varied.

We also make good use of our swimming pool. If weather is really calm we can take you to the outer Great Barrier Reef if you share half the fuel costs. 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 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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