Volunteering and WWOOFing

Make yourself a true part of Australia

Photo credit: Copyright Bernie Bradley/Bernie Bradley Websites

Volunteering and WWOOFing

Travel as a tourist and it’s all too easy to skim across the surface of Australia. Volunteer and you’ll make yourself a true part of it.

Is volunteering in Australia for you?
If you’re planning on travelling Australia and don’t have the money in the bank to cover it, probably not.

In many cases volunteering opportunities will involve a cost (for insurances, travel etc). Although the amounts shouldn’t be huge, the only part of volunteering that comes completely free is your time.

Arranging your volunteering in Australia
There’s a huge discrepancy in what volunteering companies will do for you and what they’ll charge. Do beware – some will charge you thousands (which hardly seems fair given that you’re volunteering); others will ask for a registration fee and little more. Here are two we like that don’t charge the earth.

  • Ecoteer: Free or low cost volunteering options, mainly in the northern part of the country. As the name suggests, there’s a strong environmental angle to what you’ll be doing and your work may involve ecotourism, animal rescue or conservation. You can volunteer with a friend or as part of a group.You will need to pay transport costs to any placement and there’s a small administration fee.
  • Involvement Volunteers: A wide range of volunteering opportunities, from helping at dolphin sanctuaries to caring for the elderly to assisting at historic pioneer settlements.  Costs vary between absolutely nothing and a modest $50 a week.

WWOOFing in Australia
WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms – which is an apt description of where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing. Once you register for WWOOFing online you’ll be able to work on any one of over 2400 organic farms in exchange for your keep, usually in the family home.

You’ll need to purchase the WWOOF handbook ($65 plus $5 postage if it needs to be posted overseas) which lists all the participating properties and gives you a 12 month membership to WWOOFing in Australia as well as volunteer accident insurance.

Fight fire with...

 

BlazeAid grew from the embers of the devastating bushfires of February 2009. The voluntary organisation now helps rebuild fences and lift the spirits of rural Australians faced with starting again in the aftermath of natural disaster.

As you might expect, the conditions are usually pretty spartan, but meals are provided. In some cases you’ll need to take your own tent/campervan.

Check the BlazeAid site to see what help is required in which area and just what facilities are available. Any nationality or age is eligible, but you have to be reasonably fit as the work can be very physical.

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