We have a house in Sydney near the beach and a property in the rainforest near Dorrigo NSW.
We have a garden flat at our Sydney which is mostly finished where we accommodate volunteers who are happy to help around the house and in the garden.
Our country property consists of 20 hectares with an old timber cottage nestled in the forest and we plan to build a new house in a 4 acre clearing at in a valley near the bottom of the forest. At the moment there is more work available on the country property as the garden flat in Sydney will be rented to tourists much of the time until we commence stage two. Volunteers who help on the country property will be given priority if they want to use the garden flat when it is not rented out.
We are a family of four with two young kids (6yo girl and 8yo boy)
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTY PROPERTY NEAR DORRIGO
We are looking for enthusiastic people who are interested in helping with a building and gardening project and learning about self-sufficiency. The primary aim is to build a house from the materials on the site, ie. earth, stone and timber.
I am an architect and have been working in the building industry since I was a child. If you are interested in making things and learning about how to be self-sufficient this project may be of interest to you.
We would also like to grow vegetables, fruit and nut trees and eventually run animals like chickens, goats and pigs, in the forest using permaculture methods (including holistic grazing to improve the soil and provide a natural lifestyle for the animals -see Allan Savory on TED and Joel Salatin).
The site is a 50 acre (20 hectare) block is covered with a beautiful rainforest with a creek (approx one km long, with crystal clear, drinkable water) running along its western and southern boundary. There is clearing of about 4 acres near the creek where we plan to build the new house.
The early stages of the project will include the cleaning and repair of the existing timber cottage, the setting up of a vegetable patch, experimenting with the soil by making compressed earth blocks, rammed earth walls and the building of a small cubby house as my 4-year-old daughter wants a castle. This mini house will be used to test the durability of the mud bricks etc. (It will not look like a castle but rather a tiny version of the main house).
The main house is designed to be built in stages so that every new stage doesn't interfere with the livability of completed stages.
It will be designed to store the heat in summer under the ground for use in winter. We believe that it will be vastly superior to a conventional house and buildable at a minimal cost. Our hope is that volunteers will learn from helping out and teach others what they learn.
There is an existing timber cottage on the property near the road. It is off-grid and has solar panels to supply electricity. It has hot and cold running water, and broadband internet. There is an old timber train carriage attached to the house which we will probably use for 3 separate bedrooms. The main room incorporates a loft connected to a small room on the first floor which will be used for another bedroom.
The beds are all good quality and the lounge and dining table are very comfortable and in good condition. The house is very rustic so don't expect the Ritz.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE SYDNEY PROPERTY
Volunteers have use of the garden flat which is a self-contained little house at the front of the property behind the garage with a private deck overlooking the ocean.
From the main house, we have a beautiful view of the ocean as the beach is only 15 minutes walk from us and the bus stop is about 10 minutes walk. We normally have our meals on the deck of the main house and provide helpers with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Although the city centre and Opera House is a bit further away (appr. 50 mins by bus), there are plenty of beautiful beaches and attractions nearby.
Palm Beach (20 mins), Dee Why (10 mins), Manly (20 mins) are just a few of the most popular places nearby with lots of pubs, restaurants and shops.
Narrabeen Lagoon is just at the bottom of the hill, so if you love nature and water sports, this is the place to be.
By the way, we both work from home.
Thank you for reading our listing :)
Steven & Alexandra
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
There is a wide variety of work to be done, including building, cleaning, gardening, tree planting, wood work, repair and maintenance.
Our little house, next to our family home which we call the garden flat offers very comfortable accommodation featuring a sleeping loft, new bathroom and kitchenette and a private deck with a view of the ocean. We think it is a great place to stay and fetches up to eleven hundred dollars a week in peak season.
The timber cottage in the rainforest is not quite as upmarket as the garden flat, but it's a lot bigger and features a rundown, antique train carriage attached to the side of the house with three rooms which may be used for bedrooms. There is a loft and with another bedroom on the upper level.
All in all, it's a fun and adventurous place to stay, even though it needs a good coat of paint.
Dorigo is the closest town and is close to Dorrigo national park which contains one of the most beautiful rainforest walks in Australia. Bellingen is about 50 minutes drive and along with Nimbin was a hippie town during the seventies and still has a slightly alternative feel. It has lovely cafes, restaurants a Jazz bar and an excellent pub along with some tourist attractions. The city of Coffs Harbour is the next stop (another 20 min drive) and is on the coast with beautiful beaches north and south.
One of our favourite day trips normally includes a coffee stop at Bellingen's cafe strip, and then a rainforest walk at Bongil Bongil National Park, which takes us to the beach where a creek runs into the ocean and is one of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see.
We then do our shopping at Coffs Harbour before going to the marina for a hamburger and a drink (We find it a great way to spend a day).
There are many gorgeous spots on the coast that are within a days drive.
There are about 6 national parks near our property and many beautiful natural places to visit most of which we haven't had time to visit. The biggest tree I have ever seen in my life is between the property and Dorrigo (8m in circumference and 55m high!).
The countryside in the area is green and lush, unlike most of Australia and includes some of the most beautiful rivers in Australia. Canoeing is another great activity.
The property is central to Armidale, Grafton (boring) and Coffs. Nimbin is about 2 hours away and is a very popular tourist destination (Our original hippie town and has remained Australia's hippie central). Byron Bay is 3 hours away and is a very popular tourist destination.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week