Hi there- We're Sue and Dale and we live up on a five acre property in Tuntable Creek, Northern NSW - between the villages of Nimbin and The Channon. This is a stunning part of Australia, immersed in sub tropical rainforest, macadamia farms, livestock properties and World Heritage listed National Parks about an hour's drive from beautiful Byron Bay. We live on the top of a 4 km gravel road which is about 20 minutes from the nearest town. It might seem like it's remote but you will probably find that our neighbourhood is incredibly social and it's so beautiful here that it's a challenge to leave. Plus we have a good coffee machine so our caffeine needs are met.
Our main work is as television producers and writers but a couple years ago we moved up from Sydney so now we are becoming farmers and caretakers of the property! It is a big learning curve for us and a huge job but we love it. We were actually going to put back packs on and travel before we moved up here, but have discovered that living here is like a daily adventure and really fulfils that desire.
The property features an abundance of established plants from mangos to coffee trees, ferns, avocados, etc and has an amazing chilled out vibe. We also have planted various veggies and are continuing to build garden beds to grow more. We have plenty of relaxing spots for reading, writing, working, chilling and a little outdoor yoga area as Sue is a long time Ashtanga student. If you love taking photos or do social media, you will have no shortage of great shots and if you need help with any of your creative projects that have to do with social media, podcasting, media production etc, we can probably assist you with ideas and suggestions. For our down time, we love music, eating, socialising with our neighbours, watching movies and documentaries, writing, wood working, crafting, walking, yoga, surfing, (we go to Byron once a week) and honestly, planning ideas for the farm is a joy for us so even when we put the tools down, we are still planning things to do.
The weather here is cool to cold in winter (about 20c high to 9c low at night). We have a wood fire stove in the kitchen and a portable heater in the house and a couple fire pit spots around. It's actually pleasant though because there are almost no bugs like you get in the summer! In the summer, it's steamy but there are lots of shady spots and it's got it's own magic. We have a lovely outdoor shower to cool off in and you'll notice in our project listings that one of the priorities we have is to fix up a spring down below the property that is also fantastic for cooling down. When it gets too much, there is a great swimming pool down in Nimbin and plenty of gorgeous swimming holes in the area. You do have to be super mindful of snakes here - they have not been a problem and we don't want them to be- keeping the screen doors and windows shut is essential. Because we are 20 minutes from the nearest hospital it's important to be mindful, be careful with everything you do especially with the projects - and you'll be fine.
The house is 75% off grid - solar during the day and that switches to main electricity at night. Our water comes from rainwater tanks which we filter for drinking. At this stage our area is not in drought but it's important to be mindful with water and not take super long showers, etc. We cook with gas. We have wifi that is functional. We work it pretty hard but as we are relatively remote it's never going to go as fast in the city. That said, we are able to stream and upload pretty well considering. Basic functions like email, etc is no problem. Occasionally we have to use our 4G.
Food wise - We prefer Workaway people without major dietary restrictions. We eat healthy and hearty. love our food, eat heaps of fruit and veggies but we also are NOT gluten, dairy, food sensitive or sugar free and eat meat on occasion. Expect pastas, salads, rice, eggs, bread, greens, soups, dahl, etc. If you have a hankering to cook something for us that you love from home, that would be fun, we'd be happy to get you the ingredients you need and the kitchen is yours.
Re meal time, our first meal of the day is usually around 1:00 pm - BUT we will have breakfast stuff that you can make yourself when you prefer. For that first meal we usually have some type of big lunch or late breakfast. Then later in the afternoon we might have snacks and a glass of wine followed by dinner. We will also have nourishing snacks available during the projects if required. Bottom line, you won't go hungry! By the way, we tend to eat dinner on the early side, like around 6:30 and generally go to sleep early as we're tired! Of course you can eat later if you wish. The only habit we have is having the kitchen clean after dinner, dishes done, everything dried and put away, kitchen floor swept, etc so we're greeted in the morning with a clean kitchen! The coffee machine is happening all day long and we have herb and regular tea and honey. Re alcohol - this isn't the place to come and get drunk. A social drink or two after dinner is fine. Cigarette smokers are discouraged as it just makes everything stink.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Living up here is such a unique aspect of Australian life. The land is the story of the local Indigenous people, settlers from Italy, Sweden, Denmark and of course Australia's counter culture who came here in the 1970's to create communes and self sustainability. It's a legit hippie experience merged with country life full of artists, farmers, entrepreneurs and very community minded folk. People have time - whether it's to chat, to create, to make music and to work on their land. As per staying with us, we are an American/Australian couple in our late 50's who can share our knowledge of journalism, writing, filmmaking with anyone who needs to workshop projects. We love swapping stories about our life, have travelled extensively around Australia for our work and can really help give an insight to enjoying this country as well as provide advice and information for future traveling here.
MAIN PROJECTS JUNE to OCT 2020
TRAIL TO THE SPRING: The first project we need done is to complete a beautiful trail about a 1/4 of km down to a spring. We have worked on it a bit over the couple years we've been here but we simply need more hands to help us get it done. We want to create something very special as this walk is the one place on the property where you can have total privacy and no cars driving by. The work is physical- you'll get a good workout but it is pleasant if you like to do work that keeps you fit and it's also gorgeous and peaceful down there so it's a nice job to do. The ideal people to do this job would love nature, be into hiking so would know the needs for a safe trail and are fit to rake, clear, chop, slash, whipper snip and whatever is required to get it into shape. People that have cool style to create a bench or beautiful spots along the path are especially appreciated.
CARAVAN/TINY HOME SPACE: We are currently building a car port, decking and outdoor living space area (herb garden, fire pit) for a 1965 retro caravan. The caravan is perfectly suited for living in now and that's where you'll be staying BUT we want to make the outside part epic and private so it's all more of a Tiny Home vibe than just a caravan.
WASH HOUSE: If you are really into interior style, I would LOVE help creating a gorgeous, rustic style wash house. We have a toilet, a sink, an outdoor shower and it's fine and functional but I really want to turn it into something chic that any Workawayer or guest that we have finds using it a total pleasure. I'm after a total Pinterest Worthy situation and if you're into this kind of thing, we could share our producer skills and document it so you could create a makeover video or pics for any projects or social media that could use this kind of content.
ROCK WALL: Another project we are working on is constructing a knee high rock wall along the border of our house. This job would be good for someone who has experience in this type of construction and has a strong back.
MINOR JOBS THAT ALWAYS NEED TO BE DONE:
WEEDING: Weeding the garden beds -this is pleasant work but anyone who is super good with growing veggies would be welcome so we can learn more. There are non stop weeds all the time so this is an easy thing to do if the main projects aren't happening.
GENERAL LAND CARE: Whippersnipping, lawn mowing, pruning - We are trying our best to keep a calm and serene look.
GENERAL HOUSE CLEANING - A clean house is really important up here to prevent bugs, etc. Besides that it's just our thing so help keeping it beautiful is always appreciated. Main jobs are washing the wood floors, cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen, dusting. If you're a real cleaning whiz, someone who can get get rid of spider webs on the outside of the house, wash windows and screens is a thumbs up. By the way, cleaning is a nice experience here as we use all natural stuff- just vinegar, essential oil, baking soda, etc. We are on a septic system (eg not connected to town sewer) so anything that goes down the pipes must be eco friendly.
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For sleeping we have the fantastic retro caravan, mentioned in the projects, that is connected to power, has a small sitting area, a comfy double bed and good storage space. It gets wifi and also has an old school AM/FM radio that is very fun to have on. It's a lovely place to hang out for single or a couple. We call it the Patti Wagon because when we bought it the only thing it had was a picture of Patti Smith. It has a private outlook onto the bush so you will feel like you have space from the main house.
As listed in the projects, we are currently creating a larger outside area for the Patti Wagon - we are working on a deck and car port to protect the roof as well as gardens. That said when you stay with us will make sure that we only work on this project during certain times so we don't disturb your privacy and will have an area to store the construction gear so it's not in your face.
On occasion we might be able to offer a spare bedroom that we have inside our main house but this is dependent on whether we have family or friends visiting us (we often have visitors). If this room is available it is a bonus so just expect to stay in the Patti Wagon - you'll love it!
Common spaces in the main house are of course the kitchen. It's an old time country kitchen but is comfortable. You can also chill in what we call "The New York Room" which has a large day bed and a couple chairs, games and books. We also have a music room with piano, guitar etc that has a balcony with beanbags that looks out over the property and is lovely in the winter for your morning coffee. Usually at night we wind down by watching YouTube "how to" videos or Netflix in a little room we have set up for TV. If we need our space, we'll be honest and let you know, otherwise if you want to watch with us you can. If we're doing something else and you want to watch TV, you're more than welcome to as long as it's not on super loud at night when we've gone to bed.
Below the main house we have that outdoor shower with hot water mentioned previously, a basic toilet, a sink, a washing machine and a clothes line. This will be the main bathroom for Workawayers as our house is a "no shoes in the house" kind of place and the lower bathroom area just makes it easier to use without having to keep taking your shoes off. The upstairs bathroom can be used for inside showers if you prefer - it's just out main bathroom so accessing the lower one as much as you can gives everyone a bit of privacy. The main thing with using anything is just to keep it clean - as in scrub or spray down the toilet or shower - so it's hygienic and pleasant for all.
We are a traveling family with three adult kids who travel all over the world so we understand the importance of having social time and we will love to arrange ways to give you a wonderful experience. We'll treat you like family and look after you but also encourage you to do your own thing. We also like our down time and privacy so the perfect Workaway people for us are those who are the same and also can be flexible in this regard. If you're easy going, health conscious but relaxed, independent, take care of your space, creative, willing to help us make something special and fun we will most likely get a long fine.
Friends - one important thing to mention with all the latest Covid outbreaks happening:
Please only apply if you have good Covid protocol (eg aren't involved in cluster situations, pretty much laying low and mindful of what's happening)) and have limited exposure the week before you get here. You should easily be able to track your movements and feel confident that you are okay. Up here we've had very few cases so we're all doing our best as a community to keep it that way. Ahhhh, these weird times right? But I'm sure you'd also appreciate that on our end we do the same so it's a safe and relaxed place to stay.
Now to ideas for what to do on your time off:
You are welcome to find your perfect spot and just chill out here. We have a nice area for practicing yoga and meditation. We also have a great 4km walk outside our front door - the main road which is a super hike. You can light a camp fire (we have at least two) or hang in a hammock.
OR go for a picnic and hike in one of the beautiful park areas within a half hour. Within an hours drive radius from us you have little country towns, outdoor markets, beaches, etc. At this time, It's preferable that you have your own car, especially for extracurricular activities.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Honestly on a scale of 1-10 our wifi is probably in the 7 area, due to our remote location, HOWEVER, we also do the majority of our paid work online so this has not been a problem. We've done tons of podcasts, vlogs, blogs and often make short films up here documenting the projects that we do. This is a total Instaworthy location so as long as you can help us do the work that we need done, you will have no shortage of content ideas. If the Workaway jobs that you do are part of your online work, we also welcome you documenting the projects that you help us with. As TV producers we are more than happy to be a sounding board for ideas you're working on.
We have a spot near a permanent caravan that has some private side plots where you can set up chairs, etc.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week