We are an Australian couple, Tanya (31) and Tom (29). We moved to a family-owned farm at Monkerai at the end of 2017 to begin rehabilitating a space that had mostly been neglected for the previous 15 or so years. Before that we were living and working in Newcastle, and taking plenty of time out to travel. Together we spent a month cycling around Tasmania in 2015, and 5 months cycling throughout Scandinavia in 2017, as well as lots of other hiking/cycling/camping trips in Australia.
Tanya recently completed a Permaculture Design Certificate, and is using the knowledge from that to plan the transformation of a few acres of our farm into a food production hub. She also teaches at the high school a few days a week in Gloucester and is involved in the local community gardens. Tom does landscaping work with a couple of local people roughly 1-2 days a week, and spends most of his time at the farm working on projects.
Our vision for the property is always evolving. In 2018 our focus was on cleaning up around the shed and house which had essentially been used as a dumping ground. In 2019 our major focus is on developing a fairly large fruit orchard on swales that we have just had all the earthworks done for (March 2019), and on building a tiny house on wheels to be used as a guest space.
We also have ongoing renovations to our house and shed, and we manage a little over 100 cattle. Between all that there is plenty of work to keep us (and you) fairly busy.
We have both travelled independently throughout our 20's, and have found that being hosted was one of the best parts of the experience, getting to see how other people live and being in the company of interesting and often like-minded people. While living in Newcastle we hosted lots of cycle tourists and loved being able to help people on their adventures and live vicariously while we were heading off to work everyday.
For us this is a chance to meet more cool people, and to share this beautiful little valley with others. We live fairly simply and are excited about trying to turn this property into a really cool place to be. If you'd like to relax here for a while and contribute to our vision we'd love to share it with you!
The two main jobs that we have at the moment is building our tiny house, and developing our orchard and gardens.
There are also plenty of other types of work that could be useful to us, depending on what you are good at or keen to do. We have a few building projects, there is a lot of weed control to be carried out around the farm, and there are some art projects that we would like to eventually explore.
We are not super strict about work hours. For us this is primarily about hosting. If you are willing to help out when needed and contribute ideas/skills/knowledge then you are welcome here for as long as we are all enjoying the experience.
We have several spare bedrooms. We also have a one-bedroom self-contained cottage, but it is often booked by guests on bnb so it may not be possible for workaway guests to use it much. We eat a mostly organic diet, no real restrictions but we do try to avoid having too much junk food in the house (we still make our own ice cream, cheese cake, chocolate, brownies etc.). If you are vegan/vegetarian or have other requirements it will be no problem. We like to cook, so there is a different meal each night. If you wish to cook for yourself or for us that is also okay.
Firstly, our farm is very nice. It is essentially contained within it's own little valley, with the boundaries of the property running along the tops of the surrounding hills. You can't see anyone and don't hear much traffic. It takes about 45-60 minutes to walk to the back of the property, starting in a more cleared area around the house and following a little spring-fed creek as it gradually becomes more and more rain-forest type landscape. At the back it is almost pure rainforest, and there is said to be a big python living in there somewhere!
We live about 20 minutes from the nearest small town (Stroud), where there is cafes and a free swimming pool. The town we mostly go to is Gloucester, 25-30 minutes away. It is a bustling little town with cafes, supermarkets, all types of shops and services, a nice park by the river and lots of sporting facilities. Tom plays tennis and golf there, and Tanya teaches at the school and volunteers at the community gardens.
The monkerai valley which we live near is quiet beautiful and stretches about 20km before it runs into the base of the Barrington Tops. There is a tourist farm 5km away where we can go to swim in the river or eat at the cafe or restaurant. There are other nice swimming holes we visit in summer. The roads are gravel and very quiet, so it's a good place to go cycling. We intend to have spare bikes soon for guests to come riding if they wish. The Barrington Tops is a 1-2 hour drive and has a lot of nice hiking/mountain biking trails if you wish to go camping for a few days. We have plenty of spare camping gear.
We also travel to Newcastle monthly to see family and friends, go to the beach, get stuff off gumtree and visit some of our favourite places from our time living there. It's about 80 minutes drive to the centre of Newcastle, or 30 minutes drive to Dungog where you can get the train to and from Newcastle. Between us and Newcastle there are some other cool places worth spending some time at such as Myall Lakes national park and Stockton sand dunes.
We have 2 cars, but rarely need more than one, so we are probably willing to let you use the 2nd car for local trips, or at least drive you to/from nearby places. We go into Gloucester at least 2-3 times a week.
When we're at home we work, read, play games such as table tennis and cards, go on walks/rides, watch sports, watch movies/documentaries, have campfires, etc.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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