16 March. 2020: Because of the Corona virus, I will not be taking any more volunteers until August, although if the expert advice beforehand is that the risk of infection has diminished, I will reconsider that. It is very sad, but we can only rely on the experts as to the best way to reduce the risk of the disease spreading throughout the community. I have been very fortunate to have some wonderful volunteers over the last few years who have managed to turn this park into a wonderful place to be. There is still a lot of work to do, but it will have to wait until the health of the community is secure....
I am a 75 year old retired lawyer with a house on the beach at Stanwell Park, New South Wales, Australia. To the north is Sydney's Royal National Park. You can get a good idea of the area through Google Earth. My house is surrounded by a public park which needs constant maintenance through weeding, tree planting, and protecting trees from the deer introduced into the Royal National Park some 150 years ago. I am a registered volunteer bush care worker with the Wollongong Council that has the management of the park, and which supports what I am doing. Guests also become registered volunteers with the Council, and because they receive no payment, they do not require working holiday visas. I am also a potter, and I turn the weeds that I remove from the park into giant nests which I fill with leaf mulch to turn into compost heaps to provide nutrition for the native trees that I then plant down slope of them. Just for fun, I put an emu or ostrich size porcelain egg in each one. I speak Spanish fluently and have just completed my 13th translation of a book from Spanish to English, a new biography of Gabriel García Márquez. I would particularly welcome Spanish speakers as it is important for me to keep up my speaking skills. I have had long experience with people staying with me through the other exchange websites such as Couchsurfers, Warmshowers and HelpX where you will find references on those sites. I prefer people with references, but understand that if you have not used this or similar sites before you would not have any.
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
They will learn a lot about the Australian bush and its native trees, as well as the invasive weeds that are threatening parts of it. They will also see how I am creating and restoring habitat for possums, sugar gliders, echidnas and, of course, the many birds. But in addition to that I am interested in philosophy, art, sculpture and literature of all kinds, as well as travelling. I usually travel overseas once a year, generally in winter time.
Voluntary bush regeneration in a public park, but also some gardening, maintenance and house cleaning. I am more than happy to provide the food and free accommodation, and am a reasonable cook, but am always willing to let others cook.
I have three spare rooms, two with double beds and one a dormitory with four bunks. The two rooms downstairs have their own bathroom, and there is a large bathroom upstairs. I will buy all the food, and guests are not expected to pay anything for the accommodation or use of facilities like washing machines etc, but would like guests to share in the cooking and cleaning of the house. I have internet access but the download and uploads are limited.
Stanwell Park is situated on the southern edge of the Royal National Park, 60 kms south of Sydney. There is a good train service to Sydney that runs every hour and sometimes more, and every two hours at some other times. It takes an hour to get to Sydney, and half of the journey is through the Royal National Park. I am not married and when there are no guests, live quite happily in my own company. Visitors are welcome to use all the rooms in the house except my own bedroom and my study upstairs, I have had friends from many places in the world staying at my place over the 48 years I have been here, including hang glider pilots, a sport which I did for 25 years, some 150 German law students who had work experience at my office, and many guests from other hosting/exchange sites. In recent years the grown up children of former guests have been coming to stay.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 15 hours a week and hours are flexible to suit your wish for other activities, such as walking in the adjacent Royal National Park and surfing.
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