Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bawley Point - WWOOF Job Australia

We couldn't have hoped for a better WWOOFing experience than we got in the small town of Bawley Point, NSW. It was a genuine exchange where we worked 4 hours a day and received a wonderful place to live and we were welcomed in as family members with some really wonderful

Our Host Family

Zora and Scott are a married couple and they have an adorable 5 year old daughter, Bella, a little dog Dingo, a horse Pebbles, and two pet mice Rosie and Susie. From the minute we arrived we knew we were lucky, Zora picked us up from the bus stop and she and Scott welcomed us into their home and we got to know each other over tea. They have travelled the world and shared many incredible experiences and photos with us (including living on a deserted island in Indonesia and trekking in Nepal). Scott is a doctor and he and Zora (who is also a Naturopath and Yoga Instructor) opened up the town's family practice at the front of their property. They were incredibly accommodating and we really enjoyed joining them every night for delicious family dinners including BBQ Lamb, Indian Chicken, Prawn Stir fry, Salmon, and Bacon and Mushroom Risotto.

The Property

The family lives in an amazing furnished yurt at the top of a hill overlooking a peninsula. From the living room, you can see several surf beaches which suited Scott well (he considers himself a surfer first and doctor second). They have perfected living simply and living well at the same time, and we learned a lot about what we want in our future home. Their lot is 100 acres of native bush, full of wildlife. The terrain varies from rocky ridges to lush rainforest. One of Scott's surfer buddies, Vince, also lives on the property and takes care of the vegetable and fruit gardens (while he is not teaching Special Ed). Our cottage which
we called our Treehouse, is the most creative guest house I've ever seen. It started out as a shipping container, and was a converted into a beautiful cottage with windows on all sides surrounded by gum trees. Several mornings we woke up to wallabies hopping around nearby. How cool is that!?

Our Jobs

Often when they were not working, Scott, Zora and Bella joined us for our jobs and our encouraged tea breaks. The jobs included: clearing some brush with a nice view for a picnic area and fire pit, transplanting strawberry plants with Vince, removing bush-fire hazardous understory near the house, chopping firewood, maintaining the herb garden, and some weeding of tick-bushes and "farmer's friends."  

When We Weren't Working

One of the best parts of this experience was how much we were able to really experience the beautiful surroundings, and feel like we got to live their day-to-day Australian life. On the first day, we went for a swim with the whole family and built sand turtles with Bella, then came home and had a congo drum concert in the living room. The second day, Scott offered to take Mike and I out for a surf lesson, which of course we accepted. It was REALLY fun, he let us borrow two surf boards and wetsuits and drove around to a couple beaches to find the perfect waves. He gave us a lesson on the sand, then came out with us and helped push us off into the good waves. Mike stood up on the board for a second, and I got to my knees before having a couple wipeouts. While we were out in the waves, we saw something big moving, and Scott said, "It's a stingray! Want to surf over it?" I was nervous because it was about 4 feet across and had a really long stinger (made the ones we saw in NZ look like babies). But, we trusted Scott and paddled right on top of it from the safety of our boards, it was really amazing. Our second surf trip ended quickly when Mike took a big spill and came up with a broken board, oops (luckily, Scott was understanding).

Zora and Bella took us for a guided tour through the property, and we learned all about the native plants (some of which were so old they were dinosaur snacks, and a massive 400 year old spotted gum tree). We also grabbed a net and participated in several Bug Safaris, Bella's favorite activity. We caught several baby dragon lizards, skinks, grasshoppers, stickbugs, and praying mantis. Bella built lovely habitats for them, and always released them back to there home within 24 hours. She was a great guide, and made sure we didn't catch any of the poisonous snakes, spiders, or ants. However, we did manage to get the true Australian experience when Mike got a tick bite, I got a leech bite, and Mike squashed a venomous white tip spider in our cottage.

They even provided two bicycles and Zora gave us a map of the best places to go. We took a couple rides to local Shell Beach and Pretty Beach. Pretty Beach was my favorite, because it was full of wild kangaroos and wallabies with lots of babies. They weren't afraid of us, so we were able to bike along the forest trails and watch them hop along and watch us from only a couple feet away.

Bella and I played school and pirate legos and made some books. Mike learned how to play backgammon and even beat Scott on our last evening. Zora gave us some bird feed one night to hand feed the birds from the yurt. It was such a blast to feed the bright lorikeets and king parrot. Our last evening, Scott dropped us off at our bus-stop and we took an overnight 12 hour bus ride to Melbourne (not something I hope to do again, but a worthy backpacker experience). We were sad to leave our cottage and new friends, but excited for the next part of our trip. We feel incredibly blessed to have had this experience, and hope that we'll get to see them again someday!


  1. I am so proud of Mike for taking care of that spider!

  2. This whole experience sounds so amazing! You guys are just so awesome and adventurous! I can't wait to hear about the next leg of your trip! LOVE you both and am praying for you guys! -Britta

  3. I love this post, especially when you said you were learning about what you want in your future home. That is so incredibly special, I'm glad you are having this experience!

  4. I agree with Stephanie. I know Mike is deathly afraid of spiders. Me be soooo proud of you, Mike.