Anyone who has spare time can volunteer and it is a great way to meet locals and discover Australia. You can choose to go through organizations such as Wwoofing, HelpX or HelpStay. The idea is to work between 4 to 6 hours per day in exchange for accommodation and meals every day. Here is the experience of Claudia and Jeremy, who traveled to Australia for a year on a Working Holiday Visa and did their Wwoofing in South Australia.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
Volunteering allows volunteers to work for hosts, who in return for this work (5 days / week, 4 to 6 hours / day, on average) provide free accommodation and food. For those who do not know this system, it is an incredible experience, which has only advantages (most of the time).
You will be able to develop your network, because even if you work without pay, your hosts will undoubtedly know other people in Australia. You may be offered a paid job a few weeks later. Because yes, as elsewhere, networking is very important in Australia.
It is an amazing way to go to places you would have never visited if not for volunteering. In addition, you will live a unique experience, discover activities that you will certainly never have discovered before, sometimes with animals in remote regions and in areas that are surely not your favorite areas (painting, gardening , general work on the farm).
It is also a great way to save money as you don’t have to pay for anything during your stay at your host…
You will also meet locals and lots of over travellers that might become close friends! They are mostly people who have voluntarily asked for your help, because they like to share, discuss, meet travellers and talk about their country. You will keep lasting memories of these experiences, in contact with incredible people. The human adventure as you wanted it before arriving in Australia.
South Australia, the perfect region for your volunteering experience
We chose to live our volunteering experience in South Australia. We thought that this state represented the most, with Tasmania, the image of Australia. People there are sociable and very open, naturally optimistic and smiling, who would know how to make us progress in English by showing patience, and who would be part of those faces that we do not forget.
If you have to choose a state to do Wwoofing, choose South Australia or Tasmania. Those states are more agricultural, and are subject to less fraud and bad experiences as there are less backpackers. We heard about people having bad experiences in Victoria, Queensland or New South Wales. In South Australia, you will be able to find a mission that suits you, on Kangaroo Island for example (what better place to live such an experience?). You will be in contact with people who will bring you much more than just a roof and meals. You will mark your adventure of memories and good times, as if you had been part of their family forever.
In South Australia, there are so many areas that offer unique volunteering experiences. For example in Adelaide Hills, between vacation homes and local farms. In the Barossa Valley and Mc Laren Vale, the two wine regions of the state. And finally a lot of offers for HelpX or Wwoofing exist all year round on Kangaroo Island. You will be able to work during the week, and visit the famous island by bike, kayak or car.
1 month of volunteering in South Australia: our unforgettable experience
Seduced by a particular farm profile, we choose the town of Nairne in Adelaide Hills area. In this region, the offers for volunteering are varied. From homestay (missions in homes, usually in cities), to childcare, but above all a majority there are offers for work on animal and fruit/vegetable farms in the region.
Our hosts are a family of 5. The mother is a photographer and the father, through successful financial investments, has fulfilled his childhood dream by becoming the owner of several farms.
Our missions are varied. From the most classic for a farm (painting, maintenance of enclosures), to other more original ones (sheep shearing, cooking with the mother, transfer alpacas and lambs to enclosures, look for runaway chicks…).
We have a house only for volunteers, we are 4 people with a Danish and an Italian. We spend our evenings with our hosts over a drink. Initially our idea was to stay a week but without really realizing it, we finally spent 1 month on this farm.
During our free weekends we visit Adelaide, Mount Gambier and its blue or even gray lake depending on the time of year, Kangaroo Island, the Barossa Valley. We also visited Hahndorf, a small old-fashioned village in the middle of the Hills.
During these 4 weeks, we meet the parents of our hosts who invite us to Brisbane. We also meet friends of the family. One of whom will give us discounts at the hotels he runs in Australia and Bali.
We were offered tours in Port Lincoln and the Barossa Valley wineries. And all this in exchange for a few hours caring for lambs, chicks and other farm animals!
Thanks to these few weeks of Wwoofing, we were given employer references that helped us find painting jobs in Queensland. So volunteering if always a good opportunity to meet people and create a network in Australia !