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creek safaris, pancakes and dingos

Grafton, Australia

We had a great time at Fairweather - since Hayden and Eleanor were the closest in age to us of any of the WWOOF hosts, we had a fair few things in common, and they were fun to be around. And, aside from the interesting (even with the cow poo it was good to be out in the forest!) work and having loads of our own space, the food was amazing too, particularly the make-your-own-pizza and bonfire night we had up at their cabin - secluded away up a forested hill from the rest of the farm - one night (Hayden managing to start the fire despite the persistent rain!), and Hayden's pancakes, or as Nik called them after consuming approximately twelve at one sitting, Death By Pancakes.

There was also a lot of land to explore - 450 ha of it - though we only saw a teeny fraction of it. One day after work, with the sun finally peeking through the clouds, Nik and I took the took the dogs on a creek safari - less of walk, more of a clamber, crawl, bash and climb through, round, and over bushes, trees, and rocks alongside the creek in the forest below the main cabin. We also went on a more organised bush-bashing expedition to clear a walking track along the main, wider creek, armed with secatuers, small axes, and a tempermental chainsaw. The day was warm, the creek was full (and COLD when I scrambled across it from rock-to-rock - the only casualty to the crossing was my absolute backpackers waterbottle which I'd had since mission beach, carried away by the creek), the scenery was pretty, and we also got a chance to hack at any undergrowth blocking the path, which mostly followed cattle trails. We were even lucky enough to find a carpet python, curled up circularly in rest on a sunny, grassy patch beside the water. As our last piece of official WWOOF 'work' at Fairweather, it was pretty hard to beat!

But one of the best and most unexpected happenings at the farm occurred on our second to last night, when I, walking up to the main cabin in the darkness guided by torchlight, spotted a strange-looking dog playing with Brandy. It turned out to be a dingo puppy! A dingo! The same animal that they wouldn't even let us get out of the tourbus near on Fraser Island! One of Hayden's friends had rescued two of them from a hollow log when he and his kids had found their mum dead on a bushwalk, they'd been raised domesticated; though they retained all the dingo mannerisms (including no bark - the muscovy duck of the dog world!), they were as happy curled up on John's lap as out hunting bandicoots in the forest. It was amazing to see - particularly to watch Brandy play with the two puppies, while Jasper stood by, eyeing them suspiciously. These are the kind of things we'd never have got to see without going WWOOFing.

permalink written by  LizIsHere on October 14, 2010 from Grafton, Australia
from the travel blog: New Zealand & Australia 2010
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