If you are lucky enough to be invited to volunteer at Daruka Homestead – don’t hesitate – TAKE IT! I just finished an 8-week stint on this farm and it was hands down, one of the best experiences of my life (not just as a WWOOFer). I feel so fortunate and blessed to have been able to stay, especially for as long as I did. Referrals have been invaluable to me during my WWOOFer experience so bear with me, this testimonial is for those of you who may also appreciate a detailed third-part account (and FYI, it is by far the longest testimony I have EVER written).
The accommodations at Daruka Homestead are 5-star! There are two options for WWOOFers, depending on what’s available. Either you’ll have you’re very own cottage with absolutely everything you could possibly need OR WANT (a fully-stocked and fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom, family room with a large screen TV and bedroom), or you will have your own large bedroom in the main house with your own toilet and shared bathroom. Sharron, the owner of the property used to do interior design work, so there is so much attention to detail, everything is absolutely beautiful and yet it’s cozy and comfortable. Trust me, you will feel completely spoiled and it will most likely ruin the rest of your WWOOFer stay experiences.
I’ll be honest, I was shocked, and at times I even felt bad (like I wasn’t pulling my weight), at how enjoyable and dare-I-say “easy” the work was. On 90% of the days I was there, my job was to water her plants and feed and care for her 130 animals – 11 horses (sometimes not all of them are on property), 8 alpaca, 2 donkeys, 5 dogs, 2 cats, 2 ducks and about 100 chicken. Sharron basically let me choose my own schedule, so for me, I liked waking up around 5:30am and it typically took me about 3-4 hours to complete my tasks. On most days, this was essentially it! I would do a little bit of work in the evening and some days she had the occasional odd job like; painting, staking trees, moving hay, organizing the farm, but those days were honestly, pretty far and few between. She is also extremely understanding if you need to take a day or two off.
Sharron is SO generous with food. I ate more food while I was at her farm than what I eat when at my own home in California. My understanding is that she adapts to whatever the WWOOFer likes. I enjoy cooking, so every week I had 2-3 full bags of groceries provided to me so I could cook my own meals. She even took note of what my preferences were and provided above and beyond what my needs and wants were. I’ve spoken with one of her other WWOOFers and it sounds like in her case (because she didn’t like cooking), Sharron did a lot of the cooking for her. I did get to have a few meals that Sharron prepared, and she is an incredible cook!! I’m talking “restaurant style chef!” You will not go hungry here, in fact you may gain weight 😊
Daruka is definitely located in the country of Australia, but you are only about 10 minutes from Tamworth, which has everything you could possibly need. Sharron is very gracious and probably asked me, maybe every-other-day or every-three-days, if I needed to go into town. Which I hardly ever did. One of my favorite things to do after my morning tasks were done was to go for a walk. The surrounding area is just breathtaking, and it was fun to see some of the other farms and meet some of the other animals. The neighbors are all so friendly as well.
ANIMALS AND PEOPLE
Believe it or not, I saved the best for last. Fist, the animals….. The animals on Daruka Homestead, without exception, are amazing! They are ALL so friendly and lovely. This was one of my first experiences with horses and they couldn’t have been more gentle or kind. Even the alpaca were friendly (which as far as I’ve been told, is odd to find). Sharron has the most incredible guardian dog on the property named, Drover. He is one of the most special souls on this planet. All I can say is, you’ll see what I mean when you meet him, and your life will never be the same. Words cannot describe him.
Tom, Sharron’s teenage son, is such a good kid! He’s extremely helpful, kind and he was always willing to help me out when I needed it. There were a couple days were Sharron had to travel and it was just he and I on the farm…. he totally pitched in and helped and was just an all-around really nice kid!
Last, Sharron – So first of all, I’m convinced this woman has superpowers! I’m amazed at all she does on the farm and everything is done with such a calm nature, nothing is ever rushed, she doesn’t panic, and she always has a smile on her face. The reason this farm is so amazing and every animal, and being, on it is so wonderful is because everything is an extension of her. She treats everyone and everything with such respect and love that there is this cohesiveness and peace that hums throughout her entire property. She is amazing and you will absolutely love her!
As cheesy as this sounds, if I had to say anything negative, it’s that this place is almost impossible to leave. I sobbed for days leading up to my departure and even now as I type this, it makes me tear up to think about how much I miss this place.
My experience at Daruka Homestead has changed me for the better. I only wish everyone could have a stay here. It’s incredible!