When I decided to leave Hunter Valley, I wasn’t sure of where to go. I flipped through my WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) book, trying to find a beautiful place so that at least I could keep my sanity. Coffs Harbour is located 540 km North of Sydney. Really far but it is a coastal city. Basically this means that there are lots of beaches there! I couldn’t wait!!!
Saying goodbye to my friend Albert was quite painful but I knew this day would come. I made a stop in Sydney for the weekend and then took the train and headed to Coffs. It took me 9 hours. A painful and long train journey. Alas, I made it!
This farm was more inland and this time around the farmer was a lady. She was probably in her 60’s I would say. She was quite nice on the first day. She introduced me to her puppy, Bella, who was probably a year old. Bella was so adorable! I just wanted to spoil her. She was a troublemaker though…tryna chase away the kangaroos every time she saw them in the backyard.
The farm that didn’t require farming
So this farm was a cattle farm. I wasn’t advised to do anything with the cows at all. They pretty much just took care of themselves. I was the only wwoofer at her place. I was expected to clean her entire house and do weeding outside, in the garden. I don’t even know how to begin writing about my traumatic experience there. This lady expected me to clean her entire house (literally inside and out). Starting from her cupboards to the bat shit upstairs, to the horse and cow shit around the house. Oh the horror! I was expected to take everything out of her cupboards – they probably hadn’t been touched in ages, and clean them thoroughly. I had to clean with detergent and then scrub the floors of her kitchen with ammonia. Princess Jasmine was basically Cinderella. She would point out the spots that were supposedly not cleaned properly and I had to re-do them again.
She made me clean her room upstairs where the bats have nested and made a very comfortable home of their own for the last few months. Every evening they would fly all over the house and I would scream and run away. Every time I had to go upstairs to clean, I’d have to open the windows to ensure that the bats evacuate. She would so confidently tell me “why are you so scared, they’re just bats”. Yes, just bats, lovely animals that you can probably pet in your laps. Bat poop just about everywhere and I had to vacuum and clean everything with detergent. This triggered my asthma and I had to rely on my inhaler for the next few months.
No matter what she asked me to do, I held my breath and did it. I felt like she took advantage of the fact that I was relying on this farm work for my second year working holiday visa. I was required to do farm work not her house work. When she made sure that I did all the work around her house, her attitude towards me also started to change. She gave me more challenging work like clean horse/cow poop outside of the house. It was so disgusting and she complained if it wasn’t done her way. I think she just wanted to get rid of me as soon as I was done all the work (which didn’t include farming!).
On my last day, which was probably the 6th day, she was extremely rude and I didn’t say a word back to her. Then she tells me that things are not working out and if I wanted to go somewhere else for wwoofing. I said “yes absolutely!”. I was SO excited to leave. Never been happier.
I wish I could’ve explored Coffs Harbour a bit more and a bit longer. The only one time I got to see the beach was when she was nice enough to drop me there for a few hours. The beach was amazing. It definitely was very unique and felt very different. I have no words to describe it. It wasn’t anything like the Sydney or Byron beaches. It was just really nice to be there alone. I also spotted a very beautiful rainbow there that I’ll never forget.
Took the next train and didn’t even know where I was going. I just knew the next closest place was Byron Bay. I heard so many good things about Byron Bay and I also knew how challenging it would be to get farm work there since its so popular. So I took a leap of faith and headed there. It took me 3 hours. The train from Coffs takes me to this town called Casino and then I’d have to take a bus going to Byron Bay. So I looked up hostels on my way there and booked something right away. I remember there was a cyclone approaching that night, the weather was awful. Little did I know that Byron would be the love of my life!!! ❤