Volunteering in Australia

Meet Bernie – staff, friend and family

A great way to meet friends and be part of a community

If you, my dear reader have ever walked into a hostel, you will no doubt know that some of your fellow travellers are working at that hostel. They may be cleaners, night managers, receptionists, maintenance crew or even local entertainment. Some of them volunteer in specific skills such as web design or social media. Regardless of your skill level, you would always be welcome to trade your time to stay free, by trading it for your time.

Also, be sure to make your way to the very bottom for some staff short stories.

How does this work?

Finding the right hostel for you

Our volunteers come from all over the world and come to us in a variety of ways. Some of them contact us prior to their arrival in Australia based on a ‘word of mouth’ referral. Either through our Facebook and Instagram pages or via our website. Then there are those who are a little last minute and contact us days or weeks into their journey. They are the ones who like to just ‘see how things go’ and ‘where they end up’. If you’re not like that you may want to register on a really cool website called HelpX. https://www.helpx.net/. This is where we find many of our volunteers and how they find us. But how do you know this will be a good fit for you?

Best source of information

We suggest you check out the hostel’s social media – of course! But, also give them a call and ask them what they offer, how many hours you will be volunteering and what cool things you can do whilst you are there. Our staff often come to Agnes Water because it is a nice chilled spot right at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It is, most importantly, the last surf spot heading north. What more could you ask for? I personally love surfing and snorkelling but there is something more special than that. Can you guess?

If you said ‘family!’, then you are absolutely correct and well done you! Whether you’re travelling solo or with a group of friends, undoubtedly, you have left family on the other side of the world, and you’re quite happy with that, lol. However, missing family just goes with the territory. Our staff report that immense and deep feeling of family the moment they walk through the doors and this bond continues to grow during their stay which can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years!

What are some of the hostel positions available?

We are a super clean hostel, we pride ourselves on being organised and yes we also do events! So therefore, there are a lot of positions available at Cool Bananas and most hostels you visit. However, by far, most hostels need cleaners and receptionists. Followed closely by day and night managers and event organisers. All hostels are invariably unique and take a different approach to all volunteers. So, it is incredibly important to ask the questions before you start. Most will ask you to volunteer anywhere from 2 hours to a full day, so I guarantee your research will be worthwhile. Want to see some of them at work?

Some of these fabulous people can be seen on our YouTube channel, ‘doin their thing’ – check it out! Some great insights to working at a hostel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCotSLF1nPpOnFCxZFEvlv1Q?view_as=subscriber

What are some of the benefits of volunteering in a hostel?

You may think it’s obvious….. FREE ACCOMMODATION. Save money and pat yourself on the back for sticking to your budget. Good job! Well… the money is probably the least of the benefits you will talk about when you leave. The sense of family, learning a new skill by becoming part of the crew, and yes that may even mean learning to fold sheets that would make your mum proud. In addition, sharing meals, learning some travel tips and even picking up some freebies from the reception staff.

Our staff also pick up casual jobs with local businesses and families. They become part of the Australian culture that is evident at Cool Bananas and learn about the interesting local history that, will be, a topic all of it’s own in a future blog!

What do our staff do in their spare time?

Spare time? Yes, our staff do a wonderful job but it is only a small part of what they do. Whether they do a morning, afternoon or evening shift, there is time to take advantage of all the wonderful activities Agnes Water/1770 has to offer.

What would you like to be doing? Some of the most popular activities is heading out to the local national parks, surfing, boating, Sunday markets and the absolute favourite is…….. yep…. the sunset. There are so few places on the east coast of Australia where you can see the sunset over the water. Absolutely magic. https://coolbananasbackpackers.com/hostel-events/

Some Inspiring Staff Projects – Thanks guys 🙂

By far, the coolest thing is to experience all that our staff have to offer. Apart from becoming family, they share their talents which forever become a part of the hostel (their family home in Australia!).

Staff Traditions

As I said before, each hostel has it’s own unique way of doing what it does best. Depending on which part of the country you’re landing in, will depend on the traditions. We, at Cool Bananas, love to surround ourselves with as many beautiful people as we can, have dinners, BBQ’s, pizza nights and my favourite, sitting on a surfboard amongst the waves with the staff.

Staff also (pre-covid19 of course), attend the local pub on a Saturday night for live music and dancing. Movie night on a Sunday night and weekly events are all part of what makes us tick! I suppose our most popular culinary tradition has become ‘Snacks & Chats’. This is a fabulous night prepared by the staff and guests. Some amazing food is cooked and served, chosen from home. Often we see staff’s favourite dishes from home – thanks mums! The result – a culinary feast!

Staff’s Best Pics & Picks

After only a day or two, our staff do not find it difficult to start putting together a list of everything they love about working at Cool Bananas and staying in this very unique coastal town. Not only is 1770 the first place where Captain Cook landed in Queensland (in the year 1770) but it’s also the inspiration for parts of the movie Finding Nemo. Remember that ‘drop off’, you guessed it, just north of us in the Great Barrier Reef. But, of course we cannot put all the amazing places and cool activities in one blog, but, for now, here are just a few pics of their best.

Sunset tours, barefoot bowls next door to the kangaroos, early morning yoga at the beach and drinks at the beach in the ‘wee’ hours. If you have anything to add dear readers, please comment below to ensure your wonderful voice is heard.

Some funny, short stories……

I have a bunch of them and there is nothing better than sitting around the fire or at the dinner table with the staff and hearing all the latest ‘goss’. My favourite question to get lips moving and the laughter rolling is – “so what should I not know but…. really want to know?” Many stories cannot be shared, as you can imagine but here’s a few of the milder ones.

  1. Sunny wore a little black dress for Gender Swap night when he went to pick new guests up from the Greyhound bus. A few sparkly earrings, some eye-catching pearls around his neck and some very kissable red lipstick, made quite the impression on our new incoming bananas. Would you be willing to do this if you were our shuttle bus driver?
  2. Thijs is a smooth customer (also staff) and was regularly found and heard dancing to Frank Sinatra with all the girls in the kitchen, the foyer and I believe, in the shower! Look out girls, he’s good!
  3. So…. there is a rubber hand getting around the place, hidden, found and re-hidden on a regular basis, it’s weird and it’s creepy so look out for it. You never know when it’s going to turn up. If you ask around, I believe the hand left the premises, did some travelling and was posted back! Yep, some people have a lot of time on their ‘hands’ – wink wink!
  4. The hand isn’t the only strange plastic/rubber hostel created conversation piece making it’s way around. Given out at a previous Secret Santa by ‘he who shall not be named‘, is a bright pink vibrator! Much to the horror of some of our cleaners, as it turns up in the most unexpected places. Lol
  5. Our lovely, charismatic ‘B’, heartbreaker of girls all over the globe, was fooled into thinking there was a camera in the common room. Why should he be worried about a camera in the common room I hear you ask? Could he possibly have been in that space, in the middle of the night, with a friend? Perhaps at a time when that area should be locked? Mmmmmm…. I’ll let your imagination fill in the rest. Did he believe that footage was analysed on a daily basis by the owners? This kind of deceit takes the work of more than one staff member and I’d like to thank all the ‘girls’ for their work in keeping the bluff going. Sorry Bob…..

If you’d like to be a part of the Cool Bananas Family, please call Cary or I and we would love to welcome you in or answer any questions you might have about travelling the East coast, working for your second year visa or volunteering at our hostel.

Follow the links below to get started. Thanks for reading and see you next time.

https://www.facebook.com/CoolBananasBackpackers1770 https://www.instagram.com/cool_bananas_hostel1770/ https://coolbananasbackpackers.com

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