Global network brings volunteers to state

A BRISBANE-born woman and a German 28-year-old have forged the bonds of family in a rose-filled property at Sheffield.

Germany's Melanie Eckstein has returned for the second time to Rosemount, home of Gaye Brown, to work as part of a worldwide network connecting willing volunteers with farmers.

Ms Brown is one of more than 2400 Australians involved in World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, offering bed and board to visitors known colloquially as wwoofers.

Wwoofers work between four and six hours a day in return for accommodation and food.

Ms Brown said when Miss Eckstein wasn't picking berries, tending to the animals or gardening, the two could be found together in pursuit of fun.

"[Wwoofers] are very clever, very quick learners and terrific workers," Ms Brown said.

"They're keeping me younger, because now I have younger ideas."

Working five hours a day, 28-year- old Japanese woman Izumi Toyohara has helped construct the interior of an accommodation cottage at Branxholm eco-resort Tin Dragon Trail Cottages.

Miss Toyohara said wwoofers were not just recipients of accommodation: the workers experience the lifestyle at their accomodation spot and pick up language and farming skills.

Miss Toyohara's two designated days off each week have seen her play host to a Japanese friend and visit tourist hotspots including Bicheno, Cradle Mountain and Launceston.

"[Tasmania's] a beautiful place," the aspiring English teacher said.

Resort owner Graham Cashion said the workers were invaluable in assisting on the property. Former wwoofers at the North-East site have assisted in building a greenhouse and gardening.

"It's enjoyable, it's a cultural exchange," Mrs Cashion said.

"It's very rewarding for us, especially (son) James."

For more information on wwoofing or hosting wwoofers, visit wwoof.com.au

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