The following is information pertinent to people intending to attend a course with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and includes general information about the farm, course accommodation, directions for travelling, our cancellation policy, etc. If you are looking for details to make a course payment, click here.


Geoff Lawton at the Zaytuna Farm entrance
All photos © Craig Mackintosh

Zaytuna Farm

The farm is situated on a sixty-six acre property that fronts Terania Creek opposite the village of The Channon, Northern NSW. The property contains 800m of creek frontage, numerous swimming holes and abundant wildlife. The landscape is diverse, covering high frost-free hilltops, ridges and valleys with both cleared paddocks and forested areas.

Zaytuna Farm is a working permaculture education and demonstration farm under development; work is consistently in progress to develop the systems. Situated in sub-tropical Northern New South Wales we offer students the opportunity to learn while experiencing a real life permaculture-farming situation. In addition to classroom time, students will train and work on daily farm duties interacting and caring for farm animals. Other tasks include looking at design in the landscape, making compost, testing soil, basic surveying and completing design exercises.

After day one, the PDC and short course students will have the option of volunteering to work with staff in the early morning before class or after class in the afternoon to assist with the wide variety of daily and essential farm work. The Intern students will have a full week of orienteering to explain the systems, which they must operate as part of the education process. This includes assisting with the milking and feeding the cows, horses, ducks and chickens, turning compost, working in the food forest, moving the grazing cells and working in the kitchen gardens and main crop garden.

Several dams have been installed on the property. There are three high dams located 20m above the main infrastructure connected by catchment back flood swale which gravity feed irrigation throughout the farm. The main house and classroom are straw bale constructions and overlook a large and attractive feature dam where students and staff can enjoy a swim. Farm operation systems include a large solar power electricity system, solar hot water and wood fired hot water, and composting toilets and a reed-bed grey water system. Food production and livestock systems at the farm include a large vegetable and herb garden, food forests, a one-acre main crop, mixed small animal systems and grazing animals.

There is also a large selection of bamboo in productive cultivation throughout the property. Farm forestry and reforestation of the creek for stability are ongoing.

Weather Conditions

Weather specific clothing and camping gear is needed according to the time of year. A high rainfall is experience in this area and is distributed all year round. In summer – December to February we experience 30 degree plus temperatures in the daytime, normally with high levels of humidity. In the cooler months May to October we have regular frost on the ground at night and early mornings, it can be very cold. The days are usually mild to warm. It is recommended to bring gumboots and wet weather gear.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in student self-provided tents in our campground. If you don’t have your own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, etc.) they can be purchased in neighboring Lismore. Campsite amenities are adequately basic at this point in time. They include a composting toilet and a shower with hot water being provided by a wood fired hot water system.

We have installed ten tent platforms. These provide a dry base and a roof for the erection of a tent. The shelters have a 4 x 2.5metre footprint which includes the frame, so if your tent fits inside these dimensions you might like to camp on a shelter. However, if you miss out on a sheltered site, or your tent is too large to fit into the shelter, there is no need to worry, as there is plenty of camping space available.

All the water taps, which are connected to the main kitchen and house, are safe to drink from and there will be one clearly labelled tap in the camp area, which will provide safe drinking water. However, please be aware that all other taps around the property are connected to dam water supplies, which are not suitable for drinking.

Given our proximity to a watercourse we ask that you ensure that your toiletries, soaps, etc., are eco-friendly. That means free of any chemicals and labelled as such. Please ensure you bring your own towel as we have a limited supply.

There is no power in the camp ground, so please bring a torch/flashlight.

Alternative options for accommodation are:

  • Eternity Springs website (www.eternitysprings.com) for more information. Location here.
  • Havans Ecotourist Retreat website (www.havans.com.au) for more information.
  • There are also plenty of accommodation options in Lismore, which is 19 kilometers away.

Common Room

Adjacent to the camping ground is the students’ common room. It is housed in a section of our front shed, which is fully insulated. It includes couches, a TV, a sink, a small gas stove, refrigeration, tea and coffee making facilities, a telephone and internet access. The telephone can be used to make free local phone calls or can be used to receive phone calls.

The common room has timers on the lights, the power points and the wireless internet (wireless only internet provided). This is to keep the power load on the stand-alone solar power system to a minimum.

The lights will be on from 5pm to 10pm. The power points will be on from 8am to 4pm. You will be able to charge your items in the classroom as well but only during the same hours (day light). (You can plug things in and turn them on before this time and the power will still turn on.)

Food

Students are welcome guests of home-cooked meals from Geoff and Nadia’s kitchen. Meals are fresh and healthy. We have meat and vegetarian meals at all sittings. We try to get most of our ingredients from our very own gardens but depending on the seasons we have had some foods are sourced from local organic produce and occasionally from larger stores (we try to avoid this though). Please Note: We are only able to provide home-cooked Meat and Vegetarian options. If you have an alternative diet, you may need to supplement your diet with some of your own food during your stay.

Meal times are standardised and although classes sometimes run over time, we basically stick to the meal schedule below Monday-Friday:

PDC Internship/Short Courses
Breakfast:
8:00-9:00am 8:00-9:00am
Morning Tea:
10:30-10:45am 10:30-11:00am
Lunch:
12:30-1:00pm 12:30-1:30pm
Afternoon Tea:
3:00-3:15pm 3:00-3:30pm
Dinner:
5:30-6:30pm 5:00-6:00pm

On weekends, students can take the opportunity to explore the local area including local waterfalls and national parks. The Channon Craft Market, the oldest in the region, is held every second Sunday of the month in the village, an easy 15 minute walk from the farm. The market has a diverse and interesting range of food options to choose from. For more information, visit the Channon Market website.

Please note that on weekends students are not permitted at Geoff and Nadia’s house site, for the purposes of rest and privacy, unless they are performing a specific task (like feeding the animals).

Laundry Facilities

Should you need to do laundry during your stay, there is a Laundromat located a 15-minute walk or less than 5-minute bike ride from the farm at The Channon General Store. If you only want to hand-wash a few things, then you can do so in the sink next to the shower block.

Items to Bring

There will be many opportunities to take a look around the farm, join in activities such as making compost, testing soil, and helping feed the animals or milk the cows. For this reason it is advisable to bring the following items:

  • One pair of sturdy walking boots that cover the ankle – VERY IMPORTANT
  • Thongs or sandals to easily slip on and off when walking between rooms (i.e. there are no shoes
    allowed in the teaching area, toilet, etc., although you can use clean slip-on shoes for walking around the house area).
  • Gumboots
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Wide brimmed hat – VERY IMPORTANT
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • A raincoat
  • Water bottle
  • Long pants made of thick material
  • Notebook & Pen
  • Coloured pens/pencils for drawing designs
  • Camera
  • Laptop computer is recommended
  • Arnica, tea tree oil and/or other remedies for tick or insect bites
  • Good torch/flashlight and/or headlamp – VERY IMPORTANT
  • Camping equipment – VERY IMPORTANT
    - It should be waterproof and comfortable as interns, for example, will be camping for 10 weeks and during cooler months, May to October we experience heavy frost on the ground.
    - A good quality mattress for comfort and most importantly to protect from ground chill.
    – Pillow and good quality sleeping bag and/or blankets. This is most important as it can sometimes get as low as -10 degrees Celsius in the night and early morning in the May-October cooler season.
    – • We highly recommend that students bring an additional tarp to cover your tent in the rainy season.

Internet and Mobiles

The wireless internet will be on from 6pm to 9pm. This is provided for emails, research, web browsing, and skype (or similar), but it is not to be used for downloading, i.e. movies, music, pictures, and large files (small Word and PDFs are ok) or streaming (i.e. movies, music, videos). No internet assess will be provided for use in the class room or the eating area. Internet access will be provided in the classroom only during an exercise that requires it. It is recommended that you bring your laptop as it will be of great use (file swapping between students is very common). Farm access to an office computer will not be provided unless it is an emergency.

Laptops need to be unplugged after sunset.

Free local phone calls may be made from the common room. A phone card can also be used to make calls from this phone.

Please be aware that mobile phone reception is weak or non-existent for most service providers at the farm, but students usually find reception with many mobile phone service providers just a short distance walk up the road.

Zaytuna Farm’s electricity comes from a stand-alone solar system. This means that as the sun shines we have plenty of power and outside of daylight hours we try to limit our power usage as much as possible. So while it is possible to recharge your electrical items, please keep in mind that if it is overcast, or night-time, there will be no power available to recharge.

For the internship, it’s important to know that you should not attempt to continue running your business while doing this full-time program. If there are urgent issues you absolutely must deal with, then these should be done before 8:45am and after 6pm.

Organising Independent Access to Phone and Internet

The only reliable mobile phone reception on the farm is from Telstra Next G network. You can research purchasing a SIM card or mobile phone on the Telstra Next G network via this link.

Equally, the only reliable mobile wireless internet access is also from Telstra, and specifically you will need a "$99 USB Modem plus 1GB data", which you can research via this link.

DVDS and Books for Sale

During the course we will have several books and DVDs from our store on sale. If you think you may like to purchase any of these items during the course, please have cash, cheques, credit or bankcards available for your purchase.

Visas

Download information on Visas here (62kb PDF).

Travel Insurance

The Permaculture Research Institute recommends that all our international students have comprehensive travel insurance for cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, personal baggage, money and liability before travelling to the PRI. Travel insurance is relatively cheap and can be purchased through a number of channels. Please speak with your travel agent for further details.

Directions to Zaytuna Farm

Zaytuna Farm is located 1 kilometre from the Village of The Channon, 20 km outside of Lismore, in northern New South Wales. The closest airport is located in Lismore and is serviced by ReX (Regional Express) Airlines. Other regional airports with reasonable access to the PRI include Coolangatta and Ballina. Brisbane Airport is the closest major international airport with limited international services available through Coolangatta airport.

By Car From Brisbane

The Channon is located roughly a three hour drive from Brisbane. Follow the Pacific Hwy south past Tweed Heads and the NSW/Queensland border, continuing past the Byron Bay exit for approximately two kilometres to the Bangalow exit. Take this exit and continue on to the roundabout at the top of the hill in Bangalow (just over the bridge) and turn right towards Lismore. Then drive for approximately 14.6 kilometres to Clunes. Just after entering the village of Clunes, at the top of the hill, turn right towards Dunoon and The Channon. Continue to follow the signs towards Dunoon and The Channon.

Turn right into The Channon Road at the sign for ‘The Channon’ and continue driving until you reach the village. Carry on past The Channon Tavern and take the first left onto Koonorigan Road. Continue over the bridge and at the fork in the road keep to the left. You will then move onto Pinchin Road which is a gravel road. The farm entry is the first driveway on the left at 1158 Pinchin Road. There is a sign labelled “Permaculture Research Institute” at the entrance to the driveway.

From Byron Bay

Drive west from Byron to the Pacific Highway entrance and head south. Then follow the directions as above.

From Sydney and the South

Take Pacific Highway north, continuing on past Ballina and Lennox head. Take the exit labelled Bangalow and follow the directions as above from Bangalow.

Public Transportation

Bus to Lismore

Premier Motor Services and Countrylink run daily bus services leaving from Brisbane airport and Brisbane Transit Centre to Lismore.

Byron Easy Bus run daily bus services leaving from Brisbane Domestic and International airports, Roma Street Station, Gold Coast airport and Ballina airport to Lismore. Please phone (02) 66 857 447 or email info (at) byronbus.com to arrange a shuttle bus.

Train to Lismore

Countrylink operates rail and connecting coach services to country regions of New South Wales and some interstate locations. Services vary, dependent on from where you are coming, so please check their website to validate routes and times.

Airport Shuttle Bus to The Channon

Xcede Airport Transfers will run services from all airports within the region.
Ballina Airport – The Channon; Executive Sedan (seats 4) $150 each way
Gold Coast Airport – The Channon; Executive Sedan (seats 4) $320 each way
Please phone (02) 66 544 476 or email info@exede.com.au to arrange a shuttle bus.

Lismore to the Channon

Bus Service

Quinn Bus Service has runs from Lismore to The Channon. It is a School Bus that also transports the public.

M & C Quinn Buses
777 Pinchins Road, Goolmangar, NSW 2480
PH: Mobile – Michael 0427 282138 or Cathy 0428 282137
Email: quinnsbuses@hotmail.com

School Days Service — Monday – Friday

Morning

Afternoon

Tuntable Creek – Rose Road

7:25am

Our Lady Help of Christians

3:15pm

The Channon (Near Tavern)

7:50am

Lismore Public School

3:20pm

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

8:05am

Lismore High School

3:24pm

Blakebrook Public School

8:20am

Lismore Transit Centre

3:30pm

South Lismore Primary School

8:30am

Trinity Collage Interchange

3:38pm

Richmond River High School

8:35am

Richmond River High School

3:48pm

Trinity Public School

8:40am

South Lismore Primary School

3:53pm

Lismore Public School

8:45am

Blakebrook Public School

4:02pm

Lismore High School

8:50am

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

4:30pm

Our Lady Help of Christians

9:00am

The Channon (Near Tavern)

4:45pm

Lismore Transit Centre

9:10am

Tuntable Creek – Rose Road

5:10pm


School Holidays Service, excluding public holidays (School holiday dates):

Morning

Afternoon

The Channon Store/LPO

7:15am

LISMORE – Transit Center

3:30pm

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

7:30am

Nimbin Road – Blackbrook

3:40pm

Nimbin Road – Blackbrook

7:45am

Keerrong Road – (Hall)

3:50pm

LISMORE – Transit Center

7:55am

The Channon Store/LPO

4:05pm


Saturday Service

There is one Saturday service departing from the Lismore Transit Center (Corner of Molesworth Street) to The Channon. It is a mail run, done in a car. Departing Lismore at 5.55 am. This service will take limited passengers if the driver is notified the night before (Michael 0427 282 138 or Cathy 0428 282 137).

Lismore Taxi Service

Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Lismore Taxi: (02) 6621 2618, email info@lismoretaxi.com.au or website www.lismoretaxis.com.au. The approximate cost of a taxi from Lismore to The Channon is $75 AUD.

Institute Policies

The PRI is a registered non-profit organisation, which rents Zaytuna Farm for the purpose of running and teaching permaculture courses. For this reason we ask that all students observe some rules put in place by Zaytuna Farm.

Incoming students should be aware that although Zaytuna Farm is still within its development stage, we consider ourselves a serious educational facility and as such we have a few policies in place. These include:

  • Care of the Earth
  • Care of People
  • We expect that all staff, volunteers, guests and students conduct themselves in a cooperative manner and show respect to others
  • Zaytuna Farm is a DRUG and ALCOHOL free zone
  • We expect everyone to dress modestly. As with most other educational institutions, clothing with foul language or obscene images, tank tops or muscle shirts and mini-skirts are not acceptable
  • Due to Occupational Health and Safety you must wear appropriate protective or safety clothing when required. At no stage are guests, volunteers or students allowed to operate any of the equipment on site unless directed by PRI staff.
  • No pets

On arrival all guests and students are asked to read and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (30kb PDF), which outlines these policies and answers any questions that may come up.

If you need clarification on any of these policies please do not hesitate to ask.


Map of Zaytuna Farm – click for larger view

Welcome to Zaytuna Farm and the Permaculture Research Institute!

I hope this information has been informative and not too overwhelming! Now, with all of this logistical information out the way I would now like to let you know that all of us here at PRI are looking forward to meeting you and welcoming you onto the farm. A new world of functional knowledge awaits you!

For Questions, Concerns & Feedback – Please Contact:

Bonnie Freibergs
Education & Sales Coordinator
education (at) permaculturenews.org
+61 419 741 358


Near Zaytuna Farm, the massive Protesters Falls waterfall lands and
cascades in the beautiful Nightcap National Park

Cancellation Policy

  • If you notify us at least 14 days prior to the course commencement, the PRI will refund your course fee but will deduct an administration fee of 10%, OR you can apply the full amount as credit towards a future course.
  • If you notify us less than 14 days prior to the course commencement the PRI cannot provide a refund OR you can send someone else in your place.
  • If the PRI is forced to cancel a course due to low attendance or unforeseen circumstances you will immediately receive a full refund. All other refunds can take between 7-30 days to process.