THE Tea Gardens Visitor Information Centre (VIC) is one of many services provided in this community by volunteers.
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It is also managed by a voluntary committee from the Community Technology Centre (CTC). The VIC operates seven days a week, 364 days per year, from 9a.m. to 4 p.m.
Our volunteers provide a diverse range of information to locals, Australian and overseas tourists. Approximately half of our tourists are interested in the Myall Lakes National Park for its walks, camping, picnic areas and the Bombah Point Ferry. Other enquiries include the ferry to Nelson Bay, kayaking tours, boat hire, flora and fauna of our beautiful area, cafes and restaurants, and sundry other questions.
All our volunteers agree that meeting tourists as well as assisting locals with enquiries are very rewarding tasks. Also, when time permits, having a chat with some tourists can draw out many interesting stories, whether they are from ‘grey nomads’ or backpackers.
The VIC has an ongoing need to recruit new volunteers, not least because of the fact that many of our current volunteers are also tourists! So, while they are touring, we have shift vacancies.
New volunteers undertake supervised training in an ‘on the job’ format with an experienced volunteer. The amount of time that a volunteer requires to become confident in the role varies according to an individual’s needs, and then they can be rostered on a regular shift, usually with another volunteer. Shifts are of a minimum 3 ½ hours, and a volunteer can be rostered according to their availability and roster requirements.
A monthly meeting for volunteers is held to share information, ideas, suggestions and new information. On occasions, a guest speaker is invited to talk about their specific business.
The VIC offers local and generic souvenirs, a wide range of maps, information on the Myall Lakes National Park, as well as National Park Passes, postcards, photo cards, a book swap, ice creams, drinks, sunglasses, walks, local flora and fauna, and more.
If you enjoy interacting with the public, and are interested in becoming a volunteer at the VICand want to know more, then please call in to our office which is adjacent to the Midcoast Council building, 245 Myall Street, Tea Gardens, between 9a.m. and 4 p.m. Please request an application form from one of our volunteers, and we can get you started.
By Barbara ROSS