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Volunteer in Australia

Volunteer in Australia is your chance to get to know a continent that is famous for its nature and animals at the same time: the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, koalas, kangaroos, wombats, cities like Cairns...

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Volunteer work in Australia

Who isn’t enticed by the rugged nature and the unique wildlife of the land down under? Australia never ceases to amaze visitors with its extreme biodiversity. The great barrier reef, Uluru, Daintree rainforest, the Outback and not to mention all creatures great and small that can’t be found anywhere else abroad!

These natural wonders are at your fingertips while volunteering abroad in Australia! Do you have a soft spot for sea turtles, kangaroos or koalas or are you eager to do some eco volunteering in Australia? Look no further, international volunteer opportunities in Australia are plentiful! Continue reading to find out about volunteer programs that need your help!

Why Volunteer in Australia?

Claiming Australia has a wide variety of wildlife is a massive understatement. Australia’s one-of-a-kind ecosystem is home to creatures that don’t live anywhere else in the world! Its unique landscape is an incredible backdrop for observing native species like the kangaroo, the koala, and the wombat.

Volunteers who are drawn to the ocean are in for a treat as well. Australia is the number one diving destination in the world and very welcoming to divers who want to volunteer in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef!

Depending on your volunteering preference for land or water, we’re confident you’ll find what you’re looking for in Australia. Whether you want to volunteer in Sydney or are looking for volunteer opportunities in Melbourne, there are volunteer projects available for everyone who loves nature.

All volunteer programs rely on the help of volunteers to support their cause both financially and through their volunteering efforts. Continue reading to find out why you should volunteer in Australia aside from it being your chance to visit one of the most biodiverse places in the world!

Volunteer with animals in Australia

Despite its biodiversity, 1700 of Australia’s unique species are facing extinction All wildlife conservation projects rely on the help of volunteers and this is exactly where people with a heart for animals come into the picture.

Wildlife conservation volunteer Australia

Kangaroos, possums, wallabies, sugar gliders… it’s more than likely you will see these creatures. Wildlife sanctuaries for rescued wildlife are always looking for volunteers to protect their endangered wildlife, especially in Queensland.

Animal rescue & wildlife sanctuaries

Animal sanctuaries nurse sick, injured or orphaned creatures back to health. Volunteers eager to get close to these Australian natives are in luck because you will get to feed them and care for them. Some volunteer programs focus on nursing while others focus on breeding endangered species. The latter can be a very interesting experience for veterinary students.

It’s always the intention to release creatures back into their natural habitat again. In some cases, this just isn’t possible and they will need continuous care. You’ll also need to be prepared for some setbacks as not all animals make it despite excellent care and attention.

Volunteer with horses in Australia

Horse lovers looking to spend some time in the outback and take in rural Australia can volunteer with horses. Take this opportunity to join one of the horse projects and know what it’s like to work on a horse ranch. Help with daily maintenance chores, feeding the horses, cleaning stables but also lots of walking and even swimming!

Volunteer for bat conservation

Bats aren’t the most popular animals but they do play an important role in the environment. This is why bat conservation projects need volunteers to spread this awareness and help rescue sick, injured and orphaned bats.

Where can I volunteer in Australia?

Depending on your geographical preference, there are sanctuaries and rescue centers scattered around the country catering to the unique wildlife living in that specific area. Sanctuaries are located in the states of Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, South or Western Australia. Whether you volunteer in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, or another city, your help is greatly appreciated throughout the country!

Biodiversity and eco-conservation

Contribute as an eco-conservation volunteer and help Australia maintain and protect its diverse habitats and precious environment. Environmental volunteering is a great way to connect to nature.

For those who want to volunteer in remote Australia, there are nature reserves spread over the entire country to support Australia’s unique ecosystem. This is your chance to volunteer in outback Australia and experience this unique landscape.

As a conservation volunteer in Australia, you will learn more about the particular fauna and flora of the area, gather data about the region’s plants and animals and contribute to maintaining these national parks in Australia.

For those of you looking to combine eco volunteering with a bit of city life, why not volunteer in Melbourne and experience the best of both worlds?

Volunteer for Australian bushfires

The Australian wildfires were disastrous for Australia at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. It was the worst bushfire the country has experienced in history. Although wildfires are a natural phenomenon, global warming in combination with weather circumstances, caused this wildfire season to get out of hand.

Millions of Australian wildlife were affected and people were forced to evacuate their homes. Wildlife rescue centers were working at full capacity saving koalas, kangaroos, wombats, possums, and other Australian natives that were harmed during the bushfires.

Especially the koala population took a serious hit which is why you should definitely volunteer in Australia with koalas. Read more about the Australian bushfires and the volunteer work you can do to support the animals and the environment that have been affected. They will need your help and support year-round to recover from the damage that has been done. It’s never too late to volunteer.

Volunteer in Australia for marine conservation

Australia isn’t only known for the outback and its cute native wildlife. Equally amazing is its marine life. This is partly due to Australia being the home to the Great Barrier Reef. Volunteering for marine conservation will open up a whole new world.

Volunteer in Australia for the great barrier reef

If you’re excited about volunteering for the conservation of the world’s largest organism, then prepare for an opportunity of a lifetime. The great barrier reef in Queensland is one of the wonders of this world. This is your chance to help keep it this way!

Volunteer in Queensland and get this unique experience! Divers can get started immediately but non-divers can be taught how to scuba dive. Volunteer diving in Australia is an underwater experience where you will contribute to maintaining this precious ecosystem. This may include clearing the ocean of plastic and other waste while observing its precious marine life.

Volunteers can expect to spend a lot of time observing and collecting data about the reef and its inhabitants to support future conservation initiatives in the great barrier reef.

Sea turtle conservation

If you’re not afraid of getting close to this endangered species that has been around for over 100 million years, this is your chance! Sea turtles desperately need your help and support.

Many turtles suffer from floaters disease which is a condition where the air is trapped between the turtle’s body and their shell. This prevents them from diving down to find food. As a volunteer in Australia with sea turtles, you will help treat those that have been injured by boats or fishing, harmed by plastic waste or are starving. Volunteering on the Gold Coast in Queensland will be the best opportunity to work with sea turtles since many programs are in Cairns.

Volunteer with dolphins in Australia

Australia is also a great place to volunteer with dolphins. If you’ve always dreamed of learning everything about the bottle-nose dolphin, join one of the conservation programs on the Gold Coast. Help spread awareness about the importance of dolphins among visitors and tourists as you observe dolphins and collect data on their behavior.

Whether you want to volunteer close to the ocean or prefer to keep it on dry land, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities to volunteer and travel in Australia.

Why volunteer in Australia?

We will go over the main practicalities when it comes to volunteering in Australia. If you have any doubts, please feel free to contact our live chat with your questions. We are here to guide you through the process of finding the best volunteer project in Australia for you.

Cost of living

The suggested daily budget for a volunteer in Australia is between US$ 45 and US$96. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services and things you may need. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country.

Additional costs you should consider are:

An overview of living costs in Australia (in US$, for one person)

Things to know before you volunteer in Australia

What are the safety precautions for volunteering in Australia?

Before starting this amazing trip abroad, there are a few things you need to take into account:

  • Make sure you have travel insurance for the duration of your travel. This is easy to come by and will guarantee you are covered when anything happens to you.
  • The Australian sun is very powerful. Protect your skin with high protective sunscreen and wear clothes that cover up!
  • Australia is known for its bushfires in late spring and summer. Read up on any fire hazards in the area you will be traveling to.
  • When swimming in the sea, stay within the flagged area which has lifeguards. It’s not so much the sharks but the strong currents that are a threat.

Health advice

Australia is a developed country with excellent facilities. Nevertheless, to make your stay abroad even more enjoyable take into account the following:

  • There are no necessary immunizations for volunteering in Australia but check with your doctor just to be sure.
  • Always use sunscreen. Heatstroke and sunburn can cause some severely uncomfortable symptoms.
  • If you have any health problems or take medication, be sure to bring the medication along with the prescription. The prescription can be important when passing through customs.

Packing essentials

After reading all of the above, we’re sure you want to pack your bags for your travels abroad. Before you stuff your backpack with swimwear, shorts, and sunglasses, we’d like to remind you of some useful things you may not have thought of:

  • Travel Insurance
  • Money, cards, credit cards
  • Passport
  • Australian power adapter (perhaps more than 1 if you're heavy on electronics)
  • Waterproof phone case to protect against dust, scratches, water
  • Water shoes for spending time at or around the beach
  • Reef-safe sunscreen that protects your skin but contains no damaging chemicals polluting the reef
  • Personal medication, first-aid kit
  • Sun hat
  • Quick-dry towels

Read more about the ultimate packing guide.

Who can volunteer in Australia?

Most volunteer opportunities abroad are open to adults over the age of 18. There may be extra requirements, however, depending on the program. You can read these by clicking on the program. For a lot of volunteer opportunities in Australia, it’s important that you have a decent level of fitness because a lot of the programs are focused on conservation work outside or work with animals.

There are certain projects that accept volunteers under the age of 18. You can find these by using the filter option and selecting your age. These projects are generally eco-conservation programs, so a perfect match for volunteers who want to learn more about Australia’s unique nature.

Here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in Australia:

  • You need to have basic English skills to join a volunteer project in Australia.
  • Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.

What visa do I need to volunteer in Australia?

The following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should discuss your visa requirements with your contact person at Volunteer World about your volunteer program. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Australian embassy or consulate in your country.

General immigration information

Before entering Australia, citizens from all countries need to apply for a visa beforehand. The only exceptions are citizens from New Zealand who can apply for a visa upon arrival.

As a volunteer, you can apply for a tourist visa. You are not technically working at your volunteer project because you are not being paid.

Customs are very strict in Australia. Please take into account that the following items are prohibited to enter the country and you will have to discard them upon entering:

  • Dairy and egg products
  • Uncanned meat products
  • Live Animals
  • Fresh fruit or vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Live plants

Best practice for short-term volunteers

For short-term volunteers the following two visas are an option:

For a number of European countries:

The eVisitor (subclass 651)is a free visa for multiple visits to Australia for tourism or business purposes for up to three months at a time within a 12-month period and it cannot be extended.

For a number of countries and regions outside of Australia:

The Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601) allows you to visit Australia as many times as you want, for up to a year, and stay for three months each visit. There is no visa application charge for an ETA, however, a $20 service charge applies for online applications only.

For people from countries who are not eligible to apply for the above visas, there’s still the Visitor visa (subclass 600) which allows you to visit Australia, either for tourism or business purposes, for up to three, six or 12 months. The base application fee for this visa ranges from $135 to $340.

Best practice for long-term volunteers

The longest you can stay in Australia is 12 months. In this case, the Visitor visa (subclass 600) would be an option if you wish to stay for longer than 3 months. The base application fee for this visa ranges from $135 to $340.

Volunteering abroad is a big adventure. Australia is a very welcoming country with plenty of animal and environmental conservation opportunities waiting for your help. Take the plunge and we guarantee this will be an experience you won’t forget anytime soon!

Volunteer and travel abroad to Australia. It will be an unbelievable experience where you will connect with Australia’s astonishing nature. Despite being a well-developed country, it needs all the help it can get to maintain its unique biodiversity. We love helping you find the perfect volunteer opportunity!