Reef to Bush Eco-Combo Conservation

founded in 2011
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Coordinator | Tracy
Coordinator | Tracy
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Care for rescued sea turtles & wildlife
Train to become a volunteer marine and terrestrial biologist surveying the health and status of the Great Barrier Reef & a tropical wetlands reserve
A unique 3-in-1 program experiencing diverse landscapes & hands-on animal care making memories that last forever
Use your free time to snorkel with sea turtles and other fascinating marine sea creatures living on the Great Barrier Reef
Contribute to important eco-initiatives protecting and conserving ecological communities in the Wetland Reserve and Great Barrier Reef
Seeking a diverse 3 week volunteer program in the Tropical North of Queensland? Look no further than this 3 in 1 Reef to Bush Eco-project. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Spend 3 weeks volunteering in the Tropical North of Queensland engaging in 3 Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers projects from the Great Barrier Reef to a Tropical Wetland Reserve – the best of both biological worlds! Each week brings a unique and different eco-project enhancing and diversifying your skillset.

Week 1/Project 1 – Conservation, Monitoring and Research of the Reef  

Based at 2 separate sites across two tropical islands, volunteers tackle head-on some of the threats that face this eco-system including coral bleaching from warming waters, marine debris pollution, the negative effects of mining, overfishing and other threats.

This is an incredible opportunity to contribute to the iconic Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system. For 7 days you’ll learn to identify the flora and fauna that live on the reef, work with oceanographic organisations based on the reef and assist them with research, monitoring and surveys on the reef. In addition, conduct beach clean-ups and marine debris sweeps.

(Please note: during the months of March, April and October, Week 1 is spent at the turtle rehabilitation centre in place of the standard Week 1 itinerary)

Week 2/Project 2 – Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

The second week involves the care of rescued sea turtles and their rehabilitation until they can be released. During the morning shifts, volunteers prepare food, feed sea turtles and clean turtle tanks.  The sea turtles are brought in suffering from boat strikes, disease, emaciation, fishing line entanglements, etc.  Volunteers experience firsthand the direct or indirect impacts that humans unknowingly impose onto sea turtles and their habitat. Afternoon activities (time permitting) you may have the opportunity to go swimming and snorkelling with wild sea turtles and other charismatic marine wildlife.

Week 3/Project 3 – Australian Bushland Conservation

A change of scenery to a Tropical Wetland Reserve in the North-West of Cairns where you are amongst diverse landscapes including swamps, wetlands, dry savannahs, eucalypt forests and an array of Australian wildlife. This Australian bushland reserve is home to a number of endangered species. Volunteers study and collect data to preserve these beautiful animals and protect their habitat. There is also a wildlife rehabilitation centre where volunteers care for animals in need and prepare them for their eventual release back into the wild. An important aspect of this project is to contribute to the research and conservation initiatives aiming to preserve ecological communities, the cultural heritage of the area and the local community.

Please Note

The second instalment of your project fees is due within 1 week after you paid the deposit on Volunteer World. This is a total of $495 AUD and comes off your balance. The balance is due 90 days prior to travel. For all further information about the fees, please scroll down to the section "Program Fees“.

Typical day

Week 1/Project 1 – Conservation, Monitoring and Research of the Reef  

(All months except March, April & September)

Day 0 - Arrival into Cairns and check into your accommodation

Day 1 – Training learning about the Reef

Day 2-5 – Reef monitoring, coral surveys, collecting oceanographic data, marine debris sweeps

Day 6-7 – Rest days - plan your own activities

Week 2/Project 2 – Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (also Week 1 during March, April & October)

Day 1-5 – Travel to a tropical island off Cairns. Prepare food, feed turtles, clean tanks and clean the turtles'shells (they love a good back scratch). Afternoons may be free for volunteers to enjoy the island, or it's back to Cairns to enjoy the city

Day 6 -7 – Choose to volunteer on the weekend with the turtles or enjoy free time in the tropical North. There's plenty to do!

Week 3/Project 3 – Australian Bushland Conservation

Day 1 – Travel to a wetlands reserve near Mareeba

Day 2-5 – Conduct conservation activities including waterbird surveys, collecting samples, feeding and caring for wildlife at the rehabilitation centre, release of rehabilitated animals, maintaining and cleaning enclosures and equipment, assisting with research and monitoring of wildlife, installing/checking camera traps, photo-point monitoring and data entry.

Day 6 – Return to Cairns

Free-time activities

Volunteers may have weekends available for their own activities. Whilst staying in Cairns there are plenty of options for both thrill-seekers (i.e. bungee jumping, skydiving or white water rafting), or for those that desire something more relaxing, volunteers can swim in the Esplanade lagoon, sample local produce at the farmer's market, bushwalk, go for a refreshing dip at a freshwater swimming hole). During week 3 whilst at the Reserve, volunteers can star gaze, engage in wildlife photography, cruise on the lagoon or simply enjoy what the Australian bushland has to offer.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers must be physically fit and able to work in hot and humid conditions in the Summer months.
Volunteers must be capable of swimming 50 metres and be able to tread/float in water for 10 minutes.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 06:30 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers

The pricing for the project includes 3 weeks and 1 day. Dates will be adjusted to suit program requirements.

A deposit is payable when you complete the online application form.

Prices include 10% Australian Goods & Services Tax (GST).


One night of accommodation is included prior to and at the end of the project at YHA Central Cairns.

Week 1 & Week 2 

Volunteers stay at YHA Central Cairns in shared females or shared male dorms (upgrades available). Included is Wi-fi, a pool and common entertainment area for use.

Week 3 

Volunteers stay in fully furnished, large safari-style canvas tent equipped with an ensuite bathroom, lighting, fans and beds.

Dorm Room Bungalow
Food & Beverages

*Some meals are included 

Week 1 – Conservation, Monitoring and Research of the Reef

Pancakes are provided by the YHA for breakfast. Lunch is included. Volunteers are responsible for cooking dinner and other meals in the kitchen provided.

*During March, April & October, volunteers are at the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation project. See Week 2 for meal inclusions

Week 2 – Sea Turtle Rehabilitation 

Pancakes are provided by the YHA for breakfast. Volunteers are responsible for providing their own lunch and taking it to the island or they may purchase food there. Dinner is not included but there is a kitchen at the YHA or head to a cafe or restaurant at your own expense.

Week 3 – Australian Bushland Conservation

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included with vegetarian and vegan options available. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase. Volunteers cook for themselves in the communal cooking area.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Cairns Airport (CNS) in Cairns. We assist you to find cheap flights to Australia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Australia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Australia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Australia.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Available on the first Sunday of the month, all year.

Please note that project 1 does not run during the months of March, April and October. An extra week at the turtle rehabilitation centre takes place during these 3 months.

Fly to Cairns, Australia. Take a shuttle bus to the hostel where volunteers spend their first 2 weeks. Week 3, volunteers take a deluxe coach to Mareeba where volunteers are picked up by staff and taken to the Reserve. 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
3 - 4 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
3 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$935 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers.

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Reef to Bush Eco-Combo Conservation

Seeking a diverse 3 week volunteer program in the Tropical North of Queensland? Look no further than this 3 in 1 Reef to Bush Eco-project.


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