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Love Volunteers

Great Barrier Turtle Conservation

Cairns City, Australia show on map

Support injured turtles and care about them.

The program

This turtle conservation program plays an essential role in protecting and preserving the amazing sea turtle. Located on stunning Fitzroy Island, a 45 minute fast-ferry ride from Cairns, the Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre Love Volunteer’s supports treats injured and sick marine turtles who have been brought in from the Great Barrier Reef and nearby Cape York Peninsula. Animals are brought in suffering from disease and/or injuries caused by boats, discarded fishing gear or ingested plastic that they have mistaken as food. Many of the turtles brought in from the Great Barrier Reef are suffering from 'floaters disease' which causes air to be trapped between the shell and body impacting the animal’s ability to dive and feed itself. On this project volunteers not only get hands-on experience in helping turtles in need, they will meet new people from around the world and will create an enriching experience for themselves.

Goals of this Project:

  • Protect Australia’s amazing sea turtles
  • Research these wonderful creatures so a greater understanding of how to save them can be gained
  • Work on projects to improve the environment for sea turtles and other animals
  • Enable inter-cultural exchange between all parties and teach international visitors more about environmental practices and Australia

How you can help


Volunteers on this project play an essential role in the care of the turtles and their contribution is invaluable. Care for the animals is required 365 days a year and each day the turtles are fed, the tanks are cleaned and medication administered when required. Volunteers help in numerous ways dependent on their skills. From working with the indigenous rangers, to hands on caring for the turtles by scrubbing their backs and feeding them, this is a truly hands on turtle conservation project. For those with skills in areas such as building, plumbing, sewing, painting and cooking, the project team would love help in these areas as well as on working directly with the turtles.

Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and on any number of environmental or wildlife projects and can expect to undertake the following tasks

  • preparing food for and feeding the turtles
  • cleaning and maintenance of the turtle tanks and enclosures
  • scrubbing algae off the turtle’s backs
  • providing enrichment for the turtles
  • transporting and releasing turtles
  • keeping the project grounds clean and tidy
  • turtle research and monitoring in their natural habitat and reef monitoring
  • marine habitat conservation projects such as beach clean-ups
  • providing assistance to rescue turtles in distress where required and emergency medical treatments where required
  • helping to promote humane and sustainable practices through co-operation and education initiatives, fundraising and administration

Typical day

A volunteer’s work day on this project will generally last between 4 and 6 hours and while we ask all volunteers to be flexible in this regard, a typical daily schedule is likely to go something like this:

6:30am Breakfast at the Hostel

7:30am Meet the program supervisor and fellow volunteers at the Ferry Terminal.

7:45am Ferry ride to Fitzroy Island

8:30am VOLUNTEERING DUTIES START

Volunteers spend the morning caring for the turtles and undertaking related tasks.

12:00pm Lunch on the island

1:00pm Volunteers can be involved with research projects or enjoy free time

3:30pm VOLUNTEERING DUTIES END

4:00pm Board the ferry back to Cairns

Evenings Volunteers are free to relax, run errands, stay in touch with friends and family, socialise and explore Cairns

Details on Arrival

This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.

  • Arrival Day: SUNDAY 8am - 8pm
  • Departure Day: MONDAY

Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.

Free-time activities

A tropical holiday feel prevails on the streets of Cairns and visitors can't help but relax and enjoy the vibe. Strolling the streets is a social event with people enjoying the temperate climate and relaxing in the many bars, restaurants and cafes. Esplanade Lagoon offers the opportunity to swim and relax without leaving town.  

Surrounded by stunning natural attractions - such as the famous Great Barrier Reef where this program is located, Daintree National Park and the stunning Northern beaches - Cairns is a magnet for eco and adventure travelers and is well equipped to cater to every visitors needs.

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Climbing
Hiking

Program Requirements

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 (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Required Documents
Emergency contact
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
This project is best suited to those who are either pursuing a career in animal conservation/zoological studies, or who simply wish to explore an interest in this field. However, the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by one of local project leaders. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help and show drive
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Included Services

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We refund your fees if Love Volunteers cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Love Volunteers.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Love Volunteers (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Love Volunteers
  • Airport pick-up on arrival
  • Orientation & full safety briefing
  • Accommodation (as specified above)
  • Food & Meals (as specified above)
  • 24/7 local support network
  • Project placement & onsite supervision
  • Registration fee included
Airport Pickup at Cairns Airport

Volunteers arrive into Cairns International Airport from where a shuttle is booked to take them to their accommodation. Early Monday morning they meet with the program director and board the ferry out to Fitzroy Island. Volunteers receive an orientation and training on the Island.

  • Arrival Airport: Cairns International Airport, Queensland, Australia (Code: CNS)

Accommodation
Volunteers on this program stay in a popular hostel in central Cairns. Rooms are typically split by gender and cater for to 6 persons sharing. Modern bathroom facilities are attached to each room. The hostel has all the amenities you would expect (and a few you normally find in luxury accommodations) including a communal kitchen, onsite laundry, a swimming pool and free Wi-Fi. Perfect!
Food & Beverages
Breakfast is provided daily at the hostel and a free Sunday evening BBQ is arranged each week. Volunteers can prepare lunch and take it with them on the program or purchase lunch and snacks on Fitzroy Island. Dinner can be prepared in the hostel also or volunteers can take the opportunity to explore Cairns and eat out at one of the many restaurants, cafes and eateries in the town.
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
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.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Australia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Australia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
$1,258.00
2 weeks
$1,768.00
3 weeks
$2,358.00
4 weeks
$2,878.00
6 weeks
$3,938.00
8 weeks
$4,938.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$7,138.00
Average fees
$926.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Cairns City/Australia between 1 week and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Love Volunteers will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Australia.
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 Love Volunteers during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Oceania Australia and New Zealand Australia  Cairns City, National Route 1

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