Photo by Gustavo Acero

Australia enjoys a unique environment. Enormous in size with a wide range of diverse landscapes ranging from tropical rainforest, to vast desert tracts and rugged mountains and climates to match, mean there are unlimited volunteer options available. Program options range from heritage restoration, surveys of endangered flora and fauna, weed control, control of salinity and erosion, construction and maintenance of trails, animal care, conservation, farming and habitat restoration to name a few.

Examples of specific programs include help in conservation programs in Northern Territory where a four week placement can have the volunteers work in National Parks or in a rainforest. A six week placement in Alice requires volunteers to travel to Uluru (Ayers Rock) to help put a stop to invasive weeds from taking over this iconic location. A six week placement in Queensland can have volunteers spend time on Fraser Inland (a World Heritage Site) carrying out boardwalk construction, then moving to Brisbane and aiding in urban conservation by planting trees and controlling weeds and finally finishing off by carrying out reforestation of a rainforest. For those who love to work with animals a minimum two week placement in North Queensland sanctuary caring for Australian mammals which include cockatoos, crocodiles and parrots. The sanctuary also runs a breeding program for five endangered species. Another option is to volunteer in a Penguin rookery on the island of Phillip in Victoria. Here volunteers assist in the koala conservation, habitat rehabilitation, Hooded plover watch and penguin protection. For people on the clock, Australia also offers volunteering options of very short durations, like the Clean-up Australia Day on first Sunday in March.

GoVolunteer (Australia’s largest website for volunteering placements), is one place to start looking for specific programs and related details for interested volunteers. The site provides a good launch pad for travellers and volunteers to meet other like-minded people and learn about the country.  For individuals interested in reef related work, the website of Conservation Volunteers Australia is a good option. For volunteering opportunities state wise, it is worthwhile to check out the sites of the volunteering bodies of each state by name.

Volunteering is a great way to see other countries on a budget. There are many non-profit organisations bringing people willing to donate their time together with programs requiring volunteers. However, to ensure that the volunteer experience is safe and productive, it is recommended that an organization meeting the International Guidelines on Voluntourism is selected.  


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