A Guide to Volunteering in Australia

Volunteer in Australia

Australia is a beautiful country and by spending time volunteering you will get to spend time doing more than just sightseeing, it is also a good way to get to know local people and really understand the culture of the country.

You might not think of Australia as a destination to volunteer abroad, this country isn't in the developing world, it's one of the most advanced nations in the world and has world class facilities, infrastructure and amendments. View our guide to what you can do, where you can help and also on this page you can apply to featured programs. 

Popular options include helping animals like like kangaroos, dolphins and horses, coaching sports or working with refugees. There are summer and year round opportunities for locals and internationals in places like Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, the Outback and throughout the country. Projects usually range from 2 to 8 weeks you can sign up today to make a difference and experience this spectacular country, a lot of placements are flexible meaning you can incorporate travelling and volunteering into a holiday or vacation.

Programs are very structured and give you the chance to do something rewarding. 


Location of Projects

You can find opportunities throughout Australia and join projects in:

  • Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Norfolk Island
  • Northern Territories
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

Popular places to give help include major cities like BrisbaneCairns, CanberraMelbournePerth and Sydney. Volunteering at the Great Barrier Reef is highly recommended and there are lots of placements on the East Coast of Australia. Depending on the project you can usually select where you would like to help, you will be placed in groups and also get help from local staff.


Types of Volunteer Programs in Australia

These are the types of projects available to join:

Community Development Volunteer Projects in Australia

Helping humanitarian efforts working with displaced people and refugees in Australia is very rewarding. Australia is home to many children and people who have asylum from warn torn nations around the world, help is needed to give these people an easier assimilation into their new culture.


Conservation Projects in Australia

Australia is home to an uncountable amount of different species, with animals such as koalas and kangaroos being native to the country. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll love spending time in Australia, however the sad part is that the species are slowly dropping one by one. Don’t fret though, because there are many volunteer programmes available to help conserve Australian wildlife, both on land and underwater with marine conservation schemes. To go that extra step further though, you could also provide some support in the rehabilitation of wildlife, allowing you to build a better home for animals whose habitats have been destroyed.

Australia is the driest place on earth and has it’s fair share of biodiversity, no region more so than in its southwest corner. Home to more than 6,000 species of native plants and 100 mammals, birds, and reptiles, their lives are being threatened due to land clearing. To give you an idea, more than 90% of all eucalyptus woodlands has been demolished throughout this region. If you want to see some of this vast island continent and lend a hand at the same time, you can work with projects in wildlife research, park maintenance and construction and recovery after natural disasters such as forest fires.

Work as a conservation volunteer on lasting environmental and wildlife projects in Australia. You will usually get to work in research teams with the aim of protecting and preserving Australia's famous wilderness. You can visit the Great Barrier Reef which is highly recommended, there are lots of projects helping eco systems and coral reefs in this region. On our website you can find placements where you can provide much-needed help to remote communities. You might be able to work with wildlife and cattle, help make trails, fix fences, plant new farm vegetation / trees or work on research projects which will hopefully help in the future.


Flood Relief Volunteer Projects in Australia

In recent years there have been really bad flooding and people are needed on the ground in places like Queensland with clean up operations and building / construction programs. Whole areas of Queensland and Victoria were destroyed by the rain and floods and there is a need to build paths, fences and enclosures for cattle. Together with others you will be able to join group volunteer trips to assist with the clean up and rebuilding efforts. The floods caused significant danage and even to this day there is a need for people to help with environmental programs. 

The effects of the devastating floods are still being felt across Australia and your help is needed to help get things back on track building better infrastructure and mending fences. You can get stuck in with a range of activities including planting trees, clearing debris, restoring fences and walking tracks, taming wild weeds in the depths of the outback or revitalizing greenery in urban areas. A lot of these projects might require you to make a donation which will be used to help deliver flood recovery projects identified by Regional Catchment Authorities and will comply with the Australian Government’s ‘Caring For Our Country’ conservation criteria.


Volunteer with Animals in Australia

There are animal welfare shelters throughout Australia which care for injured kangaroos and koalas which are always seeking help, these are usually in rural areas. On marine based projects you could go to go scuba diving to examine coral reefs and help with research efforts. There are also placements where you can work with wildlife at nature parks, zoos and also wildnerness spots. The types of animals you can be helping include wallabies, birds, kangaroos, snakes, koalas and large butterfly habitat. Aquatic animal lovers might want to join marine conservation programs where you can help dolphins, tropical fish, crocodiles, sharks, giant stingrays and turtles.


Volunteer with Kangaroos in Australia

Work with Australian indigenous wildlife including wallabies, kangaroos, possums, echidnas and koalas! You will be able to assist with vital conservation work as well as exploring the beauties of Kangaroo Island. You will work at the project 5 days a week helping out with everything from feeding kangaroos and monitoring koalas to sanctuary maintenance. Your working hours on the project will depend on the weather and the needs of the sanctuary when you arrive.

Your duties at the project will be many and varied some of which may include:

  • Checking the feral proof fence for damage
  • Checking the Koala Avenue for any public hazards and rubbish
  • Making sure all bird feeders and water containers are full
  • Watering the tree factory
  • Revegetation of the sanctuary and other ground maintenance, including clearing and hazard reduction on the paths
  • Giving guides of the centre and optional nocturnal information / excursions to visitors
  • Feeding local wild kangaroos and wallabies; a great opportunity to get up close to them!


Volunteer & Coach Sports in Australia

Do you have a passion for sport? Why not spend a productive period volunteering as a sports coach leading lessons like football, tennis, basketball, rugby and cricket! These programs are a great way to have a lot of fun and also do something rewarding helping people and youngsters improve their skills. To apply you will need a basic level of fitness and previous experience but don't worry you don't need to be a professional. Tasks can include creating sporting games and activities, creating a fun environment, encouraging children to participate, helping with educational, physical development and healthcare initives. 



You will need to be eligible for a Australian tourist visa to enter and participate on a volunteer project. Some organisations will require you to be in good health and be aged 18+. You will not need any previous experience to apply for non-skilled projects, training is usually provided in the first week. You can usually join projects from one week to over a year and its best to book in advance as spaces fill up quick. If you enjoy the great outdoors living and volunteering for a time will give you the authentic real Australian experience. There are joining dates most months all year round.


What to Expect

Don't expect this to be an easy holiday, sometimes you can be working outside in hot and humid conditions usually Monday - Friday around 6-8 hours per day. Most programs can be far away from cities so please don't expect an exciting nightlife, this is not why you are there. Accommodation can include staying in shared or hostel style places, on some cultural exchanges you might get to live with a host family, usually an Australian family where you can get to know them.


How to Apply

If you live outside of Australia some organiations charge a sign up fee, on these placements you usually get a structured experience including:

  • Airport pick-up and transfer to project
  • All food and accommodation
  • Training materials and science equipment
  • Pre-departure support and services
  • Comprehensive training necessary for research techniques
  • 24-hour in-country support and a 24-hour emergency phone line 

If you need any help organising a volunteer placement in Australia please get in touch. You might also like to view volunteer programs in Fiji or New Zealand.


Free, Low Cost & Paid Volunteer Opportunities in Australia

There are lots of free volunteer opportunities available, if you are an Australian citizen you might want to seek out opportunities locally. If you have a specific skill or get hired for a full time position you will be paid.


Australia Volunteer Reviews & Testimonials

If you have ever been to volunteer in Australia and would like to add a review, write about your experience or share any recommendations please contact us.

"I went to volunteer in Australia with International Student Volunteers (ISV) which was hands-down one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I got to see Australia, give back and also make some of my best friends. I recommend 100% recommend volunteering in Australia and ISV" - Dani, United States