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Australia - Wild Animal Sanctuary

Volunteer at a sanctuary that focuses on the care and rehabilitation of some of Australia's indigenous wildlife - including koalas, dingoes and kangaroos. By joining this program, you will have the opportunity make a real contribution to the conservation of these animals while gaining a better understanding of the issues facing Australian wildlife.



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectCalga, Australia (just 1.5 hours outside of Sydney by train, 1 hour by car)
Project Length2 Weeks
Arrival AirportSydney Kingsford Smith International Airport
Number of ParticipantsUp to 10 international volunteers
Age18 - 80

What's Included

AccommodationShared dormitory-style accomodation
FoodThree meals a day (if volunteers stay on-site on the weekends, self-service food is provided)
Orientation KitAll necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersAirport pickup upon arrival
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, travel to and from the sanctuary during your free time, food on the weekends if you chose to leave the sanctuary, train ticket from Gosford back to Sydney on departure day, visa (if required)


This volunteer project is located just an hour and a half outside of Australia’s lively, cosmopolitan capital, Sydney - an hour by car if the traffic is good - at the beginning of the picturesque NSW Central Coast. The sanctuary is made up of 80 acres of natural Australian bush that is protected by 2 miles of carefully engineered fox-proof fence and is home to a range of  indigenous animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and dingoes.


About the Project

Australia is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife, with many species found only in Australia. This makes wildlife conservation in Australia incredibly important. Sadly, however, Australia is facing an extinction crisis, with more than 30 native mammal species becoming extinct since European settlement only 130 years ago. Today, more than 1,700 species of Australian animals and plants are listed as at risk of extinction. The leading threat to native Australian wildlife is humans, with most losses due to predation and competition for food by introduced species like foxes and rabbits, and destruction of habitat to make way for buildings, farmlands, mines, sports fields and roads. It is for this reason that animal sanctuaries are of critical importance, to preserve natural habitat for wildlife as well as being places where people can visit and learn how to help with wildlife conservation.

In this program you will have the opportunity to compensate for some of the damage that we do as we compete with animals for their scarce resources. You will make a real contribution to the conservation of Australia’s weird and wonderful wildlife as you work alongside the rangers at a local sanctuary that provides refuge for species that are at real risk of extinction. Set amongst 170 acres of natural bushland, with 80 acres protected by a state of the art feral-predator proof fence, this is the largest feral-free natural bushland on Australia’s eastern seaboard. The sanctuary provides a safe natural home for over 180 species of mammals, birds, frogs and reptiles while also providing a refuge for rehabilitated but un-releasable injured and orphaned animals. Additionally, the site protects an ancient Aboriginal landscape where you can see examples of Aboriginal sites that show evidence of Australia’s original people dating back thousands of years, including a hand-stencil cave and sandstone engravings.


Arrival and Orientation

Upon arrival to Sydney, you will participate in a 2 day insightful and educational introductory program in Australia’s bustling capital, Sydney. This orientation will help you to ease into Australian life and make you feel more at home – learning more about the Australian environment, people, and their culture and customs, as well as ticking a few top tourist attractions off your bucket list. Following your orientation you will take a scenic train ride, along the coast, to the sanctuary.


Volunteer Work and Contribution

By joining this program, volunteers will have an opportunity to make a real contribution to protecting Australian wildlife from extinction. The purpose of this program is to protect indigenous animals and plants, plus care for the dependent and wild animals that live there. Examples of work to be undertaken include planting eucalyptus trees to provide a long term food supply for the koalas and native grasses for kangaroos and wallabies, building and repairing barriers and tracks that control visitor access to environmentally sensitive areas, maintaining the 3km fox-proof fence that keeps the animals safe, whilst protecting ancient Aboriginal sites and making sure the bush habitat is protected so animals can live safely and happily in their natural environment.

As part of the sanctuary team, your tasks on the program may include:

  • Helping to feed the animals 
  • Maintaining the Sanctuary Grounds 
  • Cleaning enclosures and their environment 
  • Clearing paths and raking droppings and debris 
  •  Building new enclosures and fences
  •  Maintaining nature trails
  • Supporting environmental education programs
  • Repairing animal education displays
  • Maintaining the 2 mile fox-proof fence which protects the animals
  • Assisting in the gift shop and visitor information center

A typical day: You and your fellow volunteers will sit down for breakfast at 8am before starting your daily tasks at 9am. Your daily tasks will vary and may include any combination of the sample activities above. There is an hour break in the afternoon for a self-serve style lunch, and your day will wrap up around 4pm. At 5pm, lunch will be served. Your evenings and weekends are free for you to explore hiking trails, travel to nearby beachside towns and attractions, enjoy work-free time with the animals or simply relax!

Holidays: Please note that the project will be closed in full for  the Christmas/New Year holidays between 24 Dec, 2016 and 7 Jan, 2017, therefore all volunteers will need to check out before we leave for the holiday break.

Living Arrangements

Accommodations: You will stay in shared, single-sex, dorm-style accommodation, both in Sydney and at the animal sanctuary. A porter shower is available for volunteers, and rooms are shared with up to 9 other volunteers.

Food: Three meals a day are provided during the week. A variety of cuisines will be provided, some of which will be self-serve style. If you chose to stay at the sanctuary over the weekend, self-service meals will also be available.

Internet: Free WIFI is available at the volunteer house. 

Laundry: Laundry facilities are available at the volunteer house. 


Minimum requirements

  • Minimum age 18
  • Basic English
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
  • Interest in Australian wildlife and animal rescue
  • Volunteers need to bring sturdy gardening gloves and wet weather gear





Here's an excerpt of Abby's experience:

  "The first three days of the program took place in Sydney, as our coordinator showed the volunteers around Sydney and filled us in on the history and customs in Australia. Along our tour we visited the Sydney Opera House, Botanical Gardens, a couple different museums and took a ferry ride to Darling Harbour."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Nicole's experience:

  "I enjoyed ranger days the most. On these days you were paired with a ranger and got to do everything they did. This included feeding, cleaning, and in some cases even treating the animals. There were so many animals at the park that it was so much to see every day. My favorite part was getting to know each animal and their story. Every animal at the park has a name and is looked after carefully. It was great because you weren’t just standing behind a fence looking at the animal you were in the enclosure handling and helping."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


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