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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.

In this program 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. 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 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.

Location of the Project:  Calga, Australia (just 1.5 hours outside of Sydney by train, 1 hour by car)
Project length:  2 Weeks
Arrival Airport:  Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport
Age:  18 - 82 (This project may accept volunteers who are 17 years old and younger with a letter of consent from a parent or guardian)
Number of Volunteers:  Up to 10 international volunteers
Important Note:  For most nationalities, a tourist visa is required to get into Australia; it is recommended to apply at least 6 weeks in advance

What's Included

Accommodations:  Shared dormitory-style accomodation
Food:  Three meals a day (if volunteers stay on-site on the weekends, self-service food is provided)
Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup upon arrival
Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  Two-day orientation in Sydney including sightseeing, tourist attractions and cultural activities.
Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

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.

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.

Some of your tasks 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. 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 between Christmas and New Year holidays, therefore all volunteers will need to check out before we leave for the holiday break.

Internet:  Free WIFI is available at the volunteer house.
Laundry:  Laundry facilities are available at the volunteer house.
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:  Breakfast and lunch are self-served from the pantry and fridge stocks and dinner is prepared for you. During weekends, all meals are self-served from the pantry and fridge stocks, if you choose to stay at the sanctuary on your free time.

Please take note of the project's 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 wet weather gear

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 Experiences
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