Being a volunteer for this Wildlife Program in Australia with Volunteering Solutions, you'll have the chance to work alongside beautiful Australian animals and get involved in animal feeding, cleaning, maintenance, and enrichment. The Project is located in a State Forest 300 km northeast of Melbourne and 600km southwest of Sydney.
Volunteers and veterinary students can learn from the owner of the project who has cared for animals for decades. It'll be an incredible opportunity to gain first-hand international work experience and contribute meaningfully towards the wellbeing of the native animals who are sheltered here.
While the number of native animals needing help is increasing, resources are not high enough. Your contribution is enormous as the feeding schedule of the animals, especially in the nursery, which is busy running 4 hourly feeds. Since the shelter receives no recurrent funding from governments, they rely on the contribution of volunteers and donations from the public to keep it running. It has no paid staff and by volunteering at the project, you make a major contribution to the welfare of Australian wildlife.
If you're an animal lover, then this would surely be a delightful choice for you! Not only will you get to work for a noble cause, but it'll be a great chance for you to meet people from different parts of the world and explore Australia like never before! This program would be the best choice for high school/ college students, backpackers and gap year travelers who are looking for some meaningful work abroad.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project. You need to have an open mind and a flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. Participants must be fit and healthy at the time of joining the program. Every volunteer is required to show proof of Tetanus vaccination prior to joining the program. The program is suitable for those with a keen interest in animal and wildlife conservation. However, the program is open to all and you do not need the necessary qualifications to join the program. Participants should be prepared to work outdoors and should be fit and healthy.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
The shelter operates a 24/7 rescue hotline and is inundated with rescues. The number of animals in care is over 150, therefore, volunteers are not always given an opportunity to visit the local town, however,
there are outings and sightseeing opportunities scheduled only if the shelter is quiet. Please note that not all volunteers get the opportunity to go on outings and the expectation is that they will work a 7 day work
Daily activities of the volunteers consist of:
- bottle feeding all young animals every 4 hours
- toileting young animals after feeds (please see the shelter owner if you are uncomfortable with this task as it must be done properly)
- exercising young animals
- cleaning animal enclosures
- building / repairing animal enclosures
- keeping the grounds clean and tidy
- keeping the volunteer accommodation clean and tidy
Other tasks include: Assisting in rescue calls & emergency medical treatment, browsing for grass and gum leaves in the forest, socializing with local volunteers, etc.
Volunteer Work Schedule
A general tentative work schedule for the volunteers is as follows :
- Wildlife Exercise-Walking the wombats
- Cleaning bottles and other equipment
- Bottle feeding kangaroos
- Cleaning & repairing enclosures
- Tidying up
- Wildlife exercise-Supervising joey playtime
- Making milk for bottles
- Bottle feeding in the nursery
- Cleaning bottles and other equipment
- Preparing food trays, cutting up vegetables and fruit
- Cleaning enclosures and performing yard duties
- Assisting with gum tree leaves
- Making milk for bottles
- Tidying up
Volunteers need to fly into Melbourne or Sydney to reach Yackandandah in Victoria. From Melbourne take a train/bus to Yackandandah. From Sydney take a regional flight to Albury then a bus to Yackandandah where you will be met on arrival. Participants need to arrive in Yackandandah on Thursday between 9 am and 4 pm. Full details of the arrival options shall be provided to the volunteers after confirmation of the placement.
Volunteers are picked and taken to the shelter where they can settle in before learning about the animals and what needs to be done.
Accommodation is in a shared cabin in single beds. There is a place for your personal belongings and space for your bags. On cold nights, there is a closed-in fire that is stocked with wood during the night by the owner who sneaks in unobtrusively to keep you stocked up and warm.
There is no electricity during the day as generators are turned off to save power. Please ensure that your cameras and phones are charged overnight as you may not have access to charge these during the day. There is a shortage of water in this area. When showering, volunteers are asked to keep showers short. Volunteers are encouraged to freshen up every day with warm face washers and wet ones/baby wipes.
There is a communal area with a kitchen. Volunteers are provided three meals a day, morning tea, drinking water, tea, coffee, and sugar. Volunteers are responsible for buying any additional items they would like to purchase from the local town. The cooking is usually shared. Everyone welcomes a new chef!
Vegetarians and vegans are asked to assist with the shopping and take part in the meal planning and/or preparation to ensure that their dietary needs are catered for. Domestic duties are shared by all the volunteers including meal preparation, washing and tidying up.
During Free Time
The shelter operates a 24/7 rescue hotline and is inundated with rescues. The number of animals in care is over 150, therefore, volunteers are not given a lot of free time, but when they do some popular pastimes are taking photographs, reading, blogging and spending time with the animals. Volunteers are not always given an opportunity to visit the local town, however, there are outings and sightseeing opportunities scheduled only if the shelter is quiet. Please note that not all volunteers get the opportunity to go on outings and the expectation is that they will work a 7 day work week.
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $299 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- Pre-departure support
- Project Information Pack
- Return transfers from the local town to the project
- On the job training
- 24-hour in-country support
- 24-hour emergency phone
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Return transfers from the airport to the local town
- Travel Insurance
- Personal Spending
FAQ's Application and Program Details
As we have limited spots available in our programs and we facilitate on ‘first come first serve’ basis, it is recommended that potential volunteers book their programs well in advance to get confirmed placements. You can book your slot by filling out the application form online and pay the application fee of $250 + bank charges. You can pay your program fee later and also, in installments, however, the complete payment should be made 45 days prior to the starting date of the program. If you are volunteering in a group, you can also fill a group application form.
Are there any necessary requirements to participate in the Australian volunteer programs?
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the Australian volunteer projects :
– The minimum age requirement for the volunteers is 18 years and above.
– Need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
– The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
– Participant must be in good health.
We encourage our participants to volunteer in a group. We take special care in providing you a placement and also customize your itinerary to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Also, we can design special group programs for groups of 5 or more. Our programs are designed to be safe, affordable and offer a great group volunteering experience to the volunteers.
In our experience of more than 12+ years, we have enabled and facilitated volunteer program placements for student groups- college groups, university groups, high school groups, group of families, group of couples as well as a group of colleagues.
Visit Group Volunteering page for more information.
Volunteering Solutions provides placement to volunteers in different cities of Australia. The preference of the city should be specified in the application form. The available program locations are:
- Rural Gladstone
Yes – many volunteers choose to make bookings from two or more starting locations. If you choose this option, you’ll need to arrange and pay for your own travel between starting locations. You should either leave a week in between your bookings, or arrange to rejoin at your new starting location on Monday morning as we cannot accommodate volunteers arriving on weekends.
The amount of contact volunteers have with the animals is dependent upon the project. Some are very hands on and others have limited contact.
All volunteers are required to arrive at the nearest airports at their preferred location in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney. The Australian programs are located near Melbourne, Sydney, Gladstone and Cairns Airports.
If you are planning to come for multiple programs in your trip, you will have to pay the application fees just once. Your application fees is valid for a year's time (from the date of application). You will not have to pay the application fees again if you come within the mentioned time frame. If you decide to volunteer in separate programs in multiple countries, you will need to fill separate applications.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The certificate is provided on request.
Flights and Visa
Volunteers traveling to Australia need to have a valid visa. We provide with the necessary supporting documents for your VISA application processing.
More information shall be provided after you become a Volunteering Solutions enrolled participant.
All the major cities in Australia have connectivity with all major airlines around the world. The recommended airlines are :
Health and Safety
Australia is a tourist friendly destination. The country welcomes you with open arms. However, you have to use your prudence to stay out of the harm’s way. For example, stay in a group or with the fellow volunteers, especially when you want to hit the bar or go grab a drink. Inform your coordinator if you have plans to explore the city alone, keep your emergency contact details always with you. Your pre-departure booklet is a good source of information for you and you must read that diligently.
We recommend you consult your physician or travel doctor before travelling to Australia.
Generally the following vaccinations are recommended for travellers going to Australia :
– Yellow Fever (Required if travelling from a YFV infected country)
– Hepatitis A and B
Yes, for all participants it is mandatory to have a travel medical insurance.Volunteers have the option to purchase Travel and Medical Insurance at a nominal extra cost from Volunteering Solutions. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider.
Connect with Past Volunteers
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions Australia program participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to connect with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer section on our website.
Accommodation and Living
Accommodation will vary according to each project location. Typical accommodation includes volunteer houses, caravans, hostels, and bunkhouses. Volunteers are allotted accommodation on a sharing basis.
Yes, however you must inform us in advance and also mention about any dietary requirement in your application form.
Your program fee covers your Accommodation, Food and In country Support. You will need to cover your personal expenses, such as local transport, telephone, internet, shopping, weekend trips etc.
However, you should carry around $70-80 per week for your basic personal expenses. This amount can vary and you would need a higher amount if you go on weekend sightseeing tours.
Plenty of money exchange counters and ATMs are available in Australia. at the airport as well in most Australian cities.
Volunteers work for 3 to 8 hours a day depending on their program. However, volunteers need to be flexible, open-minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.