6 Best Volunteer Programs in Australia

by ANDI SCIACCA – Last updated on October 17, 2023


If you’re looking to create some meaningful travel magic in the Southern Hemisphere, volunteering in Australia can provide you with just the right opportunity to make that happen! When you volunteer in Australia, you get to travel halfway around the world, putting your English language skills to work in a country that seems to have it all.

The landscape is super-diverse, and you will find deserts, plains, mountain ranges, and rainforests on the island—with an equally impressive amount of biodiversity to match. And if you’re looking to work with conservation efforts, or spend your time caring for injured and orphaned marsupials (think kangaroos, koalas, and wombats), volunteering in Australia with animals can be a great way to make a difference.

You’ll be helping and learning about koalas in no time!

The island also boasts a number of fantastically diverse coastal cities, such as PerthMelbourneSydney, and Brisbane, each of which are home to volunteer programs in Australia that will help you make good things happen while providing you with some great ways to have big fun while making a big difference. With beaches, harbors, city centers, suburbs, and rural areas, you can find a community that feels like home, or settle in a place that challenges you to explore new things. The causes for volunteering in Australia range from agriculture to medicine to youth ministry; it might be difficult to sort through which programs are the best, so we’ve assembled a list of volunteer programs in Australia to help you figure out which ones should make the cut! 

6 best volunteer programs in Australia this year

*Editor’s note: This information was accurate at the time of publishing. Please refer to each individual program for current data. Rankings are at the discretion of the author.

When it comes to the tops of the top, the following programs are among the best volunteer programs in Australia. We’ve assembled a bit more information to help you consider the right fit for you:

1. Oceans2Earth Volunteers—9.17 Rating

This program is focused exclusively on wildlife rescue, care, and rehabilitation. Volunteers can participate in a wide variety of activities ranging from bottle-feeding joeys, exercising wombats, collecting gum leaves for koala bears, caring for sea turtle shells, working in animal intensive-care wards, cleaning beaches, and using GPS to track wildlife. One of a handful of programs available to couples and families, participants live in a wide variety of accommodations and will have access to opportunities not available anywhere else.  

  • Where? Brisbane, Cairns, Geelong, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Rural Areas
  • When? Rolling dates year-round
  • Causes? Animal Welfare, Conservation, Environment, Marine Conservation, and Wildlife
  • Read the reviews here!

2. Connect-123—10.0 Rating

Connect-123 offers both internship and volunteer opportunities to students, recent graduates, and professionals. There are over 50 fields and causes that you can choose from in your program, and you will receive full organizational support from the time of the planning process through to the post-travel experience and return home. You will get to work with volunteers from around the world, and will stay in a variety of housing options (from apartments to home-stays with local families). 

  • Where? Sydney
  • When? Rolling dates year-round
  • Causes? Agriculture, Animal Science, Archaeology, Biology, Development, Health Sciences, Human Rights, Journalism, Social Work, Sustainable Development
  • Read the reviews here!

3. Pacific Discovery—10.0 Rating

This 4-week program will offer you incredible opportunities to combine volunteerism with snorkeling, surfing, hiking, and exploring Australia’s cities. Participants in the Australia program also have the opportunity to combine their volunteer experience with connected programs in New Zealand and Fiji for a two-month summer experience. Participants can obtain college credit for their participation and look forward to a personalized, small-group experience.  

  • Where? Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Cairns, Crescent Head, Fraser Island, Gold Coast, Great Barrier Reef, Hervey Bay, Noosa, Queensland, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Whitsundays
  • When? 4 Weeks, Summer
  • Causes? Conservation, Grassroots Organization, Tree Planting, and Adventure Travel
  • Read the reviews here!

4. GoEco—9.75 Rating

This program will place you on a coastal wild animal sanctuary, about 90 minutes outside of the city of Sydney by train, where you will volunteer in veterinary services. When you arrive, you’ll get an orientation that includes a tour of Sydney before heading to the sanctuary. There, you’ll do things like clear trails and assist with feeding the animals on the sanctuary grounds; the focus is on a good mix of fun and hard work. The accommodations are shared dormitory-style with complete laundry facilities and a fully-stocked kitchen. There is also a meal plan that includes three meals a day, including lunch on weekends.

  • Where? Calga, Sydney
  • When? 2 Weeks, Summer
  • Causes? Animal Science, Animal Welfare, Veterinary Science, and Zoological Science
  • Read the reviews here!

5. IVHQ—Be the first to review!

Boasting the largest global network (with over 90 thousand registered volunteers), IVHQ opportunities in Australia include programs for couples and families. The programs are varied and known for being comprehensive, affordable, and safe with affordable fees, as well as full-service program support that includes orientation, guidance on housing, and 24/7 in-country support. Additionally, the marine conservation efforts include intensive work on the Great Barrier Reef, affording volunteers an exceptional opportunity to work on an endangered ecosystem. 

  • Where? Cairns
  • When? 1-2 Weeks, 2-4 Weeks, Year-Round
  • Causes? Conservation and Marine Conservation
  • Read the reviews here!

6. Loop Abroad—9.25 Rating

This is a highly specialized program in veterinary care, open only to high school students between 14-18 or young adults from 18-25. If you participate, you will be paired with veterinarians who will guide you through hands-on volunteer work on a ZAA-accredited wildlife sanctuary for two weeks. This program also includes planned, behind-the-scenes weekend excursions to places like the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Taronga Zoo. College credit is also available.

  • Where? Calga Springs in Sydney
  • When? 2 Weeks, Summer
  • Causes? Animal Science, Animal Welfare, Veterinary Science, and Zoological Science
  • Read the reviews here!

[Browse ALL Volunteer Programs in Australia]

You’re ready to find the best volunteer programs in Australia!

You’re ready to go explore Australia!

With so many different available causes, locations, and types of programs, there are options for a wide variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from. Not only does volunteering abroad help you gain access to a global network of committed learners and action-minded explorers, it also helps to expand your skill-set, enhance your portfolio, and increase your marketability and professional development when you search for work.

When you add the opportunity to complete your volunteer work in a location like Australia, with rainforests, beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and mountain ranges, you get to make good things happen in a place with incredible multicultural influences. Additionally, you get to experience, first-hand, Australian contributions to literature, music, art, food, sports, and architecture. No matter what your interests are, if you’re looking for a life-changing volunteer experience, it could be waiting for you across the world in Oz. So, all that remains is to officially get your search for programs in Australia started!

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