For eco-warriors and people-lovers, Australia is the perfect land for blending travel and volunteering. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh
‘Voluntourism’ has emerged as a new age reward for the everyday adventurer, but for Australians there has been an international focus, specifically on Asia-Pacific and African countries, for a number of years.
But for those who wish to lend a hand a little closer to home, the sparse Australian landscape doles out a number of volunteer opportunities at a range of prices, blending some of the country’s most spectacular environments with the satisfaction of giving back to Mother Earth. From aiding turtles to mentoring young indigenous kids during the school holidays, Australian Traveller offers you 9 noteworthy voluntourism programs established Australia-wide.
1. Ningaloo Turtle Program, WA
For the sake of assisting some of the cutest creatures in the sea, a $1300 fee will mean you can become a ‘Turtle Tracker’ and help out these marine reptiles through community education and data collection.
2. NPY Women’s Council, NT
The Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council, or NPYWC for short, has since 2011 partnered with VOICE to run a number of successful youth programs. A four-week placement will set you back around $1950.
Basically an all-year Clean Up Australia Day, this rubbish clearing project is a brilliant chance to help the environment of the Cobourg Peninsula, only costing $700 for five days.
4. Brookfield Conservation Park, SA
5. ECOCEAN, WA
Here’s a chance to help monitor the migratory patterns of the biggest fish in the sea – the whale shark. Volunteers assist with computer-related data entry, graphic design and administration. Go on and lend a hand to the gentle giants.
6. West Arnhem Shire Council, NT
Working with aboriginal youth first hand, voluntourists can help mentor indigenous kids in sport, art and music activities over a six-week period. It’s run between June 16 and July 28 for $2550.
7. Frontier Ethical Conservation Experience, Australia-wide
With the goal of assisting Australia’s unique biodiversity, volunteers can undertake activities in a number of cities that include tree planting, habitat restoration and environmental monitoring.
As rural towns go, Milparinka in NSW’s corner country is definitely on the tiny side (situated around 300 kilometres north of Broken Hill). Volunteers help to boost local tourism through various admin roles, with a chance to explore the sparse surrounding wilderness.
9. Mt Theo Program, NT
It’s time to reflect on the best of our childhood holiday memories and keep Mt Theo’s youth occupied when school’s out through sport, bush trips, art and craft, discos and the odd humble BBQ. The ten-week community visit costs $2950.