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Volunteer Work in Australia

group of volunteers planting trees with the text Volunteer Work in Australia

There are so many great opportunities around Australia to Volunteer from Wildlife Reserves, working in the Great Barrier Reef, Farming, working at the beach, and many more.

Many backpackers and travelers to Australia have had some great experiences volunteering and some say it’s the best thing they did in Australia. 

If this sounds exciting, I will provide you with all the details you need and show you how to find volunteer work in Australia.

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My Experience Volunteering

I signed up for three months as a volunteer to help local wildlife by building shelters. The deal was that it included accommodation but not food or anything else. The work was hard but highly rewarding. The only problem was after a time I felt like I was giving far more than I had bargained for.

My suggestion is to know exactly what is expected and included and what is not before you agree. Ideally, have a conversation with the person who you will be taking instructions from so that you can avoid a lot of miscommunication and missed expectations.

That said, I feel like my time as a volunteer was one of the most important things I have ever done and the stories and friends I met are priceless. 

Check this video. It lays out the different opportunities and benefits in Australia.

Top 7 Best Benefits for Volunteering?

Volunteering in Australia can allow you to experience both the country’s unique cultures and beautiful landscapes, as well as do something meaningful.

Here are the top benefits of volunteering in Australia, based on my own experience and chatting with other volunteers:

  1. Meet the Locals and have a true Australian Experience – Volunteering jobs can be located in the regional parts of Australia that you normally wouldn’t travel to. 
  2. Gain Experience – You will most likely be working in Jobs you have never done before and will gain all sorts of skills and knowledge that you can use in the future. 
  3. Free Accommodation and Food – In most Volunteering jobs you are provided with free accommodation and food. These are usually your two biggest expenses when traveling so you can save a lot of money.
  4. Rewarding Work – A lot of the volunteering projects are protecting and saving wildlife in Australia or helping the community. 
  5. Free Attractions and Activities – As a volunteer, I often got to take boat rides or 4×4 trips to carry out my volunteer work. These types of activities usually require a tour and come at a cost so you get a free experience. 
  6. Plenty of Different Landscapes – Australia is very diverse. You will see all sorts of different landscapes while volunteering, whether it be the Dusty Red Desert, Tropical Rainforest, Mountains, Wildlife Reserves, Reef, Beaches or Farmland.
  7. Spend time with Animals – Volunteering in Wildlife Reserves allows you to get up close and usually have direct contact with the animals. This is a very rare experience that many members of the public never get to experience.

3. What Types of Volunteering Work is there in Australia?

Australia is a huge country with a lot of nature, farming, and wildlife, therefore there are so many great volunteering jobs available here. There are two main types of volunteering work in Australia.

3.1 Non-Profit Volunteering

There are a few main types of non-profit volunteering you can do in Australia:

Nature Conservation

Australia has a very fragile ecosystem, so there is always work to be done protecting them and keeping these natural habitats clean and healthy. It also involves ensuring bio-diversity in these ecosystems.

Wildlife Projects

One of the most popular forms of volunteering in Australia is volunteering on wildlife projects. Australia has such diverse wildlife, with some species even on the brink of extinction. Some of the most popular wildlife projects include:

There are so many more projects involving Australian Wildlife that are interesting and exciting you can find more here.

Working with Indigenous Communities

Volunteer work in this area can be more limited than in the previous two examples mentioned. Working with indigenous communities usually involves work that will help their communities thrive such as human and community development projects; cultural projects; and teaching. If you have skills in teaching or working on cultural projects you will have a better chance at gaining volunteer work with indigenous communities.

This can be a great and rewarding opportunity that not many people get to experience.

3.2 Wwoofing and Helpxing

The other main types of volunteering in Australia are Wwoofing and Helpxing, these are both international platforms that connect people seeking volunteers with the volunteers directly. Most jobs involve farms but can include volunteering projects as well.

3.2.1 Wwoofing

WWOOF stands for “Willing Workers on Organic Farms” or “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. The concept is that volunteers go to work on organic farms in return for a unique cultural experience, as well as free meals and accommodation. The work is usually 4 to 6 hours a day and can include: weeding, planting, gardening, or feeding animals, depending on what type of farm you go to.

To do Wwoofing you also need to pay to become a member. You create a profile about yourself and you can search and apply for jobs that are of interest to you. One of the best things about this platform is that people leave reviews about the farm and you can see if other people had a good or bad experience working there. You will also receive reviews yourself which boosts your profile when you are looking for future work.

Another great thing is it is an international platform so you can use it all around the world. 

To find out more about Wwoofing in Australia and how to become a member, click here.

3.2.1 Helpxing

Help Exchange or simply HelpXing is very similar to Wwoofing, but it is newer and has a few slight differences. To become a HelpXing member is a lot cheaper than becoming a Wwoofing member. The basic package is free or you can upgrade to the premium package for just 20 Euros ($33 AUD) for a 2 year period.

To find out more about HelpXing in Australia, and how to become a member, click here.


Wwoofing, Helpxing, and volunteer work used to be included in the approved jobs list for eligible visa days. However, this has been removed in recent years and only paid work is approved to gain your eligible visa days. A pay slip is required by the Australian Government to prove the number of days completed. The only exception is WWOOFing in Bushfire Disaster areas and Flood affected areas, which can qualify for 2nd and 3rd Year Working Holiday Visas.

3.3 Short-Term Volunteering

There are also plenty of opportunities in Australia to volunteer on a short-term basis, particularly for big festivals, events, and fundraising for various charities.

Volunteering at Festivals and events is great because you get a usually get free ticket to the event and sometimes free food & or accommodation. You won’t be working the whole time the festival is on so you will get to enjoy it as well. Even if you are working you get some awesome background music while you work at the festival.

Australia has a lot of music festivals throughout the year and they are always looking for volunteers. Some examples of the major festivals are

3.4 Disaster Relief

Unfortunately, every year some parts of Australia have to deal with natural disasters, including flooding, bushfires, and monsoons. There are volunteer opportunities here to help with disaster relief after a major incident has occurred.

This is a very reactive type of volunteer as you will be unsure when a disaster is going to hit. It can be extremely rewarding and you will receive a lot of respect from the Australian locals.

For more information about disaster-relief volunteering in Australia visit the Australian Red Cross website.

4. What's Needed to Become A Volunteer in Australia as a Foreigner?

Want to become a volunteer in Australia as a foreigner? Here’s what you need.

4.1 Visa for Volunteer Work in Australia

To become a volunteer in Australia as a foreigner all you need is a valid visa to enter Australia.

Essentially all visas allow you to carry out volunteer work whilst in Australia but there are conditions with a tourist visa.

Volunteer work under a tourist visa is allowed however it is on the condition that it is not the main purpose of your visit to Australia and you don’t spend your entire visa period volunteering.

4.2 Skills and Experience Required

You don’t need to have any previous experience to volunteer in Australia. Volunteering is unpaid work therefore it is often difficult to attract people with experience and most people who volunteer have no prior experience before starting.

If you have experience in the related field you are looking to volunteer in you will find it easier to be accepted for a volunteering role and may hold a more senior position than someone with no experience. So the more you volunteer the more experience you have and you will find it easier to get a more sought-after volunteering job.

The most important personal attributes that will help you to get a job as a volunteer are:

Ever wondered what it’s like to volunteer in Australia? Check out this video where a backpacker shares her firsthand experience and life as a volunteer in Australia. You also get a real glimpse of the farm work she’s doing.

4.3 Equipment and Clothing

You will rarely be required to have a specific type of equipment or clothing to volunteer. Nearly all volunteering organizations will provide you with whatever clothing or equipment is required to do the job. In my experience, having a good pair of shoes and a hat is always essential, especially considering how hot it can get here in Australia. However, apart from those personal items, the volunteering organization typically provides all the necessary clothing and equipment needed for the tasks.

5. Final Thoughts

Volunteering can be one of the most rewarding things you do in Australia. You will get to experience a lot of different parts of Australia and Australian culture. Volunteering can also be a great way to save money and travel for free as accommodation and food are usually provided. There are many great and interesting volunteering options all over Australia so get out there and start volunteering, you won’t regret it!

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