Spend your days with the turtles in a tropical paradise of rainforest and beaches within the calm sheltered waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
Species of turtles in care at the centre include Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles.
Protect turtles in Australian waters
Project fee from EUR 1,590
Your role as a volunteer
The project aims
This rehabilitation centre treats injured and sick marine turtles brought in from the Great Barrier Reef and Cape York Peninsula. Animals are brought in suffering from disease, starvation and/or injuries caused by boats, discarded fishing gear or ingested plastic that is mistaken for food. Many of the turtles brought in from the Great Barrier Reef are suffering from ‘floaters disease’.
Our partner has several years’ worth of experience in receiving volunteers to Australia from many different countries. Thanks to our cooperation Volunteer Travels can offer you as a volunteer a well-organised and safe experience.
Volunteers and donations from local businesses have kept the centre running. More than 170 sick and injured animals have been brought in for treatment over the past 10 years. Founded in 2000, the centre receives no funding from Government as the rehabilitation of sick and injured animals does not currently come under any conservation or environmental initiative.
How do I book a trip?
You can book your trip with Volunteer Travels by calling us on (+46) 08-23 93 00 or by booking through our website www.volunteertravels.com by clicking on “Book a trip”. You can also email us on [email protected] When you have registered yourself we will send you an invoice with a registration fee of £200.00. The registration fee is later incorporated into the trip price and the amount is then deducted from your final invoice. When you have paid the registration fee you are formally registered. You will then receive preparatory information from us in good time to plan your trip.
Volunteers make a huge difference to this project. Since the centre first started over 10 years ago the success rate in rehabilitating sick and injured animals and returning them to the ocean has improved to more than 85%, from 20-30%.
Volunteers contribute by assisting staff in:
*Rehabilitating sick and injured turtles
*Helping to promote humane and sustainable practices through co-operation and education initiatives
*Cleaning turtle tanks
*Feeding rescued turtles
*Reef monitoring research
*Providing assistance when requested, in an effort to rescue turtles in distress
Volunteers take a ferry ride to an island off Cairns where they will spend the morning at the Rehabilitation Centre. Food is prepared, the turtles are fed, tanks are cleaned and some turtles are given a scratch. A turtles shell is covered in a layer of keratin which is like fingernails, so they can feel it when someone touches them, and some of the turtles enjoy a back scratch.
The Education Centre offers a tour each day to visitors to the Island so volunteers prepare this area for their arrival.
In the afternoon, the volunteer may undertake reef monitoring or beach clean-ups on the Great Barrier reef. The remainder of the day is spent at the island enjoying free time until the afternoon ferry arrives to return them to the mainland. Volunteers have free use of the water sports equipment including paddle boarding, kayaking and trampolining into the deep crystal clear waters of the bay.
Some volunteers may be offered special projects such as working in the Intensive Care Unit looking after critically sick or injured turtles that have just been rescued, turtle tagging, cleaning beaches of rubbish, ghost nets and debris or research assistance (GPS tracking of turtles that have been released, data analysis).
Work roster: 5 day roster, Monday to Sunday 7.30am – 5pm
Accommodation and food
6 bed female or mixed dorm rooms with an ensuite bathroom at a resort style hostel. Single and other accommodation types may be available upon request. There is free Wi-Fi, swimming pool and common entertainment areas. The hostel also organises regular tours of the area such as rainforest walks, sailing and beach trips. A no accommodation option is also available for volunteers who prefer to book their own accommodation.
For non-accommodation options, meals are not provided. The hostel accommodation includes breakfast and each room has self-catering kitchen facilities.
Location of project
Currently, there are two sites in Cairns that volunteers work at which are easily accessible by either walking or taking a bus or ferry ride.
One site is in Cairns which is a regional city in the far north of Queensland, Australia located about 1,700 km (1,056 mi) from Brisbane and about 2,700 km (1,678 mi) from Sydney by road. It is a popular travel destination for foreign and local tourists because of its tropical climate. It serves as a central point for people wanting to visit the Great Barrier Reef and Far North Queensland. It is also a railhead and major port for exporting sugar cane, gold and other metals, minerals and agricultural products from surrounding coastal areas and the Atherton Tableland region.
The nearby island where volunteer will spend time with the turtles is a tropical paradise of rainforest and beaches within the calm sheltered waters of the Great Barrier Reef. A National Park, the island is located 45 minutes by Fast Cat from Cairns. Island facilities include a resort, diving school, restaurant, bar, walking trails, glass bottom tours, kayaking and snorkelling.
There is plenty to do in this vibrant part of Australia so take some time out before or after your placement to explore some of the surrounding areas.
Cairns and the surrounding areas have it – dive sites, Fitzroy Island National Park, off road driving, ballooning, canoeing, cruising, scuba-diving, kayaking, sailing, scenic flights, shopping, skydiving, snorkelling, swimming, bush walking, rock climbing, wildlife spotting, markets, hot springs, beaches, lakes/rivers/dams, nightlife/clubs/pubs/casinos, roadside stalls, cellar doors, scenic railway, canopy walk, tea plantation, coffee plantation, wineries, sky high cable car, lava tubes, kayaking, spas and galleries.
Cairns is the best place to soak up the tropical lifestyle.swim at the Esplanade lagoon, sample local produce at a farmer’s market, enjoy free entertainment, shop for a summer wardrobe, visit some caves, National Parks or Falls, or cruise around the marina and check out the night markets. Take a cool dip at a secluded freshwater swimming hole, jump on a bike for a sightseeing tour along the city’s network of cycle paths or experience the unique rainforest.
After dark choose a lively bar for drinks, taste local seafood at an award-winning restaurant, party on a dance floor, discover treasures at the markets or watch a local cultural show.
This compact city is easy to get around and has the reef, rainforest and outback on its doorstep. With the Cairns International and Domestic airports only 10 minutes from the Central Business District, Cairns is the ideal entry point for a Tropical North Queensland adventure.
The Rehabilitation Centre is home to midge (or sand) flies. These little biting pests are easily dealt with by spraying your legs with good quality waterproof fly spray or simply covering yourself up by wearing shoes and socks and long sleeves.
Australia is a very big country, larger than Europe and nearly as large as the United States. Arriving in Sydney followed by a programme in Australian nationalpark is the perfect way of starting your Australia adventure. If you have more time make sure to travel the East Coast in order to experience rainforests, Frasier Island and little sleepy villages where surfers are enjoing life. Combine this with metropolitan cities like Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Also there is interesting ancient history to learn more from in Uluru, Ayers Rock and the home of crocodiles in the Northern terrotories to explore. Don’t miss out experiencing Australia!
Flight tickets are not included in the price. You should book your ticket so that you arrive in Carins on a Sunday, between 8 am to 8 pm. If you are planning to go home right after the end of the project, you should book your return ticket the Monday when project duration ends. Make a point of checking that the arrival and the departure dates are correct according to your time at the project.
It is the volunteers responsibility to acquire the right visa for the trip. Different visa rules may apply depending on your nationality. Visit the embassy web page of your destination to find out what the visa terms are between your country and that destination.
It is your responsibility to make sure that your insurance covers illness, injury and theft whilst you are volunteering. Most travel agency’s sell a travel insurance that is valid for volunteer work, so be sure to enquire about it when booking your flight tickets. Volunteer Travels does however, supply liability insurance and is included in the price. Liability insurance applies to instances when compensation for damages is demanded of you, as a private person, for unintentionally hurting someone or for unintentionally damaging someone else’s property.
Vaccinations for tetanus is mandatory so please bring a certificate of that. Also please ask for information of what other vaccinations that are recommended.