Great Barrier Reef Marine Conservation

founded in 2011
Ask A Question
Coordinator | Tracy
Coordinator | Tracy
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Conserve the Great Barrier Reef
Swim with an abundance of sea life including turtles and sharks
Undertake activities used for scientific purposes
Learn to snorkel in the most amazing place in the world
Contribute to global databases with your data
This unique placement opportunity is not offered anywhere else and gives volunteers to truly make a difference to marine conservation. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 17+
The Project

This unique placement opportunity is not offered anywhere else and gives volunteers to truly make a difference to marine conservation. Based in the world’s largest coral reef, the Island Reef Research and Conservation project offers volunteers the opportunity to participate in valued conservation activities and environmental research endeavours.

Volunteers work in collaboration with various oceanographic organisations to research the ecosystem, monitor and survey the reef, and help clean up beaches of marine debris.

Work sites are based across two distinct islands, 45-minutes from the Port of Cairns.

The program gives participants the freedom to explore Far North East Queensland with free afternoons, evenings and weekends, traveling to an iconic location that is under serious threat from coral bleaching, pollution, mining, overfishing and climate change among other factors.

Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers aim to ensure each volunteer walks away with a tangible sense of fulfilment from participating in our once in a lifetime program, being impassioned and empowered to protect our precious planet.

The Location

The Far North Queensland location of Cairns is a regional city and popular hotspot travel destination for foreign and local tourists alike. The welcoming tropical climate serves as a major incentive for people wanting to visit the Great Barrier Reef and the luxurious surrounding landmarks. 

The reef is comprised of a range of ecological communities, habitats and species, all of which make it one of the most complex, unique and intricate natural ecosystems in the world. It stretches 2300 kilometres to be the largest living structure on the planet, a size so significant it can be viewed from outer space. It is infamous for the wondrous aesthetic and colour of the underwater landscape, providing a home for a large variety of fish, plants and animals. 

Species of turtles and crocodiles currently living in the reef date back prehistoric times, maintain a lifestyle that has existed for thousands of years. The breathtaking collection of marine creatures includes 600 types of soft and hard corals, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins. 

This iconic corner of the globe operates as a port for exporting gold, sugar cane and other minerals, metals and agricultural products from nearby coastal areas and Atherton Tableland region. 

Please Note 

The second instalment of your project fees is due within 1 week after you paid the deposit on Volunteer World. This is a total of $495 AUD and comes off your balance. The balance is due 90 days prior to travel. For all further information about the fees, please scroll down to the section "Program Fees“.

Typical day

Following your initial travel and settling in period on Sunday, the next Monday will be utilised for a complete orientation to the site and the project.

Each day beyond that stage will be entirely unique and dependent on the week of your placement, but an example of what it will consist of is:

6.30am - breakfast
7am - hostel departure
9am – work duties: featuring coral reef surveying, gathering of raw oceanographic data, clearing marine debris or care of sick and injured turtles for rehabilitation. Please note only volunteers on the 2, 3 and 4 week programs visit O2E’s Turtle Rehabilitation Project.
12pm – Lunch break and return-ferry to Cairns • 1pm – Cairns arrival and free time 

The project itself will consist of various 2-5 hour work-related activities, with the remainder of the time open for volunteers to explore the beauty of Cairns

Free-time activities

There is no shortage of free activities to do in this vibrant part of Australia, so why not take time out before or after your placement and see why this is such a go-to destination for tourists?

Cairns is perfect for those adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers looking for that exciting experience. This includes dive sites, off road driving, ballooning, canoeing, scuba-diving, kayaking, sailing, skydiving, snorkeling, swimming and rock climbing.

For those that want some rest and relaxation during their stay, there is more than enough to satisfy those requirements. This includes visits to the Fitzroy Island National Park, cruising, bushwalking, canopy walk, wildlife spotting, lakes/rivers/dams beaches, hot springs, spas, scenic flights and railways, shopping, markets, galleries, roadside stalls, cellar doors, tea plantation, coffee plantation, wineries, sky-high cable car and lava tubes.

Cairns is place to be to find that tropical lifestyle on your getaway. Swim at the Esplanade lagoon, sample local produce at a farmer's market, enjoy free entertainment, shop for a summer wardrobe, visit caves, National Parks and Falls, or cruise around the marina and check out the evening 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 splendid rainforest.

After dark you can choose a lively bar, pub, nightclub or casino to enjoy a drink, taste local seafood at an award-winning restaurant, party on a dance floor, discover treasures at the markets or take in a local cultural show.

Secluded but easily accessible and welcoming, the city of Cairns is easy to travel around with the reef, rainforest and outback on right on its doorstep. The Cairns International and Domestic airports are only 10 minutes from the Central Business District, providing the ideal entry point for a Tropical North Queensland adventure.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers must be able to swim well and speak fluent English in order to participate in this program.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:00 - 01:00

What's Included

Services by Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers
All project fees are payable in Australian Dollars (AUD).

Prices include 10% Australian Goods & Services Tax (GST).

What's included in this project?

Pre-departure support
Project Information Pack .
On the job training
Lunch Monday to Friday
24-hour in-country support
24-hour O2E emergency phone

What's not included in this project?

Night time and weekend meals
Travel insurance
Personal spending
The accommodation is located at the YHA Central Cairns Hostel (or equivalent if not available). This is a dormitory-style hostel in central Cairns, located in close proximity to a range of cafes, restaurants, the mall, the esplanade and tourism operators. You can expect to share a room with 1-6 others of the same gender (please note that you can be accommodated with both O2E volunteers and non-volunteers). Note at peak times, volunteers may be placed in a mixed dorm. Volunteers who identify as they or non-binary will be placed in a mixed dorm unless a request is made by a volunteer for another room type.

Accommodation upgrades to private rooms or smaller rooms including twin and double share rooms are available at an additional cost, as well as extra nights of accommodation before or after your program. It is best to arrange accommodation upgrades or extensions with the local team at least 4 weeks prior to your program start date. Please note that these upgrades are subject to availability.

After your initial deposit is paid, the first instalment of $495 Australian Dollars is payable within one week of receiving your booking confirmation. 
Food & Beverages

Healthy lunch varieties are provided across Monday to Friday with vegan and vegetarian catered for. Breakfasts and dinners are the responsibility of the participants, however there are supermarkets and many great eateries in Cairns as well as a communal kitchen for those volunteers that would like to shop for groceries and cook their own meals.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Cairns Airport (CNS) in Cairns. We assist you to find cheap flights to Australia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Australia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Australia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Australia.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

The first Sunday of each month.  (Except Jan 2024 which starts on the 7th January 2024).

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 4 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$1,404 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Great Barrier Reef Marine Conservation

This unique placement opportunity is not offered anywhere else and gives volunteers to truly make a difference to marine conservation.


You might be also interested in

Local Animal Rescue Center Escazu, Costa Rica Volunteer Now Costa Rica
As part of our local animal shelter, you'll be responsible for a variety of activities such as feeding, maintenance and engaging with animals!
Sea Turtle Conservation Ambassador Quepos, Costa Rica Tortugas de Pacuare
Volunteer and save turtles, make a difference and meet one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Join us in Pacific CR!
Conservation of Whale & Dolphin Populations Tenerife, Spain GVI
Contribute to critical whale & dolphin conservation initiatives in the beautiful subtropical island archipelago - Canary Islands.
Migrants and Refugees Integration Support Napoli, Italy International Napoli Network
Help the refugee and migrant community to gain a foothold in Europe by supporting shelters, schools, health care and activities tailored to their long-term integration.
Aussie Wildlife Homestay Holbrook, Australia Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers
This dedicated wildlife rescue and rehabilitation group raises and cares for injured and orphaned wildlife. the animals are released back into their natural environment.
Environmental Education Tour for Family and Groups Cairns, Australia Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers
This eco-expedition is suitable for families or groups of 4 -10 participants who want a broad environmental educational tour of Tropical North Queensland

Why am I seeing this?

You requested a page that doesn't exist on this site any more. This could be caused by a link you followed that was out of date, by a typing in the wrong address in the address bar, or simply because the post has been deleted.

Take Me Home