First of all, you fly to Melbourne. Make sure to arrive one day prior to the official start of the journey. After you’ve spent one night in a hotel/hostel in town, you make your way to the meeting location the next morning, the Docklands Ferry Terminal in Melbourne. Here you will meet your group – together you board a ferry to start your journey.
Your time in the programme is a mix between exploring spectacular nature sites along the Great Ocean Road and supporting different conservation projects as a volunteer.
For the first half of the day, you and your group usually dedicate yourselves to protecting and restoring Down Under’s natural areas as part of various conservation programmes. As you travel along the Great Ocean Road, these conservation activities will take place in different locations each day. In general, you’ll be involved in habitat restoration, tree planting, pest plant control, invasive weed control, native vegetation, animal habitat management and flora and fauna surveys in rare and special places.
The second half of your day will be spent exploring the highlights of the Great Ocean Road. From the impressive rock formations of the Twelve Apostles, the Loch Ard Gorge and the London Bridge to Otway National Park or the iconic surf destination Bells Beach – you will witness numerous famous nature and heritage locations before returning back to the vibrant city of Melbourne on the last day of the programme.
During the programme you and the other programme participants will be accommodated in hostels along your travel route. You sleep in dormitories and use communal bathroom amenities. You’ll receive three meals per day. Meal-preparation is a shared responsibility, with all participants taking turns helping to manage the meal preparation and clean-up.
Everybody interested in volunteering abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.
During the day you‘ll be busy supporting different conservation projects and exploring iconic destinations along the Great Ocean Road. In the evening you get some time for your own activities: Spend time with the other participants and discuss the events of the day, play games or discover the near-by area of your hostel. If you decide to stay in the programme for more than five days, you can also use the weekend(s) for your own activities.
During your time in Australia you dedicate yourself to conservation activities in different areas along the Great Ocean Road, all of them with a significant ecological importance. For example, around 82% of the marine life in Port Phillip Bay cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Likewise, approx. 1300 different plant and animal species are endemic to this area. Therefore, rehabilitation and cleaning measures are essential for the protection of these species.
These measures are also important for areas like the Serendip Sanctuary and various landscapes in south-west Victoria: The Southwest of the Australian state is characterized by agriculture. The result: lots of the existing remnant bushland areas are only small, isolated and sometimes under pressure from adjoining agricultural practices. Working together with farmers and local communities, volunteers support restoring these areas.
The Serendip Sancturay has also been originally used for farming. Since the 1960ies, the region is a nature reserve and protected area for wildlife research, captive management and breeding for threatened species. Volunteers assist in establishing crucial grasslands to support these threatened species and, therefore, in maintaining this important protected wildlife habitat.