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Surf Coast Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary

Barwon Heads, Victoria, Australia

Surf Coast Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary
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Wildlife Shelter

Project Information

Volunteer Type Volunteer

Cost of Project From $600 AUD

Duration 1 week - 12 weeks

Start Dates Every day of the year

Work Roster 5 days a week, Monday to Friday with flexibility

Age Requirement 18 years of age


The Sanctuary was established more than 30 years ago as a haven for injured mammals, birds and sealife. Since then, several thousand animals have been treated for numerous injuries and returned to their natural habitat. There is a large population of permanent residents that live at the Sanctuary including birds and mammals that with cannot be returned to the wild or have been pets that have never experienced life in the wild.

Following the Ash Wednesday Bush fires in 1983, the Sanctuary received national & international media coverage regarding their tremendous efforts in locating, rescuing and treating shocked & burnt animals.

The Sanctuary also works with the community to provide assistance and housing for people who have a disability, a special need, are frail or aged. They offer a supportive environment for people to work quietly alongside the animals or a place for them to visit that does not place demands on their physical or mental capabilities. Volunteers with a disability are encouraged and wheelchair access is available.

  • Your Contribution

The centre is a non-profit organisation and is supported entirely by volunteers and donations.

Many hours of specialised care goes into caring for the birds, animals and reptiles that arrive at the project. Volunteers assist senior keepers and carers with expert treatment, care and rehabilitation for a successful release. Permanent residents that cannot be released into the wild also require special care.

  • A Typical Day

Volunteers will be directly involved in the care of up to over 250 animals, therefore your day will consist of animal care, food preparation, feeding, exercising the animals, playing with the animals, cleaning enclosures, gardening, general maintenance, cleaning and interacting with the public.

  • Skills Required

Volunteers must be fluent in English, be willing to work and must be able to take direction from full time carers. Volunteers should show a genuine desire in caring for these delicate and fragile animals.

  • Challenges

It can be emotional caring for sick animals, however seeing the animals get strong enough to be released is very rewarding and worth the hard work. Sadly, the ones that can never be released is also difficult although this is where volunteers can make a difference in providing an excellent quality of life for them. Be rest assured that you are amongst like-minded people who are experiencing the same feelings and emotions as you and will be there to support you.

  • Accommodation

Accommodation is a home stay with a local family and someone who works at the Sanctuary.

  • Meals

Three meals a day, however volunteers are required to assist with food preparation, cooking and cleaning.

Vegan and vegetarian options are supplied on request.

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