International Volunteer Program

Express your Interest

To apply for a placement, or for any queries, please click here to email our External Volunteer Placement Team.

International Volunteer Program

The following information will help you to understand what is required within the International Volunteer Program and what we can provide. 

It is important to understand and accept that this is an animal hospital and research centre and, as with all animal clinics, you are likely to see unpleasant things at times. Volunteers must also accept that we cannot save all the wild koalas or other wildlife we treat, and euthanasia/death does and will occur.

Duration and Costs

The International volunteer placement is for one calendar month, and the registration fee is $880AUD which is paid as a 50% deposit to secure the placement and payment of the remainder is required before the commencement of the program.

The Program

  • If you are selected as a volunteer, you can expect to:

    • Learn how we care for koalas
    • Attend koala rescues and releases, if they occur on your shift
    • Watch and/or assist with some clinical procedures
    • Attend a post-mortem (optional)
    • Attend one of our external educational presentations
    • Experience work on our plantation
    • Work a shift with one of our visitor experience guides
    • Work a shift in our merchandise kiosk
    • Learn about the overall work of the Koala Hospital

  • What we will also do for you is to:

    • Provide the resources for you to learn about the work we do overall at the hospital as well as how we care for koalas
    • Provide you with an information pack
    • Provide a buddy/go to person for any information or help you may need during your placement
    • Provide insurance cover for you while working at the Koala Hospital
    • Make your placement with us informative and enjoyable

Hours and Days

The hospital operates on a twice daily working shift pattern - 8am to approx. 11am (depending on the number of koalas that we have in) and 2pm to approx. 4.30pm. We expect volunteers to work a minimum of 5 morning shifts per week during their placement, and they are welcome to work more days if they wish.
If a volunteer would like to work in the afternoons, some afternoon shifts accept “extra” volunteers, but volunteers should not be offended if they are not required. Having too many volunteers on a shift means that there is very little for everyone to do.
A Team Leader runs each shift, and most shifts consist of different volunteers; so, international volunteers will see a lot of new faces every day. Currently the Hospital has approx. 200 volunteers.

Yard Work

  • Volunteers need to be aware that they are working with wild koalas, and even though some may appear quiet and gentle, they are quite capable of inflicting painful injuries with their razor-sharp claws and teeth.
  • No untrained volunteer can handle or pick up any of the koalas without permission or guidance. Failure to comply with this rule may result in the volunteer being asked to leave the yards.
  • The work involves raking and cleaning individual koala yards, cutting branches of leaf, feeding formula to some koalas, sweeping walkways and generally tidying up whatever is required in the yards.
  • Volunteers may also be able to attend and observe rescues and releases if they occur on their shift.
  • The yard work does not stop if there is pouring rain, hail or high winds as the koalas still need to be cleaned out and fed. Even though we do have some raincoats for volunteers to use, we suggest that volunteers bring their own rain protection.
  • During high winds we will provide a safety helmet for volunteers to wear, which is mandatory.
  • Covered shoes and working clothes are essential. Thongs, sandals and very short shorts are not allowed.
  • A hat, sunscreen and water bottle are recommended.

General Information

  • All volunteers must provide written confirmation that they have a current tetanus immunisation and are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • All volunteers must also have a reasonable level of spoken English. In addition to the registration fee of Aud$880, volunteers are responsible for their own travel, accommodation and meal costs as Koala Conservation Australia Limited is not able to cover this.
  • We strongly advise that volunteers take out additional medical/accident insurance while they are in Australia as the insurance we provide only covers accidents whilst on shift.

To find out more about the region and Port Macquarie go to the destination website for Greater Port Macquarie

Express your Interest

To apply for a placement, or for any queries, please email our External Volunteer Placement Team click here.