Wildlife Conservation and Eco-Education in New South Wales

Play an important role in the conservation and care of rescued, orphaned, unreleasable, disabled and retired animals for 2 weeks on a family-run wildlife sanctuary. Help protect the many wild animals living in 180 acres of natural bushland on the Central Coast hinterland of New South Wales where the sanctuary is located.

Program Overview

Spend 2 weeks on a family-run wildlife sanctuary located on the Central Coast of New South Wales. CISaustralia has partnered with a local organisation that believes in conservation through education, whilst caring for and protecting hundreds of rescued, orphaned, unreleasable, disabled and retired animals, as well as actively breeding endangered species like bilbies and brush-tailed rock wallabies to restore wild populations on the brink of extinction due to the catastrophic impacts of climate change. They also help protect the many wild animals living in the sanctuary’s 180 acres of natural Australian bushland.

The sanctuary is located on Heritage-listed cultural landscape with bushwalks to visit sacred ancient Aboriginal sites. The project site has an amazingly diverse community of animals – rescued, endangered or vulnerable – who all call this area home.

Project Details:

  • Program Activities: General animal care (mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds), health monitoring of animals, animal nutrition, enclosure maintenance, habitat management, introduced and feral predator exclusion
  • Project Availability: Fixed program dates each year – see the program fees and dates tab (below) or contact CISaustralia for upcoming availability. Customised group dates may be available on request – please consult with CISaustralia
  • Project Duration: 12 nights
  • Working Days: Monday-Saturday
  • Location: Central Coast, NSW. Note that this program is located on a unique, natural bush, real working wildlife sanctuary – students need to relish the idea of living in the bush with no access to towns or outside entertainment
  • Support: 24-hour support from Project Leaders
  • A valid Police Check or Working With Children Check is required
  • Minimum Age: 18+
  • Language: English


  • Help care for a diverse array of animals on a family-run wildlife sanctuary.
  • Play an important role in protecting the habitat for the many wild animals living in 180 acres of natural bushland.
  • Enjoy Heritage-listed cultural landscapes with bushwalks to see important sites of local indigenous communities.
  • Unplug from city and town life to immerse in nature.
  • Engage in a meaningful experiential service learning experience.
  • Enjoy the beauty of the Central Coast Hinterland of NSW.
  • Meet people from all over Australia and possibly the world while expanding your horizons.
  • This volunteer experience is a natural stepping stone to an overseas program that offers a range of additional diverse cultural, environmental, sociological, marine and wildlife scenarios. Students who enjoy this program will naturally progress to the Rainforest Environmental Conservation in Peru and Big Five Wildlife Management and Conservation programs, or another one of our conservation focused Volunteer Abroad Programs. Contact CISaustralia for more information.

Sample Itinerary

Please note that this itinerary is a sample only and subject to change.

An average work day for volunteers, working alongside the rangers, is from 8am to 5pm with 2 x 30 minute breaks. In order to participate in this program, you need to be in good health and have adequate fitness. You should be prepared to perform up to 8+ hours a day of manual work outdoors in all weather.


  • Arrival, transfer from train station to project site, supermarket stop for initial groceries, check into accommodation
  • Induction with onsite staff


  • Volunteer work alongside the rangers (8am-5pm)


  • Free day to relax and explore the further reaches of the sanctuary


  • Volunteer work alongside the rangers (8am-5pm)
  • On Friday the program concludes – students have the option to depart this evening or stay for an additional night


  • Check out of accommodation and return transfer to train station for program departure

Note: As with any experiential service learning experience it is important to remember that things don’t always go to plan. The animals’ changing needs often affect priorities. During your placement, we ask that you remain patient, flexible and use initiative while volunteering.

COVID Safe Travel

The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. We take our duty of care for our students, their families and our Australian University partners seriously. For all of our program locations, we have developed a site-specific COVID-19 risk matrix and risk management and emergency response plans so that health and safety response protocols are monitored, managed and communicated.

We have also developed a flexible COVID-19 Refund Policy that limits the financial impact on students should CISaustralia (or one of our program partners) have to cancel or suspend a program due to COVID-19.

In preparation for your Australian volunteer program, it’s important that you carefully read and understand information related to COVID-19 Travel Safety.

The Volunteer's Role

This program has been developed and designed to give you an immersive experiential service learning experience. During the program you may have the opportunity to work on the following activities:

  • General husbandry – mammals (marsupial, monotremes and placentals); reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles); amphibians (frogs); birds (parrots, small raptors)
  • Nutrition – browse collection, food storage, food preparation and feed-outs (carnivores, omnivores, insectivores, herbivores)
  • Routine health monitoring
  • Enclosure maintenance and cleaning
  • Habitat management – introduced and feral predator exclusion
  • Overview of operations – comparison of wildlife sanctuaries, zoos and National Parks
  • Public education project – workshop, presentation, social media or signage

The average distribution of tasks is as follows:

  • 30% animal enclosure cleaning
  • 20% animal food preparation
  • 20% animal contact
  • 20% guest amenities cleaning
  • 10% other tasks as required


This program is located on the Central Coast, NSW, approximately a 1-hour drive (1.5-hour train) north of Sydney. This program is in a unique, natural bushland setting on a real working wildlife sanctuary that is family run. It is the only feral-free natural bushland in NSW that is also Heritage Listed to protect ancient Aboriginal sites, including cave paintings and middens. Surrounded by a state-of-the-art fox- and cat-proof fence, the exclusion zone is home to around 180 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs. Many of these animals are species on the verge of extinction, but here, protected from introduced dangers, they are thriving.

Note that students need to relish the idea of living in the bush with no town lights and entertainment. The nearest town is Gosford, a 20-30 minute drive and rather expensive taxi-ride away.


Basic, comfortable accommodation is included for the duration of this program (12 nights). You will stay onsite in a shared bunk room. Note that accommodation could be mixed gender and could be shared with others not on the program. We always try for standalone rooms for program participants, however this cannot be guaranteed. Facilities include shared bathrooms (you may need to go outside to access the showers and toilets), shared amenities, a kitchen and recreation space shared with other residents. Linen is included. A coin-operated washing machine and dryer are available for use.

All students are expected to clean up after themselves so the place is always kept clean and tidy. Everyone pitches in for the ‘deep cleaning’ such as dusting, sweeping and cleaning the bathrooms as required.

Students can use their own Australian mobile phone service for internet access, however please be aware reception may be limited and patchy in certain locations. Wi-Fi may be available but please note that the sanctuary has a limited data download allocation so we ask you to limit your usage.

Meals are not included. Students are responsible for their own meals and any associated cost. Please ensure you budget accordingly. A communal kitchen is available for use at the accommodation. The program is in a remote location and students will be required to do a grocery shop prior to their arrival. Once on site students can arrange their own online/delivery of groceries. No alcohol may be consumed on site. Participants may not be intoxicated on site (including outside of working hours at the accommodation).

Program Fee & Dates

2 WEEKS (Set dates only)
This program is available on fixed program dates (only). Application deadline is 30 days prior to commencement. There is a minimum of 3 and maximum of 12 participants for this program. Please enquire for upcoming availability.
Application FeeA$ 95
Program Fee A$ 2,599


Program fees include the following:
  • Volunteer placement and supervision
  • CISaustralia support services before, during and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial advice
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure guide and session
  • On-site orientation and project induction
  • Accommodation – shared bunk room
  • Program activities
  • Return transfer to/from Gosford train station (Day 1 and Day 13)
  • After hours access to workplace for approved animal care
  • Program risk matrix and COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan
  • On-site support – Project Leaders
  • CISaustralia Certificate of Participation (available on request)

What is not included:

  • Program application fee
  • Flights (CISaustralia travel support)
  • Airport transfers
  • Medical insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Police or Working With Children Check
  • Meals
  • Extra travel/excursions (other than those mentioned above)

Dates are for reference only and are subject to change. Please do not book flights until you have received the dates in your acceptance paperwork and you are confirmed on the program.

CISaustralia reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to fee changes made by our partners.

Adventure Awaits

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