ISV - Volunteer Conservation Projects in Australia

By ISV   Reviews (63)   99% Rating

Despite its spectacular rugged beauty, Australia has lost many of its iconic species over the past 200 years and has one of the highest mammal extinction rates in the world. Conservation initiatives are becoming increasingly important for this island nation, and through volunteering with International Student Volunteers (ISV) you can help to make a real difference to Australia's unique and diverse environment while exploring a new culture.

Projects with ISV vary from working at a wildlife sanctuary, to assisting with scientific research or participating in outdoor education programs. Volunteer tasks involve planting native species, removing invasive weeds, tackling erosion, monitoring species and habitat enhancement. ISV's conservation volunteer projects in Australia are a must for anyone who wants to make a positive environmental difference. Visit their website at www.isvolunteers.org to sign up for the experience of a lifetime in Australia today.

View Program Information
Location: 
  • Australia
Program Length: 
1-2 weeks
2-4 weeks
1-3 months
Cost: 
$2,000 - $5,000 (USD)
Languages: 
English
Housing: 
Camping
Guest House
Hostels
Hotels
Student Dormitory
Volunteer House
Application: 
Online Application

Program Reviews (63)

99%
Positive
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  • Impact
    95%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    95%
  • Value
    97%
  • Safety
    97%
  • Kelsey
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Towson University
    ISV Gave Me the Best Summer of My Life
    08/28/2015

    Traveling to Australia through ISV was easily the best experience I've ever got to be a part of! From the moment we stepped off the plane in Brisbane, everyone we came across made us feel so welcomed in this new environment. My project leader was amazing, and our project hosts at Wild Mountains were some of the greatest, most passionate people I've ever met in my life. It was amazing to see the kind of impact we got to make on our world in those two short volunteer weeks. The adventure tour was also amazing! In the two weeks, I got to experience so many amazing adventures that most people won't even get to experience in their whole lifetime. From bungee jumping, to white water rafting, to abseling off the side of a mountain. ISV really helped me push myself out of my comfort zone and I couldn't be more grateful for the experiences and the people I got to meet while doing this once in a lifetime trip. Thanks ISV!!!

    How could this program be improved?

    I wish there was more time in Sydney like there was in Cairns. I feel like Sydney has so much to offer and we didn't get to experience enough of it! Other than that I loved this program.

    Photos:
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  • Demi
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Champaign, Illinois
    University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign
    ISV Australia- Best experience of my life!
    08/26/2015

    Participating in the ISV program was the greatest decision I have ever made. My country was Australia, and I was there between June 25, 2015-July 24, 2015. It was the best month of my life! My volunteer project was geared towards environmental conservation and sustainability. My volunteer group consisted of me and 11 girls from different states, along with various staff and crew members. The first 2 weeks of my trip were amazing; with my group members and the staff it felt like a family. All the work we completed was truly remarkable, and we had so much fun doing it! The second 2 weeks was the adventure tour, which consisted of 29 girls and 2 boys, plus our tour leader and bus driver. I did so much in those 2 weeks that most people haven't done in their entire life! I conquered my fears (repelling, water rafting, etc.) and did things I've always dreamed of doing (surfing, snorkeling,ocean rafting, etc.) Overall, the month I was in Australia felt like a dream, and I already want to go back! I made so many friends on the trip and so many memories! If you want to spend your summer doing something good, while also discovering who you are and partaking in amazing adventures, ISV is for you! I promise you won't regret your decision! I'm already planning on going back next summer to a different country. I cannot put into words how amazing of an experience you will have with ISV.

    How could this program be improved?

    This program is as close to perfect as you're going to get! If I HAD to change one thing about this program, I guess it would be to have better descriptions of the different volunteer programs you can choose when ranking your preference in your assigned country, so you have a better idea of what type of volunteer program you're signing up for.

    Photos:
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  • Mariah
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
    Other
    Incredible First Overseas Experience
    08/22/2015

    ISV knows what they're doing. Everything this program did was centered around being Responsible tourists. They practice what they preach in every aspect of their plans. Even for a bathroom break on a long bus trip, they worked hard to support local businesses and those working to be green. They managed to teach you about being environmentally friendly, Australia's wildlife and history, as well as keeping you safe and making sure you had the time of your life. It was the most incredible trip of my life and so much better than I ever dreamed it would be. It was a great way to get out and see the world and ISV took care of everything so you didn't have to stress about plans, just enjoying it. For a first time traveler, it was a great way to learn about options for traveling, like hostels, that I really hadn't known about before and feel more confident in my future planning. ISV does it all, and I can definitely see why they are the world's highest rated volunteer organization.

    Photos:
    Sydney Harbour Bridge
    Whitsunday Islands
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  • Emily
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Norwalk, Connecticut
    University of Connecticut
    ISV Australia
    07/14/2015

    Choosing to participate in the ISV program was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Prior to the trip, I was incredibly nervous to travel across the world by myself for a month. Within the first day of meeting my group members all my worries vanished. In a month's time I volunteered at a Wildlife Sanctuary working hard, long, and rewarding hours where my efforts were visibly making a difference. I met people that instantly became family, proudly faced my many fears, and experienced things throughout the two week adventure tour that most people spend a life time trying to achieve. Everything from the activities, to our leaders, to the accommodations was amazing. I was sad to say goodbye to a country I fell in love with and my new family. I cannot say enough good things about ISV and am already looking into participating in another trip. If you're willing to work hard and give it your all during the volunteer portion of the trip you will be pleasantly rewarded with the adventure tour, the people, and the memories you'll make along the way. To those who are on the fence about committing to this program, I warmly encourage you to do so. "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone", so start living!

    How could this program be improved?

    It would have been easier to prepare if ISV gave us our program details and flight information earlier than they did. I felt a little rushed to get organized prior to leaving.

    The only other thing that I think needs improvement is the breakfasts. I had more toast and corn flakes in one month than I have in a year.

    Photos:
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  • Michelle
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Truckee, California
    Encouraged
    07/13/2015

    One thing that I found fascinating is that Australians encourage you to keep traveling and keep learning about other cultures and environments. My life goal now is to go to every country in this world.

    How could this program be improved?

    I think this program has a lot to offer, I just wish they're would be more scholarships for first time goers because it is a little expensive, especial if your paying it by yourself.

    Photos:
    Byron Bay
    Americans on Australian Radio
    Skies for Miles
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  • Kelsey
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Ohio
    Ohio State University
    Absolutely incredible!
    07/09/2015

    Making the decision at age of 20 to venture off and explore the world was without a doubt the absolute best decision I have made yet. I participated in the 4 week program to Australia and there are no words to express the how close I will hold this trip to my heart for the rest of my life and how grateful I am that I was lead to such an extrodinary adventure. I made friendships that turned into family with people who will be apart of my life forever. The 2 week volunteer portion is hard work but very rewarding, practical and meaningful. The 2 week adventure tour is the jam packed with activities that will push your comfort zone and give you the opportunity to live life to the fullest and dare to do things all in 3 weeks that most people don't get the chance to do in a lifetime. I cannot express enough how thankful I am for ISV and this trip and how much it impacted my life. And absolute must do for anyone who loves to make an impact, travel, help those in need, make new friends, push your adrenaline limits, see the world, and LIVE LIFE! This trip is life changing and I'm already planning on how, where and when to go on another one!

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  • Justin
    Age: 18 or younger
    Male
    Connecticut
    University of Connecticut
    May 2015 ISV Australia Review
    06/22/2015

    This trip was the best decision I've made in my life. On project, my group of 10 people, became a family in less the 3 days; including our project leader Brenton. There wasn't a day I didn't smile and laughing with these people. Sometimes the work was frustrating and hard, but it's all worth it at the end. Then our adventure tour started; it took the group about two days and our first activity together to become a big family. I'm not going to lie there were a few people that were very negative about everything on the trip. But that shouldn't change how you and your new friends have fun on this trip, you're in Australia for peat's sake.

    This trip is perfect for the people that are willing to step out of their comfort zones and start living. If you're a nice person and willing to meet new people you have nothing to worry about. Everyday was a life changing adventure. When I got home everyone asked me what my favorite adventure was. To be honest everyday was special in its own way. Yeah there were a few days that stood out from the rest. But my favorite part of the trip was probably the people, they make the adventure even more fun. If you do this trip you have to be willing to do the things that scary you or you're not going to get the full experience. The hardest thing you will have to do on this trip is say goodbye to everyone at the airport. I highly recommend doing this trip to anyone who is thinking about it. If I could do this trip again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I read this quote and it sums up this trip perfectly for anyone who is still on the fence, "The only things you'll regret in life are the risks you didn't take." Don't let this opportunity slip through your fingers.

    How could this program be improved?

    I joined this program a little late and it was very frustrating for me because I never received any of the emails on time. I would always have to call and have the ISV offices resend the emails. I would make improvements to this program by giving the people that join last minute all the information they need as soon as possible.

    Photos:
    Skydiving at Byron Bay.
    Working on project at the Walkabout Wild Life Park.
    Visiting the Whitsunday Islands on the adventure tour.
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  • Jordyn
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Tempe, Arizona
    Arizona State University
    Awesome Australia!
    11/14/2014

    ISV Australia is the trip that will change your life forever. When I am old and grey, this is the trip I will reminisce about. We homed over 60 sugar gliders in 12 hours, planted over 4000 trees in 8 days, learned to play the games of the culture, sat down with the natives and learned about their history and ancestry, saw some of the rarest sites in the world, helped educate a small Fijian village as a pit stop on our way back to America, and not to mention the friendships made and the person you become after you take a trip like this. I have made friends from all over the nation and all over the world that I have kept in touch with and visit to this day. I have been to the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Oprah House, Fraiser Island, surfed in Byron Bay, bungy jumped in Cairns, and went rappelling, white water rafting and saw the deadliest spider in the world (in it's natural habitat) all while driving up the coast! Not only do we work hard at our 7-8 locations, but on the way to the next location we stop to do bucket-list events!

    How could this program be improved?

    I wish we were provided healthier food and a variety of food rather than the same 2 options.

    Photos:
    ISV Australia planing over 4k trees!
    One of the many views from the ISV Australia Conservation Sites
    Wild life adventures with ISV Australia
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  • Preksha
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Edmonton Canada
    University of Alberta
    Overall great experience, a few things id like to know in advance
    11/12/2014

    I stayed in kangaroo valley during the 2 weeks I volunteered. It was cold and rained a lot. I did wish I packed more for the type of weather-- look into that before you go. The living arrangements were really quaint. I wouldn't recommend if you're high maintenance. It had all the necessities which I greatly appreciated. The workload required moderate fitness, but overall it didn't strain you. It was reasonable.

    How could this program be improved?

    The planning before hand when dealing with the headquarters. It was hard reaching them as it was long distance and no one answered so it was just a constant of leaving messages for each other.

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  • Haley
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Akron, Ohio
    University of Akron
    Time of my life
    11/11/2014

    I agree with some reviews on accommodation spots. At first I was fine sleeping on a farm in the middle of no where, until we met up with the rest of the groups and heard how people were close to a town and able to adventure and do things after their day of volunteering. Although I would never trade my trip for anything, I would have enjoyed it even more if we could have been in a spot that we could still do things after our days of volunteering. The first two weeks we woke up, cut gorse and black berry bushes, went home, had dinner and went to bed. For that I feel we didn't get the full experience others did. The adventure tour was by far the best part of the trip. I know a lot of people said they would have preferred to have more free time to do stuff they wanted to do, but I would not. I think it was a perfect balance of planned fun and free time. When I returned to the US I was (and am still a year and a half later) finding myself so unbelievably bored and having too much down time. We did things such as rappelling, white water rafting, snorkeling in the great barrier reef, and visited/learned about aboriginal culture. I think of my trip every single day of my life and I can't wait to be able to return to Australia. The people I met I will never forget. It is a beautiful place and an experience like no other. There was never a time I didn't feel safe. I try to explain to people what the trip was like but there are truly no words to describe it other than an experience I will never forget.

    How could this program be improved?

    The only issue I had with this program was our project location. I loved Tasmania, but not being on a farm in the middle of no where.

    Photos:
    Wild Wallaby came to say hello
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  • Coli
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Montreal, WC
    McGill University
    Luck of the Draw
    11/10/2014

    I did the 2 week volunteer, 2 week adventure program. It was fun but way overpriced. Also, i worked in conservation. The volunteering situation is randomly placed and you can have bad luck like i did. One group played with koalas and had nice living quarters with a chef. Our group cut gorse and lived in a freezing cold sheep sheerer's quarters and cooked for ourselves. Also, we found out that ISV wasn't paying anything for our rooms so why was it so expensive. The adventure package, you have to pay $250 on top of the price of the package just to do the fun stuff in the places they take you (like repelling at Blue Mountain and snorkeling in the Great Barrier reef). Overall, the experience was ok but not great.

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    Response from ISV
    01/08/2015
    Hi, my name is Narelle Webber, and I'm based in Sydney Australia and serve as the International Program Director for ISV. Firstly, thank you for coming to Australia and giving conservation volunteering a go. I agree, pulling gorse (a nasty invasive weed) is hard work, and Tassie can get cold in winter-time, but I hope you also agree that it was pretty special to have the chance to contribue to restoring a RAMSAR wetland of international significance in one of the most beautiful parts of all of Australia. Secondly, I want to let you know that ISV's partner in Tasmania with whom you volunteered just won Australia's most prestigious environmental award (The Banksia Sustainability Award) for their efforts to conserve Tasmania's threatened ecosystems. So, in a small way, ISV and you contributed to this award-recognition, and we hope you can look back on the hard work you did and feel proud. (There's a blog coming out about the Banksia Award in January 2015 on ISV's blog page). Also, just for reference, nearly all projects in Australia involve self-catering for meals. In fact, many volunteers really enjoy this aspect! Finally, just to clarify for everyone, the Optional Activity Package you mentioned in your comment regarding the Adventure Tour is just that - optional, and I know most volunteers feel that it's amazing value (one of the 5 activities alone, Ocean Rafting in the Whitsunday Islands, currently retails for $190). Thanks again for choosing Australia and we hope you visit us again sometime. Sincerely, Narelle
  • Jordan
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Toronto, Canada
    Ryerson University
    Once in a lifetime opportunity!
    11/10/2014

    ISV Australia was by far the best travel experience I have ever been on. I have made friends with people that a I would have never met in my entire life. The adventures you go on will leave you breathless and in shock because you just did something you would have never done in your life. I still to this day remember jumping off a plane and skydiving over a farm in Australia, chasing a turtle in the great barrier reef and constantly falling off the board during our surfing experience because I can't surf to save my life. The project leaders will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience. I will never forget this trip and I hope that more people travel with ISV because you don't only make a positive difference in the place you're at, but you also make a positive impact on yourself as a person. I will never forget this trip. :)

    How could this program be improved?

    Perfect as it is, no changes necessary!

    Photos:
    One of the many friends you'll make.
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  • Katie
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Orrville, Ohio
    University of Akron
    Life-changing Experience
    11/10/2014

    I learned so much about conservation and sustainability volunteering for the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. The program made me realize that I want to dedicate my life to practicing and sharing the love and light of everything I learned. Because of the knowledge I gained in Tasmania, I was able to perform independent research projects involving land and water conservation, citing possible pollution sources, and outlining drainage basins at home! I am honored to be able to make such a difference, not only in my home region, but across the world!
    My favorite experience was hiking up Mount Wellington for my birthday. My project leaders guided one other volunteer and I to the peak. We got to see beautiful ferns, trees and a waterfall. I was very excited to drink the water from the waterfall as it was a water source to Hobart, Tasmania. Our next stops were Rocky Whelan's cave, where we had a powerfully enlightening meditation, and the octopus tree, which is a very tall and unique eucalyptus tree! Once we reached the peak, we built snowmen and had snowball wars! When I am home, my birthday is in the summer, so to be able to build a snowman on my birthday is something I will never forget! After that day, I was always on the look out for Mount Wellington in the distance.
    My least favorite experience was during the adventure tour and the weekend off during the project. There was a lot of drinking and irresponsible behaviors from the other volunteers, which made it hard to be friends with many people, in my opinion. I did not like playing babysitter (making sure they were okay, getting them back to the accommodations, dealing with their drunken attitudes, etc.) for the people who got so drunk, they were passing out at the bar. Our group, as a whole, was even told by the adventure tour leader that staff and guests at the various hostels we stayed at thought our group was very disrespectful and out of control. I did not like being grouped in with everyone, because I do not like to drink alcohol, and I was not being disrespectful to any of them.
    Overall, the experience has made me feel humble, honored, grateful, and more cultured. I am excited to keep sharing the knowledge gained from my trip to Tasmania and Australia!

    How could this program be improved?

    The only thing I would change is the behavior of the other volunteers. At the beginning, we were told to act irresponsible and disrespectfully, including drinking too much. I don't know what else the program could do to find a solution to this.

    Photos:
    Mountain Top Snowman
    Curious wallaby at Freycinet National Park
    The "Gorse Busters" busting the invasive gorse bushes.
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  • Amy
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Gilbert, Arozona
    Arizona State University
    Restoring Tidbinbilla Nature preserve
    11/09/2014

    I had a great experience helping to restore this nature preserve after some wildfires. The staff was great and took time to show us beautiful areas of the park during breaks. We stayed in Canberra and had plenty of time to explore the area when not working.

    How could this program be improved?

    The expense is quite a bit for students.

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  • Lauren
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    San Diego, California
    San Diego State University
    ISV is Life Experiences
    11/08/2014

    In one day of the ISV trip, we slept on the bus all night to arrive at a fabulous beach, where we went ocean rafting over crystal clear water, snorkeled with colorful fish, and ended the day with a pub crawl. Each ISV trip fits in more amazing experiences than a typical year. It's been 4 years, and I still tell many stories- they are some of my best experiences. I learned how to conduct myself in a different country, how to identify invasive plant species, how to slow down and appreciate the world, and how to make friends with just about anybody, and how to live life to the fullest. I held a kangaroo, pet a wombat, hiked, scuba dived, rappelled, and rafted. It was the most amazing adventure.

    How could this program be improved?

    I wish it was cheaper so I could have gone on another adventure.

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About the provider

ISV's mission is to support sustainable development programs around the world through life changing student volunteer programs designed to positively impact our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

Destinations include South Africa, Costa Rica, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic. ISV has won multiple awards and over 30,000 participants from around the world have experienced their educational, cultural and adventure programs. Volunteers can join small teams for two-week projects in the field of conservation or community development, followed by a two week adventure tour. Many students earn academic credit for their involvement and highly qualified local staff carefully oversee programs in each country. ISV is recognized as one of the highest rated volunteer and travel organizations in the world and is a non-profit organization in California, USA. Its Australian operations are based in Sydney. Begin your ISV adventure today!