This unique placement opportunity is not offered anywhere else and gives volunteers to truly make a difference to marine conservation.


The Project

This unique placement opportunity is not offered anywhere else and gives volunteers to truly make a difference to marine conservation. Based in the world’s largest coral reef, the Island Reef Research and Conservation project offers volunteers the opportunity to participate in valued conservation activities and environmental research endeavours.
Volunteers work in collaboration with various oceanographic organisations to research the ecosystem, monitor and survey the reef, and help clean up beaches of marine debris.
Work sites are based across two distinct islands, 45-minutes from the Port of Cairns.
The program gives participants the freedom to explore Far North East Queensland with free afternoons, evenings and weekends, traveling to an iconic location that is under serious threat from coral bleaching, pollution, mining, overfishing and climate change among other factors.
Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers aim to ensure each volunteer walks away with a tangible sense of fulfilment from participating in our once in a lifetime program, being impassioned and empowered to protect our precious planet.
The Location
The Far North Queensland location of Cairns is a regional city and popular hotspot travel destination for foreign and local tourists alike. The welcoming tropical climate serves as a major incentive for people wanting to visit the Great Barrier Reef and the luxurious surrounding landmarks. 
The reef is comprised of a range of ecological communities, habitats and species, all of which make it one of the most complex, unique and intricate natural ecosystems in the world. It stretches 2300 kilometres to be the largest living structure on the planet, a size so significant it can be viewed from outer space. It is infamous for the wondrous aesthetic and colour of the underwater landscape, providing a home for a large variety of fish, plants and animals. 
Species of turtles and crocodiles currently living in the reef date back prehistoric times, maintain a lifestyle that has existed for thousands of years. The breathtaking collection of marine creatures includes 600 types of soft and hard corals, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins. 
This iconic corner of the globe operates as a port for exporting gold, sugar cane and other minerals, metals and agricultural products from nearby coastal areas and Atherton Tableland region. 
Please Note 

The second instalment of your project fees is due within 1 week after you paid the deposit on Volunteer World. This is a total of $495 AUD and comes off your balance. The balance is due 90 days prior to travel. For all further information about the fees, please scroll down to the section "Program Fees“.

Typical day

Following your initial travel and settling in period on Sunday, the next Monday will be utilised for a complete orientation to the site and the project.
Each day beyond that stage will be entirely unique and dependent on the week of your placement, but will consist of:
• 6.30am - breakfast
• 7am - hostel departure
• 9am – work duties: featuring coral reef surveying, gathering of raw oceanographic data, clearing marine debris or care of sick and injured turtles for rehabilitation. Please note only volunteers on the 2, 3 and 4 week programs visit O2E’s Turtle Rehabilitation Project.
• 12pm – Lunch break and return-ferry to Cairns • 1pm – Cairns arrival and free time 
The project itself will consist of various 2-5 hour work-related activities, with the remainder of the time open for volunteers to explore the beauty of Cairns

Free-time activities

There is no shortage of free activities to do in this vibrant part of Australia, so why not take time out before or after your placement and see why this is such a go-to destination for tourists?

Cairns is perfect for those adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers looking for that exciting experience. This includes dive sites, off road driving, ballooning, canoeing, scuba-diving, kayaking, sailing, skydiving, snorkeling, swimming and rock climbing.

For those that want some rest and relaxation during their stay, there is more than enough to satisfy those requirements. This includes visits to the Fitzroy Island National Park, cruising, bushwalking, canopy walk, wildlife spotting, lakes/rivers/dams beaches, hot springs, spas, scenic flights and railways, shopping, markets, galleries, roadside stalls, cellar doors, tea plantation, coffee plantation, wineries, sky-high cable car and lava tubes.

Cairns is place to be to find that tropical lifestyle on your getaway. Swim at the Esplanade lagoon, sample local produce at a farmer's market, enjoy free entertainment, shop for a summer wardrobe, visit caves, National Parks and Falls, or cruise around the marina and check out the evening markets.

Take a cool dip at a secluded freshwater swimming hole, jump on a bike for a sightseeing tour along the city's network of cycle paths, or experience the splendid rainforest.

After dark you can choose a lively bar, pub, nightclub or casino to enjoy a drink, taste local seafood at an award-winning restaurant, party on a dance floor, discover treasures at the markets or take in a local cultural show.

Secluded but easily accessible and welcoming, the city of Cairns is easy to travel around with the reef, rainforest and outback on right on its doorstep. The Cairns International and Domestic airports are only 10 minutes from the Central Business District, providing the ideal entry point for a Tropical North Queensland adventure.


Company: Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers
Location: Australia and Oceania
Town: Queensland
Country: Australia


Contact person: Linda
e-mail: Email:

In-Water Reef Monitoring and Conservation