Australia and the surrounding region of Oceania is a great place to volunteer abroad for those with almost any interest area. From wildlife conservation in the Outback to education in New Zealand to community development in Fiji, there are any number of opportunities for international travellers to volunteer and make an impact. For those who are intrigued by beautiful scenery, unique indigenous cultures, and a laidback island lifestyle, Australia and Oceania is the perfect place to volunteer abroad.
Oceania is not a clearly defined region, but is often thought of as including the continent of Australia along with the various island nations surrounding it in the South Pacific. With a population quadruple the size of any of its neighbors, Australia is by far the largest country in this region. It is also home to most of the major cities of Oceania, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and the country’s capital of Canberra.
Going down the list of most populous nations in Oceania, next are Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Fiji. These are all relatively small nations, but are also very popular travel destinations because of their stunning scenic beauty and leisurely lifestyle. Volunteers who want to live on an island nation for a while should consider all these countries as premier destinations to volunteer in Oceania.
The rest of the countries in Oceania are all quite small, with populations of just a few hundred thousand citizens. Nevertheless, nations such as the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, and Micronesia can all be very rewarding places to volunteer abroad. These countries have very small economies and are largely dependent on agriculture and fishing for sustenance, so by volunteering abroad, you can help offset the lack of resources and opportunity.
Projects & Placements
As you might expect of a region with so much diversity, there are a wide array of different ways to volunteer abroad in Australia and Oceania. Since these countries attract so many nature and adventure lovers, first on the list for many are environmental and wildlife conservation projects. Volunteers who are passionate about sustainability, green initiatives, and marine conservation will find no shortage of opportunities to volunteer in Australia and Oceania and help protect the beautiful landscapes and species located throughout the region.
Many of the smaller island nations in Oceania are also considered to be developing countries, so volunteers who are interested in serving local communities can do so by various means including education, healthcare, and activism. There are many volunteer organizations that have a presence throughout these countries, working hand in hand with locals to find the best means of leveraging resources and volunteers to make a positive impact on local communities.
Eco-tourism is another popular form of volunteering in Australia and Oceania, combining adventure travel opportunities across various locations with a steady dose of volunteer work, allowing volunteers to give back to the places they travel through. Volunteer placements in Australia and Oceania can last for as short as a couple weeks or as long as a whole year, depending on the amount of time each individual wants to devote to their project.
Costs & Affordability
Costs of living vary quite significantly across Oceania. Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world in terms of costs of living, while smaller island nations, such as the Solomon Islands, can be much more affordable. It is important to look into the general costs of living in each location in order to plan a realistic budget for your volunteer program in Australia and Oceania.
Accommodation & Visas
Again, accommodations will vary significantly across Oceania as well. The more developed countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, will generally offer more luxurious housing situations, while accommodations in developing nations will be more basic. Homestays are a popular choice for many who volunteer in Australia and Oceania, but individual apartments and other living situations are generally available too.
Whether or not you will need a visa to volunteer abroad in Australia and Oceania depends on factors such as how long you will be staying, the country where you are volunteering, and your home country. For more information on the various rules and restrictions across the region, check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
- Island Life. Disregarding Australia, which is its own continent, the rest of Oceania consists of a chain of island nations, each more beautiful than the next. Your time is sure to be quite relaxing outside your volunteer placement in Australia and Oceania.
- Give Back. By becoming a volunteer in Australia and Oceania, you can leave your trip with the sense that you left a positive impact behind you. Not only will you have a great time working alongside locals, but your efforts will be greatly appreciated by all.
- Cultural Diversity. The history and immense diversity of Oceania is not often recognized and appreciated, so by volunteering abroad in Australia and Oceania you will have the chance ti learn a lot about the region. It is truly a fascinating place!