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Volunteer Places for Professional Interns

If you are looking for a practical placement to get the experience you need for your professional development...

Walkabout Wildlife Conservation Foundation:

Walkabout Park internships are offered through the separate but supportive not-for-profit organisation WWCF. WWCF's purpose is ecological and cultural conservation in Calga on Australia's NSW Central Coast. WWCF supports Walkabout Park's conservation efforts in a number of ways, including the provision of volunteer workers. In exchange, Walkabout Park provides WWCF volunteers with practical hands-on training and experience in various conservation areas, from wildlife conservation to eco-educational-tourism.

Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park:

A unique, natural bush, real working wildlife sanctuary.

The wildlife sanctuary is situated in 80 acres of natural bush with ancient Aboriginal sites. Although nestled in true blue unspoiled Australian bush, the sanctuary is located only 55 minutes drive north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and only 15 minutes by car from the train station at Gosford.

Animal Care

The Walkabout Park team provides various levels of care for different animals depending on their captive status and level of humanisation.

Completely wild animals live independently in the fox-proofed bush; semi-wild macropods and emus require a certain amount of monitoring and ranger intervention; human-dependant animals in naturalistic camps require a balance of maintaining natural features of their environment while tending to their daily needs; farm animals as introduced species require close management; and small reptiles and mammals in fully artificial enclosures require the highest level of attention.

Internship Content

Walkabout Park offers practical internships in a range of areas such as animal husbandry, eco-tourism, customer care, conservation management, graphic art and marketing. Interns at Walkabout Park to date have been studying Agricultural Engineering, Conservation Science, Veterinary Science, Zoology, Marketing and Design, Tourism and Graphic Arts.

Interns looking for experience in animal care are given the opportunity to learn how to perform all aspects of animal husbandry and habitat management for over 60 species of Australian native and small farm animals.

Interns in other areas can discuss their learning outcome requirements with us and we will tailor a program for you.

International & Australian Interns

Most of our international interns are university students from overseas countries where a requirement of their university course is that they gain experience working with animals. We also offer internships in other disciplines under the banner eco-tourism.

We do offer internships to Australian students. Most of Walkabout Park's Australian student interns are studying conservation science, veterinary science and other bio-sciences.

Aside from university students, we also have places for International Cultural Exchange Volunteers either travelling on their own or with organisations such as GoEco, Green Lion Australia and other conservation volunteer organisations.

Returning Volunteers

Walkabout Park regularly hosts volunteers returning for a second or subsequent period. Having already worked together, and therefore knowing each other well, we can tailor the program for the individual returning volunteer e.g. if your university requires you to undertake a major project.

Your questions answered

  1. Internships are volunteer positions, they are not paid internships.
  2. These volunteer positions do not take the place of Walkabout Park's regular staff positions.
  3. We do accept students who speak very little English.
  4. Interns usually work 5 days per week, but shorter working weeks may be negotiated.
  5. The minimum internship period for individuals is 3 weeks.
  6. The three week internship program is well suited for Australian students studying Veterinary Science who are required to do a number of placements in different institutions.
  7. Most international interns stay for 3 to 6 months.
  8. Most interns choose to live on site - the residential option includes assistance getting to and from public transport in the nearest town, Gosford.
  9. It is not possible to get to Walkabout Park by bus or train.
  10. The nearest train station is Gosford Station which is 15 minutes by car down the M1 Motorway from Calga.

The Internship Experience - Animal Placements:

As an Intern doing an Animal Placement, you will work alongside the rangers and be trained as a Ranger Assistant. Please be aware that, although extremely satisfying for anyone interested in this kind of work, the work is not ‘glamorous’. You will be engaged in manual labour in all weather conditions, general maintenance and cleaning, animal husbandry, bush management, track building and visitor services including café work. Visitor services includes cleaning of the visitor facilities.

The environment is great (at least we find it so). You would be working, mostly outdoors, in the Australian bush amongst Australia’s weird and wonderful wildlife, and in and around the animal camps. We work in all weather conditions, hot, cold, wet, dry, windy or calm. The animals need our care every day, no matter what the weather.

The team is very small. There are around 30 people on our team, but not everyone works every day. On any one day there is likely to be 1 Manager, 2 to 4 Rangers, 3 to 6 Assistant Rangers, 1 or 2 Customer Service/ Admin staff, and between 1 and 15 General Volunteers. It is a great team and everyone gets on really well together. We work really hard, but we have a lot of fun along the way.

Difference between Residential and Non-residential Interns:

Residential Volunteer Interns live in, and pay for, accommodation provided by Walkabout Park.

Non-residential Volunteer Interns make their own arrangements for accommodation off-site and travel to and from Walkabout Park using their own transport.

Public Transport to Walkabout Park:

Will you have your own transport while you are here? If not, please be aware the only feasible option is “residential volunteering” where you stay in accommodation provided by Walkabout Park. This is because it is impossible to reach us by public transport (except taxis at $50 or more per one-way trip).

Residential Interns

Accommodation, Laundry and Meals:

Accommodation facilities are very basic, but comfortable. We usually have between 1 and 3 residential volunteers at any one time, but these numbers can be as high as 14. Kitchen, laundry, shower and toilet facilities are shared. Although volunteers may be required to share sleeping quarters, men and women do have separate dormitories.

Cleaning:

The rule here is each person cleans up after themselves so the place is always kept clean and tidy, and everyone pitches in for the 'deep cleaning' such as dusting, sweeping and cleaning the bathrooms.

Laundry:

There is a washing machine at the Visitor Centre about 2 minutes walk from the accommodation block.

Washing is normally dried outside on the line.

The tumble-dryer is only used in emergencies or when there is continuous rain.

We do ask you to hang your washing on the line to dry as much as possible as this is healthier and much kinder to the environment.

Meals:

Interns can buy their own groceries and do their own cooking. (there is a stove/cooktop and microwave, but no oven).

Alternatively, you can pay a weekly rate to use the communal pantry which we stock with basic items such as cereal, yoghurt, bread, jam, vegemite, peanut butter, wraps, cheese, ham, salad vegetables, canned soups, instant noodles, milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fruit cordial. Fresh fruit is provided regularly. Cooked meals may be provided on some nights and, when not, your pantry will include easy to prepare meals, fruit and snacks.

You are welcome to join us on shopping trips or give us a shopping list if you want to buy your own luxury or other special items.

Residential Intern transport:

It is not possible to walk to shops or the train station.  By pre-arrangement and subject to priorities at the park, we will provide:

Station transfers on arrival and departure.

Station transfers once per week on your days off.

Grocery shopping transfers or we will purchase groceries on your behalf when we do our usual shopping trips.

Internet & Telephone Communications:

Bring your own laptop or use your smartphone to access WiFi at the accommodation block or Visitor Centre.

Please note that we have limited data download allocation so we may ask you to limit your useage.

Global Roaming mobile coverage can be very expensive. There are a variety of phone calling cards in Australia that provide more reasonable phone-home rates.

You can pruchase a local sim card for your mobile phone.

Some interns bring 2 mobile phone devices, one smartphone to use with their existing overseas contract to access emails and internet, and a second phone to use with an Australian sim card to make cheaper calls locally and home.

In emergencies, we can provide access to the internet using Walkabout Park’s computers.

In emergencies, you can use the Walkabout Park phones to phone home.

What we provide to residential Interns:

Accommodation and cooking facilities.

Use of a washing machine.

Transport to nearest town Gosford.

Phone use if you use your own calling card.

Tea and coffee during your shift breaks.

Wifi connection at the Accommodation and Visitor Centre.

What we do not provide:

Food/ groceries (unless you buy into the communal pantry.)

Cooking.

Insurance.

A computer.

All Interns

Volunteer Intern insurance:

We are not able to provide you, as a Volunteer Intern, with insurance coverage, even for injuries ‘on the job’ or travelling in Walkabout Park vehicles, so you will need to take out your own insurance to cover health, accident, and property loss or damage.

When you accept an internship at Walkabout Park, this is on the basis that you accept the risk of personal injury or illness, or property loss or damage, as being your own responsibility.

Induction Period - first 2 weeks:

Your first 2 weeks is your induction period during which greater supervision and training is required.

You are required to work at least 10 days during your induction period.

You would usually work between 8am and 5pm with breaks, but may sometimes work evening or early morning shifts.

Your working days may include weekend as well as weekday work.

You may be asked to work separately from, or together with, any travelling companion(s).

Continuing Internship - 3rd week onwards:

After your first 2 weeks, you are a ‘Continuing Intern’.

Although you would normally work a 5 day week, if you do need an extra day off e.g. to experience Sydney, please talk to us.

You would usually work between 8am and 5pm with breaks, but may sometimes work evening or early morning shifts.

Your working days may include weekend as well as weekday work.

If you have travelling plans you may pre-agree your working days with us to ensure your availability for booked travel.

You may be asked to work separately from, or together with, any travelling companion(s).

You may request time off together, which will be granted if circumstances at the park allow this.

Team policy:

We require the same level of commitment from our Interns as we do from our Rangers and Ranger Assistants, as this is a real working animal sanctuary and the team has to be able to rely on each other.

Alcohol policy:

No alcohol may be consumed on site except at official Walkabout Functions, and then is limited to 2 drinks per person aged 18 or over. No-one is allowed on site who even appears to be intoxicated and we will make this judgement (we don’t need to provide proof).

Smoking policy: 

Cigarettes may only be smoked in designated areas and NEVER indoors or out in the bush.

Drug policy:

Walkabout Park has a zero-tolerance policy regarding drugs.

Walkabout Park may require that you have a drug test without giving you due cause.

Program termination policy:

Walkabout Park retains the right to terminate your Internship and require you to leave the premises of Walkabout Park (including the accommodation) if you do not comply with Walkabout Park’s policies, in which case you will not receive any refund or damages payment.

What you need to bring with you

Packing List

Good working boots that provide ankle support – please note that we do not recommend track shoes as, although these may be comfortable for nomal walking, they do not provide enough support for the kind of work you will be doing at Walkabout Park.

A second pair of working shoes – in case your boots get wet.

Lots of pairs of comfortable thick socks – we recommend hiking socks.

At least 2 pairs of long comfortable work pants suitable for bush work. Pants should be navy blue. We recommend the King G brand or similar.

In the cooler months, bring long-sleeved navy blue T-shirts to wear under your Walkabout Park "Working with Wildlife" T-shirt.

A hat - leather wide brimmed hat, or navy cloth cap or wide brimmed cloth hat.

Work gloves.

At least one warm jacket (between May and September we recommend two in case one gets wet).

Working rain gear (pants and jacket) as in Sydney we can get rain at any time of the year.

Backpack to carry your personal gear when working in the bush.

Notebook and pens.

Water bottle.

Torch and spare batteries.

Camera and spare batteries.

Other clothes to wear when you are not at work.

Sunscreen.

Insect repellent.

Toiletries.

Personal medication.

Insurance.

Mobile phone or phone calling card.

Laptop or smartphone with the facility to use wifi if you want to access the internet.

Money for groceries, socialisting and incidentals.

Costs

The costs of residential internships are as follows:

Uniform: 2x Walkabout Park "Working with Wildlife navy T-shirts at $15 each and 1x Walkabout Park fleece jacket with badge at $35 each, total cost $65. Additional uniform items are optional.

Induction Period: $826 per person for the first two weeks, payable in advance and not refundable – this covers training and accommodation (made up of $336 one-off training fee plus $490 accommodation). If for any reason you do not complete the two weeks training, or you decide to use alternate accommodation, there is no refund.

Continuing Residential Internship: $245 per person per week from the 3rd week onwards – this covers accommodation. Although training is also continuing, there are no further trainee costs as by your 3rd week we expect you will be a productive contributor to the team requiring less supervision.

Meals: You can either shop for yourself, or you can buy into the communal pantry at $140 per week.

Long-term Residential Intern: After the completion of 3 months of continuing volunteering, in special circumstances accommodation fees may be reduced. Please contact us for details.

Returning Residential Intern: Interns who have previously completed a 3 month internship at Walkabout Park who return for a second or subsequent period may be eligible for reduced fees. Please contact us for details.

The costs of NON-residential internships are as follows:

Uniform: 2x Walkabout Park "Working with Wildlife navy T-shirts at $15 each and 1x Walkabout Park fleece jacket with badge at $35 each, total cost $65. Additional uniform items are optional.

Induction Period: $336 one-off training fee. If for any reason you do not complete the two weeks training, there is no refund.

Continuing Internship: No fee. Although training is also continuing, there are no further trainee costs as by your 3rd week we expect you will be a productive contributor to the team requiring less supervision.

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