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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 170 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 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 such as 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. Returning Interns who have previously completed a 12 week internship at Walkabout Park who return for a second or subsequent period may be eligible for reduced fees. Please contact us for details.

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 cannot accept students who speak very little English as we cannot give them the guidance they need.
  4. Interns usually work 5 days per week, but shorter working weeks may be negotiated.
  5. The minimum internship period is 4 weeks, except that Australian Veterinary Science students may do a 3 week placement.
  6. Most international interns stay for 3 to 6 months.
  7. Most interns choose to live on site - the residential option includes assistance getting to and from public transport in the nearest town, Gosford.
  8. It is not possible to get to Walkabout Park by bus or train.
  9. 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 at 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 basic, but comfortable. We usually have between 1 and 3 residential interns at any one time, but these numbers can be much higher. Kitchen, lounge-room, 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:

A coin-operated washing machine is available at $4 per cycle (hand washing is free)

A coin-operated drying machine isavailable at $4 per cycle but we encourage residents to dry their washing outside on the washing line, and to only use the tumble-dryer in emergencies or when there is continuous rain. We 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:

Residents have a communal pantry which we stock with 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, meat and vegetables. 

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. Please note that we have limited data download allocation so we 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, you can use the Walkabout Park phones to phone home.

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.

Working hours and days:

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.

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. 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.

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.

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

Money for socialising and incidentals.

Costs

RESIDENTIAL INTERNS

Your fees are fully inclusive of field supervision, on-the-job training, assistance with approved projects, accommodation, food (stocked pantry, you cook your own meals), transport to and from Gosford Station on your days off, bedding and towels, internet.

$2574 for the 4 weeks Residential Internship Program

$550 for each additional week if you would like to extend your program beyond the 4 weeks

$65 for 2x Walkabout Park "Working with Wildlife T-shirts at $15 each and 1x Walkabout Park fleece jacket with badge

Long-term Interns who have completed 12 weeks and want to extend their program, in special circumstances, may have their fees may be reduced. Please contact us for details.

Returning Interns who have previously completed a 12 week internship at Walkabout Park who return for a second or subsequent period may be eligible for reduced fees. Please contact us for details.

NON-RESIDENTIAL INTERNS

Your fees are fully inclusive of field supervision, on-the-job training, assistance with approved projects.

$1,200 for the 4 weeks Non-residential Internship Program

$250 for each additional week if you would like to extend your program beyond the 4 weeks

$65 for 2x Walkabout Park "Working with Wildlife T-shirts at $15 each and 1x Walkabout Park fleece jacket with badge

Long-term Interns who have completed 12 weeks and want to extend their program, in special circumstances, may have their fees may be reduced. Please contact us for details.

Returning Interns who have previously completed a 12 week internship at Walkabout Park who return for a second or subsequent period may be eligible for reduced fees. Please contact us for details.

volounteers

Internship Application Form

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APPLICANT'S DECLARATION:
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GUARDIAN'S DECLARATION:
The Legal Guardian must complete this declaration, and may be asked for identification when Walkabout Park validates this with them later.
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