How to volunteer your way to a holiday

Today is International Volunteer Day, a celebration of the tireless time-givers, the committed campaigners and the whole-hearted warriors of good causes across the globe.

So since ‘tis the season for giving, we’re shining a light on ways to be a ‘voluntourist’ while on holiday in Queensland.

1.Keep Australia beautiful

Next time you’re in the Whitsundays, head out with ‘eco warrior’ Libby Edge on one of her Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. trips. Since 2009 her volunteer missions have retrieved over 60,000 kilos of marine debris from the Whitsunday marine environment, helping to prevent turtle and other marine animal deaths.

2. Dig dinosaurs?

Well, now you can! Literally. The Australian Age of Dinosaurs is not just a museum… it’s one of only a few places in the world where the public can get their hands on these prehistoric predators. You’ll pay $560 to become an honorary technician (over 10 days) but you can stay on as long as you like to help prep the dinosaurs (that is drilling and dusting the soil off the bones) and maybe just help uncover the next T-Rex.

3. Dive with whales

If you’re a keen diver and want to get eye to eye with the curious minke whales, it’d be pretty hard to beat the volunteer experience with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. Positions are for a two-week period and in return for your hard work, you’ll score two dives a day, accommodation while on board and meals, plus a 50 per cent discount on gear if you need to hire it. Make sure to get in early as there are only two spots available on each expedition.

4.Help out a green dude

Turtle season has kicked off and the rookery at Mon Repos near Bundaberg can always use an extra set of hands to help the adorable newborn loggerheads make their way safely to the ocean.

You don’t need any special qualifications, just a commitment to donate one night a week from November to March. As well as helping the rangers with visitor groups and turtle research, you might be called on to staff the entrance and souvenir shop, provide information to visitors and run the children’s activities.

5.Walk in Steve Irwin’s footsteps

If you fancy yourself the next Steve Irwin, get your hands dirty with a week (or up to four weeks) of hands-on volunteering at Australia Zoo. You’ll experience a day in the life of a zookeeper first hand, make new furry and not-so-furry friends, and have an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience.