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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 
VOLUNTEER WITH DOLPHINS IN BUNBURY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIA

VOLUNTEER WITH DOLPHINS IN BUNBURY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH WILD DOLPHINS! Contribute to the well-being of dolphins in an idyllic setting at a non-profit Center committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism. The Center enables people to interact with Bottlenose dolphins in a variety of ways.

There are up to 100 dolphins living in the Bay and groups of them regularly visit the shallow waters in front of the Center. This is the first Center in Australia dedicated entirely to dolphin research. The project runs from 1 October to 31 May every year.

 

FREE weekend in Perth included!

List of ALL PROJECTS in Australia CONSERVATION in Australia BOOK NOW    

SUMMARY FACTFILE
Start Dates Available from beginning October to the end May. Projects start every Thursday, from beginning of October to the end of May – you can choose your start and finish dates within this period. 
Duration From a minimum of 6 weeks to a maximum of 12 weeks, subject to visa requirements
Requirements No qualifications needed, just lots of enthusiasm and initiative. You should have reasonable English and enjoy talking to people. Minimum age 18.
Price Full Price List
What's included Arranging your Program
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection Insurance
Accommodation

Meeting you at the nearest airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Free Weekend in Perth, including accommodation
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support.
Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Food, Transport to and from your project, Return transfer to airport.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 18.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in marine conservation, caring for marine animals and ocean habitats, and working with marine wildlife overseas.
This is a good placement if you want to learn about marine conservation strategies and habitats plus dolphin behaviour while doing voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in Australia.

FREE WEEKEND IN PERTH DURING YOUR PLACEMENT:
Explore this delightful city! You'll stay in a Backpackers in the heart of Perth, on the doorstep of vibrant North Bridge, famous for its bars, clubs and restaurants. You'll be met at the coach station and taken to the Backpackers, then you're free to explore the city. You'll return to Bunbury by coach on Sunday afternoon, ready for work on Monday.

Views across Perth

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT:

  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Australia and you'll learn about the Aborigine culture that makes this country so fascinating!
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping animals and knowing that you made a difference to them.

  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.

  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.

  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

VOLUNTEER WITH DOLPHINS IN BUNBURY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

WORK CONTENT
Your project is based at a non-profit Center committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism based in the South West Coast of Australia. The Center enables people to interact with Bottlenose dolphins in a variety of ways. There are up to 100 dolphins living in the Bay and groups of them regularly visit the shallow waters in front of the Center. The Center was opened in 1994, and is the first Center in Australia dedicated entirely to dolphin research.

Being a volunteer at the Center can be a wonderful experience, you meet people from all around the world, not to mention the dolphins! However, your time as a volunteer will involve a lot more than being in the water with the dolphins. Talking and answering questions is a very important part of your role. Eighty percent of your day will involve talking to people who come down to the beach to see the dolphins, thus educating them about their characteristics and making them aware of how crucial it is to conserve these wonderful animals.

Here are some of the tasks you may be involved with:

  • Talking to visitors on the beach - explaining what the Dolphin Center does.

  • Assisting to coordinate the Interaction Zone when dolphins visit.

  • Managing the front entrance and Dolphin Room area.

  • Participating in ’’Coastcare” activities and assist with current research projects.

  • Assisting with the research program, recording observations in the bay and monitoring dolphin visits to the zone.

  • Inputting the research data into databases for analysis

  • General maintenance and cleaning.

  • Tour guiding through the Interpretive Center for the general public, tour groups and school students.

The work that you'll be involved in depends on what is available at the time of your placement.

TRAINING
You'll learn a great deal through the training course which covers a wide range of issues and skills and includes presentations from a selection of guest speakers relevant to the operation of the Center. Regular volunteer meetings are held to ensure you are kept up-to-date with the latest issues regarding marine mammal management and the operations of the Center.

After having completed a minimum of 20 hours training, you'll receive an official Volunteer T-Shirt which will identify you to the public as a trained representative of the Center.

The Center relies on the assistance of volunteers to advise visitors on the operations and ethos of the Center, help manage the dolphin interaction program, actively participate in their research program and act as a guide. Staff members attend monthly meetings, as well as regular video and BBQ nights, which you'll be invited to attend. By volunteering, you will achieve a great sense of satisfaction knowing that you are assisting in a worthwhile project to increase public awareness about dolphins and other marine life.

This project is a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks. You’ll work between 20-40 hours a week, with weekends off. 

This placement is definitely for animal loving enthusiasts who are willing to work hard and aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty - the rewards are well worth it! Whilst volunteering is rewarding in itself, time spent at a project such as this is an excellent springboard for traveling around Australia. Meeting other volunteers from around the world, and listening to their stories and recommendations can give you the confidence to travel and experience more.

"I just wanted to say a huge thank you for helping me arrange my project in Perth. I had such an amazing time and left with an unforgettable experience. I'll definitely advise 'Travellers' to anybody hoping for a similar opportunity and experience! I'm already planning my return to Australia after I finish University! Thank you again!" Keira Rowsome

REQUIREMENTS:

  • You should be a hands-on person who loves the outdoors.

  • You should be in good health and reasonably fit and able to work in a team.

  • You should be prepared for some hard physical work, especially during the summer time when it can get extremely hot.

  • You should be willing to get stuck in and get your hands dirty.

  • Also flexible and be prepared to move around the City and go wherever you're needed.

  • You should also be fluent in English and enjoy talking to people.

  • Very Important - you will need to use your initiative and be very proactive, be patient and determined.

  • Like most conservation work, there are spiders and snakes in some locations, so you should reconsider this project if you have a fear of these.

  • Lastly, self-reliance and independence will help you make the most of this wonderful opportunity!

VOLUNTEER WITH DOLPHINS IN BUNBURY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

VOLUNTEER WITH DOLPHINS IN BUNBURY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

VOLUNTEER WITH DOLPHINS IN BUNBURY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

ACCOMMODATION:
You'll live in a backpackers conveniently located in the heart of the city. We team up with two different hostels that are very similar in the facilities they provide and in their excellent location that is close to everything! You'll have the beach, the City Center and lots of other attractions all within two minutes walk and you’ll be able to explore the nearby forests, national parks, beautiful waterways, historic towns, many vineyards and the incredibly beautiful coast-line on your days off.

In the town there is a colourful street of sidewalk cafes called the "Cappuccino Strip" that buzzes all day. There are lots of sidewalk cafes and a variety of waterside dining options offer numerous opportunities to taste the wonders of the local produce. These cafes and the award-winning restaurants, as well as atmospheric historic pubs, ensure the town hums. The city also offers plenty of Entertainment Centres, Art Galleries and cinemas.

You'll stay in a dorm room with access to many facilities in the Backpackers. There is a kitchen where you can cook and an excellent BBQ and outdoor area that is very popular. Other facilities that you'll have free use of include a pool table, table tennis, board games, sporting equipment and off-street parking. you'll also be given a unique City Visitor's Guide and you'll have free access to tea and coffee.

There are fast-speed internet facilities at the Backpackers which you can use for a nominal charge, so you'll be able to keep up with emails with friends and family back home.

FOOD:
Food is not included in this project so you should budget for meals. We feel that a good guide would be a weekly budget of around AUD$70

 

Accommodation in Bunbury

Accommodation in Bunbury

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Got any questions? Please email us: info@travelersworldwide.org

TRAVEL AND ARRIVAL ARRANGEMENTS
You will fly into Perth airport (Perth is the capital city of Western Australia) where you will be welcomed by our Australian Volunteer Liaison Officer or another one of our staff. They will then transport you to a city backpackers where you will stay for one night to give you time to catch your breath and relax after your flight.

You will be met by us again the following day and given an orientation.  After the orientation you will be taken to the Esplanade bus station, located in the Central Business District, where you will be transferred onto a South West coach. The drive down to your project location takes 2-3 hours, mostly along the coastal road and you'll be driving through some beautiful land- and seascapes. When you arrive, a staff member from the Backpackers will meet you at the bus station and take you back to the hostel.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT:
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity! 

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our team who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

ABOUT THE DOLPHIN CENTRE:
The Center is a unique place. It is the only site in Australia which can offer shore-based and boat-based swim tour interaction with wild dolphins as well as dolphin watching tours and a fascinating and educational Interpretive Center.

During the mid 1960’s, a local resident began feeding the dolphins from a small jetty near her home on the Inlet (directly south of the Center). Unfortunately, she passed away in the early 70's ceasing any regular feeding of the dolphins she befriended. Some dolphins continued to be fed by the public from areas nearby. However, it wasn't until 1989 that a dolphin specialist was hired by a newly established Dolphin Trust to continue this tradition and began feeding and studying the local dolphins. From this work came the establishment of the Interaction Zone in 1990 and the Center itself in 1994 to allow tourists and members of the community to interact, understand and enjoy the group of five to six dolphins that regularly visit this Zone.

It is not clear why the dolphins continue to visit the Zone today. However research does suggest that the small amount of food they receive as a reward for their visit is not the only attraction. There are many dolphins that visit the Zone regularly that do not receive any fish and many of them stay for extended periods of time for interaction with the human visitors. Sick and injured dolphins also treat the beach as a haven, with some repeatedly visiting during periods of illness or injury.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS OF KOOMBANA BAY
Dolphins and whales belong to the order Cetacea. The order Cetacea is broken down into two different groups or sub orders - baleen whales (Mysticeti) and toothed whales (Odontoceti). Dolphins are small toothed whales (Odontocetes) and belong to the family Delphinidae. There are approximately 30 species within this family.

The Koombana Bay dolphins are Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). They have beaks that are short, usually only 7-8 cm long, wide and rounded, with a lower jaw which protrudes conspicuously beyond the upper. The line of the mouth is soft and curves upwards at the back to give this species its familiar, faintly amused facial expression.

Bottlenose dolphins can stay underwater for 8-10 minutes, however the average “down time” is 2 or 3 minutes. When a dolphin dives the blowhole shuts completely, otherwise their lungs would fill with water and they would drown.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Bottlenose dolphins, like all whales and dolphins, are warm blooded mammals. They breathe air and the females give birth to live young.
    The Gestation period for a female is 12 months and she will nurse her calf for 2-3 years. The mother will always wean her calf before giving birth to another. Therefore she is able to calve every 3-4 years.

  • Calves weigh approximately 30 kgs at birth (0.5 to 0.9 metres in length) and can grow to seven times their body weight in the first year. This is possible due to the very fatty milk fed by their mother.

  • The weight of Bottlenose dolphins will vary from 110 kilos to 400 kilos. Their length can range from 1.5 to 4 meters.

  • It is estimated that wild Bottlenose dolphins can live for 35-45 years. This is longer than the previously thought 25-35 years. However life expectancy of dolphins is hard to measure as they live so much of their lives out of human view.

  • Dolphins are sexually active all year round, although mating season in Koombana Bay takes place in the spring and summer months.

  • A female dolphin will mate with many different males. Males will compete aggressively for access to females that are sexually receptive (in oestrus).
    The best way to determine whether a dolphin is male or female is to look on the underside of the dolphin. The female has two mammary slits either side of her genital slit.

"My major role was to pass on information to the visitors about the dolphins and their environment and to ensure every level of dolphin – human interaction was managed in a safe and appropriate way. This was particularly important during the dolphin swim tours where I was assigned the position of swim tour guide and was responsible for the safety of all visitors while snorkelling with dolphins out in the ocean.

In addition to these regular volunteer duties, I also participated as a research volunteer. Working alongside researchers from Murdoch University, part of my role was to collect survey and photographic data along with various other geographical and weather related details. This information provides a solid baseline source of information on the dolphin’s general group densities, movements and site preferences and how they vary over time.

It was a tremendous experience for me to work with the Center, I will take the skills I've learned into my next endeavours and the joyful memories will stay with me always!"

  

Feedback on Conservation Projects in Australia with Travellers Worldwide

VOLUNTEER WITH DOLPHINS IN BUNBURY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA


Photo Galleries

 


Bunbury


Bunbury

 

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience.

Swim with Wild Dolphins!
Surfing Lessons
 

This project can also be combined with any of our other projects in Australia, or you could even do a second project in a different region of the country - or perhaps New Zealand - thus doubling your adventure and enjoyment!

Photo right: The Pinnacles

Swim with Wild Dolphins in Australia with Travelers Worldwide

LOCATION, EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:

The Lonely Planet guide named Western Australia's South West region as one of the TOP TEN most desirable vacation destinations in the world for 2010 saying, "it offers variety in spades!” And it does ... the sheer size, amazing natural wealth, awesome scenery and huge variety of plant and animal life make Australia an essential destination for anyone with a passion for nature and wildlife.

PROJECT LOCATION - SOUTH WEST COAST

This program is located in the stunning south west coast in Bunbury, the third largest city in Western Australia. The city is small but a major commercial center in Western Australia and acts as a hub to the local area about 2½ hrs drive south of Perth. Described as the real Australia. It lies on a spectacular peninsular surrounded by blue waters of the Indian Ocean, a bay and an inlet. A vibrant port city with a strong maritime history, the area is renowned for its quality lifestyle and unique blend of nature, and top quality facilities.

The area's other features include mangroves, rare basaltic rock and nearby Tuart Forest. A colourful "cappuccino strip" of sidewalk cafes and a variety of waterside dining options offer numerous opportunities to taste the wonders of the local produce. The award-winning restaurants and historic pubs ensure the atmosphere hums! The city is surrounded by forests, national parks, waterways, historic towns and hundreds of vineyards, not to mention the incredible coast-line.

CLIMATE
The area has a Mediterranean climate with warm to hot summers and cool winters. Rainfall is during winter but the weather is rather pleasant for the rest of the year. In summer (December to February), the average maximum temperature is 28°C with an average minimum temperature of 14°C. In winter (June to August), it's 19°C with an average minimum of 9°C.

A little about Perth: Perth was built on the banks of the magnificent Swan River over 150 years ago and is now a city rich in culture and filled with theatres, art galleries and museums. The city is modern and vibrant - a fun, friendly and 'laid back' place. Western Australia is locally known as the 'state of excitement!'

Some of its' attractions include Kings Park, Scarborough Beach, Fremantle and the Swan River. Fremantle (or as the local’s call it, ‘Freo’) is the city’s port. At weekends there are markets, entertainment and plenty of alfresco style cafes to laze in.

Perth has restaurants to suit all tastes - the most popular cuisine is of course the great Australian BBQ. Barbeque facilities are abundant in local parks - take your own food and cook up a feast, Australian style! For meals in local restaurants, a trip to Perth's inner city center is well worth the effort - it bustles with activity and offers a range of choices of restaurants.

THE BEST OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Courtesy of Western Australia Tourism - www.westernaustralia.com

  • Fremantle - Spend a few days in Fremantle is an absolute must. Just a 30 minute drive from Perth's city center. Freo, as it's known by locals is a vibrant port city you can't miss.

  • Rottnest Island - Just offshore from Perth, Rottnest Island is where the locals go to swim at white-sand beaches, snorkel in turquoise water over shipwrecks, or kick back and go fishing. Rotto, as it's called locally, is a car-free zone, which adds to its relaxed feel.

  • Margaret River - No trip to Western Australia is complete without a pit stop at Margaret River. Originally a chilled out surfie town, Margaret River is now the ultimate smorgasbord of good food, fine wine and spectacular scenery - just a three-and-a-half hour drive south of Perth.

  • Albany - Prepare to be blown away by Albany's dramatic convict history, set against a backdrop of rugged granite coastline, green seas and a wild beauty that tugs at the heartstrings. Step back in time and explore convict jails, old taverns, whaling ships and settlers' cottages and grand National Trust homes in beautifully landscaped grounds.

  • Denmark - You'll fall in love with Denmark - where towering tall trees meet the ocean. The town has a relaxed village atmosphere, romantic timber milling history and incredible coastal scenery.

  • Ningaloo Reef - Take a dive with hundreds of tropical fish, amazing coral formations and the world's biggest fish, the whale shark, at unspoilt Ningaloo Reef.

  • Monkey Mia - Monkey Mia is one of Western Australia's most famous dolphin watching destinations.

  • Shark Bay - The Shark Bay World Heritage Area was Western Australia's first World Heritage Listed site and one of only 16 Australia wide that fit all four selection criteria. Shark Bay's wilderness and natural wonders make for a unique vacation.

  • The Pinnacles - The extraordinary ancient rock formations that make up the Pinnacles are located about a three-hour drive north of Perth near the coastal town of Cervantes.

  • Kalgoorlie - Get ready for a heady trip to Kalgoorlie, Western Australia's largest goldfields town famed for its fascinating gold rush history, fabulous old buildings and old gold miners' ghost towns.

  • Esperance - For squeaky-white beaches, getting off the beaten track and bunking down under the stars, head south to Esperance. This place is so relaxed even the kangaroos sun bake on the beach.

TRAVEL:
To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your program, please click here.


The Perth Ferry

The famous Pinnacles - visit it while on your gap year volunteer placement with Travelers Worldwide


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