How to help rescued wallabies in Australia

Fancy a trip of a lifetime to sun-soaked Queensland, Australia to work with cuddly wallabies and wombats all day? These Aussie superstars need your help – guest blogger Claire Herbaux, of NGO Frontier, tells us how you could be enjoying a wild life in the sunshine state…

Bridle Boys
Bridle Boys

Kangeroos and wallabies, an iconic site for visitors to Australia, are often a nuisance – a pest even – to locals. The law may protect them but many marsupials get injured or killed as it’s easy to obtain a permit to shoot those that damage land.

Between bad shots and road accidents, many wallabies end up in rescue centres including young joeys left in their mother’s pouch after she dies. Frontier runs the Australia Wallaby Rescue project at an animal sanctuary in Gladstone, Queensland, that takes care of injured animals. The sanctuary helps hand-rear joeys that have lost their mothers, as well as running wombat breeding programme. Koalas and other wildlife are also cared for.

Australian possum
Australian possum

Life as a volunteer on the project

On the project, everything depends on the season and every day is different. You may be working with rescued joeys, helping the wombat breeding programme, getting animals ready to be released back into the wild, or preparing the sanctuary for school visits. General activities include maintaining the animals’ living quarters, food prep and feeding, and building new facilities.

In the hot Queensland weather, the day starts early to avoid the heat and lunch time is spent relaxing and taking in outback life.

Bridled Nailtail Wallaby, picture Phil Cole, Scotia National Park
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby, picture Phil Cole, Scotia National Park


The rescue centre has volunteer accommodation on site which includes laundry and cooking facilities. It is a home environment and rooms are usually shared with another volunteer. The next city is a little way away but food is provided. Volunteers prepare their own breakfast and lunch, with everyone eating together in the evening with a meal prepared by the host.

Recommended for… Anyone wanting to experience life in the Australian outback and get up close to native animals.

Be aware that… The sanctuary is not in the vicinity of any towns – you won’t be going out to the pub, but will spend relaxing time with the host family and other volunteers.

Prices start at £799 for two weeks (excluding flights) with extra weeks available. For more information, including a full programme, departure dates and bookings, visit

Bridles feedout
Bridles feedout

About the author: Claire Herbaux is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog Into the Wild for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit

Help save sea turtles in Bali, Indonesia

Guest blogger Rebecca MacDonald-Taylor, of NGO Frontier, tells us how you can help threatened sea turtles in the Indian Ocean…

Picture this: Dark ashy shades created from the towering volcanic mountains contrast with a rainbow pallet of coral reefs shimmering through the clear blue waters. The Indonesian island of Bali really is stunning!

Bali, Frontier

Working with turtles

Bali is under huge pressure from Indonesia’s growing tourism industry. It’s understandable – Bali is gorgeous and everybody wants to see it for themselves, but the more people visit, the more the fragile environment and its wildlife is damaged.

Frontier helps provide a solution by operating the Sea Turtle Conservation project which provides a hands-on approach in the conservation of these majestic and enchanting creatures. It’s a unique experience, and one that you can join.

sea turtle on Bali, Frontier

Life as a volunteer on the project

Litter left on the beaches can be a big choking problem, especially for the young, and so volunteers monitor the weaker turtles in a natural enclosure for support and rehabilitation until they are ready for release. The project also needs people to collect vital baseline data on turtle populations.

During the day, volunteers also have the opportunity to teach English at one of the local schools which is a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in the Bali culture. Support, particularly in English language fluency, has a lasting impact on the community.

volunteering in Bali, Frontier


Volunteers enjoy three meals a day of traditional Balinese cuisine, an exciting fusion of Indonesian and Chinese styles. Some of the most popular dishes are Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice with a fried egg on top) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles with egg).


One of the added bonuses of volunteering on this project is that you get to live right next to the beach! You can stay at a volunteer house with all the basic facilities that you’ll need.

There is a mix of both Western and Asian-style toilets and I would definitely suggest making use of the outdoor showers. There are indoor ones, but you may as well take advantage of welcoming a cold rinse in the tropical temperatures. You would never be able to do that in the UK! (‘We agree’ – Editor)

accommodation on Bali, Frontier

Recommended for… Anyone who is desperate to escape to a tropical dreamland and immerse themselves in a diverse culture, helping the local community. A love of turtles wouldn’t go amiss either!

Be aware that… Some activities are seasonal. Turtles lay their eggs throughout the year, but the opportunity to collect eggs and monitor nests is often highest between July and October when the sea is calmer.

For more information, including a full programme, prices, departure dates and booking, visit the Sea Turtle Conservation project page on the Frontier website.

About the author: Rebecca MacDonald-Taylor is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog ‘Into the Wild’ for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit

Go wild for volunteering in Madagascar

Guest blogger Caroline Edwards, of NGO Frontier, profiles an exhilerating volunteering holiday in exotic Madagascar…

Madagascar – the fourth largest island in the world and home to plants and species found nowhere else on the planet. The country has been isolated for over 165 million years which makes it a magical place for those wishing to experience a unique culture in stunning natural settings.

Frontier’s Madagascar Teaching, Wildlife and Diving project gives volunteers the chance to help out the local community as well as working towards protecting and conserving the island’s pristine wildlife and marine life.


Life as a volunteer on the project

The project offers a varied experience for travellers keen on experiencing life in Madagascar from a more local perspective. Upon arrival in Nosy Be Airport (I almost read that as ‘Be Nosy Airport’! – Ed) you will be welcomed by Frontier’s staff who will take you to the project site followed by a two day orientation.

Most volunteers start off on the Frontier beach camp where they take part in the marine project, learn to dive in the clear Indian Ocean and see various marine species as they work on surveys with the team. After exploring the sea, volunteers move on to forest surveys and wildlife conservation. Here you get the chance to spot rare species whilst trekking through a remote environment.

After life in the forest volunteers move on to the town of Hellville to help teach English to local people. As a teaching assistant your help is highly valued as the schools generally suffer from a lack of foreign language teachers in the rural communities.



The best bit about volunteering on the Madagascar Teaching, Wildlife & Diving project is the fact that you get to explore living in beautiful natural settings as well as in a vibrant town like Hellville. During your marine and wildlife conservation projects you will be living with other volunteers on a cosy camp near sea and forest and later on you get to experience the volunteer house in town.

volunteering in Madagascar


Volunteers are provided with three meals a day throughout the programme. Like many other developing countries, Madagascan cuisine is nicely flavoured but basic with a lot of rice and beans to fill you up!

Recommended for… Anyone who is keen on immersing themselves in a different culture and help out local communities as well as wildlife.

Beware that… It’s important that volunteers are ready to live under basic conditions, as well as being ready to contribute with a positive attitude throughout their stay. If you wish to take the PADI open water qualification and additional fee of £250 is needed.

For more information, including a full programme, prices, departure dates and booking, visit

About the author: Caroline Edwards is an Online Media Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog ‘Into the Wild’ for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit

diving in Madagascar

Help preserve Thailand’s elephant population

Marion Thibaudeau of NGO Frontier, tells us more about how you can help Thailand’s retired domestic elephants on this volunteering holiday

Thailand is well known for its culture and history, for its white sand and crystal clear blue waters, and for its rich wildlife. Many impressive animals can be found in the deep Thai jungles, including bears, tigers, and elephants.

working with elephants in Thailand

Well over two thousand elephants are domesticated throughout the country and sadly, its wild elephant population (of two to three thousand) is declining due to a caustic mix of problems: The ivory trade has put this majestic species at severe risk of poaching, and Thailand still suffers from illegal elephant trade and abuse, notably for tourism purposes, despite recent efforts by lawmakers to cut down on these activities.

Frontier operates the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary project, which gives volunteers a unique chance to spend time with a number of retired elephants. Take the ethical route to experiencing elephants in Thailand, and give these animals the care and attention they deserve.

Life as a volunteer on the project

Upon arrival in Bangkok, you will be spending a week in Singburi, immersing yourself in Thai culture, learning more about its history and language, and visiting temples and museums. You will then be taken to the elephant sanctuary to the north of the country. During your time there, you will be helping wash, feed and exercise the elephants during the week, with free time on weekends, leaving you opportunities to explore the surrounding area or participate in other events, such as water rafting. As the days go by, you will come to know the elephants and notice their individual personality quirks as you grow closer.


Accommodation at the sanctuary consists of thatched huts in the jungle, with all the basic amenities. In Singburi, volunteers stay in a shared volunteer house.


Traditional Thai food will be provided throughout the project. With influences from China, India and Indonesia, Thailand boasts an exciting cuisine with flavoursome mixes of sweet, sour, salty and hot, generally on a basis of rice or noodles.

working on Frontier Thailand elephant project

Recommended for… This project is recommended for anyone wishing to interact with elephants in an ethical and controlled manner. While it is easy to see elephants in Thailand, many elephants presented to tourists are often raised and kept in poor conditions. This sanctuary ensures that its elephants are taken care of, and the volunteers visiting it can attest to that!

Be aware that…  The cultural orientation week in Singburi is only available to those spending more than one week on the project.

For more information, including a full programme, prices, departure dates and booking, visit

About the author: Marion Thibaudeau is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog ‘Into the Wild’ for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit

Go on an ethical adventure in Tibet

Guest blogger Jack Plumb, of NGO Frontier, explores “Roof of the World” Tibet on this ethical adventure…

To the north east of the highest mountain range in the world lies Tibet. Despite its tumultuous history and ongoing struggles, Tibet has managed to retain much of its cultural heritage and is a country like no other. This secretive corner of the world has only recently become more accessible to travellers.

Ethical adventure in Tibet (Frontier)

Here, Frontier operates the Tibet Ethical Adventure Trail giving adventurous travellers the opportunity to experience an ancient and untouched culture amongst the stunning beauty of some of the most savage mountains in the world: The Himalayas.

What to expect on the trail

Upon arrival in Beijing you will be greeted by a Frontier representative. All in-country travel is included and much of it is by overland train giving you an unrivalled opportunity to see stunning Chinese countryside. You’ll travel to Lhasa, the residence of the Dalai Lama prior to his exile and capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. While in Lhasa you will visit the stunning Potala Palace, the bustling Barkhor Square and pious Jokhang Temple.

When travelling to more rural areas, the striking, timeless life led by the villagers is a humbling experience, and as they gather in the local tea-houses you will feel steeped in their wonderfully stoic lifestyle. Journey further, and herders enveloped in the shadows of birds of prey circling towering mountain peaks, is an awe-inspiring vision of ancient Tibet.


Accommodation during the tour consists of comfortable hostels, hotel shares, homestays and tea houses.


Traditional Tibetan food consists of cured meats, barley and dairy products. Meat is often of very high quality and spiced with salt ginger and other spices. Tibetans enjoy tea and a Tibetan liver sausage is definitely worth a try! Food is not included in the tour costs but with many restaurants and street food vendors, there is a plethora of interesting and delicious delicacies available. Vegetarians can be catered for comfortably and much of the tradition cuisine is vegetarian.

Recommended for… Anyone interested in the local customs and culture of Tibet

Be aware that… The trip lasts for four weeks (with monthly departures), and you must be 18 years or over to join

We acknowledge that tourism in Tibet can be a contraversial subject, but there are ways to visit Tibet responsibly – here are some tips on ethical travel to Tibet:

  • Tourism to Tibet is encouraged by the Dalai Lama (see more here).
  • When visiting Tibet, ensure your custom goes to local small businesses operated and owned by Tibetans.
  • When visiting temples and other culturally significant areas, a donation is encouraged. Make sure you donate directly to a monk or nun.
  • Refrain from talking about the Dalai Lama and engaging in any conversations of a political nature while in Tibet.
  • Be careful when taking photos – photography of security staff is strictly prohibited.
  • Make sure your ethical adventure is well planned to avoid any scrutiny from Chinese officials regarding your itinerary – this ensures no Tibetan national is subjected to any uneccessary contact.


About the author: Jack Plumb is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog ‘Into the Wild’ for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit

touring Tibet (Frontier)


Experience big cat conservation in Namibia

Guest blogger Jack Plumb, of NGO Frontier, profiles a wildlife project where two African deserts collide in Namibia…

On the south west coast of Africa where the Namib and Kalahari deserts collide sits Namibia. As one of the newest and most sparsely populated countries in Africa, Namibia is a wildlife lover’s dream. Endless desert skies, sweeping sand dunes and densely wooded bushveld set a pristine backdrop to nature’s finest displays.

[gdl_gallery title=”Nam” width=”120″ height=”110″ ]

Despite its apparent harsh climate, Namibia is home to two of the world’s most expansive national parks: Etosha National Park and Namib-Naukluft Park. Living amongst its endless beauty is a rich melting pot of cultures and traditions.

Frontier operates the Namibia Carnivore Conservation project which gives you the chance to work alongside biologists tracking and monitoring cheetahs and other big cats in the wild. Track and capture the world’s fastest land mammal in a truly wild and breathtakingly beautiful country.

Life as a volunteer on the project

You will spend the majority of your time assisting biologists and conservation workers in tracking and monitoring cheetahs and leopards. When based at the main reserve your tasks may include: game counts, box trap checking, carnivore capture and immobilization, camp maintenance and data analysis. When spending time at the remote field site your tasks may include: GPS tracking, night observations, birds of prey monitoring and data entry. Additionally you will occasionally be caring for animals at the rescue and release centre, giving you hands on experience of wildlife and animal rehabilitation.

When you’re not assisting in essential conservation work, Namibia is a stunning country to explore. For any budding photography or wildlife lover, you’re in for a treat!


You will be staying in a large volunteer house with shared bedrooms in the wilds of Namibia, close to Windhoek. There may be limited running water, and during storms there is the possibility of power outages. Phone signal and internet access is limited, but available in certain areas of the camp.


Three basic meals are provided from the camp stores, comprising meats, vegetables and staples such as rice and pasta. Dinner is typically a hot meal and occasionally a braai (barbeque), and vegetarian options can be provided.

Recommended for… Adventurous conservation inclined travellers interested in contributing to important scientific research. This project would be especially enjoyable for anyone looking for a truly wild and natural experience of Africa and a desert climate.

Be aware that… The placement lasts for three weeks with the option to extend by one week, and departures take place monthly from March to October.

About the author: Jack Plumb is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog Into the Wild for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit

Experience indigenous culture in British Columbia, Canada

Guest blogger Caroline Edwards, of non-profit volunteering organsation Frontier, tells us how you can experience the daily life of indigenous tribes in Canada

British Columbia in Canada is home to stunning nature and exciting cities, a place where you get the chance to speak both English and French. However, it’s also a place that was once home to the people of the Secwepemc Nation, a tribe with ancient traditions and a unique language, hugely affected by the arrival of the colonists in North America. With Frontier you can help amend the past and work towards a better future.

volunteer with indigenous people in Canada, Frontier (1)

Despite having lived on the land for more than 10,000 years, indigenous tribes were gravely affected by western colonialisation and the effort to convert them to a modern way of life. In recent years their living conditions has been put in the spotlight after a UN Human Rights Envoy report in May 2014 stated that Canada need to do much more for their ingenious communities. More work has now gone into making sure that indigenous tribes have a future – but there is still much more to be done.

Frontier runs the Canada Indigenous Indian Reserve Experience. The project offers people the opportunity to be a part of an amazing project by volunteering at a reserve in British Columbia where you can get the chance to learn a unique language and become a part of a culture that has faced many challenges throughout modern history.

Life as a volunteer on the project

Volunteers are expected to work five days per week and will get involved in various tasks in the reserve. Your tasks can be matched to your own personal skills and experience, or you can choose to take part in several areas of the community. It can be anything from helping out in a communal kitchen to assisting in the health care centre – it all depends on your preferences and skills.

But it’s not all work. Being in Canada gives you endless opportunities to do things such as kayaking, hiking and exploring beautiful nature as the reserve is near lakes, forest and even deserts.

volunteer with indigenous people in Canada, Frontier (1)


You can’t be too fussy and a flexible approach is needed. Accommodation varies depending on your placement location, so it can be anything from a shared flat to a trailer. Sometimes it will be homestays and other times the volunteers live together. Internet access will depend on where you live.


Food is not included in the program, but as a volunteer you will have access to a kitchen, so you can prepare your own meals. You can travel to the nearest town to buy groceries, or eat out if you feel like experiencing something new.

Recommended for… Anyone with a desire to improve living conditions for the world’s indigenous tribes and communities. You need to be curious about their traditions and way of life and ready to take on various kinds of tasks.

Be aware that… Applications should be made six months in advance. The volunteer program lasts for four weeks and volunteers are welcomed all year round.

For more information including a full itinerary, latest prices and booking visit the project profile here

About the author: Author Caroline Edwards is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO that runs over 300 conservation, community, and adventure projects worldwide. She can be found blogging on Frontier’s Gap Year Blog or posting on the Frontier Official Facebook page. If you’d like to find out more about all of Frontier’s volunteer opportunities you can view all our projects by going to

Keep updated with project news, photos, videos, and competitions by joining the Frontier community online with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or Flickr.

How responsible travellers get more from the Brazil World Cup

Guest blogger Cristina Nanni, of volunteering NGO Frontier, reveals some great ideas for responsible tourists visiting Brazil for this year’s football World Cup…

sports fans in Brazil

On the 12th June the world will wait with baited breath as the first match of the Brazil World Cup 2014 kicks off as host country Brazil faces underdogs Croatia. Fans will have the chance to watch football in the country where Pelé, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Socrates first kicked a ball, but for many, watching the players fight it out in the stadium will be the end of their cultural experience.

For those that are keen to get to know more about the country behind the football, adding a volunteering project as a chance to give back to Rio’s impoverished communities is a fantastic opportunity to give back. So if you want to turn your sport pilgrimage into a true adventure, make sure to take a look behind the city’s scenes…

An easy way to get a look at the ‘real’ Rio is to immerse yourself within the favela community. By partaking in an introductory or favela tour you’ll get an insight into the vibrant carnival culture which Rio is famous for.

Recommended for… Whoever wants to discover Rio’s soul.

Be aware that…You have to be in Rio de Janeiro on the same day as your tour. Tours run from 10am to 2pm on weekdays and 12pm to 4pm on weekends.

Good credentials… A percentage of the tour fee goes straight back into the favela community, directly helping to support a number of initiatives aimed at getting kids off the streets and people back into work.

Rio, Brazil

If you have a longer stay planned in Rio, you might want to consider joining a community development volunteering project running for two weeks or more. Through a series of educational programs you can help impoverished local communities to acquire expertise and knowledge to expand their academic and career opportunities. By teaching and transferring skills, you will allow locals to be more competitive in the job market, and there is a wide range of activities you can be involved in: music and dance, graffiti art, sport, gardening, handcrafts for women and young people. If you have a basic level of Portuguese you could consider teaching English or IT, or offering tutoring services.

Recommended for… Anyone that wants to make the most of this World Cup experience

Be aware that… To take part to the project you have to commit for a minimum of two weeks and you will stay in a local hostel sharing a dorm room with your fellow volunteers.

Good credentials… This project will help you to gain valuable job experience in teaching while contributing to the sustainable development of a friendly and vibrant community in one of Rio’s largest favelas.

For more details, prices and booking visit

About the author: Cristina Nanni works for Frontier, a non-profit international volunteering NGO that runs over 300 dedicated conservation, community, and adventure projects in 61 countries across the globe. Find out more about Frontier’s volunteer projects, ethical adventure trails and gap year planning.

You may also like… Positive favela tours in Rio de Janeiro

Competition time! Win a holiday to Tanzania

It’s 2014 and our friends at NGO Frontier are celebrating 25 years of conservation, volunteering and adventure holidays (Happy Birthday Frontier!). To celebrate they’re giving you the chance to win a two week volunteering holiday for two people to the beautiful country of Tanzania.

Choose from either a beach conservation, wildlife conservation, or teaching and beaches volunteer holiday on Frontier’s original project site of Mafia Island, Tanzania.

To enter, all you have to do is ‘Like’ the Frontier Official Facebook page, then enter your email address into the sweepstakes. But hurry, you have until 31st January 2014. The winner will be notified by email. Good luck!


Established in 1989 as a non-profit conservation and development non-governmental organisation (NGO), Frontier has been an innovator in creating quality volunteer programmes across the globe. Frontier’s first projects started in Tanzania as a partnership with the WWF to create the world’s first successful multi-user marine park in a developing country, a marine park which volunteers still work in today and one that exemplifies Frontier’s aim of creating long lasting and sustainable results. Since then, Frontier’s has grown to operate over 330 capacity building projects in over 60 countries spanning 5 continents, making Frontier a truly international organisation with a global impact.

kate montgomery tzm 14.1

Dive in! Marine conservation projects in Fiji

Guest blogger Laura Robinson, of NGO Frontier, profiles a project that lets you gain a dive qualification as you volunteer…

In the heart of the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji includes 333 islands which are famous for their excellent selection of white sandy beaches, coral diving and pristine environments. The crystal clear waters that surround each island include an array of marine creatures including over 1,200 species of fish and 12 species of whale.

[gdl_gallery title=”Fiji” width=”120″ height=”110″ ]

Frontier’s Fiji Marine Conservation and Diving project gives volunteers a dive qualification and familiarises them with surveying underwater species. Volunteers in Fiji can also contribute towards the publication of scientific papers, gaining them some great credentials for future employers, for undertaking projects on their time abroad. As well as obtaining a PADI qualification, you also have the chance to carry out a BTEC award as well as a CoPE qualification.

The work

While earning a PADI qualification, volunteers conduct scientific baseline data surveys of reef areas, mapping the beds and mangrove growth in the area. New skills include underwater visual reef censuses which assess the coral cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching. On rare occasions, volunteers get to undertake research which involves the impact of fishing on coral reefs and to observe the impact of marine trade on endangered marine invertebrates.


During the project volunteers stay in a simple beach house on the island of Beqa. The house has been constructed by local craftsmen, using traditional building techniques and materials which aims to give you an authentic experience while you are away. Life at camp is very simple but also very fun, and you will experience what it is like to live almost carbon neutrally. Food in camp consists largely of rice, fruit, pancakes and fish which are purchased within the country to help the economy.

Recommended for… Anyone that enjoys diving and living a simple lifestyle, whilst also caring about local communities and their environments – and you must have a passion for conservation and wildlife!

Be aware that… This is better for longer-term stays; the first few weeks are spent on training with more survey time in subsequent weeks.  The work may be intense and challenging at times and activity varies depending on the time of year.

‘Good’ credentials

  • Once patterns have been identified, work begins alongside local communities to raise awareness over the value and vulnerability of their local marine environment.
  • Frontier also aims to create seasonally protected areas for turtles during nesting.


About the author: Laura Robinson works for Frontier, a non-profit international volunteering NGO that runs over 300 conservation, community, and adventure projects in 57 countries across the globe. She can be found blogging on Frontier’s Gap Year Blog or posting on the Frontier Official Facebook page.

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