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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH WILD DOLPHINS! Contribute to the well-being of dolphins in an idyllic setting at a non-profit Centre committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism. The Centre 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 Centre. This is the first Centre in Australia dedicated entirely to dolphin research and is a rewarding conservation volunteering abroad experience! every year.


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.


Price: £2,175 for 6 weeks
£175 for each additional week
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From a minimum of 6 weeks up to 12 weeks, subject to visa requirements
Start Dates: Available from beginning October to the end June. You'll need to arrive on the Thursday prior to the project start date. See Start Dates listed in Work Content tab.
Requirements: No qualifications needed, just lots of enthusiasm and initiative. You should have reasonable English and enjoy talking to people. Minimum age 18.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Transfer from Perth to Bunbury and back again
Free weekend in Perth (transfers plus 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, Daily 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.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten overseas volunteering holiday into Australia and you'll learn about the Aborigine culture that makes this country so fascinating!.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping animals to return them to their natural environment 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!



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Your project is based at a non-profit Centre committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism based in the South West Coast of Australia. The Centre 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 Centre. The Centre was opened in 1994, and is the first Centre in Australia dedicated entirely to dolphin research.

Being a volunteer at the Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre 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.

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 Centre. 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 Centre.

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 Centre. The Centre relies on the assistance of volunteers to advise visitors on the operations and ethos of the Centre, 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.

Project start dates are listed below, however you will need to arrive on the Thursday prior to the start date in order to have your induction and transfer down to the project site in time to begin work on the Monday:

Monday 4 April 2016
Monday 11 April 2016
Monday 18 April 2016
Monday 25 April 2016
Monday 9 May 2016
Monday 3rd October 2016
Monday 17th October 2016
Monday 7th November 2016
Monday 21st November 2016
Monday 5th December 2016
Monday 19th December 2016

Monday 2nd January 2017
Monday 16th January 2017
Monday 30th January 2017
Monday 13th February 2017
Monday 27th February 2017
Monday 13th March 2017
Monday 27th March 2017
Monday 10th April 2017
Monday 24th April 2017
Monday 8th May 2017
Monday 2nd October 2017
Monday 16th October 2017
Monday 30th October 2017
Monday 13th November 2017
Monday 27th November 2017
Monday 11th December 2017


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 Centre 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 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$70-90.


Got any questions? Please email us:

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.


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 programme (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!

TRAVELLERS' SUPPORT AND BACKUP: Read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme.

I absolutely loved my project! Annette was wonderful!! She really made me feel like I had a support system from the second I met her at the airport. Alicia Garcia



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Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Swim with Dolphins in Australia

3 – 6 hour Swim with Wild Dolphins Cruise on a luxury, custom built boat
Price: £120

SWIM WITH WILD DOLPHINS AND INTERACT WITH THEM IN THEIR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT! It’s the ultimate wildlife encounter! You don’t have to be an expert swimmer to join in and no previous snorkelling experience is necessary. Just bring a sense of adventure and be ready for an unforgettable, exhilarating encounter! The dolphin swim tour departs from Rockingham, roughly 45 Km south of Perth. You'll be collected from Perth Coach Station and taken to Rockingham.
What's Included:

  • 3 – 6 hour Swim with Wild Dolphins Cruise on a luxury, custom built boat (onboard toilets and hot showers)
  • Coach transfers from Perth
  • Full length wetsuit, mask and snorkel and snorkelling lessons
  • The Centre has a better than 99% success rate and if you are amongst the unlucky 1% who doesn’t get to swim with the dolphins on your cruise, you can rebook free of charge for another cruise.
  • Expert guides riding underwater aqua scooters to ensure you get up close and personal with the dolphins
  • Light lunch and refreshments
  • Self-serve tea, coffee, hot chocolate and fresh water
  • Complimentary photos of the cruise uploaded to Flickr for you to share!

Your adventure begins with cruising Rockingham’s sheltered bays and islands in search of any of the 180 local dolphins that your crew have come to know as friends. Before long the first dolphin sighting of the day is marked by the excited shout of Found them! followed by the slowing down of our engines to let the dolphins know we are keen to play!
An excited buzz takes over the boat as the crew ensures you’re fully prepared to enter the water. “Zip your wetsuits up, masks and snorkels on and make your way to the swim deck — it’s time to get wet!” Sleek, silvery grey dorsal fins start breaking the surface of the water within metres of the back of the boat and the skipper gives the command everyone’s been waiting for — Go!
Suddenly, you are surrounded by flashing grey torpedoes and the water is filled with whistles, splashes and laughter — both human and dolphin. They don’t do tricks and we don’t feed them, we simply spend some time enjoying each other’s company … it’s a wild encounter!

Book Now

Learn to swim in Australia

Price: £45 per lesson of 2.5 hours.

Think Australia - think surfing! Unspoilt beaches and glorious weather, Australia is the one of the best places to learn to surf. Try out some surfing with professional instructors and all the equipment is provided. On this 2.5 hour taster course, you'll learn to surf with a reputable tour company and surfing is their life! They hope to share the experience of riding the waves with you.
What's Included:

  • 2.5 hour surfing lesson
  • Course fees
  • Use of surfing gear
  • Transport from your accommodation to the lessons and back is NOT included

You will have 2.5 hours of surfing lessons with a qualified instructor. If you would like to book any further lessons, this can be done directly with the surf school on arrival for approximately £39 per extra lesson. All surf gear is included.

All surfing experiences are conducted by Level 1 Accredited Coaches through the National Coaching Accreditation scheme (NCAS) plus the company is a Tourism Australia accredited business so this means that you will enjoy a quality surfing experience.

Available from 1st September to early June. Subject to minimum numbers and weather conditions.

Book Now

Swim with Wild Dolphins
Learning to Surf

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.




Try to see some of the country while you're there. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful.

PROJECT LOCATION - SOUTH WEST COAST: This programme 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 centre 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.

(Courtesy of Western Australia Tourism -

  • Fremantle - Spend a few days in Fremantle is an absolute must. Just a 30 minute drive from Perth's city centre. 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 has evolved into 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 - where towering tall trees meet the ocean. 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.
  • 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. Shark Bay's wilderness and natural wonders make for a unique holiday.
  • The Pinnacles - The extraordinary ancient rock formations are located about a three-hour drive north of Perth near the coastal town of Cervantes.
  • 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. This place is so relaxed even the kangaroos sun bake on the beach!
  • Bunbury - just two hours drive south of Perth, it is located on a spectacular peninsular surrounded by blue waters of the Indian Ocean, Koombana Bay and the Leschenault Inlet.


Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.


Volunteering with Dolphins in Western Australia

If you had told me this time last year that I was going to Australia for three months, and 6 weeks of this I would be working with dolphins, I would've laughed and said no way!

My mum found this volunteering through the Travellers Worldwide website online. I was very much a home bird and even deferred my university place because I didn't feel ready to leave home yet. I wouldn't say I was pushed to go away for three months, but I was definitely not allowed to pass up the opportunity. I had a good start and travelled the east coast and north island of New Zealand with my best friend in order to ease me into to being away from home. However, I realised that it was easier than I thought and I found myself not missing home at all.

For the last six weeks of my trip was when I planned to go to Bunbury (two hours south from Perth) to volunteer with dolphins. I was doing this part alone as my friend had to return to the UK, and although I had definitely gained some independence, it was still quite daunting going it alone. I arrived in Perth and spent the night there, having had a somewhat strained dinner with a very shy Austrian girl, I was ready to meet new people in Bunbury. There were three of us travelling down to Bunbury together which was nice and by the bus journey we had had a chance to get to know each other a little better. My first night in the Dolphin Retreat hostel was fun, however I made sure that as soon as I had dropped off my bag into my room, I went into the common area so that I could meet some of the other guests-some of whom were doing the dolphin project also.

My first day at the DDC was very exciting, you get a welcome pack which is essentially your bible however most of it is self explanatory and unless you want to brush up on your dolphin knowledge you probably won't look at it again! You're shown around the centre and may even have a chance to get into the water if there is a dolphin visit. After this you're free to go back to the hostel at 12. Usual shifts are 7:30am-12 noon, 12-4pm and occasionally 7:30am-4pm. You only have to do 5 shifts a week, so if you wanted to you could do two full days and one half, or like me, just do sporadic days. I would now recommend picking certain days- at the beginning its fine doing shifts sporadically in the week but as you begin to make new friends at the hostel, you'll want to do other things so by having specific day you'll know exactly when you're free. You can change it though throughout the period you're there by filling it in a diary for the person who does the rota.

Throughout my time at the DDC I made many friends and acquaintances who made the shifts go faster and more enjoyable. I have to say the best bit about the centre is when the dolphins come into the interaction zone. Not only is it incredible for yourself to have the chance to see these amazing creatures up close, but its also amazing to watch the reactions on visitors' faces, especially if its been a quiet day, and they suddenly appear out of nowhere! Although I'm pretty sure I won't remember all the facts I picked up while I was there, you will also gain a much larger knowledge of marine animals, such as sea stars, octopus, turtles and stingray as well as dolphins.

Although my experience at the DDC was unforgettable, having the chance to stay in a hostel and meet people from all over the world was also a great experience. I can now say that I literally have friends from all over the world and that, if I get the chance, I could stay with if visiting their country. It allows you to grow up and become independent as you don't have mum or dad to cook, clean or wash clothes for you. You get the sense of adventure without going somewhere or doing something that crazy.

If I were to give future volunteers advice, I'd say make the most of the time you have. You may think its a long time but it goes by so fast. Try to be as outgoing as possible, no-one is going to talk to you if your face is staring at your phone the whole time, so if someone offers you to join them in going to the beach, into town or just to have dinner, say yes - you may meet your new best friend ... Also, sorry to burst peoples ideas of backpacking, but it's really not that party orientated. In Bunbury there are two main bars and one nightclub, all of which aren't that good compared to city life, as well as being expensive! However, if everyone is around and up for it-going out can be fun - its just not what happens every night :) But, most of the time people tend to just hang out with each other at the hostel, listening to music, playing a few drinking games and if its a good night, maybe go to the beach after - its by far the cheaper way to go ($5 wine is great) as well as more enjoyable as you'd all hang out together in the club anyway, so why not just do it in the hostel for free!

Overall, I loved my volunteering placement. I've gained so much independence through it as well as realised that I can go to uni and fend for myself! Its also allowed me to meet so many different people from different backgrounds and cultures which will only help me in the future.

Volunteering in Western Australia

I love that I meet so many different people from so many countries all over the world. It's really interesting to get to know them and find out that even though we are from different cultures we often have the same plans and thoughts about life.

Seeing wild Dolphins so close almost everyday is something completely special and it makes me really happy every time. Also, I just love how nice and caring both staff and the other Volunteers at the Dolphin Centre are. It's a lot of fun and you learn a lot from them about marine animals.

Volunteering in Western Australia

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!

Volunteering with Dolphins in Western Australia

Working with dolphins was a great experience, once in a life time opportunity and I’m so glad I chose to do it!

I have learned so much and created so many memories and friends I will keep forever. You meet really great people who help you to feel right at home. It really helped to boost my confidence and gave me great experience for the future.

want to become a Marine Biologist and this project helped confirm to myself that this is definitely what I want to do!