Marine Conservation Volunteering

The Reef Conservation Program

Experiencing the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket-list item for many - combine this with marine conservation activities and you have a volunteering program like no other! This amazing Dive program allows budding marine conservation volunteers to learn or improve their skill through a well-renowned dive operator while also participating in a credible reef monitoring program. With a high commitment to environmental protection and sustainability, this unique dive program falls under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s monitoring program ‘Eye on the Reef’ and is designed for volunteers interested in scuba diving, marine conservation and spending time on the reef. From learning to dive or more advanced dive courses (detailed under Additional Info.) to spending time with reef experts and monitoring the reef for the Marine Park’s conservation program, volunteers will find this to be an amazing learning, scuba diving and conservation experience. Volunteers with a passion for marine conservation and the willingness to learn to dive, this program promises to deliver a life changing experience.

Goals of this Project:

  • Protect Australia’s amazing Great Barrier Reef
  • Provide information to researchers and conservation authorities to help preserve marine life
  • Raise awareness of the conservation issues of the Reef and teach people how to love, respect and preserve the marine environment
  • Enable inter-cultural exchange between all parties and teach international visitors more about marine conservation and Australia

How You Can Help

Volunteers on this exciting program help by supplying information to help preserve this amazing environment. The adventure begins in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, where participants will become a certified scuba diver by completing the popular 5 Day PADI Open Water Course (Advanced Courses are available for participants already certified). Then volunteers embark upon the reef as certified divers and volunteer marine conservationists where they will join the ‘Eye on the Reef’ program and complete underwater Rapid Monitoring surveys monitoring coral health. The information gathered provides managers and researchers with up-to-date information on reef health status and trends, the distribution of protected and iconic species, and early warnings of environmental impacts. Volunteers will also have the unique opportunity to spend time with a variety of reef experts on the Great Barrier Reef, to learn and experience first-hand the endangered natural wonderland of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Volunteers can expect to undertake the following:

  • Complete a certified scuba diving course
  • Become a volunteer marine conservationist on the Eye on the Reef program
  • Complete underwater Rapid Monitoring surveys
  • Spend time with reef experts learning more about the environment



Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to give their time and energy to help protect the natural environment of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. This 'hands-on' project is best suited to those who are either pursuing a career in conservation/environmental studies, or who simply wish to explore an interest in this field. It is a dive course requirement that participants can swim 200 metres or snorkel 300 metres and tread water/float for 10 minutes. Beyond this the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by your local project leader. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!  

Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:

  • Emergency contact
  • Vaccination Certificate

Find out how to obtain a police check here

Project Location

Australia, Cairns

A tropical holiday feel prevails on the streets of Cairns and visitors can't help but relax and enjoy the vibe. Strolling the streets is a social event with people enjoying the temperate climate and relaxing in the many bars, restaurants and cafes. Esplanade Lagoon offers the opportunity to swim and relax without leaving town.  

Surrounded by stunning natural attractions - such as the famous Great Barrier Reef where this program is located, Daintree National Park and the stunning Northern beaches - Cairns is a magnet for eco and adventure travelers and is well equipped to cater to every visitors needs.

Start Dates & Duration

Minimum 2 weeks

This project is available on set start dates throughout the year. 

Open Water Certificate: SUNDAY arrival as per the start dates listed on the calendar. 13 nights, 12 days

Advanced Open Water Certificate: TUESDAY arrival, 2 days after the listed start dates.  11 nights, 10 days.

Rescue Diver Certificate: SATURDAY arrival, 1 day prior to the listed start dates.  14 nights, 15 days.

Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.

Arrival & Orientation

Airport Pickup Included

Volunteers arrive into Cairns International Airport and take a shuttle to the accommodation. 

Open Water Certificate: 13 nights, 12 days

  • Arrival Day: SUNDAY
  • Departure Day: SATURDAY
  • Arrival Airport: Cairns International Airport, Queensland, Australia (Code: CNS)

Advanced Open Water Certificate: 11 nights, 10 days

  • Arrival Day: TUESDAY
  • Departure Day: SATURDAY
  • Arrival Airport: Cairns International Airport, Queensland, Australia (Code: CNS)

Rescue Diver Certificate: 14 nights, 15 days

  • Arrival Day: SATURDAY
  • Departure Day: SATURDAY
  • Arrival Airport: Cairns International Airport, Queensland, Australia (Code: CNS)

Accommodation & Meals

Public Hostel / Meals Included

Accommodation on this program is at a popular hostel when in Cairns and onboard a boat whilst diving the reef.

In Cairns volunteers stay in a well-equipped and centrally located hostel. Rooms are typically split by gender and cater for to 6 persons sharing. Modern bathroom facilities are attached to each room. The hostel has all the amenities you would expect (and a few you normally find in luxury accommodations) including a communal kitchen, onsite laundry, a swimming pool and free Wi-Fi.

Meals are detailed in the 'Typical Day' outline to the right of this page.


From USD 2519
Program fee:
Different currency?
USD 2519

That’s just USD 180 per day* for:

  • Airport pick-up on arrival
  • Orientation & full safety briefing
  • Accommodation (as specified above)
  • Food & Meals (as specified above)
  • 24/7 local support network
  • Project placement & onsite supervision

*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.

Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).

Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.

Additional Info

Already Open Water Certified?

Advanced PADI dive courses are available to Open Water Certified volunteers as follows:

  • Advanced Open Water Certificate: $2,519
    11 nights, 10 days. Arrival Tuesday (2 days after the scheduled start dates).
  • Rescue Diver Certificate: US$2,329
    14 nights, 15 days.  Arrival Saturday (1 day prior to the scheduled start dates)
  • Nitrox: please enquire for details.