Internships and volunteering


Our national education centre Reef HQ Aquarium offers a 6 month curatorial and research internship. This six-month program is designed for individuals intending a technical or professional career in marine biology, aquaculture, or a closely related discipline. Skills acquired during these internships provide a distinct industry experience advantage to recent university graduates seeking such employment. Each internship includes one supervised research project that will be the core duty of the candidate. In addition, interns assist Reef HQ Aquarium Curatorial staff with a number of duties such as:

  • Water quality analysis and daily monitoring.
  • Marine animal husbandry including feeding.
  • Aquarium system maintenance and construction.
  • Routine aquarium cleaning and diving.
  • Occasional field trips for collection or research may also be available.
  • SCUBA diving in Reef HQ Aquarium to assist with routine maintenance.

There are two intakes for internships annually, each being a duration of 6 months:

  • February / March (applications are due no later than 25 November)
  • August / September (applications are due no later than 25 May)

Further details can be obtained by emailing


Reef HQ Aquarium accepts a limited number of volunteers each year.

An open night is held at the beginning of February each year to explain the program to those interested. Applications are then lodged and potential volunteers interviewed to match their interests and skills with positions available.

Reef HQ Aquarium volunteers are asked to make a commitment to undertake training, which includes a 10 week part-time training course held on Wednesday evenings in March, April and May (a $60 charge applies).

Volunteers officially graduate the volunteer training course in June. Once trained volunteers are asked to give a minimum of four hours per fortnight of their time for a period of 12 months and commit to at least 50 hours of volunteering service.

There are no other volunteering positions (other than with Reef HQ Aquarium) available within Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

However there are many organisations that you could get involved with who support the Great Barrier Reef and offer volunteering opportunities.

Work experience

We support formal work experience for secondary school students to assist with vocational choice and Tertiary students to assist with vocational course components.

This opportunity is only available at our main office in Townsville or at one of our regional offices located in Cairns, Rockhampton and Mackay. Work experience placements can be affected by current workloads and/or office space.

All work experience with us is undertaken on a voluntary basis, we will not offer payment for services or a salary and will not assist with any arrangements or associated costs for travel or accommodation.

The following time limits apply to the duration of work experience arrangements:

Secondary school work experience - 2-week maximum duration (required by legislation)

Tertiary work experience - 2 month maximum

Generally, preference will be given to Australian (particularly local) students in the interests of supporting the community. However, international students may be accommodated where a special circumstance is agreed with People Management.