Frequently Asked Questions
We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about our trips. Below you'll find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive. If you don't find the information you are looking for here, please email us or call us at +61 7 4053 2878 and we will be happy to speak with you.
When is the best time to visit Australia? What is the weather like?
What is an “eco-tour”?
What about sharks? Or stinging jellyfish? Can I still go diving?
What if I don’t want the carbon offsets or the sponsored rainforest tree that are included in the trip
How fit do I need to be and how long will we be active each day?
Bookings and Cancellations
About Small World Journeys
Does “ecotourism” mean rustic accommodation?
No. On our Small Group trips, we have hand-picked 4-star boutique accommodation that will please even the fussiest traveler. What makes hotels “eco” is their use of such things as recycled grey water, solar panels, aerated taps, recycled building materials, and their involvement with reforestation projects, on-site interpretation, and contribution to local conservation efforts.
On our Small Group Travel, we use eco-lodges and hotels with amenities such as a pool and outdoor spa, cardio gym, laundry facilities, WiFi, piped in pure spring water, yoga classes, and rooms with air conditioning, en suite bathrooms, satellite TV and DVD players. Some are free standing rainforest villas, while others have won ecotourism awards .
Accommodation on custom trips can include these accommodations as well.
I am a vegetarian or have special dietary requirements. Can you accommodate me?
We are happy to cater to vegetarians. We can accommodate most dietary requests, so please let us know how we can best assist you.
On our Booking Form, you will be asked to list any special dietary requirements, limitations or preferences you may have (vegan, nut allergies, etc.) We then pass that information along to our guides and restaurants so that you do not have to worry about it during the trip.
Please see our Terms and Conditions to understand what your responsibilities are as a guest.
Our guides are professionals in their field. They have been selected for their maturity, professionalism, and their ability to deliver rich, eye-opening experiences, and they will enthusiastically show you things you would never find on your own. Quite simply, they make our trips.
Small World Journeys guides are well educated, extremely friendly, and fully committed to our vision. They have a strong background in the natural sciences, and are experienced in teaching about flora, fauna, and natural history. In addition, they are used to facilitating groups of people of diverse backgrounds and personalities, and will make sure your trip runs safely and smoothly. In addition to being highly experienced leaders, our guides are also delightful human beings. We know you will agree.
Cairns is a tropical place, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year-round. In our summer (December-February), the weather is at its warmest and wettest. You can expect hot days with occasional tropical storms, producing lush green hillsides and plenty of waterfalls. Average temperatures are 23-31 degrees Celsius/73-87 Fahrenheit.
In our winter (June-August), the climate is at its most mild, with warm days, cool nights, and little rainfall. Average temperatures are 18-26 degrees Celsius/64-78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sydney has a temperate climate. Summer is warm temperatures at 18-25 degrees celsius/64- 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is spread throughout the year. Winters are mild, with average temperatures at 8-16 degrees Celsius/46-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alice Springs and The Red Centre is a desert environment. This means there is a great difference between daytime and night time temperatures. Summer is hot and dry, with average temperatures at 21-36 degrees Celsius/70-98 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is not frequent, with the most rainfall occurring during December - February. Winters are mild, with average temperatures at 5-20 degrees Celsius/40-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melbourne has a reputation for a changeable climate. Be prepared with layers and an umbrella for changeing conditions. Summers can be warm to hot with temperatures at 14-25 degrees celsius/57- 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters can be brisk to cold, with average temperatures at 7-14 degrees Celsius/45-57 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall can occur anytime in the year.
An eco tour, in our opinion, is a trip in which everyone benefits: the community, the environment, you and us. Simply by joining one of our trips, you will be supporting carbon offsetting, the Australian Rainforest Foundation’s tree-planting initiative, aboriginal cultural ventures and locally-owned businesses who are working towards a more sustainable future in tourism. As our guest, you are supporting us as well. Thank you! For more information, see 10 Reasons Why We’re Eco.
The ocean is home to sharks, but the ones you may encounter at the Great Barrier Reef are small and pose little threat to swimmers or divers. In fact, divers and snorkelers often consider themselves lucky to spot one of these shy, magnificent creatures. Australia’s famed Great White sharks prefer cold water, and therefore are not found in Cairns or The Great Barreier Reef.
Box jellyfish breed in estuaries and are not found at The Great Barrier Reef. Therefore, they do not pose a big threat to snorkelers or divers. Stingers are only a consideration on the beaches between November and April, and most of the local beaches have stinger nets so that people may still swim.
As with every active journey, the more fit you are, the more you will enjoy your trip.
Our Small Group trips are appropriate for the average active and healthy adult. Our days often start at 7 am, and finish well after dark.
All visitors to Australia need a visa, with the exception of visitors from New Zealand. An Australian entry visa, commonly known as an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) will let you spend up to three months in Australia. In most countries it is easily obtained by the travel agent who issues your ticket, and should be free of charge. You can also get an ETA on line by visiting www.eta.immi.gov.au. There is no need for you to visit an Australian diplomatic office to submit an application, and you do not need a stamp or label in your passport. Upon check in at the airport, the airline agent will be able to confirm your ETA electronically.
All visitors will also need a passport, valid for at least six months after the planned return date.
A detailed packing list of recommended clothing and gear is provided on our website for each trip. A packing list will also be included in your Confirmation Packet.
We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance for your protection. Should you need to cancel your trip for any reason, our cancellation policy applies. However, travel insurance protects any loss you may experience should you or an immediate family member become ill or sustain an injury that prevents you from going on the trip. For insurance options, you can go to World Nomads for a quote and other important information.
In the United States, we recommend Sandra Marron at Millennium Travel--a locally owned travel agency in San Francisco. She has more than a decade of experience booking trips specifically to Australia. You may contact her at 1888 700 2182 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Millennium Travel website.
We know you will be pleased with her service. Please enquire with us for travel agents in other countries.
Bookings and Cancellations
Once you have signed up for a trip, Small World Journeys will email you forms to sign and additional information to help you prepare:
Confirmation Packet: Will include a detailed itinerary, packing list, payment invoice, Resposible Travel Policy, information about local businesses and giving back to the community, reading list, and other travel information.
Pre-Departure Packet: Includes last-minute information or updates on the trip, rendezvous instructions, and emergency numbers--sent approximately 2 weeks prior to your scheduled departure date.
Accidents happen, emergencies occur. For that reason, we highly recommend that you purchase travel Insurance. Should you or an immediate family member get sick or injured, thus preventing you from going on your trip, in most cases travel insurance will protect any loss you may experience. Please refer to our cancellation policy on our Terms & Conditions
One option for travel insurance is World Nomads, available to both Australian and international guests.
No. Our prices are land costs only. Airfare costs are additional.
About Small World Journeys
We endeavour to be as “paper free” as possible in our operations, and we don’t feel we could claim to be an ecotourism company if we used a lot of trees to promote our business. Therefore, we made a conscious decision not to produce a multi-page brochure to advertise our trips. Although people often like to “hold something in their hands”, we believe that our guests will understand and support our decision not to do so. In addition, our correspondence is sent electronically, unless guests specifically request otherwise.
I hear a lot about “green” travel. How do I know you’re legitimate?
There are many travel companies out there who claim to be eco-friendly, green, or sustainable. Some companies are doing great things, while others use the “eco” label simply for marketing purposes or have made superficial changes in their operations. Some questions you should ask your potential company include:
- Do you participate in carbon offsetting?
- Do you support any projects to benefit the local community?
- What percentage of your employees are locals?
- What is the maximum group size and how do you minimise your impact?
- How much trip time is spent driving or flying?
- Do you have a Responsible Tourism Policy?
- What is your company’s contribution to conservation efforts?
For information on Small World Journeys' contributions to eco tourism, please see 10 Reasons Why We’re Eco.
How do you ensure the quality of your trips?
As a Cairns-based tour operator, we research and develop our own trips. We have personally met our outfitters, suppliers, and hoteliers. We hire expert local guides who are well-connected in the region. Finally, we actively ask for and pay attention to our guests’ feedback, using it to continually improve our operations. In the Red Centre, we work in partnership with a like-minded operator that operates high-quality eco-tours as well.