Greenhill School Aussie Adventure

Welcome to Australia!

We welcome you to ‘the land downunder’ – Australia. Come on an adventure to see the best Australia has to offer. From the beautiful city of Sydney to the glistening, golden beaches of the Great Barrier Reef and out to a working cattle station to hang out with the animals. Snorkel with the cast of Nemo.

Check out the trip below.

 

Aussie Adventure - Day 1

Aussie Adventure - Day 1

Arrival, Orientation and Exploration of Sydney

Arrival: Welcome to Sydney!  On arrival you are greeted by your local guide, a “Sydneysider” with an intimate knowledge of Sydney’s back streets, icons, and best-loved sites. With your guide you travel from the airport to your accommodation and receive an orientation on what to expect in Australia.

Accommodation: Your new hostel is located right in ‘The Rocks’—the historic district where Sydney began.  All rooms have ensuites and air-conditioning, while the accommodation offers spacious communal areas, internet, coffee bar and large rooftop terrace with spectacular views directly to the Sydney Opera House!

Guided Walking Tour: With your guide you learn more about the cultural, historic and natural sites of Sydney. Covering the unique Rocks area – you follow in the steps of colonists and convicts, learning of The Rocks’ scandalous and eerie past.  Tracing cobblestone paths and narrow laneways, you learn where scandals emerged and history happened.

Sydney Opera House:  You finish your walking tour at the most recognisable building in the world – the Sydney Opera House! Pause for some group photos and to admire the architecture of this famous icon.  Botanic Gardens takes you to the perfect lookout.

Accommodation: Sydney YHA Rocks

Included: Dinner

Aussie Adventure - Day 2

Aussie Adventure - Day 2

Fly to Cairns, Giant Trees, Crater Lakes & Outback Cattle Station

Fly to Cairns: You are transferred to the Sydney airport this morning for your flight to the tropics. You arrive in Cairns and are warmly greeted by your guide at the airport.

Trees & Crater Lake: You then head straight up to the Cairns Highlands.  You pay tribute to a local high-profile resident – a massive curtain fig tree, and learn how these giants straight out of Lord of the Rings eerily “strangle” their hosts.  You also walk Crater Lakes National Park, where an ancient volcanic crater—or maar—is now protected in a national park. You learn about the rainbow fish that mysteriously appeared in the lake with no streams running to it, and you look for the friendly resident turtles.  A track around the lake passes through several different rainforest communities, offering you an opportunity to glimpse some of the area’s endemic species.

Outback Cattle Station and Wildlife: As you cross the Great Dividing Range, you enter outback country, where the dirt turns red and gum trees prevail. Here you are welcome guests at a traditional working cattle station and homestead, opened to your group.  On arrival, you hop in the hay truck to trace a route through the station–much of which has been set aside for as a sanctuary for wildlife—and look for the kangaroos and crocodiles that roam the property.

Aussie BBQ and Stargazing: After a classic Aussie “barbie”, you have a fire under starry outback skies. From this remote outback station, views of the southern hemisphere stars are phenomenal. You’ll learn how to find southern constellations—including the Southern Cross—most of which cannot be seen at all from the northern hemisphere. Students sleep in single-gender dorm-style bunk houses, while teachers sleep in single cabins tonight.

Accommodation: Outback Cattle Station

Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Aussie Adventure - Day 3

Aussie Adventure - Day 3

Outback Cattle Station Activities, Waterfalls & Reef Presentation

Farm Activities: This morning you get a sample of true outback life on a cattle station. You visit the cattle yards to learn about the cattle musters and branding, and what this robust rural family does to survive flooding, and drought. You can channel your inner Indiana Jones by learning to crack a whip, and ride on the farm’s hay truck to look for kangaroos and crocodiles in the wild. On the homestead, old trinkets, furniture and memorabilia that you can touch also take you back to the age of the early Australian pioneers.

Boomerang Throwing: Yes, they actually come back to you! Your guide teaches you the significance of the boomerang and how they were cleverly used for hunting. You learn proper throwing technique and what makes them return.

Millaa Millaa Falls: You depart the outback and head back over to the green side of the range.  Millaa Millaa (meaning “plenty of water” in the local Aboriginal language) is the icon of tropical north Queensland and one of the most photographed natural sites in the region.  The waterfall flows over pure basalt rock thousands of years old in a dramatic burst.  There is a fantastic swimming hole at the base of the falls, and you can climb on the peculiar columnar basalt for a unique perspective of the falls from behind.

Josephine Falls: Finally you enter Wooroonooran National Park and visit one of the most picturesque places in the entire Wet Tropics! You take an easy walk through the jungle, listening for the call of the king parrot and the bowerbird and emerge at Josephine Falls, where Josephine Creek plunges down a gorgeous set of cascades. Below the falls, boulders surround a fun swimming hole and a natural water slide down a smooth sloping rock face.

Accommodation: Your accommodation is at a breezy award-winning hostel in the centre of Cairns’ restaurant and shopping district, and only a few blocks from the waterfront.  Well shaded by tropical trees and plants, the hostel features an outdoor pool, pool table, large kitchen, guest laundry and free internet and Wi-Fi.

Marine Scientist Reef Presentation: During this presentation taught by a marine biologist, you learn more about biodiversity and the significance of the Great Barrier Reef.   From colourful corals that take whimsical shapes like broccoli, brains and baskets to a host of fish such as the chocolate-dipped damsel, the Picasso triggerfish and the giant Maori wrasse, you learn how to identify the most common creatures at the reef.  You find out about threatened species and coral predators–such as the Crown of Thorns—and the consequences of climate change and human activity on the reef.  More importantly, you learn about the real hazards at the reef (like the innocent-looking cone shell) versus the imagined ones (like scary sharks) fueled by Hollywood myths.  You leave with a greater understanding of the reef environment and an appreciation of the natural wonder you are about to experience.

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse

Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Aussie Adventure - Day 4

Aussie Adventure - Day 4

The Great Barrier Reef: Snorkelling and Optional Diving – Liveaboard Boat

 Boat Trip to Outer Reef: No trip to Cairns is complete without a visit to the outer Great Barrier Reef–a UNESCO World Heritage Site and easily one of the world’s top natural wonders.  This morning you transfer from Fitzroy Island to the outer reef. Your captain then heads toward Moore Reef and you will have fantastic access to this underwater universe. Upon arrival at the reef, snorkellers will delight in viewing the incredible array of life and colors that exist just below the surface.

Live Aboard Boat: In the afternoon you transfer to your live aboard boat – your home for the next two days! Your boat is a comfortable 25 metre catamaran specifically designed for Queensland cruising. While on board you enjoy freshly cooked meals with accommodation in quad or twin-share cabins with own bathroom and air conditioning.

Snorkelling: During your two days exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef you see how the coral thrives in this clear water, creating spectacular gardens and drawing a mosaic of marine life.  Among the 1,800 species of fish and 450 species of coral, you can expect to see turtles, giant clams, fan corals, sea cucumbers, stag horn coral gardens, and just about the whole cast of Finding Nemo.

Accommodation:  Live Aboard Boat

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Aussie Adventure - Day 5

Aussie Adventure - Day 5

The Great Barrier Reef: Snorkelling and Optional Diving – Liveaboard Boat

 Snorkelling: Today you can rise early for a fantastic sunrise over the ocean, with a cup of hot chocolate in your hands.  You spend another day exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, snorkelling on reefs that offer you exclusivity and a variety of underwater features. While snorkelling you can expect to see colourful corals that take whimsical shapes like broccoli, brains and baskets, to a host of fish such as the chocolate-dipped damsel, the Picasso triggerfish and the giant Maori wrasse.

Optional SCUBA Diving: Snorkellers can also opt to learn about SCUBA diving one-on-one from the dive instructor—an intro diving (also known as “resort diving”) is a fantastic way to see the reef without having a certification. Certified SCUBA divers can log 10 dives during these two days at the reef, diving along bommies and coral walls with mysterious swim-throughs that dance with light. Divers can also get to experience the magic and glow of the reef at night. This is a perfect way to meet other divers as well as experiencing the reef on a very deep level. (Extra cost and medical restrictions apply, please see end of document).

Fish and Coral Book:  A field guide for the creatures at The Great Barrier Reef is included in your trip so that you better understand the creatures you’re looking at (and the book makes a great souvenir!)

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse

Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Aussie Adventure - Day 6

Aussie Adventure - Day 6

Wildlife Park, Aboriginal-Guided Hunting & Tracking and Daintree Rainforest

Wildlife Park: This morning you visit a refuge for Australian animals such as crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas, and countless exotic birds. Covering 8 acres, this wildlife immersion exhibit is made up of three open and interactive environments (the Rainforest, the Wetlands and the Grasslands) for guests and animals to mingle in a natural setting.  The park uses funds raised from donations and park entries to operate their Wildlife Rescue Program which includes a dedicated wildlife care centre.

Optional Photo – You and a Koala! If you have always wanted to get a quintessential photo with a koala- here’s your chance (extra cost).

Hunting and Food Gathering:  Next you walk with two indigenous Kuku Yalanji guides along the coast their Aboriginal ancestors called home for thousands of years. Your guides teach you to throw a spear and you try your hand at catching food the traditional way — hunting for fish, mud crabs, mussels and other bush tucker among the mangroves.  For these modern Aboriginal men, their core ethos is related to understanding and sharing the belief that hunting and gathering come with the responsibility of respect for resources and management which they continue today and pass on to others.

Cooking What You’ve Caught: Later you are invited to your indigenous guide’s home where you have a taste of what you’ve caught.

Daintree Rainforest & Beach Eco-Lodge: Later you enter the magical Daintree Rainforest – the oldest continuously growing rainforest on earth.  Your Daintree lodge boasts an attractive swimming pool, guest laundry, BBQ area, and a superb location in the rainforest but directly on the beach.  As a recipient of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2015, the lodge also uses grey water for irrigation, locally-sourced food for its restaurant, and recycles 80% of its waste. Students sleep in dorm-style cabins with ensuite, and the sounds of the jungle surround you.   A highlight each night here is sunset volleyball and a beach bonfire!

Accommodation: Cape Trib Beach House

Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Aussie Adventure - Day 7

Aussie Adventure - Day 7

Daintree Rainforest Observatory and Canopy Crane, Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk

JCU Canopy Crane: The James Cook University research station is home to their canopy crane. After a safety orientation and a discussion about the significance of this rainforest by an on-site expert, you climb into a suspended gondola with the crane operator.  The crane then ascends over the rainforest canopy, and can swing 360 degrees, surveying 1 hectare of the incredible biodiversity that has earned the Daintree UNESCO World Heritage status. This research station is only 1 of 3 of its kind existing in the tropics. (Students must be at least 15 years old)

Service Project: Whilst not in the crane, the group participates in an important service project at the research station.  Hundreds of trees have been planted for re-growth on site, and students are taught how to do condition assessments of the trees as biologists and botanists do in the field. Students learn about pioneer species, herbivory, and how to use a clinometer and DBH tapes to measure tree growth. The results of the condition assessments are then contributed to the ongoing research on the success of “pioneer species” used by JCU staff.

Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk:  Today you discover the Daintree Rainforest at Mossman Gorge, an area important to the Kuku Yalanji. Beginning with a traditional smoking ceremony, you wander rainforest paths, discovering with your guide how these Aboriginal people found their way through dense rainforest, made shelter and learned which native plants were tasty to eat and those that served as weapons and medicine.   As your guide shares his stories, you learn how the seasons dictated life, what falls under men’s and women’s “business”, how to make fire in the rainforest and how to make fish very easy to catch.   You then sample billy tea and wattle seed damper (bread) made on the fire topped with jam from rainforest berries.

Back in Cairns, you have some time tonight to shop for souvenirs at the Night Markets and choose your own dinner.

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse

Meals Included:  Breakfast and Lunch

Aussie Adventure - Day 8

Aussie Adventure - Day 8

Explore Cairns and Fly to New Zealand

Ahhh… all things must come to an end, so after a swim, a sleep in or a cruise of the city of Cairns, it’s time to jump on a plane and head to New Zealand…. our mates that are down under the land downunder.

Included:  Breakfast