After each trip, we ask teachers and students to fill out a written evaluation form asking them to comment on their trip. Here are some of our favourite reviews of Small World Journeys from our educational excursions:
"We consider this tour to be great value for money. Our objectives for this tour were met and then some. We wanted to expose students to elements of modern Australian culture that they may not be in contact with in their everyday lives such as multiculturalism, aboriginal culture and environmental issues. SWJ activities achieved these objectives. Pre-tour: whenever I had a question, Gabi was swift in getting me the answers I needed or letting me know when I could expect them. The range and quality of activities and accommodation were excellent as was the food (which is a huge draw for school groups). As staff members we really appreciated the efforts of the 3 guides (Andrew, Maggie and Pete) to assist us in organising the students as it meant that we could step back and didn’t have to be clock watching and organising the day all the time. Gareth was fantastic at introducing our students to the world of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). His knowledge was evident and his passion, humour and enthusiasm were contagious. The humour hands on element really sold the content to our students, he really made the learning fun and easy. Snorkelling the GBR was a powerful experience for our students, especially after their learning the night before. Seeing the images come to life before their eyes was a wonderful experience for them and for us as their teachers. We also liked that there were a variety of activities for students to involved themselves in and that the reef was easily accessible from the beach. Students could dip in and out (literally) as they wished. We also liked that all of our students could be involved in experiencing the reef regardless of their swimming ability as the boat offered life jackets and you provided our own lifeguard which gave staff greater peace of mind. The environmental debate: while this activity was initially met with groans it’s short and sharp nature won students over by the end. It was good for students to get a sense of the history of the Daintree without the activity dominating the day’s plans. Aboriginal hunting and tracking: both staff and students returned from this activity raving about how wonderful it was. Our boys in particular enjoyed releasing their macho side while our girls surprised themselves by getting physical. Our students felt an instant connection with [the aboriginal guide] and they could have happily continued wandering about the tidal flats with him all day. He provided an easy-going yet skilled and knowledgeable advocate for his people and culture. Loved the variety of snack options for students - choice is a valuable asset to teenagers. Gluten free options were excellent. We were very satisfied with SWJ and would recommend them to any high school seeking to provide their students with an ‘out of the box’ tour experience."
--Cath Apanah, teacher, Montrose Bay High School, Hobart, TAS (July ’13)
“All of our objectives were met, largely due to Maggie’s talks. [Our highlight] was definitely the snorkeling – it was spectacular every time! Incredibly informative. Minimal waste, coral safety discussed, use of local businesses, focus on sustainability. The trip had a bit of everything, in a spectacular setting! Without hesitation [we’d use SWJ again] – a fabulous experience! Many thanks!
--Claudia Tessadri, teacher, Canterbury Boys College, Sydney, Australia (April ’13)
“Small World Journeys guides were always professional and experts in their fields. Maggie was also a great “fit” with our girls. She was flexible and always checking with us to meet our needs. Our favourite things were indigenous hunting and snorkelling. Good value for money – many things were included in the package and students were able to experience things they wouldn’t normally. We hope to do this trip every 2 years and would definitely use Small World Journeys again. I will also be recommending the company to colleagues and other schools. SWJ’s attention to detail made the whole trip run very smoothly and absolutely fit our criteria for an “eco-friendly” company.”
“The Great Barrier Reef experience was absolutely amazing, I loved everything about it. I had a constant smile on my face. I would have liked a longer stay on the GBR. [The food] was perfect; as a vegetarian all my needs were covered well. I learned so, so much. I have a whole notebook of stuff. Maggie taught me so much. She is such a lovely lady whose passion for the reef is evident in her knowledge. She was so good. Thanks so much for a fabulous time!”
“All aspects of the trip were satisfying - seeing the students enjoying the experience and learning in the process! Maggie [guide] was the best - her knowledge and ability to discuss many and varied aspects of the excursion with the students was amazing - don't lose her!. She was also ready to change itineraries if we felt it was good suggestion. Her ability to answer kids questions or find answers for the next day was appreciated. Friendly, very capable and a good / safe bus driver also. I was pleasantly surprised having experienced backpacker hotels in the past. It was clean, relatively quiet, well located for our needs. Staff very helpful and allowed us to keep 4 rooms until we were ready to depart on the afternoon which was much appreciated. I have no reason to suggest need for change. I was comfortable with the staff input at all levels and appreciated all they did to make our trip the success it was. I would (and already have) recommended Small World Journeys to other school groups thinking of travelling to Cairns.”
“This was a very worthwhile trip. Not only were the experiences fantastic and amazing like the solar eclipse, snorkeling and kayaking, the entire trip was interspersed with new learning opportunities that all the students were happy to take up. Maggie [Small World Journeys guide] was amazing and knew something about every question we threw at her. In her area of expertise she more than satisfied anybody asking a question of her. No improvements needed! The guide and the people we met from SWJ were adamant about the protection of nature, and so were the people they associated with. The talks, especially Brian Schmidt, explained physics concepts better for me, and allowed me to see how viewing science from a different perspective can help.”
Each piece of the trip held new adventures and it’s impossible to identify one favourite piece. The food selections were excellent, and there certainly was a lot of food. Accommodations were overall very pleasant. The details were very well put together and I referenced the trip booklet quite frequently. You have my positive endorsement as an “eco-friendly” company. Everyone associated with the trip was very professional. The customer service I felt was also top-notch. Each activity was on time – the only reason we got off our schedule was due to the groups inquiring nature – we were very inquisitive about everything – wanting to absorb all we could. Kylie and Martin [Small World Journeys guides] were fantastic. Kylie was extremely knowledgeable about Sydney and a very pleasant and friendly person. It was clear she wanted to provide us a top-notch experience in Sydney and she did. I give her an A++. Martin, of course, is extremely knowledgeable on Australia and all it contains. Each trip on the bus and on foot was a learning experience as Martin was able to provide so much information about so many aspects. Another A++. All of it was a wonderful magical experience. Small World Journeys did a fantastic job in planning a very educational and fulfilling experience. Your team has my greatest respect and Thank You.
“The students enjoyed the reef education and learnt a great deal about the reef environment, the organisms that live there and the threats to the reef’s existence. The ship was comfortable and meals great. It all went smoothly and I like the idea of doing something positive to offset our carbon footprint. Most definitely good value for money. You do a great job.”
“Seeing student get an appreciation for natural ecosystems [was our favourite thing] and the range of species that we came across. Small World Journeys was great, easy to work with and guides were very good, informative and helpful. Thanks for a great trip!”
“The girls loved staying with the aboriginal family and crafting their didgeridoos (and learning about them). The variety of experiences and cultural information was terrific. We learned so much! Small World Journeys guide Matt was terrific – very friendly and knowledgeable. He clearly wanted to make sure we all had a great experience, and was good with the girls – answering questions, pointing out interesting things, and providing anything we needed. Healthy food options were provided, and the various locales were all ecologically interesting. Matt & Kylie were both great at checking on the girls’ needs. Very satisfied - this was an amazing trip and great experience”
“I would recommend Small World especially because of the customer service. Stayed in eco-friendly locations and we were able to experience various parts of your ecosystem. The itinerary was clear, there was a variety of experiences --- Kylie was very knowledgeable and Matt was fantastic. Matt was friendly, helpful, and courteous to the needs of individuals and group at the same time. I appreciated his enthusiasm for his work and knowledge of the area. I would recommend him to work with other Girl Scout groups.”
“All guides and staff members were constantly reinforcing the element of conservation/ecological impact….Eddie and Mark [naturalist guides] were AMAZING - superb knowledge and passion. Linc [aboriginal guide] related to our students and demonstrated passion in his delivery. Snorkelling was the highlight – students extremely enthusiastic about the activity. Very pleased! All staff well organised, extremely friendly and punctual.”
“Our educational goals were met with the exceptional help of our guide Alan. He did a good job at explaining the flora and fauna of all areas visited. He related well with the students, was very knowledgeable and made the experience great. The course was named Ecology of Tropical Australia and the topics covered and places visited were appropriate to teach our students about the diversity of the Wet Tropics. Great trip and experience, eco-friendly all around!”
“Thank you for the learning journey you provided for our students. They had a wide range of positive learning experiences and at no time felt like a tourist on a package tour. They encountered a range of challenges and developed the confidence to face fears and broaden their understanding of the world. You did a great job considering our tight budget. My favourite thing was the rapport between Small World Journeys staff, students, and teachers – a collaborative approach. Guides were informative, friendly, and work well with students – always positive and enthusiastic. Will use you again, and know all are looking forward to it!”
"You set high expectation of support and attention to detail and exceeded them. Our educational objectives were completely met on this trip. In terms of biology, the context was provided for all of the ecology theory they had learned. The Barrier Reef is an amazing classroom! Maggie [our marine biologist guide] was inspirational. She was fantastic in all areas. She connected well to the kids and engaged and enthused them. Martin was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour. You exceeded all my expectations and gave myself and the students the rich learning and life experiences we had hoped for."
"Alan [Small World Journeys guide] is the man! He’s a terrific teacher. He shared tremendous amounts of knowledge. He was flexible and understood when students needed a swimming break. The order of the itinerary had a great flow and we never felt rushed. We appreciate your flexibility with itinerary adjustments --excellent professionalism and customer service before and during the trip. Very thorough and prompt with answering email. We love the field guides you gave the group!”
"Cultural, Community Service and Pure Fun – all of these goals were met! I cannot thank you enough for supporting me in creating a trip that catered to our group's needs. Your organisation was faultless and allowed me a generally stress-free time so that I was able to better enjoy the company of my students. Our guide Mark was PURE AWESOMENESS. I was most impressed with the regular communication and the overall execution of the trip. I have received such wonderful feedback from parents saying this was a 'life-changing experience'. Because I was able to focus on my students and not the day to day organisation – the teacher/student relationship has strengthened in ways I didn't think was possible. Thank you for investing the time and effort in helping to make this happen."
Watch one school's video on their Small World Journeys educational tour in Cairns!