Teacher, Student and Guest Testimonials

We love to hear feedback from our students!  Here are some things they said they loved about our trips:

 

Also, after each trip, we ask teachers, students and adult guests 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 trips:

“The trip through Small World Journeys has value. The knowledgeable guides, accommodation, transport, etc. makes it so much easier to be organised by someone in Cairns and not me, 3000 kms away!  Great food, more than enough.  The kids loved going out on the beach at Cape Trib in the moonlight.  Rick and Maggie – outstanding knowledge in their fields.  Sophie was also great and easy to get along with. [Lodging] was fantastic, great location and suitable for our students. Well organised – takes the stress off me.”

 –Fleur Farah, teacher, Cecil Hills High School, Sydney, NSW (Dec ’12 and Dec ’14 )

“I would just like to say thank you so much for a wonderful trip you organised for us.   Kylie was an excellent guide when we got to Sydney. Her walking tour helped me so much seeing were things were and getting our bearings. It was good to hear the history of places and what’s going on at the moment. The best thing was the Sydney Harbour boat cruise. Keep Andrew on your books he was fantastic!!!! The kids loved him and his cheeky manner and so did us adults.  I couldn’t have pulled this trip off without you I am truly greatful you are amazing!   I would recommend you to anyone organising a tour. We all loved it and would do it all again in a heart beat.”

 –Tanya de Vries, teacher, Hilliard Christian School, West Moonah, TAS (Oct ’14 )

Every day I found out some new information to absorb. I feel like it was an overall amazing experience with a good balance between inland activities, like the mangrove walk and tree planting, and snorkelling. I learnt sooo much about the Great Barrier Reef and everything in it. It was an amazing experience to see the reef for myself instead of through pictures.   I also learnt a lot about conservation which will certainly affect my home life.  [The guides were] very kind and exciting.  They looked extremely happy to be there and to be doing that job.  They also had a lot of information to give out which was vry interesting.  Thank you!”

–Brooke Holland, student, Burgmann Anglican School, Gungahlin, ACT (Oct ’14 )

“THANK YOU!  What a great trip! Once again, you have delivered and given us all an amazing experience.  It was brilliantly done. Yet again Maggie [SWJ marine biologist] was a star and we cannot thank her enough either.Vicki and I are already thinking about 2016, so see you again soon.”

–Darren Smith, teacher, Kings High School, New Zealand (July ’14 and in July ’11 with Gore High School )

“[It was] great to have different seminars and specialist guides.  Guides: knowledgeable, friendly and helpful! Food: great options and some variations were made. Jess is easy to deal with via email and Laurie was happy and friendly.  Dave [marine biologist] was great to have at the reef. Well organised, loved the folders with maps.  Overall, a great service from a great company!  Thanks and hope to see you in 2015!”

–Eddie Brown, Geography Teacher at New Plymouth Girls School, New Plymouth, New Zealand  (July’14)

“SWJ strove to do everything we wanted.  It was obvious that all staff at SWJ are passionate about ecotourism and educating young people.  They provided positive role models so students were able to see their high held environmental principles and vales being practised enthusiastically. Processes and procedures were clearly explained.  Bec on Fitzroy Island did not let students out of her sight 24/7 – even walking to the top of the lookout twice!  The food and snacks provided by SWJ could not be faulted – so much good quality food to satisfy hungry 17-year-olds!  Laurie, Jess and her team went out of their way to ensure all syllabus points were addressed. I would like to personally thank Jess from the bottom of my heart for her calm and reassuring support and encouragement.  Above and beyond!!!!”

–Cheryl Russell, Geography Teacher at Port Hacking High School, Port Hacking NSW  (June ’14)

“The guides were great, they were fun, interactive, and knowledgeable. The trip was a great experience for all of those lucky to go. It was well planned and well run and couldn’t have been any better.

–Zoe Dunnachie, student, John Monash Science School, Melbourne, NSW (June ’14)

“Thank you so much for an amazing opportunity to see a whole different world three hours away from home. Being able to learn about what real people are researching right now and see and share their passion made the trip so much more worthwhile. I made friends with people I’d never even talked with at school, and everyone has so many memories that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”

–David, student, John Monash Science School, Melbourne, NSW (June ’14)

Here’s a video that the students at the John Monash Science School in Melbourne put together after their trip to Cairns with Small World Journeys!

“Our favourite thing was the opportunity for experiential learning – the students reported this was the highlight of the school career and was mine too!

–Ryan Gill, Geography Teacher at Masada College, Sydney NSW  (April ’14)

“The trip was perfect, I totally enjoyed every activity. It was my best week here ‘down under.’ Great people, perfect activities, a real Australian experience I would do again if I could. I will miss the time I spent here.”

–Katja Graf, student, Switzerland (April’14)

“This was very well organized and I felt very prepared, not to mention safe.  Favorite things were sea kayaking and snorkeling off Fitzroy Island – loved it!  Excellent value for money, very satisfied with accommodation, very eco-friendly.  A wonderful experience.”

–Colleen Collins, Louisville, USA (March ’14)

“Your level of care is outstanding! The itinerary was very detailed and exact. Even in the one critical situation due to the bus pick up you found a solution in no time. Your team is friendly, knowledgeable and professional. Just great! The attention we received by Roz, Laurie and Jess was just outstanding! Everthing was as advertized or better. We will definitely recommend you guys to friends and on Trip Advisor. THANK YOU SO MUCH.”

–Anja and Thorsten Sperber, Hohenbrunn, Germany (Jan ’14)

“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!”

–Jen Ramamurthy, teacher, Ela Murray International School, Papua New Guinea (Nov ’11 and Nov ’13)

“Eco-friendly company, food was fantastic – not one questionable meal! As a teacher who supervises may camps and excursions, our specific requirements were met – nothing you can do better. Excellent [incorporation of educational objectives], we will now review our program and course content in line with the Australian curriculum to value add. As aspects of student safety and activities convered. Very satisfied with the value for money – excellent value and more! Students and teachers and parents expected backpacker accommodation and this provided a more ‘upmarket’ experience. “

–Paulina Motlop, teacher, Dripstone Middle School, Darwin NT (Nov ’13)

“The trip was absolutely amazing and we saw incredible landscape and feature. The Great Barrier Reef was amazing, but I also really enjoyed the cattle station, the waterfall, the Skyrail and the zip line. It was all you can expect from a trip in Australia. I would like to thank Small World Journeys for sharing their knowledge of Australia and to have given us the opportunity to have such a great time!”

–Marion Evrard, student, Belgium (Sept ’13)

“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.”

–Lisa Kendall, teacher, St. Mary’s School, Wollongong, Australia (April ’13)

“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!”

–Meg Cummins, student, St. Mary’s School, Wollongong, Australia (April ’13)

“This trip to Cairns was one of the best experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to have an amazing time, be in contact with nature and a great group to share everything with. The activities were unique and I had a lot of fun! Also the guides were friendly and made these days something I will remember forever.”

–Diana Reyes Fernandez, student, Columbia (April ’13)

“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.”

–Milton Gower, teacher, MacArthur Anglican school, Cobbitty, Australia (Nov ’12)

“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.”

–Callam Hanley, student, MacArthur Anglican school, Cobbitty, Australia (Nov ’12)

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.

–Elizabeth Baughman, Harvey Mudd College, Los Angeles USA (Nov ’12)

“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.”

–Richard Cree, teacher,  St. Josephs College, Australia (Sep ’11 and Sep ’12)

“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!”

–James Jenkins, teacher, Canterbury College, Australia (Sep ’12 and Sep ’13)

“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”

–Laura Perkins, leader, Girl Scouts USA (July ’12)


“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.”

–Heather Dierolf, leader, Girl Scouts USA (July ’12)

“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.”

– Neil White, teacher, St. Paul’s Middle School, Brisbane, QLD – (June ’12 and June ’13)

“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!”

–Ely Klar, teacher, Columbus State University, USA – (May ’12)

“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.”

–Darren Smith, teacher, Gore High School, New Zealand (July ’11 and returned with Kings School July ’14)

“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!”

-Courtney F. and Tiffani K., Student Trip Coordinators, San Diego, USA (March ’10 and March ’11)

“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.”

-Laura Roberts, teacher, Central Coast Steiner School, Australia (Nov ’10)

“I wanted to thank you so much for all the support you gave to me both before and during our recent trip. If others choose to follow the direction I took with future trips I will not hesitate to put them in contact with you. The kids, affectionately, have dubbed you ‘Terri Irwin’ and they send their thanks also for making this trip such an experience for them. They, and I, would also like you to pass on our thanks and gratitude to [Small World Journeys guide] Rick. I think all the students would agree that their trip would not have been the same without him.”

–Anna Robinson, teacher, Goulburn, Australia (Sept ’10, Sept ’11 and Dec ’12 and Dec ’13)

“From start to finish, this was a very professional service. The two guides were wonderful naturalists and we enjoyed our days with them – Liz was impressed by their knowledge. You found just the right types of activities and level of quality we desired. [The reef boat] was a lovely boat – just right for us. We appreciated your flexibility and willingness to adjust our schedule on the fly. Excellent service and knowledge about eco-travel.”

–David Schanzer and Liz Losos, Professors – Duke University, USA (July ’10)

“Thank you for planning such an amazing trip! You worked with us to arrange the activities we wanted, and you are very helpful, friendly and greatly organized. We appreciate how hard you worked on our itinerary. We felt really prepared and appreciated things like the packing list and suggested reading materials. We had a awesome time.”

-Julia Swearingen, teacher, Winding Creek School, USA (June ’10)

“We loved [our Small World Journeys Australian guide] Mark!” He was helpful, knowledgeable, flexible and fun. He did a phenomenal job. We learned a great deal about the culture, people and environment. We will remember this trip for a lifetime. It was simply amazing!.”

-Kimberly Bearden, teacher and co-founder, The Ron Clark Academy (Apr ’10)

“This trip covered our core subject areas–social/cultural, biological/environmental, historical—and more. Small World Journeys overdelivered and were very well organized. I feel we didn’t just receive great service but made great friends.”

-Mehari Kassa, teacher, The Ron Clark Academy (Apr ’10)

“Thanks for making our students holiday program a success! I appreciated how you created a custom trip just for our students – the tree planting, visit to the outback homestead, beach party and BBQ–it was clear how much care you took into planning the activities and service project. The kids especially loved the reef trip, swimming in the waterfalls and learning to throw boomerangs. Thanks for making my job easier, and for being patient with our questions and worries. We will definitely plan our trip with Small World Journeys next year!”

- Saniya Muller, International Student Program Manager, Trinity Bay High School (Sept ’09 and Sept ’10)

Watch the THINK Global School on their Small World Journeys educational tour in Cairns!