Agriculture and Agronomy – 9 Day Adventure

Agriculture Tour in the Australian Tropics

Agriculture systems around the world are facing significant challenges under pressure from climate change, land and water limitations, and the demand for more food. On this educational tour, students explore solutions to these challenges by exploring both traditional methods by Australian farmers—with crops ranging from bananas to coffee to sugar—but also innovative new techniques. On this guided student group adventure, you also explore the sun-splashed Great Barrier Reef from an eco-friendly boat and learn about medicinal and edible plants with Australian Aboriginal people while walking in the rainforest.

Between delicious meals, naturally you will also be sampling the bounty of Queensland’s agricultural products – crisp organic veggies, robust coffees, juicy tropical fruits and boutique wines. Through in-depth talks with farmers, observation of operations, and discovery of new techniques, you leave with a greater ability to make informed decisions on the use of agricultural technologies and natural resources while planning for a more sustainable future.

Highlights:

  • Learn from Aussie farmers about a wide variety of crops and growing styles
  • Make cheese on a dairy farm and learn about bio-dynamic growing principles
  • Crack whips and milk the cows on a family outback cattle station
  • Visit a native plant nursery to learn about their special clonal seed propagation
  • Understand resource management  with an Aboriginal guide
  • Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and learn how farmers hurt and help it
  • Taste delicious coffee at a plantation and learn about the bean growing process
  • Explore highlands and lowlands rainforest, savannah land, and outback country and learn the challenges of growing in each location

Benefits & Bonuses:

  • All accommodation, meals, guides and transport to activities included
  • We plan everything–making it easy for you
  • Price Guarantee: price will not change once you sign up for your trip
  • Expert local guides – not “bus drivers”
  • We cater to student special diets and swimming levels
  • Goodies! Water bottle, field guide, cloth shopping bag and rainforest plot adopted in your name
  • MAKE IT YOUR OWN – This trip is fully customisable. Ask us for details!

 

 

Day 1: Arrive and Orientation

Day 1: Arrive and Orientation

Arrive Cairns: Welcome to the tropics! You are met at the airport by a member of the Small World Journeys team and then you transferred to your accommodation.

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 for self-catering meals and free internet and WiFi. Rooms have ensuites, hairdryers and linen (Hotel upgrade available; see inclusions page)

The rest of the afternoon is free to get settled, relax or enjoy the giant swimming lagoon at the Cairns Esplanade.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Banana Farm, Agronomist Talk, Sugar Cane Mill and Waterfalls

Day 2: Banana Farm, Agronomist Talk, Sugar Cane Mill and Waterfalls

Banana Farm: This morning you visit one of the largest banana farms in the region – Australia’s largest and most significant banana producer still run by a farming family. Here you discuss the machinery used on this farm, the challenges of cyclones and other weather extremes, and techniques used for maximizing efficiency.

Agronomist Talk: Accompanying you on your farm visit is an agronomist and research director of SAS. He has more than 15 years experience living and working on plant protection in the tropics, on a range of tropical fruit crops including banana, papaya, lychee, mango and passionfruit. He conducts research on disease diagnostic methods, pheromone trapping and monitoring systems and novel biological control technologies. In addition he is involved in conducted efficacy and residue trials for registration of new pesticides. You discuss plant protection at length.

Tully Sugar Cane Mill: During this one hour tour you will be shown the inner workings of the Tully Sugar Mill. The Tully Mill is one of the largest in Australia and their principal activity is to produce raw sugar.

National Park & Josephine Falls: Finally you make a stop in Wooroorooran National park. You take an easy walk through the jungle, where Josephine Creek plunges down a gorgeous set of cascades. Below the falls, boulders surround a swimming hole and a natural water slide down a smooth sloping rock face.

Your guide helps you identify rainforest plants while you take an easy stroll along a jungle pathway, emerging at 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. This is one of the most picturesque places in the entire Wet Tropics. You return to Cairns this evening.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3: Farm Visits, Making Butter/Cheese, Waterfalls and Outback Station

Day 3: Farm Visits, Making Butter/Cheese, Waterfalls and Outback Station

Farm Visit: Today with your guide you spend your time on a farm in the Atherton Tablelands, the major agricultural area of the region. You have time to talk with the farmers about their techniques, view their equipment, and ask specific questions about their methods.

Bio-Dynamic Dairy Farm: Next you visit a family-owned farm in the heart of dairy country. You learn what it means for farmers to “go beyond organic” by applying a diligent set of practices to the land. At a forward-thinking dairy farm, you learn how biodynamics—one of the first sustainable agriculture movements—accounts for ecological, social and economic sustainability. The family-owned farming operation has a mix of Aussie Red, Jersey, Friesian and Swiss Brown cows whose milk is distributed in the region and also used for a variety of organic yoghurts and cheeses. With a chance to sample these delicious soft cheeses and creamy yogurts, you taste the magic that makes dairy products so yummy. You also have the chance to learn the art of making either homemade butter or rich ricotta-style cheese. This morning you visit a bio-dynamic farm in the heart of dairy country. On a tour of the facility, you can also speak with the dairy farmers to learn about the effects of deregulation of the dairy industry in 1999.

Millaa Millaa Falls: After lunch you visit Millaa Millaa Falls, the icon of tropical north Queensland and one of the most photographed natural sites in the region. For those who are keen, you can swim out to the peculiar columnar basalt and view the falls the falls from behind – a perfect tropical swimming hole.

Wind Farm: On the edge of the outback, you stop at Windy Hill Wind Farm for a look at the first wind farm that was constructed in Queensland. The Windy Hill Wind Farm produces 12 megawatts of electricity, or enough energy to supply 3,500 homes. You learn about why Australia requires energy retailers to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to achieve renewable energy targets, and how this wind farm is helping with these sustainability efforts.

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 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 from the northern hemisphere. Students sleep in single-gender dorm-style bunk houses, while teachers sleep in single cabins tonight.

Accommodation: Outback Cattle Station (dorm-style bunk beds in a cabin)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4: Farm Visit and Outback Cattle Station

Day 4: Farm Visit and Outback Cattle Station

Outback Cattle Station: Today you get a sample of true outback life on this family-run 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, drought and economic hardships. You can channel your inner Indiana Jones by learning to crack a whip, learn to properly throw a boomerang, or ride on the farm’s hay truck to look for kangaroos and crocodiles in the wild.

Farm Visits: On a nearby farm, you are shown the different crops grown on the property and discuss which crops have not been successfully grown on the farm as well. Depending on the timing of your visit, the farms may be planting or harvesting peanuts, potatoes, maize, navy beans or canola, which is used both for human consumption and for use as biodiesel.

Machinery and Technology: In addition, you learn how geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) technology help farmers know how much seed to buy, where to plant, and how much compost or fertilizer to use.

This is a rare opportunity to speak openly with farmers about the challenges of modern-day farming in Australia.

Accommodation: Outback Cattle Station (dorm-style bunk beds in a cabin)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5: Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk, Native Plant Nursery & Seed Lab and Coffee Plantation

Day 5: Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk, Native Plant Nursery & Seed Lab and Coffee Plantation

Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk & Tree Kangaroo Spotting: Today you discover highlands rainforest on the edge of Malanda Falls Conservation park, an area important to the Ngadjon indigenous people. This highland rainforest boasts a rainbow of bird life and mammals, and is one of the best places in the world to spot mupee – the elusive tree kangaroo. Your local Ngadjon guide takes you into his country, and you listen to the lively stories of his ancestors, discover an explosive volcanic history and learn the regional bush tucker that was yummy to eat.

Native Plant Nursery and Seed Lab: Next you enjoy a visit to Australia’s largest tropical native plant nursery where over 1,000 tropical native plants have been introduced into horticulture. Here you learn how their Australian native plants are grown for forestry, re-vegetation, and ornamental use as well as for the emerging “bush foods” industry in north Queensland. Named “Grower of the Year” by Queensland’s Nursery and Garden Industry, the nursery has also pioneered clonal seed propagation of new varieties.

Coffee Plantation: The rich volcanic soil and higher altitude of the Cairns Highlands, (550 metres above sea level), combined with organic growing principles, make the region’s coffee beans some of the country’s most sought after. You visit a coffee plantation where you learn about the processing and harvesting of coffee in Australia. You taste the sweet coffee fruit from the trees (in season), tour the coffee processing mills, and discuss with the growers the challenges of synchronised flowering, plant rejuvenation and nutrition for the Australian conditions. Friendly baristas prepare you aromatic samples of coffee drinks as a treat.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6: Daintree Rainforest and Organic “Permaculture” Fruit Farm

Day 6: Daintree Rainforest and Organic “Permaculture” Fruit Farm

Sugar Cane Farm: With its origins in the late 19th century, the Queensland sugar industry has played a significant role in the development of many regions in Queensland. Today you visit a family-run farm in Mossman where they farm 185 hectares of sugarcane. Your host is Gerard Puglisi – member of a number of key agriculture advisory boards—who leads you on an exploration of his property. You also witness the harvesting of cane if the season is not yet finished.

Cocoa Plantation: An on-site 2 hectare cocoa plantation was one of the first in Australia, and it’s the origin of chocolate lovers’ dreams.   The plantation is one of a small handful of “Plantation to Plate” cocoa producers (meaning they have total control over every stage of processing). You see how cocoa moves from the trees through the fermenting and drying processes, and you then get to sample some of the end product of chocolate for yourself!

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.

Accommodation: Daintree Rainforest Cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Optional Jungle Zip Line or sea Kayaking, Organic Vineyard/Winery and Reef Presentation

Day 7: Optional Jungle Zip Line or sea Kayaking, Organic Vineyard/Winery and Reef Presentation

OPTIONAL Jungle Zip Line: At Cape Tribulation experience the art of “jungle surfing”: an exhilarating zip line ride among the tree tops. By clipping into a series of steel cables arranged in the trees, you can fly across the rainforest canopy and get a bird’s eye view of the world. The longest span is over 75 metres and the platforms vary in height from 2.5 to 19.5 metres above the ground. At the highest point you fly over 22 metres above the valley, and the flight choice is yours – slow, fast, or even upside down. During this unique adventure led by naturalists and scientist guides, keep an eye out for Boyd’s Forest dragons and the brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly. (extra cost)

Boutique Winery: Next you visit a boutique winery where the fruit is grown and the wine is made, bottled and labelled all on the property. Among the winery’s range are 3 gold medal winners, 2 silver and 4 bronze and you sample five dry wines, two medium wines, five ports and two dessert wines.   The organically-grown wines are single-fruit wines, not blends, which hold the flavour of the fruit in the wine. (Legal drinking age in Australia is 18)

Marine Biologist Reef Presentation: During this presentation taught be 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: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 8: Snorkelling or Optional SCUBA diving at The Great Barrier Reef

Day 8: Snorkelling or Optional SCUBA diving at The Great Barrier Reef

Boat Ride to The Outer Barrier Reef: No trip to Cairns is complete without a visit to the outer Great Barrier Reef—one of the world’s top natural wonders. Today you sail to the Reef aboard a locally owned eco-friendly catamaran, recipient of the Advanced Ecotourism Climate Action Innovator Award.

Snorkeling:
Snorkelers will find most of the abundant life and colours exist right beneath the surface here at the reef and you can walk into the water off a sand cay. Within reach are giant clams, angel, butterfly and parrot fish, turtles, sea stars and corals of a thousand hues.

Snorkelling Paradise Reef: Second stop is the gorgeous Paradise Reef, that truly lives up to its name. For snorkelers, giant clams, angel, butterfly and parrot fish, turtles, sea stars and corals of a thousand hues are all within reach. Among the 1,800 species of fish and 450 species of coral found on the reef, you can expect to see Wally the giant wrasse, fan corals, sea cucumbers and about the entire cast of Finding Nemo.

Optional SCUBA Diving: Snorkellers can also opt to learn about SCUBA diving one-on-one from the dive instructor—an intro dive (also known as “resort diving”) is a fantastic way to see the reef without having a certification. (Extra cost and medical restrictions apply, please see end of document).

Fish and Coral ID: 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!)

Whale Watching: If you join this trip during June or July, you may be lucky enough to interact with Dwarf Minke Whales that migrate here in the winter. The inquisitive nature of the Minke Whale brings them close to boats. Minkes display some extraordinary behaviour such as spy hopping, where they lift their head out of the water and observe the boats above the surface. Often they are seen tail-slapping the water, which may be an acoustic signal to other whales in the vicinity. Minkes are known to breach, but not quite as the Humpback Whale, which are also seen on the Great Barrier Reef in the winter months.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9: Free Time and Depart

Day 9: Free Time and Depart

This morning after breakfast you have some time to do some last-minute shopping. Then eventually all good things must come to an end. You are transferred back to the Cairns International Airport for your flight home.

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Is this agriculture-focused program too long or too short? Contact us for custom tour options that match your budget and objectives!

 School Trip Fees Include:

  • All airport transfers
  • Small World Journeys guide for Days 2-7
  • Specialty guides and educators
  • All activities as described in the itinerary
  • Transportation to activities
  • 5 nights central Cairns hostel (4 or 6 share dorm rooms with private bathroom)
  • 2 nights outback cattle station (single-gender dorm-style bunk houses with shared bathrooms)
  • 1 night Daintree Rainforest cabins (4 or 5 share dorm-style rooms with private bathrooms)
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches
  • All dinners (except one free choice night)
  • 101 Plants of the Wet Tropics field guide for each student
  • Mask, fins, snorkel, and wetsuit on the reef trip
  • National park taxes and levies
  • 5 square-metres adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue
  • A reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag
  • Carbon offsetting through Sustainable Travel International (STI) for a carbon-neutral trip

 

Trip Fees Exclude:

  • Airfare to Cairns
  • One dinner
  • Personal expenses (phone, laundry, etc.)

Options:

  • Optional rainforest canopy zip line ($95)
  • Optional Intro OR certified SCUBA dive ($70 for 1 dive, includes equipment)IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SCUBA DIVING: In order to participate in SCUBA diving, you will be required to fill out a medical form which can be forwarded to you in advance. Some of the medical conditions that may disqualify you from diving are, but not limited to, the following: Diabetes, Asthma, Ear/Nose/Throat Conditions, Migraine Headaches, Previous Head Injuries, Epilepsy/Seizures/Convulsions, Pregnancy and/or Poor Physical Conditioning. We can forward you this medical form before the start of your trip.

Land Cost to 31 March 2018:

  • 15+ participants: $2058 AUD
  • (low numbers) 10-14 participants: $2145 AUD

Accommodation:

All accommodation is included. Your home base is a breezy award-winning hostel in the centre of Cairns’ restaurant and shopping district. Students like the tropical swimming pool, lounging in the hammock and playing billiards at the free pool table. Group leaders love the private ensuite rooms, the central location, and free internet/WiFi.  In the Daintree Rainforest, students and group leaders stay separately in single-gender dorm-style rooms with private bathrooms –this is the perfect spot to enjoy the life and chatter of the jungle. Your group spends two nights at an outback cattle station, where students sleep in single gender cabins with bunk beds, and group leaders stay in cabins. This is the perfect place to view the starry outback skies.

Meals:

All meals are included (except one dinner). You have a combination of catered, ship-prepared and restaurant meals. A typical breakfast is a selection of cereals, toast, juice and fruits; lunches are combinations of sandwiches and salads with fruits and a sweet, and dinners are a sample of buffets, pastas pizza, steak and seafood. You try delicious cheeses and yogurts at the dairy farm, coffee drinks at the coffeee plantation, and a classic Aussie “barbie” at the outback cattle station. Ask us about vegetarian, kosher and halal options.

Small World Journeys reserves the right to change the order of activities for logistical reasons.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

 

HOW TO BOOK A TRIP WITH US (It’s easy!):

  1. Read our Terms and Conditions.
  2. Pay a $200 AUD deposit for the group (not per person – just a flat $200 to secure your booking) via our payment page or by direct deposit/cheque.
  3. Receive our Confirmation Pack which includes forms parents must sign.
  4. Have each student sign up via our Booking Form and pay for their trip by 60 days prior to the trip.
  5. Enjoy your trip!

Question 1: Do I need a visa to visit Australia?

Answer: All visitors to Australia need a visa, with the exception of visitors from New Zealand. In some countries a visa is easily obtained by the travel agent who issues your ticket, and should be free of charge. For more information on getting a visa, please see: Australian Visas. All visitors will also need a passport, valid for at least six months after the planned return date. 

Question 2: How do we arrange airfare?

Answer: We do not arrange airfare in house, however we do work closely with a couple of travel agents who would be happy to help:In Australia, we recommend Kim Salter, our Melbourne-based travel agent. Contact Kim at kims@travelmanagers.com.au or call + 61 0433 324 455 or toll free within Australia 1 300 640 821. In the US, we recommend: Sandra Marron at Millennium Travel California. You can contact Sandra at milltrav@aol.com or call  1-415-898- 7974.

Question 3: What happens when we arrive at the airport?

Answer: You will be met by a Small World Journeys staff member who will give you an orientation and then accompany you to your accommodation.

Question 4: When is the best time to visit Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef?

Answer: 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.Autumn (March - May) brings unpredictable weather - it can be warm and rainy or hot and sunny. Springtime (September - November) is the most predicable, and days tend to be warm to hot with little rainfall.The visbility at the Great Barrier Reef is at its best September - November, but can be enjoyed year-round. Come June - September for seasonal whale watching. 

Question 5: What if I wish to SCUBA dive (intro or certified)?

Answer: Medical standards differ from country to country, certain medication / medical conditions may preclude you from diving in Australia (EVEN IF YOU ARE ALREADY CERTIFIED)

Certified Diving

If you are a certified diver, you will still be asked to fill out and sign an Advice to Divers Form. To be "certified" means you have taken a course (typically about 4 days long) and you now hold an Open Water Diver certification card from PADI, SSI, NAUI or other internationally recognized SCUBA diving organisation.If you answer Yes to any of the questions below, further medical clearance may be required. (This must be organised at least the day before your trip start date). In some circumstances you may be able to dive, with a certified professional (dive guide), at an additional cost.
Sample Medical Questionnaire For Certified Divers
  • Are you currently suffering from any illness or injury? Yes or No
  • Are you currently taking any prescription medication (excluding oral contraceptives) Yes or No
  • Since your last dive medical have you suffered from any conditions that may affect your fitness to dive? Yes or No
 

Introductory Diving

Intro Diving is also called "resort diving". You can do this kind of diving with a dive instructor even if you are not certified (see above). Doing an Intro Dive does NOT certify you to dive on your own in other places.If you are doing an introductory dive on a live aboard or day boat, you will be asked to fill out and sign a medical form. This form can be emailed to you prior to your trip if you are interested in Intro Diving. If you answer YES to any of the medical questions (for example, do you have asthma or take medication for migraines?) further medical clearance may be required. This must be arranged PRIOR to day of departure.

Question 6: Do we need to worry about jellyfish?

Answer: The box jellyfish are present in the northern coastal waters from November to April/May. The jellyfish are found close to shore—they breed in estuaries and very very rarely can they make it to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Most of the swimming beaches have “stinger nets” up during this season so people can swim. However, the tiny Irukandji jellyfish has been known on occasion to slip through the nets, and this is most often where people have been stung. It is a very painful sting, but there have been only 2 confirmed deaths in Australia due to the Irukandji jellyfish.The good news is that the jellyfish are rarely found at the outer Great Barrier Reef, where you will be snorkeling and/or diving. Most people swim on the reef without using any protection. According to the CRC Reef Research Centre, “In offshore waters around coral reefs, box jellyfish that cause Irukandji syndrome are usually well dispersed and the incidence of stings is very small.” Nonetheless, reef operators have “stinger suits” as well as wetsuits as an extra precaution.

Question 7: What happens if a student cancels?

Answer: If an individual student cancels from a trip within 30 days of the trip departure, no refunds are given. For this reason, we strongly encourage all parents to purchase trip cancellation insurance in order to protect against unforeseen circumstances which are the main cause for student cancellations.For more details, please see our Terms & Conditions.

Question 8: What is your safety record?

Answer: Our safety record is outstanding. Please ask us for teacher/supervisor references specifically regarding our safety measures and practices.  We do risk assessments for every excursion we run. We carry a first aid kit in our vehicles, as well as on the guide's person when in remote areas.  All guides are certified in first aid and CPR.  We give every student  a card with emergency numbers and safety information on it to carry, and we review safety measures as part of our orientation.Safety is absolutely our number one concern at all times. We do everything in our power to make sure each trip is as safe as it can possibly be.

Question 9: Do you do risk assessments?

Answer: Yes. We evaluate and re-evaluate the safety of each of our destinations and activities, and we always reserve the right to modify or cancel an itinerary if the guide feels that conditions are unsafe. We will gladly provide a risk management assessment specific to your trip on request. Small World Journeys' staff also adhere to a comprehensive Risk Management Strategy.

Question 10: Why should we purchase travel insurance?

Answer: We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance for your protection. Should a participant need to cancel their trip for any reason, our cancellation policy applies. However, travel insurance protects any loss they may experience should s/he or an immediate family member become ill or sustain an injury that prevents them from going on the trip.

Australia’s Diverse Agriculture Industry

The Cairns region is home to a wide variety of agriculture and as such lets your students learn about range of industries without having to travel large distances between growing regions. Along with sugarcane, tropical fruit is a major industry with the majority of Australia’s bananas being grown just south of Cairns, in the Tablelands the fertile mountain tops make excellent dairy country and further inland you move towards the iconic large cattle stations that Australia is known for. On this educational tour your students will gain a unique insight into the variety of agriculture in Australia, as well as vital contact with farmers to learn about life living on the land.

  • See the inner workings of a banana plantation and discuss disease control with an agronomist
  • Learn about organic farming practises
  • Talk to cattle station owners about the difficulties of life on the land
  • Learn about the importance of sugar cane to the regional economy
  • Hear about exotic tropical fruits that can only be grown in this region of Australia
  • See how seeds are propagated for commercial use
  • Learn about UNESCO World Heritage listing and the important environmental sites in the tropics
  • Experience snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef OR go one step further and discover SCUBA diving

 

This educational program is appropriate for both high school students and international college students wanting a fun outdoor education experience in Far North Queensland.

How your trip supports the community

SUPPORTING LOCAL INDIGENOUS CULTURE: We acknowledge  Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islander People as the first inhabitants of Australia and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where we work and our groups travel. Your trip includes activities and interaction with local Aboriginal people, the traditional owners of the land on which you are traveling. By taking this trip, you are supporting grassroots indigenous tourism ventures and encouraging Aboriginal pride in culture. We are proud to say that in the financial year of 2015-16, we gave over $28,000 in business to Aboriginal-owned ventures.

SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES: On this educational tour, we use locally owned accommodation, restaurants, and suppliers whenever possible to keep income in the community. This includes supporting farmers by purchasing locally-grown fruits and vegetables for you on your trip. We also give you a list of where to buy locally-made crafts and souvenirs so you can continue this support as well.

SUPPORTING LOCAL HOMELESS & NEEDY PEOPLE: We make both financial and in-kind donations to Rosie’s Friends on The Street, a Cairns-based charity. Rosie’s seeks to provide homeless people and people living rough a hot meal, conversation and a non-judgemental human connection.  Small World Journeys’ staff also volunteer on Rosie’s outreach nights, and many of our students have made comfort packs for Rosie’s patrons! For more information on Rosie’s and other organisations to which we donate, see Philanthropy and Partnerships or ask us how you can incorporate community service with Rosie’s into your educational excursion.

How your trip is “Eco-friendly”

ADOPTING A RAINFOREST PLOT IN YOUR NAME: We pay to have a 5-square metre plot of rainforest is adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue. On your excursion, your group will be presented with a certificate detailing the significance of this gift to the environment.

REDUCING WASTE: We give you your own water bottle and cloth shopping bag to eliminate the need for disposable bottles and plastic bags. By reducing our need for plastic bags and bottles, we avoid having these things go into landfills or into the tummies of our native animals. For more information on how we donate to The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and other environmental groups, see Philanthropy and Partnerships.

CARBON OFFSETTING:  Your activities and travel put carbon dioxide into the environment. We calculate the total carbon footprint of your trip. Then we pay Sustainable Travel International (STI) to offset your emissions by investing in environmental and community-based projects. For more information about our carbon offsetting, see 10 Reasons Why We’re Eco.

How your trip is safety-oriented

REFERENCES:  We have had hundreds of students travel with us, and our safety record is excellent.  Ask us for teacher references specifically regarding safety.

VEHICLES: All of our vehicles are equipped with seatbelts for every seat. While this is not a Queensland law, we feel your safety is a priority.  Our guides do safety checks at the start of each day of the trip. In addition, vehicles go through a Department of Transport safety inspection every six months.

RISK ASSESSMENT: We have a complete Crisis Management Plan, we assess risks of the tour and are happy to complete a risk assessment for you upon request. In addition, students are given a safety briefing during orientation, along with a card with emergency numbers, accommodation addresses and phone numbers.

GUIDES AND SAFETY: Small World Journeys’ guides hold current Senior First Aid and CPR certificates, along with government-issued Driver’s Authority and Working With Children cards (also known as a Blue Card). For more information on our student tour guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.