Aussie Adventure – 12 Day Adventure

Adventure in Three of Australia’s Top Sites

In Australia, jungles promise encounters with unique wildlife, rivers beg to be rafted, and the Great Barrier Reef reveals a dazzling convergence of corals and creatures. Adventurers love the myriad activities available, seasoned travelers appreciate the access to authentic Aboriginal culture, and Australia’s mild climate means outdoor fun year round. This group tour is the ultimate in fun and adventure!

Highlights:

  • Ride the Rapids of the Thundering Tully River
  • Snorkel the Outer Barrier Reef
  • Climb the Sydney Bridge Pylon
  • Explore a labyrinthine cave system in the outback
  • Learn to Ride the Waves on Bondi Beach’s Fabled Shoreline
  • Swim Beneath Rainforest Waterfalls
  • Try a SCUBA dive
  • Throw Boomerangs in the Outback
  • Ride a zip line through the jungle canopy
  • Pose for Photos with a Koala in Your Arms and in front of the Sydney Opera House!

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: Arrival, Orientation, Walking Tour and Bridge Pylon Climb

Day 1: Arrival, Orientation, Walking Tour and Bridge Pylon Climb

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.

Central Accommodation: Your hostel is located right in ‘The Rocks’—the historic district where Sydney began, and location of the famous weekend market. Built above archaeological remnants of colonial Sydney, this hostel combines state-of-the-art facilities with a unique heritage experience of Sydney. All rooms have ensuites and a/c, and there are spacious communal areas, internet, on-site grocery store, coffee bar and large rooftop terrace with spectacular views directly to the Opera House.

Walking Tour: With your guide you learn more about the cultural, historic and natural sites of Sydney as you walk the city streets, cobblestone alleys and seaside paths of this attractive city. Your walking tour follows in the steps of colonists and convicts, learning of The Rocks’ scandalous and eerie past.

Sydney Opera House & Royal Botanic Gardens: Later you walk to with your guide to get up close to one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, and an icon of Australia – The Sydney Opera House. Your visit to Australia will not be complete without a photo in front of this majestic building, and a walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens takes you to the perfect lookout.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout: Sydney Harbour Bridge is the city’s second most famous icon, and this afternoon you climb the 200 stairs to the Pylon summit. First you are taken through 3 levels of exhibits where you learn the history of the construction of the bridge and the men who designed and built it, finishing at a perch 87 metres above sea level with panoramic views across the Sydney Harbour.

Accommodation:
Sydney Rocks Budget Accommodation
Included: Dinner

Day 2: The Blue Mountains, Scenic World, Three Sisters & Waterfalls

Day 2: The Blue Mountains, Scenic World, Three Sisters & Waterfalls

Blue Mountains Park: This morning you’re up bright and early for a trip into the nearby Blue Mountains – named for the blue tinge the range takes on when viewed from afar. You ascend the mountains for a series of short walks, your guide teaching you about the significance of this UNESCO World-Heritage area.  More than 400 different kinds of animals live within the rugged gorges and tablelands of the Greater Blue Mountains. These include threatened or rare species of conservation significance, such as the spotted-tailed quoll, the koala, the yellow-bellied glider, the long-nosed potoroo, and the Blue Mountains water skink.

Skyway, Cableway Ride & Scenic Rail: At Scenic World, you glide between clifftops and gaze at the rainforest canopy through the glass floor of the Scenic Skyway, ride the world’s steepest railway track down into the lush Jamison Valley, and view Three Sisters, Orphan Rock and Katoomba Falls from a unique cableway.

The Three Sisters: A highlight is seeing the Three Sisters – a trio of giant sandstone pillars carved from nature and time that stand like sentinels above the Jamison valley.  The kangaroos and wallabies are relaxed and plentiful in the Blue Mountains, enjoying the fertile grazing lands, and your chance of seeing these creatures in the wild is likely.

Historic Leura & Scenic Falls: With your guide you also take a side trip to the historic township of Leura, with its quaint cafés, gardens and galleries, as well as a walk to a set scenic falls.  You return to Sydney at the end of the day.

Accommodation: Sydney Rocks Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 3: Bondi Beach and Surf Lessons

Day 3: Bondi Beach and Surf Lessons

Bondi Beach: Today you frolic at Sydney’s most famous beach- Bondi! You have plenty of time to soak up the sun and surf, learn about Aussie beach culture, life guards and the tv show Bondi Rescue.

Surf Lessons: In a small group you start your lesson with important surf and safety rules and covering all the basics from warm-up to paddling, catching waves and standing. By the end of the lesson with a little practice, you should be standing and shredding!  Perhaps the perfect memento of an Australian coastal holiday – return home knowing how to surf!

Optional Coastal Walk: This afternoon you can also do the coastal cliff walk between Bondi and Coogee Beach. This trail weaves along the coast, giving you the opportunity to whale watch and view Aboriginal rock carvings in Marks Park.

Accommodation: Sydney Rocks Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 4: Fly to Cairns, Aboriginal Culture Adventure

Day 4: Fly to Cairns, Aboriginal Culture Adventure

Flight to Cairns: Today you are transferred from your hostel to the domestic airport for your flight to Cairns (flight not included, depart no later than 10 am). On arrival you are met by a Small World Journeys staff member.

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.

Aboriginal Culture: During this experience, the Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal people speak to you about their spiritual and cultural connection to countryA boat ride across the inlet takes you through mangrove and freshwater wetland environments, and an Aboriginal ranger explains how these areas are managed.  With a traditional smoke ceremony, you are then welcomed onto Mandingalbay Yidinji land.  Through a walk and ranger talk you learn how wind is important in hunting, how the Mandingalbay Yidinji people turned poisonous seeds into bread dough, and why and where they migrated with the seasons.  A host of edible and medicinal plants line the pathway, and you can taste the tangy native coriander, smell the sweet scent of coconut laurel and wash your hands with the soap tree.  Later you have time for discussions on totems and the protection of animals, and how the Mandingalbay Yidinji keep their culture alive.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5: Wildlife Park and Crocodile Farm, Daintree Rainforest

Day 5: Wildlife Park and Crocodile Farm, Daintree Rainforest

Crocodile Farm: Today meet crocodiles in their natural habitat as well as a crocodile farm at Hartley’s.  This multi-award winning eco adventure attraction is the best place to see crocodiles in Australia.  You learn why saltwater crocodiles were almost hunted to extinction, and their importance in ecosystems today.  Lagoon boat rides enable safe, guaranteed viewing of giant saltwater crocodiles in a natural setting.  Hartley’s is famous for its crocodile feeding, snake and wildlife presentations. In the Gondwana Gateway you also meet animals of far north Queensland, like monitors, snakes and the giant endangered cassowary.

Daintree Rainforest: Later you enter the magical Daintree Rainforest –some of the oldest continuously growing rainforest on earth.  For students, this is an important area for study: this area of the country has the highest concentration of primitive flowering plant families in the world, Australia’s rarest mammal (the Murina florious bat) and 13 species of birds found nowhere else on earth.

Daintree Rainforest & Beach Eco-Lodge: 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 a 2016 QLD Excellence in Tourism Award, and 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: Daintree Rainforest beach eco-lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 6: Jungle Canopy Zip Line and Rainforest Swimming

Day 6: Jungle Canopy Zip Line and Rainforest Swimming

Rainforest Canopy Zip Line: At Cape Tribulation next you 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.   This is a great way for students to safely challenge themselves in the care of naturalist guides.

“Jungle Surfing”: 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, you learn more about the rainforest while keeping an eye out for Boyd’s Forest dragons and the brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly.

You may like to finish off your afternoon with a game of beach volleyball at your eco lodge or enjoy the nightly fire on the beach.

Accommodation: Daintree Rainforest beach eco-lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7:  Daintree Rainforest and Canyoning

Day 7: Daintree Rainforest and Canyoning

Cape Tribulation Swimming Hole: Your guide takes you to a crystal-clear rainforest swimming hole used by locals and a perfect place to cool off. Then you bid farewell to the Daintree and head south back to Cairns.

Canyoning: Get ready to get wet! Your next adventure activity is called “canyoning”, which has you following a waterway through a gorgeous tropical canyon.  You learn to abseil beside waterfalls, slide and jump into clear pools, and hook in to a fantastic zip line over the gorge. This is the perfect activity to face your fears and join together in adventure!

Dinner tonight is of your own choice, you may wish to continue the adrenaline adventure and sample some Aussie dishes such as crocodile, emu or kangaroo at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Cairns Highlands Cabins
Included: Breakfas and Lunch

Day 8: Outback Mining Town, Aboriginal Rock Art and Ranger Guided Caves Tour

Day 8: Outback Mining Town, Aboriginal Rock Art and Ranger Guided Caves Tour

Travel to Outback: Today you cross over the Great Dividing Range, and you enter outback country, where the dirt turns red and gum trees prevail.  Your guide stops to show you the giant termite mounds that are symbols of the outback.

Chillagoe Town:
  A true taste of old outback Australia! Once a thriving mining town for a range of minerals, this outback town is only a shadow of its former self. Dinner tonight in the old hotel reveals a host of weathered characters with stories to tell and a collection of outback memorabilia.

Swimming & Aboriginal Rock Art:  Next you put on your swimmers for a dip in a refreshing outback swimming hole. Then you enter Chillagoe-Mungana National Park and trace a pathway to where limestone caves and outcrops are decorated with Aboriginal rock art.  The symbols tell secrets about the social and spiritual dynamics of the Indigenous tribes who lived and passed through this region for thousands of years.

Royal Arch Caves Tour:  Then with a national park ranger you descend one of the largest cave systems in the area. Unexpected shafts of daylight, glimpses of darting bats, naturally sculptured limestone formations and ancient marine fossils are highlights of this tour. “Miners lamps” are provided to add to the excitement of exploring the labyrinth of tunnels and lofty caverns. You also hear tales of bravery and foolishness of past cave explorers.

Bonfire, Wild Kangaroos and Star Gazing: Later your guide will take you to a spot where wild kangaroos gather each night to munch on green grass. Then after a hearty meal, you have the chance to glimpse starry outback skies. From this remote outback town, views of the southern hemisphere stars are phenomenal! A bonfire with marshmallows is the perfect treat.

Accommodation: Chillagoe Observatory Eco Lodge
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9: Balancing Rocks, Boomerang Throwing, Rainforest Waterfall  & Reef Presentation

Day 9: Balancing Rocks, Boomerang Throwing, Rainforest Waterfall & Reef Presentation

 

Sunrise and Balancing Rocks: This morning you can accompany your guide to watch the crimson sunrise over the outback. Then back in Chillagoe-Mungana National Park, you discover the whimsical limestone formations—including the popular Balancing Rock—that make this area famous.

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: Back on 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, where it is possible to swim under and behind the falls.

Then you head back to Cairns in the afternoon.

Marine Biologist Reef Presentation: During this unique presentation taught by a marine biologist, you learn what you are likely to see during your time at 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 underwater world you are about to experience.

Dinner tonight is of your own choice, you may like to visit the nearby night markets where there are many options to choose from.

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

Day 10: Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling & Optional SCUBA Diving

Day 10: Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling & Optional SCUBA Diving

Boat Ride to Reef: Your day begins with an air-conditioned catamaran ride to the outer Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World-Heritage site and one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet.

Snorkelling: Snorkelling can be done right off the side of the pontoon, giving you access to beauties such as luminescent parrot fish, the chocolate-dipped damsel, and the Picasso triggerfish, giant clams, sea stars, turtles, and corals of a thousand hues.

Observatory: There is an underwater observatory at the pontoon, as well as a small marine life touch tank.  Floating “noodles” and life jackets are available as well.  You return to Cairns late this afternoon.

Slide into the Reef: You may like to finish your day by celebrating with a few slides into the Great Barrier Reef; your double storey pontoon has something that no one else does….. A long and fun slide that finishes in the waters of the reef.

Semi-Sub and Glass Bottom Boat: A semi-submersible craft and glass bottom boat allow those who prefer not to swim to still enjoy viewing the marine life at The Great Barrier Reef.

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!)
Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11: Whitewater Rafting the Tully River

Day 11: Whitewater Rafting the Tully River

The Tully River Gorge: The Tully River ranks high with rafting enthusiasts around the globe for its stunning course through national parklands, thrilling Class III-IV rapids, and its reliable year-round flows. We find that whitewater rafting brings the river to life in a way many have never known and often it is while paddling rapids as a team that young people develop personal inner strength.

Safety and Teamwork: From Cairns you travel to your put-in at Tully Gorge National Park. There you are fitted with life jackets and helmets and after a safety briefing you are on the water. You raft through UNESCO World Heritage rainforest and below waterfalls that tumble from the walls of the gorge. Rousing rapids with evocative names like The Staircase, Corkscrew and Alarm Clock mark the start of your day, and with each rapid comes a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration that only pure adrenalin can produce.

Forty One Rapids and BBQ: You paddle through 41 rapids total, stopping midway for a riverside BBQ. At the end of the day, you get to watch the video footage that was taken on the river and purchase photos of your adventure to take back home.

[No previous rafting experience is necessary. However, the Barron River, with its Class II-III rapids, is a milder option for the day].

You return to Cairns in the late afternoon and have a delicious dinner on the town to celebrate the past two weeks’ adventures.

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

Day 12: Free Time, OPTIONAL Urban Challenge OR Service Project and Depart

Day 12: Free Time, OPTIONAL Urban Challenge OR Service Project and Depart

After breakfast this morning you have free time for last-minute shopping or souvenir purchases.  If you leave later in the day, you can choose one of the following options:

Optional Urban Challenge: If you have an afternoon flight, you can choose to spend the morning souvenir shopping, swimming at the lagoon or participating in Small World Journeys’ Urban Challenge! (no extra cost)  The Urban Challenge is a fun team-building exercise that allows students to learn more about the history, nature, art and culture of Cairns.  Small group teams compete against time in this treasure hunt-type activity in Cairns central business district.  This is a popular activity for students and the winning team gets a prize!

-OR-

Optional Service Project: Alternatively, you can participate in a service project for the homeless by making special bags for a local charity using upcycled materials (which helps them save money!) You then put it the bags food and hygiene items most needed by those living on the street.  Rosies Friends on The Street is a not-for-profit organisation that will then distribute the packs you make.  In addition, a representative from Rosies will speak to you about how members of the Cairns community become homeless, and how your gift will help.

No worries if you aren’t the best at arts and crafts – the bags are easy to make, and you’ll feel good doing it too.

Then you are transferred to the Cairns airport for your flight home.

Included: Breakfast

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

Trip Fees Include:

  • Sydney and Cairns airport transfers
  • Small World Journeys guide on Days 1-9
  • Specialty guides and educators on other days
  • All activities and entrance fees as described in the itinerary
  • Transportation to activities
  • 3 nights at a Sydney hostel (4 or 6 share dorm-style rooms with private bathroom)*
  • 5 nights at Cairns budget accommodation (4 or 6 share dorm rooms with private bathroom)*
  • 1 night Outback cabins (single gender dorm-style cabins with private bathrooms)
  • 2 nights Daintree Rainforest cabins (4-share dorm-style rooms with shared/private bathrooms)*
  • All continental breakfasts
  • 9 lunches
  • 8 dinners
  • 101 Animals of the Great Barrier Reef field guide
  • Mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit hire on the reef trip
  • 5 metres square Daintree rainforest plot adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue
  • A reusable BPA-free water bottle and cloth shopping bag to keep
  • Carbon offsetting through Sustainable travel International (STI) for a carbon-neutral trip

*Two  private twin or triple share rooms with ensuite in Sydney, Cairns and the Cairns Outbcak are included in the trip. A supplement of $853 AUD is charged if an additional private room is required. If teachers are happy to share a room, no additional costs are incurred.

Trip Fees Exclude:

  • International and domestic airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • 1 lunch and 3 dinners
  • Personal expenses (phone, laundry, etc.)

Options:

  • Photo with koala at wildlife park ($20 AUD)
  • Intro or certified SCUBA dive ($149 AUD per dive, includes all 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 if any students wish to dive.

Land Cost 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019:

  • 15+ participants: $3380 AUD
  • (Low numbers) 10-14 participants: $3630 AUD

Accommodation:

All accommodation is included. In Sydney, you stay at an immaculate hostel in the quaint historic district with rooftop views of the Sydney Opera House! Spacious rooms have their own ensuites, laundry facilities are available, and you can relax at the in-house cafe with WiFi access.  Your hotel has a sparkling swimming pool, WiFi, laundry facilities and easy access to the beach! In Cairns, you stay at a breezy award-winning hostel in the centre of the restaurant and shopping district. Students like the tropical swimming pool, lounging in the hammock and playing billiards at the free pool table, while group leaders love the private ensuite rooms, air conditioning, laundry facilities and free internet/WiFi. In the outback, you stay in single-gender large cabins with their own bathrooms, and in the Daintree Rainforest you stay in dorm-style cabins in the rainforest but on beachfront property with a sparkling pool.

Upgrade to Sydney & Cairns HOTEL accommodation:

In Sydney, your 3-star hotel is located opposite Hyde Park right in Sydney’s city centre, conveniently located to parks, gardens, and most attractions. Your modern twin share room includes linen and towels, tea/coffee, and wireless broadband access. An internet kiosk allows you to check emails if needed, and a laundry is available to guests as well.  This is the perfect base for exploring Sydney’s city centre. In Cairns, your hotel is located within easy walking distance to the Cairns Esplanade and offers friendly, personal hospitality. Student rooms are triple share and teachers will enjoy twin share rooms with free WiFi. All spacious rooms feature LCD TVs, air-conditioning and private bathroom. The hotel has 24 hour reception, 2 swimming pools and a restaurant where a continental breakfast is served daily. Add $210 per person for hotel upgrade.

Meals:

Most meals are included. You have a combination of catered 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 BBQs, all-you-can-eat pasta and pizza, seafood treats and local favourites. 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 & Conditions and tell us you want to come.
  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 a link from us to your special web page that has an electronic booking forms, waivers to e-sign, and more information about the trip.
  4. Have each student sign up via this link and pay you (the teacher) no later than 60 days prior to the trip. You then submit whole payment to us at 60 days.
  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 Sydney?

Answer: Sydney has a temperate climate. Summer is warm temperatures at 18-25 degrees celsius/64- 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters are mild, with average temperatures at 8-16 degrees Celsius/46-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is spread throughout the year.

Question 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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 10: 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.

Combining Adventure with Learning

The Cairns region is the perfect starting point for programs with a focus on environment, science, ecology and social studies with two UNESCO World Heritage sites- the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropical Rainforests on our doorstep. This is combined with a thriving Aboriginal culture and easy access to iconic outback make Cairns the perfect one stop destination for International groups travelling to Australia.

By adding a few days in Sydney you will get to see Australia from a completely different perspective. Rich in culture and history, the Sydney setting allows your students to  learn about Australia’s convict past, colonialism and the move towards multiculturalism. If it is adventure you are after then your students could learn to surf or challenge themselves by climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

  • Hear about Sydney’s convict origins and early colonial history
  • Learn to surf!
  • Learn about UNESCO World Heritage listing and the important environmental sites in the tropics
  • Discover the history and culture of Aboriginal people- the world’s oldest living civilisation
  • Talk to cattle station owners to learn about the difficulties of life on the land
  • Give back to the community by helping at a wildlife sanctuary
  • Test your sense of adventure in the world’s oldest rainforest- the Daintree

Australian National Curriculum- Cross Curriculum Priorities for High School Students

Sustainability: Your educational tour with Small World Journeys will be carbon neutral and students will receive an introductory talk on how our business and their trip are eco-friendly and ways they can contribute by participating in more eco-friendly practises. In addition the operators used by SWJ are chosen based on their eco-friendly practises.

  • OI.1 A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is an excellent example of how the biosphere is a dynamic system providing conditions that sustain life on Earth. As the world’s largest living organism, stretching over 2000km along Queensland’s coastline and home to 1500 fish species along with corals, molluscs, sea birds, turtles and whales all of which depend on a delicate balance in the biosphere to sustain the ecosystem.
  • OI.2 A visit to the rainforest demonstrates how all life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival.
  • OI.3 During your trip your students will be able to discuss what it means to live sustainably as an individual and as a member of a bigger community to ensure that while it is necessary to look after the environment, it is also important to ensure that social and economic needs are also being met.
  • OI.7 On your Small World Journeys trip your students will explore and gain a better understanding of the environments in the Cairns region. Through this exploration they will see how the actions towards a more sustainable future reflect the values of care, respect and responsibility of the population and what is being done to educate visitors to the region so that same sense of responsibility towards the environment is felt.
  • OI.8 During their trip students will learn about past practises in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Wet Tropics and look at scientific developments and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts. With your guide you will discuss the impacts of things like development which are necessary for economic growth but can potentially threaten the area.
  • OI.9 During their trip students will learn about GBRMPA and WETMA and the factors that led to World Heritage listing of the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics of Queensland. The sustainable future of these ecosystems is the result of actions designed to preserve the quality and uniqueness of environments. Students will also learn about the threats to the area and what actions are being established to restore areas damaged by cyclones, crown of thorns starfish, overfishing, logging, development and pollution.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures: the Cairns region is the perfect place to look more closely at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture with the influences of many language groups predominant in the region. In the south you will learn about the complex social system of the Jirrbal people.

  • OI.2 Your students will learn how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities maintain a special connection to and responsibility for Country/Place throughout all of Australia. In the Cairns region there are several different Aboriginal groups all of which have a strong connection to the reef, coast, rainforests and mountains.
  • OI.3 Students will hear from local Indigenous people about their unique belief systems and how they are spiritually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways.
  • OI.4 Within the Cairns region there are several different Aboriginal language groups. By visiting different areas of the region your students will learn about language from the Kuku-Yalanji, Tjapukai and Jirrbal people.
  • OI.8 Local Aboriginal guides will explain how their people have sophisticated family and kinship structures.
  • OI.9 After experiencing first-hand the intricacies of the local Aboriginal people your students will be in a better position to acknowledge the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people locally and globally.

This experiential education trip is appropriate for both high school students and for international college students in Australia.

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 2016-17, we gave over $32,000 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. We also recycle BOTH our hard plastics and soft plastics, and our trip snack wrappers get broken down and made into other things! For more information on how we donate to The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and other environmental groups, see Philanthropy and Partnership.

OUR OFFICE IS RUN ON SOLAR POWER: Our future is so bright, we gotta wear shades.

CARBON OFFSETTING: 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. In 2017 we offset 76.72 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide! For more information about our carbon offsetting, see 10 Ways We’re ”Sustainable”.

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 educational adventure guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.