Australia-New Zealand – 14 Day Adventure

The Best of The Lands Down Under

Watch Lord of the Rings and you will know New Zealand:  snow-capped volcanoes, kauri pine forests, craggy mountains, rolling  emerald hills and bubbling geysers.  Combine the country’s natural beauty with native Maori performing the haka,  fearless bungy jumpers (could be you!) and the fun Hobbiton film set, and you’ve got New Zealand in a nutshell.  Then hop on a plane to Australia for dramatic change of scenery:  jungle-draped canyons, tropical waterfalls hidden in the rainforest, and the azure waters of the Great Barrier Reef, capped with a visit to an outback cattle station in the classic Aussie outback.  Friendly local guides show you the best of both nations, sure to be the adventure of your lifetime.


  • Swim with dolphins in The Bay of Islands
  • Sand board down giant dunes
  • Go “black water rafting” in Waitomo’s labyrinthine cave system
  • Tour The Shire at Hobbiton – Lord of the Rings movie set
  • Take the plunge with an optional bungy jump
  • View New Zealand’s famous glowworms, kiwi, and sheep of course
  • Snorkel at The Great Barrier Reef
  • Outback cattle station: wild kangaroos, cow milking and whip cracking
  • Natural rainforest waterslide and waterfalls
  • Jungle canopy zip line
  • Wildlife park and cuddle a koala
  • Maori and Aboriginal culture, art and performance

Benefits & Bonuses:

  • All accommodation, most 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 New Zealand, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Kayaking

Day 1: Arrive New Zealand, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Kayaking

Arrive and Transfer: You arrive at Auckland International Airport and are warmly greeted by your guide at the airport. You then travel north to Paihia, gateway to the Bay of Islands and the “winterless north”. (Departing airport at 8:30 am)

Maori Meeting House and Waitangi Treaty House: Your first introduction to the culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people – the Maori – begins at a traditional carved wood wharenui (meeting house) at Waitangi. You follow in the footsteps of Maori chiefs and a lone delegate of the British crown, learning of treaty controversies and why this is the birthplace of New Zealand as we know it.

Kayak the Waitangi River: In the care of experienced instructors, you kayakamong the mangrove trees and up the picturesque and gentle Waitangi River to the Haruru Falls, meaning “thundering noise” in the local Maori language. [Note that this activity will not be possible if Auckland arrival is not in the early morning]

Games and Orientation: As part of your welcome to New Zealand, you receive an orientation and participate in some fun ice breaker games with your guide.

Paihia Budget Accommodation
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Kauri Forest, Cape Reinga Sand Boarding and 90 Mile Beach

Day 2: Kauri Forest, Cape Reinga Sand Boarding and 90 Mile Beach

Kauri Forest: This morning you travel to Puketi Kauri Forest, named for the grand evergreens that grace this part of New Zealand. You trace a boardwalk that winds among these gentle giants, listening for fantails and wood pigeons cooing. This is one of the last remaining swaths of kauris, prized by settlers for their tall straight timber.

Mangonui: Once a port for whalers and traders, the historic town of Mangonui is your next stop for morning tea at a café and a comfort stop.

Cape Reinga: Craggy windswept headlands tumble into the sea at New Zealand’s tip, where, according to Maori legend, souls depart the earth on their way back to their original homeland of Hawaiki. You experience a different kind of descent with a “sand surfing” lesson and an exhilarating plummet down massive dunes on a body board. Always a highlight for students!

90 Mile Beach: Later you enjoy a frolic on the sweeping 90 Mile Beach, which, true to its name, offers up an expanse of sea, surf and sun.

Accommodation: Paihia Budget Accommodation
Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Bay of Islands Cruise & Dolphin Watching/Swimming, Russell and Pakiri Beach

Day 3: Bay of Islands Cruise & Dolphin Watching/Swimming, Russell and Pakiri Beach

Bay of Islands Cruise: 144 tiny islets dot The Bay of Islands like a necklace of green gumdrops, and this is one of New Zealand’s most enchanting sites. You hop aboard a cruising vessel that takes you around the Bay, weaving among a tapestry of scenic vistas.

Dolphin Watching/Swimming: The Bay of Islands also happens to be a favourite playground of the lively bottlenose dolphin. While there are no guarantees of sightings, there is a strong possibility you’re able to enter the water with these magical and intelligent creatures for a swim. This is an once-in-a-lifetime experience with wild dolphins.

Russell Village: Next you enjoy some free time in sweetly historic Russell, former capital of New Zealand. Sipping tea at an outdoor café, strolling tidily trimmed gardens or browsing gift shops of hand-made crafts, it’s easy to forget this town was once dubbed “the Hellhole of The Pacific.” The town abounds in tales of rough whalers and boozy sailors, convicts and prostitutes, doing dirty deeds in a place Charles Darwin said attracted “the refuse of society”. Odd reminders of an unsavoury past include New Zealand’s oldest church that’s riddled with bullet holes. You return to the mainland by ferry.

Pakiri Beach: You travel south again today to stroll along beautiful deserted Pakiri Beach,over white sand dunes and through lush pohutukawa groves, with magnificent views of Little Barrier and the Hen & Chicken Islands.

Accommodation: Overnight Pakiri Beach Motor Camp
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Travel to Waitomo, Black Water Rafting and Glowworm Caves

Day 4: Travel to Waitomo, Black Water Rafting and Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves & Walk: With your guide you creep through craggy caves to view some of New Zealand’s most unusual creatures – glowworms – that catch food through bioluminescence and make tiny twinkles in the darkness. A stunning short walk follows this activity that takes you through collapsed limestone cave system.

Optional Black Water Rafting* and Glowworm Caves: If you are a little more adventurous, you can opt for Black Water Rafting! Yyou don thick wetsuits and “miners hats” for a thrilling adventure underground. You descend into a labyrinth of limestone caves, carved by a rushing stream that carries you and your inner tube along with it. Professional guides lead you into a lost world of underground waterfalls, cathedral ceilings of stalagtites and hidden passageways. Travelling deep into this cave system is the only way to view the most magical site: glowworms that light up the caves like the Milky Way. Your adventures ends with warm soup and bagels and a chance to view the photos your guide took of you in the caves. (*extra cost of 105 NZD)

This evening you stay in the hills of the tiny hamlet of Waitomo, translated from Maori meaning “water passing through a hole”.

Accommodation:  Waitomo YHA
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Hike Tongariro NP, Huka Falls, Lake Taupo and Hot Pools

Day 5: Hike Tongariro NP, Huka Falls, Lake Taupo and Hot Pools

Tongariro National Park: Today you travel south into Tongariro National Park which reveals a mosaic of environments: sub tropical rainforest with green Crown Ferns and delicate orchids, silver and mountain beech forests, and a sub alpine environment with bluegrass and curled leaved neinei. On a clear day, both Mt. Ruapehu and Mt. Ngauruhoe (the conical “Mt. Doom” to Lord of the Rings fans!) dominate the skyline.

Hike at Lake Rotopounamu: You start today with a stunning but easy hike around a crater lake that stands in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the North Island’s highest mountain.

Huka Falls: Some of New Zealand’s most spectacular falls! On its way to Lake Taupo, the Waikato River funnels a massive amount of water through a narrow chute of 15 metres as it crosses a hard volcanic ledge, spilling churning falls into a crystalline pool. You view the falls from an easy walk over a footbridge.

Honey Hive: Later at the Honey Hive, you learn of the importance of bees to the ecosystem, and view the busy bees from behind the glass. Samples of their hard work sit out for you to taste and touch: honey ice cream, honey skin products and of course, spoonfuls of straight honey itself.

OPTIONAL Bungy Jump: New Zealand made famous this adventure sport, which has now become an iconic experience in the country. Watch jumpers as they plummet into from a lofty perch on a platform above the lake or choose to take the plunge yourself! (extra cost)

Hot Pools Soak: Next at DeBretts you soak in deliciously warm pools at a natural ‘hot spot’ – a geothermal spring known as Onekeneke. Try for yourselves the magical mineral powers of the spring, a site whose healing effects locals have sworn by for years.

Accommodation: Silver Fern Lodge
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6: Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua, Te Puia Valley & Maori Cultural Presentation

Day 6: Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua, Te Puia Valley & Maori Cultural Presentation

Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland: This morning you visit New Zealand’s most colourful natural volcanic environment. Its unique features include the world famous champagne pool, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground, huge volcanic craters and silica terraces. A highlight is swimming a freshwater stream naturally heated by geothermal water on the Wai-o-Tapu field.

Rotorua: Today you travel to the “bubbling” town of Rotorua, which is synonymous with thermal activity. For sizzling displays of thermal magic, this town does not disappoint; this is one of the most geologically active places on earth. Let your feet dance on naturally heated earth, watch geysers spurt, and soak your body in hot pools nestled among the ferns. Here Maori culture reigns; this is the cultural heart of Aotearoa (translated as “Land of the Long White Cloud”).

Te Puia – Whakarewarewa Volcanic Valley: Later you explore the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, where the Pohotu and other geysers dazzle you with their grand sprays of steam. Here a mosaic of geothermal features also include Prince of Whales Feather geyser, “The Blue Pool” and a host of gurgling mud pools. You learn how Maori people used some of the pools for cooking vegetables and eels from the local river, a practice done for centuries. You can find the country’s elusive national bird–and as New Zealander is affectionately called—the kiwi, also at Te Puia.

Maori Crafts, Games, Cultural Show & Hangi: An evening at Tamaki gives you an authentic introduction to Maori culture. Maori warriors first determine whether you are friend or foe in a sacred ceremony, and then welcome you into their village. At different huts among the pines you learn how the Maori keep their culture alive through dance and play: you can try intricate poi twirling, a standing stick game, or the haka – a warrior intimidation dance. The highlight is an all-you-can-eat hangi, a traditional underground-cooked Maori feast and the singing of Maori songs.

Accommodation: Rotorua Four Canoes Lodge
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7: Options for Adventure Activities, Hobbiton Movie Set and Auckland

Day 7: Options for Adventure Activities, Hobbiton Movie Set and Auckland

Agroventures: This is your last chance to try up to four of New Zealand’s most iconic adventure activities: “The Swoop” sky swing, Agrojet, Zorbing, Shweeb Racing on a suspended monorail, or Freefall Xtreme – a wind tunnel experience similar to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible. (Options are extra cost)

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: Follow in the footsteps of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins into the miniature world of The Shire, the home of hobbits. Whether you have seen the Lord of The Rings trilogy or not, you will undoubtedly appreciate the efforts that went into the creation of this elaborate outdoor movie set from a still operational sheep farm. From a giant tree whose thousands of leaves were glued on to the tiny pottery of a hobbit craftsman, careful attention was paid to infinite details. Your guide entertains you with tales of what went on during filming, and how director Peter Jackson created illusions through the camera. At the end of the tour, you cross a stone bridge to the true-to-life Green Dragon Pub. You can imagine yourself among dwarves and wizards as you sip sweet ginger beer.

Return to Auckland: You return to Auckland, “City of Sails” and have the evening for souvenir shopping and a delicious dinner.

Accommodation: Auckland YHA
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 8: Flight to Australia, Orientation and Dangerous Animals Presentation

Day 8: Flight to Australia, Orientation and Dangerous Animals Presentation

Flight to Australia & Orientation:  You are transferred to the Auckland International Airport this morning you’re your flight to Australia. You arrive in Cairns and are warmly greeted by your guide at the airport. You are then transferred to your accommodation.

Dangerous Animals Presentation: Next you partake in a lively presentation about the myths and realities of Australia’s dangerous animals. Which kills more people in a year – sharks or coconuts? What type of snake strikes multiple times? What’s the difference between a “freshy” and a “salty” crocodile and who would you rather swim with? These questions and more are answered in a fun interactive session that introduces you to Australia’s famous and not-so-famous creatures.

Esplanade and Swimming: As a group you walk to the Esplanade where you have an orientation and time to swim in the giant lagoon.

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9: National Parks & Waterfalls and Outback Farm Stay

Day 9: National Parks & Waterfalls and Outback Farm Stay

National Park: Today you enter Wooroonooran National Park—a diverse part of the UNESCO Wet Tropics World Heritage Area which hosts some of the oldest continually surviving rainforest in the world.

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

Millaa Millaa Falls: First up 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.

Outback Cattle Station: Next you cross into classic outback country, where dingoes and kangaroos roam freely. Here you are welcome guests at a traditional working cattle station and homestead, opened only to your group. You have a tour of the station and a classic Aussie BBQ, followed by a bonfire and stargazing.

Accommodation: Your single-gender marquees have bunk beds, all linen, and toilets & showers in an outside block.

Accommodation: Outback Cattle Station
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10: Outback Farm Activities, Boomerang Throwing and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Day 10: Outback Farm Activities, Boomerang Throwing and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

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

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: This is Cairns’ premier eco-attraction. Spanning 7.5 kms over Barron Gorge National Park, the Skyrail experience includes a scenic cableway ride and stops at two rainforest mid-stations. You can descend from the cableway onto rainforest boardwalks, where interpretive information is provided through guided boardwalk tours, signage and an interpretive centre.

Marine Scientist Reef Presentation: During this unique presentation taught by a marine scientist, 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.

Cairns central budget accommodation
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling

Day 11: Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling

Biodiversity at The Outer Reef: For students, the outer Great Barrier Reef is perhaps the world’s best classroom in which to witness the interconnectedness of species and biodiversity.  Today at the outer Barrier Reef you witness why this is one of the most complex natural systems on Earth.

Eco-Friendly Catamaran: Today you sail to the Reef aboard an eco-friendly catamaran, recipient of the Advanced Ecotourism Climate Action Innovator Award and the most eco-friendly reef boat in Cairns.  No worries if you are new to snorkeling – staff will ensure you are safe and relaxed, and you can join in a guided snorkel tour with one of them.

Snorkelling: Snorkelling can be done right off the back of the boat.  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, you can expect to see Wally the giant wrasse, fan corals, sea cucumbers and just about the entire cast of “Finding Nemo”.   You also may see beauties such as luminescent parrot fish, the chocolate-dipped damsel, the Picasso triggerfish and several species of turtles.

Buffet Lunch:  Lunch is a tropical buffet of delicious hot and cold items, including prawns, pasta salads and fresh fruit.

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

OPTIONAL EXTRA- Scuba Dive: Snorkelers can also opt to learn about SCUBA diving one-on-one from the dive instructor—intro diving (also known as “resort diving”) is a fantastic way to see the reef without having a certification (extra cost)

You return to Cairns in the late afternoon and have free time to enjoy dinner at a restaurant or food court of your choice.

Cairns Lagoon and Night Markets:  Then each night when the sun sets, Cairns Night Markets come alive. Featuring over seventy retail outlets, this is the place to find a bargain. Tonight you have time for shopping at the Cairns Night Markets.  You can find opals, pearls, silver, clothing, massage oils, t-shirts, arts, crafts, Australian food products, toys, and plenty of souvenirs and gifts.


Accommodation: Cairns central budget accommodation
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12: Wildlife Sanctuary, Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk and Daintree National Park

Day 12: Wildlife Sanctuary, Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk and Daintree National Park

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

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

Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk:The Kuku Yalanji are one of the only tribal rainforest people in Australia who still have their own culture and language, and this afternoon you are welcomed by an Aboriginal guide for a walk to see the Daintree rainforest through indigenous eyes. You wander rainforest paths, discovering with your guide how these Aboriginal people found their way through dense rainforest, made shelter and learned what native plants were tasty to eat. You learn such things are how the seasons dictated life, what falls under men’s and women’s “business”, how to make fire in the rainforest and how to make fish very easy to catch.   You have a chance to swim among the boulders, and perhaps paint your faces with traditional ochre rock paint. You then sample billy tea and wattle seed damper (bread) made on the fire topped with jam from rainforest berries.

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 a Queensland Excellence in Tourism Award in 2016 and Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2015, the lodge also uses gray 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.

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

Day 13: Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation & Jungle Canopy Zip Line

Day 13: Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation & Jungle Canopy Zip Line

Cape Tribulation and Swimming Hole: After a night of immersion in the rainforest, you wake to birdcalls and the chatter of the jungle. Nearby is a crystal-clear rainforest swimming hole used by locals and a perfect place to cool off.

Rainforest Canopy 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. 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.

Beach BBQ: In the afternoon, you head to the beach for music, games and a BBQ cookout. This will be a fun way to end your week, and will give you a chance to recount your adventures over the past 2 weeks.

Accommodation: Cairns central budget accommodation
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Optional Urban Challenge, Free Time and Depart

Day 14: Optional Urban Challenge, Free Time and Depart

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!

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


Is this Australia New Zealand trip too long or too short? Contact us for custom tour options that match your budget and objectives!

 Trip Fees Include:

  • All activities and entrance fees as described in the itinerary
  • Professional guides and educators
  • Auckland airport transfers
  • Cairns airport transfers
  • Transportation to activities
  • All continental breakfasts
  • All lunches (except on Day 8)
  • All dinners (except on Day 11’s “free choice” night)
  • 2 nights Paihia lodge (dorm-style lodge with shared bathrooms)*
  • 1 night Pariki Beach lodge (dorm-style lodge with shared bathrooms)*
  • 1 night Waitomo hostel (dorm-style lodge with shared bathrooms)*
  • 1 night Rotorua lodge (dorm-style lodge with shared bathrooms)*
  • 1 night Taupo lodge (dorm-style lodge with shared bathrooms)*
  • 1 night Auckland hostel (dorm-style lodge with shared bathrooms)*
  • 4 nights central Cairns hostel (dorm-style rooms w/ private bathroom)*
  • 1 night at outback cattle station (dorm-style cabins with shared bathrooms)*
  • 1 night Daintree Rainforest cabins (4-share cabins with shared bathrooms)*
  • 101 Animals of the Wet Tropics field guide for each student
  • Mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit/stinger suit hire on the reef trip
  • Reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag to take home
  • Marine park and national park fees
  • 5 metres square Daintree rainforest plot adopted in your group’s name and certificate
  • Carbon offsetting through Sustainable Travel International (STI) for a carbon-neutral trip

*Two teacher rooms (private twin or triple share rooms with ensuite) in both New Zealand and Australia are included in the trip price.  A supplement of $912 AUD is charged if an additional private room is required for the trip. If teachers are happy to share a room, no additional costs are incurred.

Trip Fees Exclude:

  • Airfare to/from New Zealand and Australia
  • Lunch on Day 8 and dinner on Day 11
  • Personal expenses (phone, souvenirs, laundry, etc.)


  • Optional Black Water Rafting ($105 NZD)
  • Optional Bungy Jump ($169 NZD)
  • Agroventures Adventure Options (VIP pass is $205 NZD which includes all 4 activities + bungy jump; individual activities are $49 NZD each)
  • Optional professional photo with koala or crocodile ($18 AUD)
  • Hotel Accommodation: If your group desires hotel accommodation rather than staying at hostel accommodation, you can take this option.  Add $350 AUD per person to trip price for this option.
  • SCUBA Diving ($70 AUD for an intro dive or certified dive; $45 for the second dive)

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.


All accommodation is included. In New Zealand, you stay at a combination of hostels and lodges, all of which have laundry facilities, internet access  and are fully heated. Most have TV lounges and sitting rooms.  In Australia, you stay at a breezy award-winning hostel in the centre of the Cairns 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. One night is at an outback cattle station, where students sleep in single gender cabins with bunk beds, and group leaders stay in cabins. 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.


Most meals are included. Your meals on tour are a combination of continental breakfasts, hearty packed and restaurant lunches, and delicious restaurants where you sample local fare. You try “billy tea” and damper (bush bread) after your aboriginal-guided rainforest walk, and enjoy a delicious beach “barbie” on your last night in Australia! Ask us about vegetarian, kosher and halal options.


The New Zealand portion of this trip is conducted in partnership with Learning Journeys. Small World Journeys & Learning Journeys reserve the right to change the order of activities for logistical reasons. 



  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 New Zealand and Australia?

Answer: ALL visitors to Australia need to arrange a visa BEFORE arriving in the country (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. In New Zealand, people with passports from the European Union, Canada and the USA are automatically granted a tourist visa on arrival in New Zealand. All visitors will also need a passport, valid for at least six months after the planned return date.

Question 2: When is the best time to visit New Zealand and Australia?

Answer: On this trip, you will be visiting New Zealand's mild North Island, and tropical Cairns in Australia. New Zealand: Anytime of the year is a good time to visit: students enjoy the mild temperate climate year round. Summer is between December and March and is never too hot. Winters are mild with no snow except on the highest mountains. Australia's Cairns region is a tropical, and outdoor activities can also 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 3: What do we need to pack?

Answer: A Suggested Packing List will be sent to you once you sign up so you will be able to adequately prepare for your trip.

Question 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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.

Your trip offers an educational experience in New Zealand and Australia.

The North Island of New Zealand offers many educational opportunities:

  • The Bay of Islands is rich in New Zealand history and it here, a short drive from your accommodation in Waitangi, that the British Crown signed a treaty with Maori on February 6th 1840. This unique document, the Treaty of Waitangi is still at the centre of legal debate, claims and counter claims by both sides. Your visit to the Treaty Grounds will provide an insight into this colonial period and how this ‘founding document’ came into being.
  • Prior to the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, the top half of the North Island was swathed in dense sub-tropical rain forest dominated by the huge and ancient Kauri trees. Their timber was strong and straight and ideal for ship building and it was extensively logged by the Europeans to the extent that virtually none now remains. You will though visit Puketi forest which contains a large area of virgin forest, untouched by humans. Here you will see how New Zealand looked for millions of years and here the song of native birds. It is both a window into the past and a glimpse of the future as tens of thousands of Kauri trees are being planted in areas such as the Coromandel.
  •  No educational student group visit to New Zealand is complete without a look at the unique culture of the Polynesian Maori. To understand who they are today, you need to know how and when they arrived in New Zealand and their spiritual links to their past and their ancestors in Hawaiki. It is from Cape Reinga at the very tip of the North island that their souls depart under the sea, returning to their ancestral land of Hawaiki. At Te Puia you will also see the art of the traditional woodcarvers and have the opportunity to talk to the local Tangata whenua, or ‘people of the land’.
  • As you travel throughout New Zealand’s North Island, also known as ‘Te Ika-a-Maui’ or the ‘fish of Maui’ you will learn more about the amazing forces of nature that shaped this country. New Zealand sits of the edge of the Pacific Rim of Fire and what you see today is largely the result of the collision between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian plate to its west. The active volcanos, the geothermal activity and the geysers of Te Puia are all the result of this and created constantly changing the landscapes you will see.

Australian educational opportunities:

  • The Cairns, Australia region is perfect 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.
  • A visit to 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.
  • A visit to the rainforest demonstrates how all life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their well-being and survival.
  • During your trip you 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.
  • On your Australia New Zealand 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.
  • Your students can seek adventure by learning to sand board, bungy jump or challenge themselves by working together whilst navigating a cave system during underground rafting.
  • Talk to Australian cattle station owners to learn about the challenges of droughts, cattle health, economic pressures and rural living. Essential to any educational trip to New Zealand and Australia is the perspective of the country’s indigenous people.  On this trip, your students learn about Aboriginal culture during a walk with an Aboriginal elder of the Kuku Yalanji tribe, and he explains rites of passage, medicinal plants, how his people found their way through the rainforest, and spiritual beliefs of his people.



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 Maori People as the first inhabitants of new Zealand and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where we work and our groups travel. Your trip includes activities and interaction with Maori and Aboriginal people, the traditional owners of the land on which you are traveling. By taking this trip, your are supporting grassroots indigenous tourism ventures and encouraging both Maori and Aboriginal pride in culture. We are proud to say that in the financial year of 2016-17, Small World Journeys gave over $32,000 in business to Aboriginal-owned ventures.

SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES: On your 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 in both New Zealand and Australia 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! Learning Journeys is an active supporter of Foundation for Youth Development and Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC), as well as a supporter of Tiritirimatangi conservation project. For more information on  other organisations to which Small World Journeys donates, see Philanthropy and Partnerships.

How your trip is “Eco-friendly”

ADOPTING A RAINFOREST PLOT: 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: In Australia, 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: When you travel, you put carbon dioxide into the environment. We calculate the total carbon footprint of the Australia portion 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, 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, SAFETY & QUALMARK ACCREDITED: 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 guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.  In New Zealand, Qualmark accreditation is a system developed by Tourism New Zealand and the AA and Department of Conservation approved, so you can be confident of the quality of your experience in New Zealand.