International Baccalaureate CAS Tour

On this trip we honour students of International Baccalaureate’s Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) program.  To fulfill their commitment to being active, inventive and helpful to the community, IB students will find themselves engaged in a host of unique and character-building activities. Students create dot art with an Aboriginal guide, plant native trees to revitalise degraded land, and learn to snorkel among a rainbow of life at the Great Barrier Reef.  They work as a team to build a raft, to clean mangroves that serve as marine life nurseries, and to monitor the success of a Daintree Rainforest revegetation plot.  With plenty of time for an Urban Challenge competition, a beach bonfire, looking for Nemo, and wildlife spotting under the care of an expert educator, this school excursion for IB students is sure to please.


  • Help save the amazing marine life on the Great Barrier Reef through several service projects
  • Get first-hand experience with Aboriginal Culture, Art and History
  • Spend the night among the chatter and life in the jungle
  • Soar high above the Daintree rainforest in JCU’s canopy crane
  • Challenge your skills and creativity in raft building – and test it in the water afterwards
  • Ride the waves aboard a catamaran on a quest to find Nemo and assess the state of the reef
  • Discover medicinal and edible plants with Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal guides
  • Give back to nature by planting trees and monitoring a revegetation site
  • Spend an evening at the beach dancing, gazing at the stars and enjoying a real Aussie BBQ

Benefits & Bonuses:

  • All accommodation, guides and transport to activities included
  • Risk assessment provided
  • Price Guarantee: price will not change once you sign up for your trip
  • Expert guides – not “bus drivers”
  • We cater to 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, Marine Debris Presentation & Mangrove Clean-Up

DAY 1: Arrival, Marine Debris Presentation & Mangrove Clean-Up

Arrival: You arrive in Cairns and are warmly greeted by one of our staff at the airport.  (Arrive before noon today).

Accommodation: You will stay 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 and free Wi-Fi. Student rooms are 6-share with bunk beds.

Great Barrier Reef and Marine Debris Presentation: You receive a short presentation on the dangers the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is facing (bleaching, global warming, tourism, overfishing, nutrient runoff etc.) and how mangroves and everything else is connected to the health of the reef.

Mangrove Exploration and Service Project: A raised walkway takes you through a critical mangrove ecosystem which is the breeding ground for many important aquatic species. Your guide teaches you about the interesting aspects of mangrove systems and their importance to the Great Barrier Reef.  Afterwards you participate in a clean-up at one of the creeks that makes its way to the ocean via the mangrove ecosystems. Unfortunately, household rubbish also often makes its way into these creeks and your service project helps protect both the mangroves and the reef.  You tally your “rubbish results” at the end and the team with the top results gets a prize.

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse
Included Meals:
Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Service

DAY 2: Service Project, Raft Building & GBR Presentation

DAY 2: Service Project, Raft Building & GBR Presentation

Environmental Service Project to Help the Great Barrier Reef: This service project involves working together to protect waterways, ocean and reef. By stencilling messages on drains, students contribute to raising awareness of urban stormwater pollution and its impact on the local marine environment. The colourful and creative designs are a pleasant way to remind the community that all rubbish drains to the ocean.

Raft Building: Next you use your intellect and creativity in a raft-building exercise. Using only tyres, ropes and some plastic containers, you must work together to produce a floating raft for your team, and then test its strength in the water.

Marine Biologist Reef Presentation: During this unique presentation taught by a marine biologist, you learn more about biodiversity 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 reef’s most common creatures.  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) fuelled by Hollywood myths.

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse
Included Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch
CAS outcomes: Creativity, Activity, Service

DAY 3: Fitzroy Island & the Inner Barrier Reef with Marine Naturalist

DAY 3: Fitzroy Island & the Inner Barrier Reef with Marine Naturalist

Ferry Ride: This morning you ferry to the pristine Fitzroy Island. Here a fringing coral reef surrounds the island providing a sheltered home for a variety of fish and coral species.

Marine Science and Snorkelling: Your marine naturalist first teaches you some of the basic fish and coral types you will be observing in the water. Then with your snorkel gear you take to the water to experience the reef for yourselves. Using a life ring and a floating bar, you swim along with your marine naturalist who leads you to underwater examples of some of the reef’s most interesting features. You can expect to see among other things giant clams, gentle turtles, spaghetti coral that waves in the current, lion fish, cuttle fish, colourful coral gardens and fluorescent parrot fish. Your marine naturalist gives you in-water assignments, to be followed by discussions on observations. Topics can include, but are not limited to: coral biology, fish populations and behaviour, invertebrates, endangered species, coral diseases, coral predators and threats to the reef, human impacts on the reef and climate change.

Turtle Rehabilitation Centre: You also visit the island’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre where a collection of volunteers help save sick and injured sea turtles by looking after them until they are ready to be released back into the ocean.

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse
Included Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Activity

DAY 4: Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling, Data Collection & Community Service

DAY 4: Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling, Data Collection & Community Service

Eco-Friendly Reef Boat & Exclusive Eco-Guide:  Early this morning you travel to the outer Great Barrier Reef on a sailing catamaran that has been awarded an Advanced Ecotourism certification. You have an accredited EcoGuide/sustainability expert devoted exclusively to your group for today’s experience as well.

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.

Data Collection: At your first location, you receive in-water training on how to conduct the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Rapid Monitoring Survey. Your guide will point out key features of the reef ecosystem, answer any questions, and conduct a practice survey with group. Then during a timed snorkel session, you record your underwater findings.  Your guide and waterproof slates help you identify a host of marine life and calculate benthic zone coverage. Most importantly, you look for signs of coral bleaching and coral predators which greatly affect the health of the reef.  Your data is then collected and contributes to the central reporting system used by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to manage the long term sustainability of this UNESCO World Heritage area.

Water Quality Sampling:  As you train to measure water quality, you also learn how consistent measuring at the reef shows long term trends, which in turn is a good predictor of overall reef health. This involves training in taking water temperature readings and vertical visibility readings using a Secchi disc.

Coral Predator Eradication & Community Service:  Having students cover a large area of the reef site greatly increases the chances of coral predators being discovered. Once you identify coral predators such as the Crown of Thorns starfish, you then accompany your guide to learn the careful process of eliminating these harmful creatures from the reef.

Field Guide & Sightings Ap: 101 Animals of The Great Barrier Reef, written by Dr. Martin Cohen, helps you to better understand the underwater world and is yours to keep. You also learn how to log in sightings of your reef fauna and flora using an ap downloadable to your phone or tablet, and your data is then sent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
CAS outcomes: Activity, Service

DAY 5: Native Tree Planting, Kuranda & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

DAY 5: Native Tree Planting, Kuranda & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Save Endangered Species by Planting Native Trees: Toting your shovels and gloves, this morning you give back to the community by planting native trees. On this service project, you help to protect a buffer zone to a World Heritage area. You plant native trees to moderate temperature and humidity and to create niches for other plants and animals. By working with seedlings, digging, planting, and watering, you get to meet some local volunteers, help the environment and contribute to the community. 

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: This afternoon you experience Cairns premier eco-attraction and winner of numerous ecotourism awards – the Skyrail. Your guide takes you to this unique rainforest cableway for a fantastic journey over Australia’s World Heritage listed tropical rainforest canopy and deep into the forest. Spanning 7.5 kilometres over Barron Gorge National Park, the Skyrail experience includes a scenic cableway ride and stops at two rainforest mid-stations.

Kuranda Mountain Village: At the end of the Skyrail lies the mountain village of Kuranda.  Have lunch together before you stroll around the market place for local arts and crafts, and sample some local fare.  Options in Kuranda Village include Koala Gardens*, The Butterfly Sanctuary*, Birdworld* and the Venom Zoo* (*extra cost).

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse
Included Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch
CAS outcomes: Activity

DAY 6: Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Aboriginal Dot Painting

DAY 6: Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Aboriginal Dot Painting

Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk: Today you discover the Daintree Rainforest at Mossman Gorge, an area important to the Kuku Yalanji. Beginning with a traditional smoking ceremony, you wander rainforest paths, discovering with your guide how these Aboriginal people found their way through dense rainforest, made shelter and learned which native plants were tasty to eat. As your guide shares his stories, you learn 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. While on the walk, you can go for a swim in the sparkling clear water among the boulders, and perhaps paint your faces with traditional ochre rock paint. Your walk finishes with some billy-tea and fresh-made damper with native honey.

Aboriginal Dot Painting:  At an art gallery artist-in-residence Binna teaches you how to re-create the dot paintings that are a typical aboriginal style and symbolic of Australian art. He explains the meaning behind his paintings and what this art means to his people. You will be able to take your boomerang home with you – a perfect souvenir for your time in Australia!

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 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!

Night Walk:  Tonight with your guide you can also roam the rainforest to spot the Daintree’s elusive nocturnal creatures as they come to life at night. Your guide knows what signs to look for, and you may have a chance to meet the Northern Brown Bandicoot, Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo, or the striped possum as it leaps onto the rainforest’s giant fan palms.  While wildlife behaviour and fauna sightings are unpredictable, you will enjoy the search for these elusive creatures.

Accommodation: The Beach House
Included Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Creativity, Activity

DAY 7: JCU Canopy Crane, Environmental Debate & Aussie BBQ

DAY 7: JCU Canopy Crane, Environmental Debate & Aussie BBQ

Environmental Debate: After a sleep in and relaxed morning, you get to participate in a debate which focuses on issues of development and effects on biodiversity. Students are given background information and a summary of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about a major resort development proposed for Cairns and then given different roles to play of community members.  You then argue for or against the building of the resort. This requires evaluating projected economic, social and environmental impacts as well as proposed sustainability efforts. It is a fun way for you to get involved with all sides of an environmental debate with a real-life example that has gained significant national media attention.

JCU Canopy Crane: Next on the agenda is to check out the canopy crane at The James Cook University Daintree research station. After a safety orientation and a discussion about the significance of this rainforest by an on-site expert, you climb into a suspended gondola with the crane operator. The crane then ascends over the rainforest canopy, and can swing 360 degrees, surveying the incredible biodiversity that has earned the Daintree UNESCO World Heritage status. (Please note students must be at least 15 years old to participate.)

Service Project: Whilst not in the crane, the group participates in an important service project at the research station. Hundreds of trees have been planted for re-growth on site, and students are taught how to do condition assessments of the trees as biologists and botanists do in the field. Students learn about pioneer species, herbivory, and how to use a clinometer and DBH tapes to measure tree growth. The results of the condition assessments are then contributed to the ongoing research on the success of “pioneer species” used by JCU staff.

Beach BBQ Party: On your way back to Cairns, you stop at Ellis beach for an afternoon of music, games and a real Aussie BBQ dinner. This is a fun way to end your time in Cairns.

Accommodation: The Northern Greenhouse
Included Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Activity, Service

DAY 8: Free Time, Optional Urban Challenge and Departure

DAY 8: Free Time, Optional Urban Challenge and Departure

After breakfast this morning you have free time for last-minute shopping or souvenir purchases.

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!

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

Included: Breakfast
CAS outcomes: Creativity, Activity

 School Excursion Fees Include:

  • All activities as described in the itinerary
  • Cairns airport transfers
  • Transportation to activities
  • Mangrove Scientist on Days 1 & 2
  • Marine Naturalist on Day 3
  • Eco-Certified Marine Naturalist on Day 4
  • 6 nights Cairns hostel (4 or 6 share single-gender rooms with ensuites)*
  • 1 night Daintree Rainforest Cabins (4 share single-gender rooms with ensuites)*
  • All continental breakfasts
  • All lunches
  • 5 dinners
  • Mask, fins, snorkel hire on Fitzroy Island and reef trip
  • Stinger suit hire during the wet season
  • 101 Marine Animals of the Great Barrier Reef field guide for each student
  • Small World Journeys reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag
  • National Park and Marine Park taxes and levies
  • Carbon offsetting through Sustainable Travel International (STI) for a carbon-neutral trip

*Two private rooms (twin or triple) for teachers are included in the price of the trip. If additional rooms are required, a supplement of $553 AUD is incurred.

School Excursion Fees Exclude:

  • Airfare to Cairns
  • Dinner on day 2 and 5
  • Personal expenses (phone, souvenirs, laundry, etc.)

Land Cost to 31 March 2018:

  • 15 + participants: $1898 AUD
  • (low numbers) 10-14 participants: $2068 AUD


All accommodation is included. 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 Daintree Rainforest, students stay in single-gender 6-share cabins with ensuites – this is the perfect spot to enjoy the life and chatter of the jungle.

  • Upgrade to Cairns HOTEL accommodation: 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 $90 per person


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 fruit 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.



  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: 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 2: What is the weather like in Cairns and The Great Barrier Reef?

Answer: Cairns is a tropical place, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year-round. 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.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 the autumn (March - May) the weather is more unpredictable: some days it can be warm and rainy, other days hot and humid.September - October tends to be the nicest time of the year - warm to hot days with little chance of rainfall. 

Question 3: What will we eat whilst on tour?

Answer: We understand how important food is to young people – and heaps of it!A typical breakfast will be a continental breakfast including juices, cereals, toast & jams (and optional vegemite!) and a typical packed lunch will be a meat and salad sandwich, drink, chips, biscuits and a piece of fresh fruit. Café lunches and restaurant dinners will vary, such as pastas, pizzas, steak and salad, but we place a big emphasis on variety and healthful options. One night we have a typical Aussie BBQ and other nights we eat in restaurants.Best of all, we carry our snack box when we travel to ensure that no one is ever hungry.

Question 4: When do I schedule my flights for the tour?

Answer: Please do not make flight arrangements until you have received an email from us confirming the tour. Plan to arrive by 12 noon on Day 1 and plan to depart by 12 noon on Day 7.  If you need assistance booking your airfare, please contact Kim Salter at Travel Managers: or phone her within Australia - 1 300 640 821

Question 5: 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 6: 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 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 or call  1-415-898- 7974.

Question 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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 10: 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.

Educational Outcomes of the CAS Programme

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) high school Diploma Programme (DP). It is designed to enhance the students’ high school experience by involving a range of activities intended to “enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience”. 

The CAS program lasts for 18 months through the DP program and involves activities and projects that together have to include all three aspects of the program – creativity, activity and service. Depending on the individual schools, students can choose between activities and projects within school, or find suitable alternatives outside of school.

In addition to everyday activities such as dancing, painting, volunteering, hiking, fundraising, swimming, playing an instrument etc., students can also choose to take part in a CAS trip. This is where Small World Journeys comes in – with an exciting new CAS trip designed specifically for DP students from all around the world! A CAS trip can be designed to aim at one of the three strands, but SWJ has incorporated all three aspects of CAS into one, adventure-packed trip to the tropics of Australia.

The IB states that “a good CAS programme should be both challenging and enjoyable – a personal journey of self-discovery”. This is what our CAS trip is designed to be. Every day includes a range of activities that each student can attempt at their own pace and level. The activities involve teamwork, initiative, communication, determination and courage, and by the end of it every student will have experienced creativity, activity and service in a whole new way!


How does each day relate to CAS?


Day 1 – Arrival, Marine Debris Presentation & Mangrove Clean-Up

The first activity is a presentation about how plastic and other sorts of litter damages marine ecosystems. It sets the backdrop for a range of activities that you will take part of during the trip. Next is a very important service project where you go into the mangroves for a rubbish clean-up. Not only do mangroves filter the water that goes into the ocean, they are also nursing areas for many species of fish found on the Great Barrier Reef. Marine litter is one of the largest threats to mangrove ecosystems, so every piece of rubbish that is picked up is important and may save the life of your favourite reef fish!


Day 2 – Service Project, Wildlife Dome & GBR Presentation

The first activity of day 2 is a continuation of yesterday’s service activity, and involves a creative way of protecting waterways, ocean and reef. You stencil messages on drains that lead to the ocean, and help raise awareness about urban stormwater pollution. Raising awareness is a vital aspect of protecting the environment, so this project involves both the creativity and service facets of CAS. Next you are challenged to build a floating raft as a team. Once done, you have to test its floating capabilities; this activity involves both action and creativity. The last activity of the day is a reef presentation by a marine biologist, designed to prepare you for what you will be experiencing in tomorrow’s activities.


Day 3 – Fitzroy Island with Marine Biologist

Day 3 is filled with action as you head out to Fitzroy Island where you snorkel on the Inner Barrier Reef and visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Snorkelling off the beach today also prepares you for a more intense snorkelling experience out on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) tomorrow.


Day 4 – GBR Snorkelling, Data Collection & Community Service

Early morning on day 4 you head out to experience the Great Barrier Reef. The accredited eco-guide takes you snorkelling, and demonstrates how to look for signs of coral bleaching. You then survey a specific reef area for monitoring service work. Your guide also shows you some of the wonders of the reef (action). Part of you day involves sampling water quality,  looking for coral predators, and learning how staff eliminate them. All the data collected will be sent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GRMPA), and will be used for research and monitoring of the health of the GBR.


Day 5 – Native Tree Planting, Kuranda & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

The service project you take part in today is saving endangered tree species by planting native trees. This helps protect a buffer zone to a World Heritage area, and is a very valuable experience. After that you get to “fly” over the rainforest aboard the Skyrail Cableway, and spend the rest of the day in Kuranda Mountain Village.


Day 6 – Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Aboriginal Dot Painting

Day 6 is a cultural day where you get to learn about and experience true Aboriginal culture. It starts in Mossman Gorge, where an Aboriginal guide takes you for a rainforest walk (action) showing you some of their traditional ways and teaching you about their ancient history and culture. Next, your creativity is challenged when pursuing the traditional Aboriginal dot painting. You get to create your own masterpiece on a boomerang that you can take home as a souvenir. This night is spent in the Daintree Rainforest, and the last activity for the day is a night walk (activity) in the rainforest, in an attempt to spot some of the nocturnal animals of the rainforest.


Day 7 – JCU Canopy Crane, Environmental Debate & Aussie BBQ

Day 7 starts by waking up in a cabin in the middle of the rainforest. After breakfast you participate in an environmental debate where you have to use your creativity and intellect to argue for or against a major development. Next you get to test the James Cook University (JCU) canopy crane, which is used for research and monitoring of the rainforest. Whilst not in the crane, you will take part in a service project where you learn how to monitor a revegetation site. All the data you collect here is used in the ongoing research about pioneer species conducted by JCU students and staff.


Day 8 – Free Time, Optional Urban Challenge & Departure

The last activity of your stay is the Urban Challenge (if there is sufficient time). This is a team-building challenge where you have to use your creative skills to complete a treasure hunt. You compete against time, so the last bit will be spent running (activity) through Cairns! After this it is time to say goodbye to Cairns as you head to catch your flight home.



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. You also help the rainforest directly by participating in a community service project at a rainforest research station.

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 Partnership.

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 the 2015 calendar year, we offset 68.5348 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  We also run the Small World Journeys’ office completely on solar power! 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.  Please also ask us for references on the quality of our community service projects.

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 community service projects and then we complete a risk assessment for you. 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 guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.