A Sample of “The Harbour City”
Join us for a look at one of the world’s great cities through the eyes of locals – both present and past – to fully appreciate its enchantment. Our friendly Small World Journeys guide will introduce you to locals’ hangouts, quirky shops, favourite viewpoints and buildings steeped in history. Whether its your first visit to Sydney or your fifth, you will find new things at which to marvel during this action-packed adventure.
- Experience Aboriginal Culture hidden in the Historic District
- Private chartered cruise on Sydney Harbour just for your group
- See the Three Sisters from Echo Point in the Blue Mountains
- Swim at the incomparable Bondi Beach
- Visit the celebrated Fish Market and sample its bounty
- Stay in the quaint “Rocks” district and do a walking tour with your guide
- OPTIONAL Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, surf lesson and performance at the Opera House!
All accommodation is included. 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. Upgrade to 3.5-star hotel accommodation available, see inclusions page.
Many meals are included. You are provided with all continental breakfasts, a seafood lunch on your Sydney Harbour cruise and delicious dinners including a 2-course meal in the scenic Darling Harbour. Ask us about vegetarian, kosher and halal options.
Day 1: Orientation, Walking Tour, Sydey Tower and Darling Hrbour Activities
Arrival: Welcome to Sydney! On arrival you are greeted by your local guide, a “Sydneysider” with an intimate knowledge of Sydney’s best-loved sites. She gives you an orientation and you will be transferred to your accommodation.
Historic District Accommodation: Your new hostel is located right in ‘The Rocks’—the historic district where Sydney began. All rooms have ensuites and air-conditioning, while the accommodation offers spacious communal areas, internet, coffee bar and large rooftop terrace with spectacular views directly to the Sydney Opera House!
Walking Tour: With your guide you learn about the cultural, historic and natural sites of Sydney as you follow in the steps of colonists and convicts. Tracing cobblestone paths and narrow laneways, you learn where scandals emerged and history happened.
Sydney Tower Eye: Your next stop lets you see the city from above! Standing at 309 metres (1014ft) tall, the Sydney Tower is the highest point in Sydney and has panoramic views stretching from Bondi Beach in the east to the Olympic Park and on a clear day the Blue Mountains in the west.
Darling Harbour: Sydney’s most exciting harbour! Here you are free to explore and you can choose to shop at the Harbourside Shopping Centre, see what’s fishy at the famous Sydney Aquarium*, encounter Aussie animals at Wildlife World*, be blown away by special effects at the Imax 3-D Cinema theatre* or meet celebrities like Angelina Jolie, cricketer Donald Bradman and Lady Gaga at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum*. Keep your eye out for street performers who are almost always in the area or one of the many festivals and events. (*entry costs apply)
Dinner is a delicious 2-course meal at Darling Harbour.
Accommodation: Sydney Rocks Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Dinner
Day 2: Private Sydney Harbour Cruise & Historic Sites
City Highlights from the Water: A chartered boat just for your group!This morning you are picked up at your hotel by your guide and you travel to Rose Bay – a sophisticated Sydney suburb and the start of today’s adventure. In a small group you travel all around the spectacular Sydney Harbour to get acquainted with the highlights of Sydney like the Harbour Bridge and the iconic Opera House.
Cultural and Historic Sites: Your friendly captain gives you insight into Sydney’s sites as well as stories behind the people and places of this unforgettable city. You cruise by the holiday homes of multi-millionaires and stars such as Nicole Kidman, Bono and Russell Crowe and learn tales of the rich & famous.
City Highlights from the Water: A chartered boat just for your group! Today you travel all around the spectacular Sydney Harbour to get acquainted with the city’s highlights. Your friendly captain gives you insight into Sydney’s sites as well as stories behind the people and places of this unforgettable city. You cruise by the holiday homes of multi-millionaires and stars such as Nicole Kidman, Bono and Russell Crowe and learn tales of the rich & famous.
Famous Fish Market: A highlight is a seafood lunch at Sydney’s famous Fish Market – “where the city meets the sea”, and the largest working market of its kind in the southern hemisphere. As one of the most popular places for local Sydneysiders, here you can taste old favourites like fish and chips, or the more adventurous can try fresh-from-the-sea octopus, squid and Oysters Kilpatrick.
Manly Beach and Sydney Harbour National Park: On your cruise you also stop at a little-known secluded spot off Manly’s North Head for a secluded swim (weather permitting). You then cruise over to Sydney Harbour National Park and soak in the million dollar cliff side views from The Gap, followed by a refreshment at the picturesque Watsons Bay. This is a perfect day to see the famous and out-of-the-way gems of Sydney’s grand Harbour.
Accommodation: Sydney Rocks Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 3: Aboriginal Culture tour, Bondi beach and Optional Surf Lesson
Aboriginal Culture Tour: This morning with an Aboriginal guide you trace a circuit through the area known to the indigenous Gadigal people as Warrane. You weave among historic buildings and narrow laneways to magically discover plants and herbs used by Aboriginal people, like a grass used as a whistle and a sweet tasting honeysuckle treat. As you wander, your guide illustrates the beliefs of her people through the telling of Dreamtime stories and you learn the significance of this land to those living here thousands of years before European settlers. Later in the Discovery Museum, you touch artifacts such as shields and boomerangs and hand woven dilly bags that bring Aboriginal culture to life.
Bondi Beach: Bondi Beach is an Australian icon, world-renowned as one of the most popular beaches in Australia, and the 2000 Summer Olympics volleyball competition was hosted here! Multiple movies and reality shows have been filmed here, including the ever-popular Bondi Rescue. The one-kilometre length beach is perfect for people watching, swimming and every year in November, taking in the famous “Sculptures by the Sea” exhibition.
Optional Surf Lesson: Nothing soaks in the true spirit of Australia like surfing, and here if you wish you can get your feet wet learning how to catch some waves. In a small group of beginners, you start your lesson with ocean hydraulics, tides, rips and surf-related safety skills. Then you learn about proper standing and paddling techniques, surfing etiquette and how even first-time surfers can catch a wave. By the end of the lesson with a little practice, you should be standing and shredding! (surfing lesson is extra cost).
Accommodation: Sydney Rocks Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4: Guided Trip to The Blue Mountains and Optional Sydney Opera House Performance
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.
Optional Skyrail, Cableway Ride & Scenic Rail: 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 (optional, $35 AUD for all three)
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. You return to Sydney in the late afternoon.
Optional Sydney Opera House Performance: As a special treat tonight, you can opt to see a live performance in the Opera House – from opera to circus, rock and cabaret – in one of the busiest performing arts venues in the world (extra cost).
Accommodation: Sydney Rocks Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 5: Option Harbour Bridge Climb, Urban Challenge or Luna Park and Depart
After breakfast this morning you have free time for last-minute shopping or souvenir purchases.
Optional Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb: If you like you could plan to depart Sydney in the afternoon and spend your morning taking in views of the entire city atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge with an incomparable bridge climb. Led by a climb leader, you will “hike” to the summit of this world famous bridge, 134 metres (440 feet) above Sydney Harbour. It is a 3 ½ hour journey to the top of the Bridge along catwalks and all the way to the summit, high above Sydney Harbour. The steady incline to the summit leaves you free to focus your attention on your Sydney experience, with opportunities to witness 360 degree views of Sydney, including east to the Sydney Opera House, west to the Blue Mountains and the Harbour city surrounds. When you reach the top you will have a sense of achievement that you will remember forever – you’ve conquered an Australian icon recognized the world over. (Prices start at $218 AUD).
Urban Challenge: If you have an afternoon flight, you can choose to spend the morning souvenir shopping, 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, art and culture of Sydney. Small group teams compete against time in this treasure hunt-type activity in Sydney’s Rocks historic district. This is a popular activity for students and the winning team gets a prize!
Luna Park: Just across the harbour is the iconic face that welcomes visitors to this historic fun park. Rides include the Devil’s Drop, the Wild Mouse roller coaster, and DodgeEm City. On the Ferris wheel you can take in amazing harbour views! (park hours are more limited in winter time; please ask us when planning your tour)
Later you are transferred to the Sydney airport for your flight home.
Is this Sydney program too long or too short? Contact us for custom tour options that match your budget and objectives!
Land Cost, 15 + participants: $965 AUD
Land Cost, 10-14 participants: $1035 AUD
Trip Fees Include:
- Sydney airport Meet & Greet and airport transfers
- Small World Journeys guide on Days 1, 3, and 4
- Boat captain/guide on Day 2
- All activities and entrance fees as described in the itinerary
- Sydney ferry, bus and train pass
- 5 nights Sydney hostel in Historic District (4 share single-gender rooms with private bathroom)*
- All continental breakfasts
- 1 lunch
- 3 dinners
- Small World Journeys reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag
- Carbon offsetting through Sustainable Travel International (STI) for a carbon-neutral trip
*Teacher leaders have a single or twin room with private bathroom
Trip Fees Exclude:
- Airfare to Sydney
- 3 lunches and 1 dinner
- Personal expenses (phone, laundry, etc.)
- Darling Harbour optional activities (prices vary)
- Blue Mountains Skyway, Cableway and Scenic Rail ($35 pp for all 3)
- Surfing Lesson at Bondi Beach ($70 pp)
- Sydney Opera House performance (prices start at $35 pp)
- Ride pass at Luna Park (prices start at $16 pp)
- Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb (prices start at $218)
Optional Lodging Upgrade to Hotel:
If your group desires hotel accommodation rather than staying at a hostel, you can upgrade to a 3.5-star central hotel, add $174 per person.
Small World Journeys reserves the right to change the order of activities for logistical reasons.
Question 1: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or call 1-415-898- 7974.
Question 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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.
Question 8: What makes Small World Journeys "eco-friendly"?
Answer: An eco tour, in our opinion, is a trip in which everyone benefits: the community, the environment, you and us. Simply by joining one of our trips, you will be supporting carbon offsetting, Rainforest Rescue's Adopt-A-Square initiative, aboriginal cultural ventures and locally-owned businesses who are working towards a more sustainable future in tourism. As our guest, you are supporting us as well. Thank you! For more information, see 10 Reasons Why We're Eco.
Question 9: How does Small World Journeys incorporate our educational objectives?
Answer: We work directly with the teacher organiser or group leader to understand the goals of the trip. Then we suggest activities and learning opportunities to match these objectives. For example, a group may be interested in learning more about marine biology. In this case we will facilitate some fun classroom time dedicated to marine science in Cairns, then a couple of days at the Great Barrier Reef with our marine biologist guide. We can include such things as waterproof fish and coral ID cards for each student, and mini-lectures after snorkel time. A SCUBA certification course may also be appropriate. Alternatively, we might suggest a few days at an island research station, during which students have classroom and snorkel time, as well as a service project monitoring coral bleaching on the reef. Whether it is marine science, aboriginal culture, rainforest ecology or another topic, we will work with each group to ensure an educational yet fun experience for all.
Question 10: What kind of insurance do you have in place?
Answer: Small World Journeys has public liability insurance up to $20,000,000 and is required for us to maintain our commercial permits for the national parks.
A Sample of Sydney Nature, Culture and History
Sydney is a city rich in culture and history where your students will learn about Australia’s convict past, colonialism and the move towards multiculturalism. In this itinerary your students will learn the history of iconic harbour sights, experience life as a “Sydneysider” by exploring the harbour and engage their sense of adventure during an optional afternoon learning to surf or climbing the Harbour Bridge!
- Learn about Aboriginal culture in the Rocks
- Taste the delicacies of the country’s biggest fish market
- Wander the trails of the Blue Mountains
- Hear about Sydney’s convict origins and early colonial history
- See the city from above and gain a bird’s eye perspective of the size of Sydney’s urban areas
- Learn about Australia’s variety of native wildlife
Aboriginal Guided Walk: Perhaps a perfect introduction to the Harbour city’s history, students discover the Aboriginal legacy of Sydney in the company of an Indigenous guide. Beneath and beside the city’s icons and modern buildings exist trees, plants, ochres, special rocks and stories important to the Gadigal people. On a leisurely “walkabout”, students learn about the spiritual connection the Gadigal people have with Sydney’s land and water.
Sydney Urban Challenge: This is activity is designed to teach students more about Sydney’s colonial and Aboriginal history whilst encouraging them to work as a team. Taking place entirely in the historic Rocks district, this urban challenge leads students through backstreets and alleyways, among statues and artifacts, discovering clues about Sydney’s past up through the 20th century.
How your trip supports the community
SUPPORTING ABORIGINAL 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 program includes activities and interaction with local 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 Aboriginal pride in culture.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES: We use locally owned 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.
How your trip is “Eco-friendly”
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 the community groups to which we donate, see Philanthropy and Partnerships.
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. 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.
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 guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.
"This trip covered our core subject areas—social/cultural, biological/environmental, historical—and more. Small World Journeys overdelivered and were very well organized. I feel we didn’t just receive great service but made great friends."
Find a trip
Small World Journeys offers a variety of trips, select above to find others on offer.