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A tour operator that loves teachers
(and caffeine)

The Small World team is a collection of educators, guides and tourism experts who, in many cases, drink a heck of a lot of coffee. This is because we are insanely dedicated to meeting your educational goals and providing a ridiculously high level of customer service.

“A professional and well-organised trip from start to finish. Materials and experiences matched description. The fact that we had everything so planned was amazing. Guides were personable, energetic and very knowledgeable. Small World Journeys was recommended by everyone we spoke to”.

– David Brennan, teacher, Wollongong School of the Performing Arts, NSW (Oct ’18)

“A professional and well-organised trip from start to finish. Materials and experiences matched description. The fact that we had everything so planned was amazing. Guides were personable, energetic and very knowledgeable. Small World Journeys was recommended by everyone we spoke to”. – David Brennan, teacher, Wollongong School of the Performing Arts, NSW (Oct ’18)

  • 25
    trees planted
    last year
  • 100
    corals surveyed for
    health and bleaching
  • 10
    kilos of rubbish cleared
    from mangroves
  • 75
    comfort packs made
    for the homeless
  • 10
    hours staff volunteering
    in community

Our team

Our team is made up of very different nice folks,
but the one thing that unites us is our love of teaching young people.
Most of us have university degrees – and in some cases masters
degrees and PhDs – with years of tourism expertise to boot. This means
we are good at teaching your students about zooxanthellae with flotsam
jelly fish AND ensuring your hotel pillow is fluffy.

Laura Griffiths
Laura Griffiths
Guide and Operations Assistant
In Wales Laura earned a Diploma in Health and Social Care for Children & Young People and continued to provide residential care to young people who were referred by the council. Whilst working with this population Laura taught these young people about nutrition and meal preparation as well...
as how to manage their day to day living. As a qualified personal trainer, Laura also ran fitness classes for kids in Wales with the purpose of teaching them about health and well-being and keeping them active.  It was then that Laura caught the travel bug and spent three years travelling the globe including such far-flung destinations as Egypt, Bulgaria, Thailand and Indonesia. Once Laura arrived in Australia, she felt she had found her true home and that working with young people was her purpose. Laura became and activity leader for Education First (EF), engaging young people in fun, active activities to get them more connected to the natural world.  Laura loves music and dancing, and her signature dance move is The Worm.
Laurie Pritchard
Laurie Pritchard
Owner/Managing Director & Disco Queen
Laurie was raised in the United States but her heart belongs to Australia. Educated at the Cranbrook-Kingswood School and the University of South Florida and L’Institut de Touraine in France, Laurie also held a university teaching post in mainland China...
A love of the outdoors led to 12 years working for and developing adventure trips for organisations like The World Outdoors, Adventures Cross-Country and People to People Student Ambassador Programs in the USA, and RnR Adventures in Australia. Laurie was a field instructor for the Outward Bound School, leading educational wilderness expeditions for disadvantaged and at-risk youth and she was also the Wilderness Director for Oak Creek Ranch School. In addition to her Bachelor’s Degree, she holds a Diploma of Tourism from Far North Queensland TAFE, and is a certified Bronze Medallion. Laurie has traveled to over 40 countries, and her articles about travel have appeared in magazines such as Transitions Abroad, Real Travel and on The Travel Channel’s World Hum. In 2017, she was the regional winner for Institute of Manager and Leaders’ Owner/Entrepreneur category, and was named the CBWC Cairns Small Business Woman of the Year.
Rick Hall
Rick Hall
Guide & Rubber Spider Tamer
As a former researcher for the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Rick has spent many years up close to Australian fauna. He was involved with frog monitoring and mammal surveys, which eventually led to his profession as a naturalist. Rick also conducted extensive field research and...
interpretation programs on sea turtle biology at the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery. Rick is a true-blue Aussie bloke born and bred in Queensland, and he knows the Aussie “bush” intimately. Having worked as a full time naturalist guide from the coast to the outback for many years, Rick is also a superb generalist with an enthusiasm for camping, teaching, and working with young people. Working with companies such as Australian Wild Escapes and Wilderness Eco Safaris further honed his group management and “tour guiding” skills. His travels have taken him through South America and Papua New Guinea, and his time with Australia’s Indigenous people created a fondness for playing the didgeridoo.
Angelika Volz
Angelika Volz
Operations Assistant and Guide
“Angie” has proudly completed a Masters Degree of Science, with a focus on biology, chemistry as well as a degree in education. Angie is also an accredited Wet Tropics tour guide and has introduced hundreds of curious tourists to...
the Daintree Rainforest via a jungle zip line. She began her work with young people in Germany, teaching martial arts and working as a project officer to organise environmental and science-based events for kids and families around Europe. Then in Australia, Angie spent time alongside rangers in six different national parks in Victoria, recording data on macropods and trapping marsupials, along with managing weeds and revegetation projects.  Most recently, Angie worked as a project coordinator for the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, organising and leading clean up events, delivering presentations and educational talks as well as processing scientific data about marine debris. She continues to organise and conduct educational presentations and film screenings on environmental issues in the local community and collaborating with students from James Cook University to promote sustainable solutions. In her free time, Angie volunteers for both Plastic Free Port Douglas and the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
George Woodleigh
George Woodleigh
Guide & Story Teller Extraordinaire
George is a Cairns-area local, with his Aboriginal ancestry (Yidinji) tracing back thousands of years in this region. George has explored almost every inch of Queensland, from the rainforests of the Wet Tropics to the tip of Cape York Peninsula. He has worked as a tour...
guide, public servant and even ran his own coach touring business. George loves teaching visitors about Australian flora, fauna, and biodiversity, and he is especially fond of teaching young people about his culture. George has three grown children and lives with his wife Alice, and loves both rugby league and country music. He has travelled to far flung locations such as the Philippines, and the home of country music, Nashville USA.
Leanne Hayter
Leanne Hayter
Sydney Guide & Super Singer
Lee has Sydney in her blood. She has volunteered as an “Aquarist” at the Sydney Aquarium, worked as a trainer at Taronga Zoo to teach employees about tour excellence, and developed and delivered tours focusing on Aboriginal and colonial heritage for the Paramatta City Council. She continues her work at Taronga Zoo conducting guided tours and assisting on...
educational programs for young people. As an active member of the Professional Tour Guide Association Australia (PTGAA) and Guiding Organisation Australia (GOA), Lee has made it her life to introduce visitors to the wonders of Australia. Lee has a Certificate IV in guiding, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and a Certificate III in Tourism under her belt. She serves as board member of Savannah Guides, and has attended guide training schools from the Wet Tropics to the eastern cape of South Africa. One of her many talents is organising volunteer activities for school holidays and special events. When Lee is not guiding visitors around Sydney, she is rocking out with her bass guitar and her band Something Else Trio.
Pablo Cogollos
Pablo Cogollos
Marine Biologist & Spanish Seastar
Pablo spends more time under the water than above it. He can boast of more than 1000 dives, including 200 research dives with the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas in Mexico. Having also obtained his marine biology degree at the University La Laguna in Tenerife, Canary Islands,..
Pablo has spent a lot of his time studying the flora and fauna of the Atlantic Ocean. Although his background in biology helped him with his work as an assistant veterinarian in one of Spain’s national parks, he much prefers tropical Queensland as his base. Pablo is extremely knowledgeable about undersea life, and particularly enthusiastic about teaching young people. Pablo completes an Eye on the Reef survey every week, keeping a close look at the health of the Great Barrier Reef. He speaks English and Spanish fluently, and can also converse in Mandarin.

Ruth Foran
Ruth Foran
Admin and Operations Assistant
Born in Wales to gypsy parents who brought the family to Australia on a ship via the Suez Canal when she was eight years old. Growing up in Victoria’s Dandenongs, Ruth acquired her love of the Aussie bush. Her early career in the gaming industry took Ruth all around Australia and...
she worked in most of the states, and also had a short stint in South Africa.  Transitioning to marketing, Ruth then began promoting the casino events and tournaments. Australia Post then snapped her up, engaging Ruth as Product Manager to market their products and services.  It was here that Ruth assisted large companies to set up and organise their mail rooms, making them more efficient and productive.  Using her management skills, Ruth then branched into the art world and for seven years she ran the exhibitions for a Melbourne-based gallery.  During that time Ruth took holidays in Cairns each year, falling in love with its climate and people. Ruth has travelled to South Africa, Borneo, Southeast Asia and Vanuatu.  She has competed on a national level in both Latin and Rock n Roll dancing and performance salsa
Kylie Michell
Kylie Michell
Sydney Guide & Italiaphile
Kylie is our Sydney-based guide: she loves showing visitors the hidden and unusual corners of Sydney, and her two children keep her busy discovering more. Kylie got her start as a guide in 1994 with Contiki which gave her a sound background in managing of young people and...
an intimate knowledge of Australia’s entire east coast. Kylie then went on to train tour guides for Contiki’s head office in Sydney, and even taught tour guiding at an adult college. Kylie studied mass communications at Macquarie University in Sydney, and obtained her NAATI accreditation as an interpreter which has led to work in Italian as well as French. Kylie has also recently completed a course on the colonial history of Sydney, which has added a new dimension to her knowledge of the city. Although Kylie spent her youth in Florence, Italy, having attended the American School there, she is an Aussie through and through. Consequently, Kylie is just as comfortable sipping a cappuccino at a cafe as a beer in a country pub.
Elise Chatterton
Elise Chatterton
Guide & Hula Hoop Highness
Elise is a champion in community service. She served as the Community Engagement Officer for Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC), coordinating volunteers to help out in the community. She is also a project coordinator for Cairns Community...
Kitchen and helps REAP Cairns with collecting surplus food from businesses and delivering it to local charities and schools. Elise got her start working with young people as a coach of soccer, cricket, AFL and circus skills with Active After School Communities (AASC) and continues do do youth work with IFYS. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from James Cook University, and is completing her Master's Degree in Social Work in 2022. Elise has supported the university’s data collection efforts as a research assistant at the Daintree Rainforest Observatory and also assisted the Australian Wildlife Conservancy in Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary to help protect some of the largest remaining populations of many endangered species like Bilbies, Numbats & Gouldian Finches. Elise continues to support JCU and the WWF in their Northern Bettong Project, setting up field sites, handling animals and recording data. Her conservation work has also taken her to South Africa to a game reserve.
Darryl Schwilk
Darryl Schwilk
Marine Biologist & Terrific Teacher
Darryl has both a Bachelor of Secondary Education and a Bachelor of Science (Marine Zoology) from James Cook University in Cairns. Having spent a significant amount of time in his youth on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, Cairns and Mackay, Darryl has been in...
and around water his whole life and has devoted the last 15 years to teaching biology, marine and junior science to high school students at Cairns High School. Additionally, Darryl is a trainer / assessor for Royal Life Saving Queensland and for First Aid Academy Cairns as well as a PADI SCUBA instructor. He is also a qualified boatsafe trainer / assessor, a marine radio invigilator, and Chairman of the Peninsula Boating Committee. When on land, Darryl enjoys playing volleyball.
Dr. Glen Burns
Dr. Glen Burns
Marine Biologist & Erudite Educator
After receiving his Ph.D. in Zoology in 1984, Glen took up a position as a Research Fellow for the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. Based in Cairns, Glen did his research focused on the population ecology and reproductive biology of sea snakes. Over the past 30 years Glen has traveled extensively throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific Region, Africa...
South East Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean in an effort to gain a perspective on human impact on tropical marine ecosystems around the world. He has lectured at the University of Long Island in New York and is the author of several scientific articles. For 12 years Glen taught the Tropical Marine Science Program for Long Island University bringing American university students to Australia to study marine ecology on the Great Barrier Reef. Living with his family in Florida for 5 years, Glen taught Marine Biology and Environmental Science at the university level before returning to Australia. Glens work aims to help conserve coral reefs on a global scale by examining sustainable uses for coral reef systems and then promoting the adoption of these alternatives through education. Glen is also a Master Reef Guide - a highly coveted role obtained only after a rigorous selection and training process through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Emma Cooke
Emma Cooke
Guide & Enthusiastic Educator
Emma grew up in Melbourne, but her love of nature took her out of the city often as a child. Emma studied at both Monash University (Bachelor of Arts) and at James Cook University in Cairns (Australian Literature and Australian History) with a focus on early European and Indigenous...
Australian contact and early European perception of the rainforest. Emma also obtained a Certificate IV in Tour Guiding from TAFE. Emma began guiding in 1996 working for Jungle Tours in the Cairns region, taking young backpackers on adventures in the rainforest. At this point, Emma earned the distinction of being the only female trekking guide in north Queensland! In addition, Emma managed a lodge in the Cairns Highlands that provided nature walks & hiking, canoeing, wildlife spotting. She holds a government-issued Blue Card for working with young people, as well as a Senior First Aid and CPR. Her interests include indigenous affairs – including Aboriginal civil rights within the Australian political landscape. Her travels have taken her around the world, solo hiking and camping in remote Europe, post-communist Russia and the Baltic States.

Ben Keating
Ben Keating
Guide and Photographer Fanatic
Having studied both environmental science and marine biology at James Cook University, Ben is our amazing amphibious guide.  Ben’s first foray into educating young people was as a guide at Reef HQ and then as the Education Officer for Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast...
His degree led him to work as a marine biologist and crew member on several boats out of Port Douglas, including Wavelength and Quicksilver, on which he educated visitors about life under the sea.  He eventually became Trip Director/Expedition Leader for Coral Expeditions, which involved planning the daily itinerary for guests, the creation and delivery of educational activities and leading in water and off-ship activities.  Additionally, Ben was a group leader for AustraLearn, a company that provides opportunities for young North Americans to earn their university degree through programs in Australia and New Zealand. Ben’s talent for photography eventually morphed into a business, and now when he is not guiding he can be found behind the lens. Ben has been trained in remote first aid and sea safety (STCW 95), and as a PADI Advance SCUBA diver has completed more than 1000 dives.
Renee Winter
Renee Winter
Camps Coordinator and Kitty Queen
Having been born and raised in the Far North, Renee is a Queensland woman through and through. Renee completed her studies at St. Andrews, also earning a Certificate III in Hospitality. However, Renee was drawn to start her career in administration, providing customer support, preparing quotes and...
invoices and training new office staff in two busy construction companies.  She continued on to work in disability services, finding her niche at the ITEC group, which provides programs relating to disabilities, child safety, families and mental health.  As someone who crosses every t and dots every i, Renee was a perfect match to handle incident reporting, compliance and safety.  It was here her knowledge of the intricacies of the NDIS began.  Having both friends and family members affected by Autism and mental health issues, Renee is a fierce advocate and supporter of mental health and those on the spectrum. Renee is fond of motorbike riding, camping, playing PC games, reading and spending time with her family and partner Crystal. She is a proud mum of four cuddly cats.
Rohan Laing
Rohan Laing
Guide and Rafting Raja
After completing high school in Melbourne, “Roh” honed his bush and survival skills as an army reservist. He holds an advanced wilderness first aid certification and is a swift water rescue technician.  Roh then surprisingly spent his early career days in suit and tie. In Melbourne and London he worked for working for recruitment agencies and...
for Dunn & Bradstreet Melbourne as an account manager. Swapping his briefcase for boardies, Roh moved to North Queensland in 2008, trained as a guide and has never looked back. Roh is now an amphibious teacher with a passion for North Queensland’s waterways and for The Wet Tropics. He knows the Cairns region like the back of his hand, and is especially happy to teach young people about all it has to offer.
Azri Saparwan
Azri Saparwan
Marine Biologist & Friend of Fishies
Azri grew up in South Australia, and his love of the sea took him frequently to the water. Azri studied at Flinders University (Bachelor of Science) where he attained high distinction for his degree in marine biology. In Singapore, Azri provided in-depth guided tours of one of the largest oceanariums in the world. It was here he was involved in animal husbandry, monitoring...
stress and disease on the fish population. Azri is the Volunteer Coordinator for Reef Restoration Foundation for the Great Barrier Reef, which includes coordinating volunteers in assisting maintenance of coral nursery and monitoring of individual coral growth and survival. He is also the founder of Sukamade Turtle Refuge, a non-profit organisation as an initiative to gather volunteers to aid rangers during the busiest period at a prominent sea turtle rookery in Sukamade, Banyuwangi, Indonesia. Azri is a Paramedic Level 1 with the Singapore Armed Forces, and a rescue SCUBA diver.
Ashaya Snedden
Ashaya Snedden
Guide & Speaker for The Trees
As a Cairns region local, Ashaya’s relationship with the rainforest began when she was quite young. She has worked as an environmental field officer, a landscaper, and in forestry with a regeneration program in both Queensland and New Zealand. Ashaya is currently obtaining her conservation...
land and ecosystem management certificate through TAFE, and she is a certified Wet Tropics Tour Guide. Ashaya’s knowledge of Far North Queensland even extends to her knowledge about the Indigenous Djabugay language and culture. Although she has a chainsaw operator’s certification, Ashaya speaks for the trees. She has spent much of her time propagating seeds and planting trees in both a natural and landscaping environments. Ashaya is mother to an 8-year-old son, and has travelled extensively through South America and Southeast Asia.
Hannah Kish
Hannah Kish
Marine Biologist & Coral Countess
Hannah gained experience in the Florida Keys restoring reef tracts and cleaning the coral nurseries with Coral Restoration Foundation. She also developed a citizen science website to train people on coral reef monitoring. Her experience leading children underwater there led to her interest in volunteering for Reef Restoration Foundation (of which Small World...
Journeys is a sponsor) here at the Great Barrier Reef. Although Hannah’s Bachelor of Science degree (with a specialty focus on marine biology) was obtained far from the ocean at Michigan State University in the USA, it was just a matter of time before she was sucked out to the sea. Hannah has worked as both a coral restoration assistant and a marine volunteer in the Maldives and Madagascar, respectively. When not with Small World Journeys groups, Hannah also works as a Lab Aid for TropWater Cairns, participating in field work for a variety of sea grass-centered projects.

our
Vision

To be Australia’s premier provider of education for youth outside the classroom.

Who we sponsor and support (and sometimes kiss)

Our goal is to leave our community better because we exist, not despite it. We want to ensure the sustainability of the communities in which our guests travel. This is why Small World Journeys has committed at least 5% of net profits each year to support non-profit community and environmental organisations. We also give kisses for free.

Rosies Friends on The Street

Small World Journeys’ groups participate in a community service project to help patrons of Rosies. Rosies Friends on The Street...

Small World Journeys’ groups participate in a community service project to help patrons of Rosies. Rosies Friends on The Street is a not-for-profit organisation that reaches out to those most in need, those people who are abandoned, marginalised, socially isolated within our community.

Rosies patrons are in need of food, hygiene items and perhaps most importantly, someone to talk to who will be a non-judgemental friend.

Small World Journeys’ students create comfort packs for these patrons that both they and Small World have donated, and they also learn how to upcycle materials into tote bags to hold the hygiene items. Small World staff has also regularly volunteered for the Centre.

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Rosies Friends on The Street

Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Since 2012, Small World Journeys has given over $25,000 to The Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island to support...

Since 2012, Small World Journeys has given over $25,000 to The Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island to support the continued care of sick and injured sea turtles in the Cairns region. Every group who visits the Centre receives a certificate detailing the donation Small World Journeys has made on their behalf.

Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island (CTRC) is a volunteer operated, non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles. The Great Barrier Reef is home to six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles. A number of these are seriously threatened by a diverse range of natural and, more significantly, human induced factors. Small World staff has also regularly volunteered for the Centre.

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Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Reef Restoration Foundation

We are a proud sponsor of a coral propagation tree at The Great Barrier Reef through Reef Restoration Foundation (RRF)....

We are a proud sponsor of a coral propagation tree at The Great Barrier Reef through Reef Restoration Foundation (RRF). Additionally every one of our groups that visits the reef at Fitzroy Island gets a coral adopted in their name by Small World. RRF is a not-for-profit social enterprise creating optimism for the Great Barrier Reef through innovative coral reef restoration techniques. RRF established the very first ocean-based coral nursery in the Great Barrier Reef to regenerate damaged coral reefs in December 2017 at Fitzroy Island, Cairns and have plans to install a series of other nurseries throughout the Great Barrier Reef.

Cuttings of corals that survived the two recent bleaching events were harvested from a nearby reef and attached to coral tree frames – one of which Small World Journeys sponsored – which accelerates the growth of the corals. This is an unprecedented project on The Great Barrier Reef. The work of the team at RRF and its many volunteers are giving hope to the future of the reef. Small World staff has also regularly volunteered for the Foundation.

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Reef Restoration Foundation

Empowering Women Empowering Communities

Small World Journeys donates to Empowering Women Empowering Communities (EWEC). Students learn to make “Moon Sick Pads” to distribute to...

Small World Journeys donates to Empowering Women Empowering Communities (EWEC). Students learn to make “Moon Sick Pads” to distribute to women in need. These pads provide women with a healthier, more sustainable and cost-effective alternative to disposable sanitary products. This service project provides free reusable, washable menstrual pads to girls who miss school when menstruating and face other barriers during that time of the month!

The Moon Sick Pads are donated to the women in remote Aboriginal communities — places where costs of sanitary items are prohibitive and these products are gratefully received. EWEC is focused on empowering women to engage, be brave and be bold, and – most importantly – to ‘have a go’. The Empowering Women Program centres around building women’s confidence and skills so they can contribute to a powerful movement of supporting women and girls less fortunate than themselves, as well as finding ways to create additional income and a life that has meaning and purpose.

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Empowering Women Empowering Communities

Rainforest Rescue

Small World Journeys has given over $5,000 to Rainforest Rescue to support the adoption of rainforest land at risk. Every...

Small World Journeys has given over $5,000 to Rainforest Rescue to support the adoption of rainforest land at risk. Every group that visits the Daintree Rainforest receives a certificate detailing the adoption of a plot of land.

Rainforest Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that has been protecting and restoring rainforests in Australia and internationally since 1998. Their projects re-establish rainforests through planting, maintenance and restoration programs, as well as purchasing and protecting high conservation value rainforest and preserving its biodiversity.

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Rainforest Rescue

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners

We humbly 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, which include the Yirrganydji, Yidinji, Kuku Yalanji, and Djabugay people.

We were inspired by the beautiful artwork of local indigenous artist Colin Higgins – painter and musician from Yarrabah. We commissioned Colin for the use of his painting (symbolising the world in the dry season) and are grateful for his contribution to Small World Journeys

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