A tour operator that loves teachers
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)
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.
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 travelled 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.
large-scale conferences. Although Merel is Dutch, she has lived her whole life in Belgium. She speaks fluent English and Dutch as well as basic French and Spanish. Merel’s side interests include field hockey and reading. As she enjoys swimming and the sun, Merel has found contentment here in Australia!
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.
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.
Australia. Karen also worked for Scenic Tours in two capacities: Tour Director and Ground Operations Manager in Australia, New Zealand, Canada. Additionally, Karen has served as the go-to Cairns local tour guide for Abercrombie & Kent, Globus & Cosmos, and EF Education First. Karen has an Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Accreditation from CSU, a Kakadu National Park Tour Guide Accreditation from Charles Darwin University, and is a member of the Tour Guides Association (TGA). Having worked with dozens of different nationalities, and working in such colourful places as Tahiti, Fiji and Zimbabwe, Karen is a masterful diplomat and host. Karen has two children, and in her early life was a certified trapeze instructor.
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.
open ocean to discover marine environments. Sophie has demonstrated her dedication to the health of the Great Barrier Reef by acting as a Crown of Thorns Control Diver to help eradiate these damaging animals from taking over the reef. On land, Sophie’s tertiary qualifications in hospitality helped her hone her customer service skills, and she gained 2 years of experience at Unisson Disability working with disabled clients. This role as a support worker for 11 clients at a time involved Sophie in personal care, transport, and coordination of social events. Sophie grew up on New South Wales’ central coast, and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Animation. Sophie is an accomplished painter and a budding salsa dancer.
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.
as the Japanese Guest Relations at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney and then as a Groups Coordinator at Shangri-La Hotel in Cairns, coordinating the dozens of details involved in preparing for groups. Shuko has an English teacher license she earned in Japan, as well as a tour guide license. Shuko’s extensive knowledge of Cairns tourism stems from her 13 years at The Mantra Group, where she advised guests on the myriad tours and sites to enjoy in the region. Shuko enjoys campingand hiking and has travelled in China, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
which required learning calmness under pressure and high-level judgement. Liz also worked as a front desk agent at Hilton Gatwick, which is one of the biggest and busiest hotels in the UK. Liz followed her heart to Australia, but before she could get her career started in Victoria, COVID hit. So she traded her scarf for overalls and worked some hard yards at a dairy farm, enjoying a complete change of scenery whilst she rode out the pandemic. Next Liz joined Flight Centre as a travel consultant and then eventually found her way to Small World. Liz loves swimming, diving and cross-stitching. She has travelled to most countries in Europe, extensively through Southeast Asia, and the far corners of Africa such as Tunisia, Malawi and Rwanda.
has worked in the Northern Territory as a teacher in both remote and suburban school settings, but has lived most of her life in Cairns. With a strong attraction to the natural world, Rachel has served in a volunteer capacity for Mulgrave Landcare and Catchment group, helping with both administration and their group tree plantings. Additionally, Rachel undertook Community Organising and Leadership Training with the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) and was chosen to lead the Mangrove Watch program for the Mulgrave River. Most recently Rachel taught English in the classroom at Sun Pacific College and was a guide for the out-of-classroom activity program. Rachel’s secret talent is creating magnificent works of art on the potter’s wheel.
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.
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.
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.
Over the past 30 years Glen has travelled 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. Glen’s 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.
Northern Territory for Fisherking Safaris, All Guides and Darwin Harbour Cruises. More recently, Mike led international guests on extended tours including locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania. As a birdwatching expert, Mike can identify even the most peculiar calls, and he’s also trained in working with venomous snakes. Mike has completed coursework on interpreting aspects of local Indigenous culture as well as a Certification IV in Tourism. Mike’s interests include sailing and photography.
She has organised functions, festivals and major events from wedding expos to school camps from Toowoomba to Cairns. Rachael also honed her skills with young people after obtaining a Certificate III in Youth Work and facilitating regional youth programs for Council. She continued on working in tourism and hospitality, finding her niche as Function & Events Manager at the world’s oldest and largest operating woolshed of its kind. Rachael had fun for over four years organising schools and groups on day visits and multi-day stays at this historic venue, where students could learn damper making and Australian history, witness blacksmithing and beekeeping and of course, watch the sheep shearing. Whereas once Rachael’s wild side involved her in amateur competition drag racing, she now prefers camping, hiking, and training for Cairns Ironman and other running events. Rachael is also an active volunteer at the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, helping sick and injured turtles, and is on the Cairns and Far North Environmental Centre Marine Response Team.
Coordinator at the Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Centre in the Florida Keys, USA. She organised multi-day school trips and summer camps, overseeing educational programs, guiding off-island excursions, and managing group logistics. During her four years there, she focused on making the marine science centre more sustainable by implementing recycling, replacing single-use plastic items with eco-friendly alternatives, and developing the marine debris program. In her more recent role as Senior Project Coordinator at Australia’s Tangaroa Blue Foundation, she coordinated community beach clean-ups and marine debris monitoring, engagement events, and sourced reduction projects. Hannah has built and maintained professional relationships with a diverse community of volunteers, not-for-profit organisations, government entities, and corporations, along with relationships with many Traditional Custodians and Ranger groups in Far North Queensland. Hannah has volunteered with the Townsville Chapter of Sea Shepherd Marine Debris as well as with the Billabong Animal Sanctuary in Townsville. Hannah is a lover of all animals and a keen SCUBA diver.
NSW Department of Sport and Recreation as an assistant group leader. She has been a tour guide in such remote locations as Central Australia and the Canadian Rockies. She also spent three years in one of the most remote but habitable sections of Far North Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest, organising zipline tours and guiding guests through the jungle experience. Most recently, Lauren was Vector Control Officer for The Queensland Dengue Action team and Field Officer for The Queensland Electric Ant Response team. Lauren’s love of travel has had her crisscrossing the globe – from a journey across Mongolia and Russia to treks in little-known corners of Central America to adventures in African nations like Zambia and Swaziland. Lauren is a camping maven as well as a proficient skier and snowboarder.
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.
coast of New South Wales, Robert indulged in marine exploration. He was lucky enough to have the ocean in his backyard, where he discovered his love for little penguins and nudibranchs. Robert is naturally a keen SCUBA diver and documents marine life on film. He is a certified aquatic Bronze Medallion, certified also in boat driving and oxygen resuscitation. Robert has 2 sons and has travelled to far flung destinations such as Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, Bali, Java, Vietnam, New Zealand.
certificate to prepare him for teaching young people abroad and set his sights on China. Mitch at The Henan University of Finance and Economics in China full time (2005 – 2007) and became conversant in mandarin Chinese. Mitch also understands the cultural sensitivities and the kind of customer care that is appreciated specifically by Chinese customers. Back in Cairns, Mitch naturally gravitated to roles in tourism that focused on the Asian market, like Business Development Manager for Skydive Australia and Chinese Marketing Representative for Seawalker Australia. For the last five years Mitch has nurtured his love of the outdoors by working as a full-time tour guide. Mitch is conversant in Japanese and knows basic Spanish and Cantonese. His secret talent is playing the didgeridoo
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, Rohan 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.
To be Australia’s premier provider of education for youth outside the classroom.
What We Have To Offer
Besides Our Dashing Good Looks
We are fiendishly concerned about details. That includes everything from our risk assessments to creating activities to match your curriculum. It means thoughtfully arranging meaningful community service and citizen science projects that matter.
It also means being thorough and transparent with our pricing and creating a special trip website for all of our teachers. The “day by day” itineraries we send you are planned to the minutest of detail, leaving you free to simply enjoy your students and the trip. And if that’s not enough, you’ll also be pampered by ridiculously good looking people.
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.
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