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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.

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.
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.

Ali Conroy
Ali Conroy
Operational Support Officer & Brave Bushie
Although Ali has a university degree in public relations, you will probably never catch her behind a desk. Having guided tours up to 10 days long in remote corners of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Queensland, Ali is well versed in...
interpretation and teaching, camp cooking, large vehicle driving and maintenance, psychology and nursing, sometimes doing all in the same day. Her experience with Adventure Tours Australia morphed into a position as Training and Recruitment Manager, during which she trained dozens of new recruits on all facets of tour guiding. Ali also created a tour company in Koh Tao, Thailand in 2011 and grew it until its sale in 2017. Ali can boast of having worked in such far-flung places as New York, London and Banff, Canada and her travels have taken her to more than 40 countries. She also has earned a Wet Tropics tour guide certification which formally acknowledges her expertise in Cairns flora, fauna, natural history and Aboriginal culture. In her spare time, Ali also joins couples in matrimony as a marriage celebrant and spends time with her partner and daughter.
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.
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.

Duane Colman
Duane Colman
Groups Coordinator and Great Canoe Man
Born in Te Kuiti on New Zealand’s North Island, Duane came to Australia as baby with his family. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Seven Hills Art College (now Griffith University) and worked as a graphic designer following his university studies...
This position also fuelled his keen eye for detail and for aesthetics. Being a gastronome, Duane boasts employment history in both the baking and wine industries, but his strong interest in helping young people eventually led him to youth work. He has worked as a coach and swimming teacher in both Victoria and Queensland and in the Northern Territory he worked at RISE JobFind as an activity supervisor and youth engagement mentor. Having worked at The Mamaruni School in the Northern Territory and The Double Tree Hotel in Cairns, Duane enjoys familiarity with both the education and tourism realms. Duane’s love for the sea has taken him to far-flung destinations such as Norway, France and Japan, and he competed in outrigger canoeing competitions in New Zealand, Norfolk Island and the USA. He also loves biking, gardening, his dog Fonzie and partner Kylie. He currently volunteers his time for the PCYC’s Braking the Cycle, helping disadvantaged people learn to drive and empowering them to take on new challenges in the community.
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.
Yann Levieux
Yann Levieux
Guide & Baguette Baker
Originally from Brittany in northwest France, Yann came to Australia in the 1990s inspired by his love of sailing and by the tropics. In 1985, he pursued his dream of sailing around the world. By crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a French 3 mast old rigging and then in...
1986 on a luxury yacht through the Pacific Ocean, Yann joined the America’s Cup’s yacht racing organisation. In 1988 he came back to Australia to represent France on another French old rigging for the celebration of the Australian bicentenary. Enamoured by Australia, Yann decided with his family to permanently move to Queensland’s Far North. Yann has been working in the Cairns region now for more than 20 years, teaching visitors about both the sea and the rainforest. Yann is an accredited guide through the Wet Tropics Management Authority (WETMA), a highly regarded certification, as well as a lifeguard. He and his wife divide their time between living on their yacht and in their house in the middle of the rainforest.
Dom Drotini
Dom Drotini
Guide & Kava Captain
Having worked as both a sea kayaking and canyoning guide out of Cairns, Dom is an amphibious teacher with a passion for both the marine environment and The Wet Tropics. Dom is especially fond of working with young people, and has spent time conducting lengthy sea kayaking expeditions for school kids...
With a view to improving the fishing industry and promoting sustainable practices, Dom started a commercial harvest dive operation in 2005. For ten years he worked from Cooktown to Papua New Guinea, managing a dive team that sourced marine products. Dom honed his bush and survival skills as a marine army reservist, operating unassisted in small teams on some of Australia’s most remote stretches of coast and islands. Dom’s childhood was spent between Australia and Fiji, home of his father’s people, and takes pride in knowing both cultures intimately.
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.

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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