Australia Highlights

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Australia Highlights

Australia is famed for its UNESCO World-Heritage sites –the Daintree Rainforest, The Great Barrier Reef and The Sydney Opera House–as well as its unique wildlife: koalas, Nemos, kangaroos and crocs. On this educational student tour you see them all! From Sydney’s city streets to stunning surfing beaches to tumbling rainforest waterfalls, you experience the best of Australia’s grand landscapes and friendly people. Milk the cows and crack whips with genuine Aussie “jackaroos” (cowboys) on an outback cattle station, then learn to catch your supper the traditional way with Aboriginal guides, followed by a marine biologist who explains how to find the whole cast of Finding Nemo at the Great Barrier Reef.

Length
10 Days/9 Nights
Location
Sydney and Cairns, Australia
When
Year-round
Size
Minimum 10 paying participants
Price
$3098 AUD per person (including GST)
for 15 or more students (Add $50 per person for peak time of 15 June – 15 July)
Price
$3150 AUD per person (including GST)
for 10-14 students (Add $50 per person for peak time of 15 June – 15 July)

Details

  • See the World-Famous Sydney Opera House
  • Learn to Catch “Bush Tucker” with Aboriginal Guides
  • Spend the Night in the Emerald Daintree Rainforest
  • Snorkel or SCUBA Dive at the Outer Great Barrier Reef
  • Slide Down a Natural Rainforest Waterslide
  • Ascend the Pylon of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge
  • Glide Over the Rainforest Canopy on the Skyrail
  • Optional Community Service Project
  • Cuddle a Koala and Feed Kangaroos
  • Enjoy an Aussie BBQ and bonfire at an Outback Cattle Station

  • Risk assessment
  • Cairns and Sydney airport transfers
  • Small World Journeys guide Days 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7
  • Specialty guides and educators
  • All activities and entrance fees as described in the itinerary
  • Transportation to activities
  • 2 nights Sydney hostel (4 or 6 share dorm rooms)
  • 4 nights at Cairns hostel (4 or 6 share dorm rooms)
  • 1 night outback cattle station (single gender dorm-style marquees)
  • 1 night Daintree Rainforest cabins (4 or 5 share dorm-style rooms)
  • Teacher accommodation in twin or triple share private rooms and cabins*
  • All breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 7 dinners
  • 101 Animals of the Great Barrier Reef field guide for each student
  • Mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuit hire on the reef trip
  • Donation made to Rainforest Rescue on behalf of your group (we give you a certificate on your trip)
  • Reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag
  • Donation made to Reef Restoration Foundation to the “Care for Coral” program on behalf of your group (we give you a certificate on your trip)
  • Starting in 2024: we offset the carbon emissions from your trip activities AND your flight to Cairns!

 

*Two teacher rooms (private twin or triple share rooms) in Sydney, Cairns and the Daintree Rainforest (at cattle station, teachers get twin rooms with shared bathrooms) are included in the trip price for groups of 15 students or more.  For trips with low numbers (10-14), one teacher room is included. A supplement is charged if an additional private room is required for the trip. If teachers are happy to share a room, no additional costs are incurred.

 

Small World Journeys reserves the right to change the order of activities for logistical reasons. Prices are valid for travel until 31 March, 2025.

 

  • International and domestic airfare
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Three lunches and one dinner
  • Personal expenses (phone, laundry, etc.)

  • Rides at Sydney’s Luna Park (ride prices vary)
  • Optional surfing lesson ($80 AUD)
  • Photo with koala ($28 AUD)
  • Intro or certified SCUBA diving ($150 AUD per Intro dive; $105 per certified dive; includes equipment)
  • 1 x day room upon arrival in Sydney to freshen up ($236 AUD) 

Planning Your Trip

ACCESSIBILITY MENU: Small World Journeys’ website provides an accessibility menu. Visitors to our website can click on the “person” icon on the right side of the screen to bring up this menu. Options include increasing/decreasing font size, increasing/decreasing contrast, dyslexia-friendly fonts, and the ability to hide images, among other things.

BOOKING FORM: On our online booking form, we ask all participants to list any special needs they have, be them medical, dietary, or accessibility needs. We also offer free sensory packs to our guests who are neurodivergent, which include headphones, a timer for transitions, a squeezy fidget toy, and other treats to appeal to the senses like flavoured lip balm.

WAIVER FORMS: We understand that not all of our participants’ parents have a strong command of written English and therefore understanding and signing our on-line waiver may prove challenging. We therefore have our wavier form available in the following languages on request: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.


Arrival & Departure at Sydney Airport

ACCESSIBLE TOILETS & DRINKING FOUNTAINS: Public toilets are located throughout the terminals. Each toilet facility includes an accessible toilet suitable for wheelchair access. View or download our terminal maps to view their locations. Wheelchair accessible drinking fountains are located throughout the terminals.

Google Maps Indoor Live View is now available at Sydney Airport. Indoor maps is a new augmented reality feature on Google Maps – available in both international and domestic terminals – designed to help passengers find gates, baggage claims, retail outlets, dining options, restrooms, ATMs and more.

For any wheelchair or accessibility passengers, please select the ‘Wheelchair accessible’ preference to find wheelchair, pram and suitcase friendly paths. You can also turn on audio navigation prompts, in addition to visual cues.

TGSI and HEARING LOOPS: The Sydney Airport makes use of Tactile Ground Service Indicators (TGSI) and Hearing Loops to assist people with vision impairments and hearing difficulties, respectively. For example, tactile ground surface indicators are also used within the terminal to provide people who are visually impaired, indication of changes of surface conditions. Look for the International Symbol, which is used to indicate that a hearing loop has been installed. More information about hearing loops can be found here.

If you are a blind or low visibility traveller, you can use a free service to help you navigate your way through Sydney Airport’s International and Domestic terminals. Please visit the Aira website to find out more.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact Sydney Airport via the National Relay Service. Provide the NRS with the Sydney Airport Customer Care number, 133 793.

ASSISTANCE ANIMALS: Assistance animal toilet and watering facilities are available at the T1 International terminal after security on the arrivals level. A temporary animal relief facility is now open at T2, located on arrivals level, opposite baggage reclaim carousel 2.

HIDDEN DISABILITIES: Wearing a sunflower lanyard at Sydney Airport enables staff to recognise that you have a hidden disability. If you would like to identify your hidden disability, you can pick up a hidden disabilities lanyard at one of the following locations:

  • The Airport Services Centre located on Level 3 (Administration) at T1 International terminal
  • The Ambassadors information desk on Arrivals level at T2 Domestic terminal
  • The oversized luggage counter on Departures level at T3 Domestic terminal

At security screening and passport control this lets staff know that you may need more time and support through processes. Where possible, staff will facilitate you through the special assistance lanes. Note this lanyard does not give you fast track access through security or passport control.

Arrival & Departure at Cairns Airport

ACCESSIBLE TOILETS: Public toilets are located throughout the terminals. Each toilet facility includes an accessible toilet suitable for wheelchair access.

TGSI and HEARING LOOPS: The Cairns Airport makes use of Tactile Ground Service Indicators (TGSI) and Hearing Loops to assist people with vision impairments and hearing difficulties, respectively.  For example, Braille is included on toilet doors/signs to assist a person with vision impairment locate the correct facility.

ASSISTANCE FOR HIDDEN DISABILITIES: If you or someone you are travelling with has a hidden disability, you can request a hidden disability lanyard through a form here.  Wearing a sunflower lanyard when you are at Cairns Airport is a discreet way for you to indicate to the airport team that you may need a little extra help, guidance or time with the airport processes. The airport team has been trained to recognise the lanyard and provide the assistance and support you may need. Some of the airport staff will also be wearing a Sunflower badge on their shirts or lanyards to help you feel a little more at ease.

VISUAL AND WRITTEN STORY GUIDES: Visual Story Guides are available for Domestic Arrivals and have been designed to help you to understand how an airport works and what to expect. Written Story Guides are also available for Domestic ArrivalsVisual Story Guides are available for Domestic Departures and have been designed to help you to understand how an airport works and what to expect. Written Story Guides are also available for Domestic Departures.

 

Our Safety Talks

Our arrival safety talk is done verbally but is supported by cards that illustrate the main talking points. Similarly, our snorkelling safety talk is done in the same manner, supported by cards with pictures and illustrations.

We can provide a transcript of our safety talk to any hearing-impaired guest.

 

Transport

For Sydney, please let us know in the planning phase of your trip if you have a member of your group using a wheelchair or mobility device and we can arrange for accessible transport options.

In Cairns, Cur buses have two steps up of approximately 40 cms to get inside. There is no lift for a wheelchair or mobility device. Similarly, on occasion we hire large coaches for bigger groups and those buses also have two steps up of about 40 cms to get inside. All buses are equipped with seatbelts.

 

Presentations & Workshops

OUR OFFICE & PRESENTATION SPACE: In Cairns we use the Small World Journeys office space for presentations, workshops and some community service projects. There is a rise of approximately 2 cm to enter the presentation room. We have one accessible, gender-neutral toilet block with shower.

In the outside area of our office, planes fly overhead frequently and the noise can be startling and confronting. However, as part of the terms of construction, the entire building has sound mitigation devices (double glazed windows, etc.) which creates the opportunity for multiple breakout spaces for neuro-divergent people who desire a quiet space with reduced stimuli.

Our presentations are designed to appeal to both visual and auditory learners.   We can provide a transcript of our presentations to any hearing-impaired guest.

NOVOTEL PRESENTATION SPACE: In Cairns we also use Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort for presentations at dinnertime.

Overall accessible resort information:

  • All entries to the hotel are wheelchair-accessible
  • 2 accessible spaces in the on-site car park, near lifts
  • 1 accessible toilet in hotel lobby (hand rail | grab bar)
  • Most walkways within the hotel are wheelchair-accessible
  • Well-lit main areas
  • All meeting rooms are accessible
  • Braille call buttons for lifts on each floor (external)
  • On-site restaurant & breakfast buffet is mostly accessible – Please ask for assistance at hot food station.


Hotels

FLEXIBILITY WITH ACCOMMODATION: We have flexibility with the accommodation we choose; therefore if we know in advance that we have a guest with a wheelchair, mobility scooter or is short statured, we can choose hotels that cater accordingly.

PREFERRED HOTEL (SYDNEY): The entire property is accessible for wheelchair and mobility device users. There are accessible rooms as well: the shower is a roll-in shower with a flip-down shower bench. The accessible accommodation is suitable for up to three people. There are lifts in the building to get to rooms and to street level. There are spots on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli or retreat to his/her room.

PREFERRED HOTEL 1 (CAIRNS):  One of our preferred Cairns hotels is centrally located and one block from the waterfront.  The reception and breakfast room are widely accessible through a double automatic door as there are no steps or thresholds. Accessible guest rooms are all on the ground level.  The staff are happy to move the furniture around if required, and the rooms are fitted with a zipped-together queen bed or two single beds depending on preference. The under-bed clearance is 40mm, and there’s around 1000mm of space between the side of the bed and the wall. Unfortunately, the balconies have sliding door tracks and may not be completely accessible. Light switches are all large dish-style type and located 1000mm from the floor in accessible locations. The air conditioning can be remotely controlled. Moving into the bathroom: the hotel boasts accessible showers and toilets that are hobless and fitted with a fold-down seat. Both horizontal and vertical grab rails are fitted and the shower is home to a hot and cold flick mixer tap. The lifts which provide access to the third accessible room provide ample space for wheelchairs, and also boast buttons fitted with Braille.

PREFERRED HOTEL 2 (CAIRNS):  A second preferred hotel is also centrally located.  With accessible rooms that boast a double bed and a single bed, the staff at Coral Tree Inn are also happy to move the room furniture around to suit guests who use a wheelchair or mobility device. With a coffee and tea making space and a small bar fridge at hand, the TV can also be controlled by the remote. It’s worth noting that at this hotel the air conditioning unit cannot be operated by a remote. There is an accessible combined toilet and shower facility fitted with grab rails and a fold-down set. The shower is also hobless for added accessibility. Unfortunately, the balconies have sliding door tracks and may not be accessible to all guests, and there are also no designated accessible parking bays. However, there is ample room for drop offs immediately in front of reception.

Entering the reception may also be a little difficult as the door is manual, but staff are always happy to assist (and man the desk 24 hours). There are wide paths that lead from the reception to every area of the resort, including the BBQ area, the pool and the adjoining dining room.

PREFERRED HOTEL (DAINTREE): Wheelchair users will be pleasantly surprised by how accessible the property is. The two Escape Cabins are especially convenient. There are no lifts to these two cabins, no stairs, the room is large and the light switches are low. The bathrooms is suitable for wheelchair access. There are spots on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli or retreat to his/her room.

Meals & Restaurants

FLEXIBILITY WITH RESTAURANTS & CATERING: We have quite a bit of flexibility with the restaurants we choose; therefore if we know in advance that we have a guest with a wheelchair, mobility scooter or is short statured, we can choose restaurants that cater accordingly.

We offer flexible menu options for people who have food allergies or intolerances, and in many cases religious requirements relating to food.

Guests are given space on our online booking form to specify their allergy, intolerance or religious requirement. On arrival we then give them a bag containing, for example, lactose-free milk, nut-free cereal and snacks, and/or other food items that cater to this allergy or intolerance. Unfortunately, we are not able to guarantee catering for preferences like low carb meals or FODMAP.

Similarly, we inform all caterers and restaurants of our guests’ food allergies or intolerances.  Breakfast is typically served at the hotel, whilst lunches are often boxed lunches as we move around quite a bit on our tours.


Activities

If we are informed in the planning phase of your trip about  any participants or (potential participants) who have disabilities or special needs, we can suggest certain activities over others or suggest certain boats to the reef.  For example, one boat that travels to the reef has a lift for a guest in a wheelchair to get in and out of the water which is a great choice for guests with wheelchairs or mobility devices. Conversely, we know that the facilities on the boat that travels to the Fitzroy Island reef is not well set up for those with wheelchairs or mobility devices.  We also can include activities such as the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which recognises and supports the Sunflower program for people with hidden disabilities.

On this particular trip, there are quite a few activities:

Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Climb:

To participate you need to have a general level of health and fitness, and the ability to climb independently. At the pylon, they have a variety of headsets available and many hearing impaired climbers have agreed that these allowed them to enjoy the commentary delivered by their Climb Leader. They also offer Auslan Climbs. On an Auslan Climb you’ll be accompanied by an Australian Sign Language interpreter who will interpret the commentary about Sydney and its world famous Bridge. These Climbs occur twice a month. Many people with vision impairment have climbed the bridge pylon. There are no spots on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli.

Barangaroo Walk with Indigenous Guide

Wulugul Walk, which follows the 1836 foreshore, is relatively level and, like all dedicated pedestrian pathways in the Reserve is 3.8m wide. At the northern end, Wulugul Walk provides stair-free access to the Waranara Terrace and the Stargazer Lawn for wheelchair or mobility device users. The Indigenous guide delivers his/her talk verbally, so there are not provisions made for those with hearing impairments. There are some spots on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli.

Sydney Harbour Ferry

Wheelchair accessible wharves have level or ramped access that allows independent access by a person using a manual wheelchair or walking aid.  The accessibility at Circular Quay, Cremorne Point and Neutral Bay changes at low tide. Assisted access may be required. Gangway and Ramp gradients are tide dependent. All ferries have toilet facilities including at least one wheelchair accessible toilet.  There no spots on the boat where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli.

Sydney Observatory

As a heritage site Sydney Observatory has some accessibility limitations. Visitors requiring wheelchair access can experience Sydney Observatory gardens and the ground floor of the Astronomer’s Residence. There is no wheelchair access to locations visited during Sydney Observatory Tours or Family Tours due to narrow and steep staircases in the heritage-listed buildings. There are some spots on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli. Sydney Observatory has adopted the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to help support and raise awareness of those living with a hidden disability.

Wooroonooran National Park: Josephine Falls

The toilets, picnic shelter and picnic tables in the car park area are wheelchair and mobility device-accessible. Wheelchair and mobility device access is available to the viewing platform at the top area. Stairs lead to the bottom pool where swimming takes place. People with hearing impairments can read the interpretive panels at the falls. There is a spot on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli.

Millaa Millaa Falls

Millaa Millaa Falls in the lower carpark at the base of the falls which has an accessible viewing platform nearby. There is no access to the swimming area at the falls, with no provisions for people who use a wheelchair or mobility device. There are accessible toilets adjacent to the car park.  There is a spot on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli. People with hearing impairments can read the interpretive panels at the falls.

Outback Cattle Station

The property has an accessible toilet and shower. Bunk houses are suitable for people using a wheelchair or a mobility device. Eating area is located on a rock & slate surface, which is relatively smooth but slightly uneven in some places. The pioneer homestead and the hay truck (for wildlife viewing on the property) is not accessible for people using a wheelchair or a mobility device. There are many places on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli. People with hearing impairments can receive safety instructions for cow milking, boomerang throwing and other activities in a visual format. People with vision impairments can receive verbal safety instructions for cow milking and other activities in a visual format, however boomerang throwing is not recommended.

Hunting & Gathering with Indigenous Guide

This activity does not cater for people with access needs and there are no accessible toilets nearby.  There are a spot on site where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli. People with hearing impairments are not well catered for during this activity and those with vision impairments will be assisted by our guide.

 

Wildlife Park

The park is about 98% fully accessible for wheelchair and mobility device users. Wheelchairs are available free of charge from Admissions (need to be pre-booked). The pathways to Gondwana Gateway and Cassowary Walk are moderately steep and assistance may be required. The only area not suitable for a person in a wheelchair is the Crocodile Farm Tour as they cannot see into the pens; however they can still listen to the information given on croc farming. Ambulant access toilets are located at Lilies Restaurant and at our Gallery of Living Art. People with hearing impairments can read the interpretive panels at the different areas of the park. Support dogs for people with vision impairments have limited access to certain area’s i.e.: restaurant, shop and limited croc area, but some areas with wallabies, kangaroos, koalas and birds the dogs are forbidden access; clients CAN leave the dog with us in the air-conditioned office.

The Outer Reef Trip

  • Accessible toilet facilities are available on the main deck
  • Due to the movement of the tides and the necessity to occasionally move to different decks for embarkation and disembarkation, the boat is not well equipped to accommodate wheelchairs or mobility devices.
  • Safety instructions are given verbally (no written instructions available).
  • The captain is the first point of call for any questions or queries in regards to accessibility and/or special requirements that guests may have on the day.
  • The boat uses pictogram signs (for example a pictogram showing feet standing on coral with a red line through it) to assist people with low literacy levels or who speak English as a second language.
  • The distance from the Reef Fleet terminal to the vessel is approximately 150 metres;  there is a wheelchair available from our check-in counter to assist with commute from terminal to vessel for distance walking if required.
  • Most dietary restrictions (gluten or lactose free, vegan, nut-free) can be accommodated.
  • There are limited spots where a person who is neurodivergent could find a quiet space with reduced stimuli on the boat; however once docked the majority of guests are on the pontoon which means a the boat has more quiet space.

Itinerary

Arrival: Welcome to Sydney!  On arrival you are greeted by our guide who has an intimate knowledge of Sydney’s back streets, icons, and best-loved sites. Your guide takes you to your accommodation and gives you an orientation on what to expect.

Central Accommodation: Your hostel is located right in ‘The Rocks’—the historic district where Sydney began.  Built above archaeological remnants of colonial Sydney, this hostel combines state-of-the-art facilities with a unique heritage experience of Sydney. All rooms have ensuites and a/c, and there are spacious communal areas, internet, on-site grocery store, coffee bar and large rooftop terrace with spectacular views directly to the Opera House.

City Walking Tour & Opera House: With your guide you learn more about the cultural, historic and natural sites of Sydney as you walk the city streets, cobblestone alleys and seaside paths of this attractive city.  Your walking tour follows in the steps of colonists and convicts, learning of The Rocks’ scandalous and eerie past. Your visit to Australia will not be complete without a photo in front of the majestic Opera House, and a walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens takes you to the perfect lookout.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout: Sydney Harbour Bridge is the city’s second most famous icon, and this afternoon you climb the 200 stairs to the Pylon summit. First you are taken through 3 levels of exhibits where you learn the history of the construction of the bridge and the men who designed and built it, finishing at a perch 87 metres above sea level with panoramic views across the Sydney Harbour.

Accommodation:
Sydney Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Dinner

City Highlights from the Water:  This morning you travel through the spectacular Sydney Harbour to get acquainted with the city’s highlights, such as Shark Island, Fort Denison, and Darling Harbour.  You can choose to stop at Watsons Bay for stunning Cliffside views in Sydney Harbor National Park, and then munch on Doyle’s famous fish and chips in Watsons Bay!  Another option is to stop at Luna Park, where the iconic face that welcomes visitors to this historic fun park with thrilling rides like The Wild Mouse, or the giant Ferris Wheel.  (*free entry; rides own cost)

OPTION: Surfing Lessons at Manly: Manly Beach is an Australian icon, world-renowned as one of the most popular beaches in Australia. In a small group 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!  Perhaps the perfect memento of an Australian coastal holiday – return home knowing how to surf!

Aboriginal Culture in the City:  Later with an Aboriginal guide you trace a circuit through an area once inhabited by clans of the Indigenous Eora Nation. An enthusiastic Aboriginal tour guide provides an in-depth explanation of the Aboriginal history of Sydney Harbour and surrounds and in particular, the significance of this special reserve.  Although the reserve lies in the shadow of Sydney’s skyline, you weave among a mosaic of plants and herbs used by Aboriginal people, like a sweet and salty plant that also eases foot blisters, one that’s used for damper and for weaving fishing bags.  Your guide illustrates the beliefs of his people through the telling of stories and you learn the significance of this land to those living here thousands of years before European settlers.

Evening at Sydney Observatory:  Here you don special 3-D glasses to watch a mind-blowing space film, and then in the planetarium you learn more about the universe: which dwarf galaxies you can see with the naked eye, what stars are closest to us, and how Aboriginal people made pictures using the negative space in the sky. Later with the giant telescope, you are also able to observe twinkles of star clusters, red giants, nebulae where stars are being born. If telescope viewing isn’t possible due to weather, a fun beanbag planetarium session is provided instead.

Accommodation: Sydney Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Flight to Cairns: Today you are transferred from your Sydney accommodation to the domestic airport for your flight to Cairns (flight not included). On arrival you are met by a Small World Journeys staff member and transferred to your accommodation.

Accommodation: Your accommodation is at a comfortable hostel in the centre of Cairns’ restaurant and shopping district, and only a few blocks from the waterfront. The hostel is committed to sustainability and even has their own herb garden for guests use! A lush swimming pool and spa, and large common areas, the hostel also features free internet in common areas and air conditioning in each room.

Educational Presentation: Next is a workshop tailored to your educational goals and/or interests. Topics can include Australia’s Dangerous Animals, Regional Geology, or a game show-type format about Sustainability. Guest speakers can include Terry Carmichael (from The Wet Tropics Management Authority to speak about the ecological significance of this region),  Gavin Singleton (Aboriginal Traditional Owner, Yirrganydji to provide insight on global and regional issues from an Aboriginal perspective) or Laurie Pritchard (Small World Journeys owner to speak about Impacts of Tourism).

Accommodation: Cairns 3-star hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Today you enter Wooroonooran National Park—a diverse part of the UNESCO Wet Tropics World Heritage Area which hosts some of the oldest continually surviving rainforest in the world.

Josephine Falls: One of the most picturesque places in the entire Wet Tropics! You take an easy walk through the jungle, listening for the call of the king parrot and the bowerbird and emerge at Josephine Falls, where Josephine Creek plunges down a gorgeous set of cascades. Below the falls, boulders surround a fun swimming hole and a natural water slide down a smooth sloping rock face.

Millaa Millaa Falls: Millaa Millaa (meaning “plenty of water” in the local aboriginal language) is the icon of tropical north Queensland and one of the most photographed natural sites in the region. The waterfall flows over pure basalt rock thousands of years old in a dramatic burst. There is a fantastic swimming hole at the base of the falls, and you can climb on the peculiar columnar basalt for a unique perspective of the falls from behind.

Outback Cattle Station: Next you cross into classic outback country, where dingoes and kangaroos roam freely. Here you are welcome guests at a traditional working cattle station and homestead, opened only to your group. You have a tour of the station, look for wild crocodiles and wallabies and enjoy a classic Aussie BBQ, followed by a bonfire.  Here in the outback, you can find the constellations of the brilliant starry southern skies.

Accommodation: Your single-gender dorm style cabins have bunk beds, all linen, and toilets & showers in an outside block.

Accommodation: Outback Cattle Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Cow Milking, Animal Feeding and Whip Cracking: Breaking into small groups, you can feed the goats and chickens, learn how to milk the cows and crack a whip properly in true cowboy style. You also take a walk back through time on the homestead to the age of the early Australian pioneers, and you can touch the old furniture, trinkets and memorabilia all well-preserved by the family.

Boomerang Throwing:  Yes, they actually come back to you! Your guide teaches you the significance of the boomerang and how they were cleverly used for hunting. You learn proper throwing technique and what makes them return.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: This is Cairns’ premier eco-attraction! Spanning 7.5 kms over Barron Gorge National Park, the Skyrail experience includes a scenic cableway ride and stops at two rainforest mid-stations. You can descend from the cableway onto rainforest boardwalks, where interpretive information is provided through guided boardwalk tours, signage and an interpretive centre. You return to Cairns this afternoon and have time to explore Cairns’ Night Markets.

Optional Evening Activity – Documentary Film: Documentary films can inspire discussion and action, in addition to complementing the content of your trip. Tonight you have a choice to view one of several optional documentary films that relate to the environment (no extra cost).

Accommodation: Cairns 3-star hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Wildlife Park: This morning you visit a refuge for Australian animals such as crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas, and countless exotic birds. Covering 8 acres, this wildlife immersion exhibit is made up of three open and interactive environments (the Rainforest, the Wetlands and the Grasslands) for guests and animals to mingle in a natural setting. The park uses funds raised from donations and park entries to operate their Wildlife Rescue Program which includes a dedicated wildlife care centre.

Optional Photo – You and a Koala! If you have always wanted to get a quintessential photo with a koala- here’s your chance (extra cost).

Daintree Rainforest & Eco-Lodge: Then you enter the Daintree, home of the magical ancient rainforest. At one hundred and thirty-five million years old, the Daintree is some of the oldest continually growing rainforest in the world. Your Daintree lodge boasts an attractive swimming pool, guest laundry, BBQ area, and a superb location in the rainforest.  Students sleep in dorm-style cabins with ensuites and air conditioning, and the sounds of the jungle surround you.

Accommodation: Daintree Rainforest cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Aboriginal Culture and Food Gathering: This morning you walk with two gentle Aboriginal guides of the Kubirri Warra clan along the coast they’ve called home for thousands of years. Your Aboriginal guides teach you to throw a spear and you try your hand at catching food the traditional way — hunting for fish, mud crabs, mussels and other “bush tucker” (food) along the beach and among the mangroves. Along the way, your guides share their knowledge of country, wildlife and of local edible and medicinal plants.

Cooking What You’ve Caught: Later you are invited to your indigenous guide’s home where you meet the family, learn more about Aboriginal culture and feast on what you’ve caught. This is an authentic interaction with Aboriginal people that allows you to see how indigenous traditions are integrated into the modern world.

Marine Biologist Reef Presentation: Later during this unique presentation taught by a marine biologist, you learn more about biodiversity and the significance of the Great Barrier Reef. From colourful corals that take whimsical shapes like broccoli, brains and baskets to a host of fish such as the chocolate-dipped damsel, the Picasso triggerfish and the giant Maori wrasse, you learn how to identify the most common creatures at the reef. You find out about threatened species and coral predators–such as the Crown of Thorns—and the consequences of climate change and human activity on the reef. More importantly, you learn about the real hazards at the reef (like the innocent-looking cone shell) versus the imagined ones (like scary sharks) fuelled by Hollywood myths. You leave with a greater understanding of the reef environment and an appreciation of the natural wonder you are about to experience.

Accommodation: Cairns 3-star hotel
Meals Included:
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Boat Ride to Reef: Your day begins with an air-conditioned catamaran ride to the outer Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World-Heritage site and one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet.  Your marine biologist presents what you are likely to see at the reef and introduces the Eye on the Reef program, which involves instruction on how to complete the Rapid Monitoring Survey.

Snorkelling: Upon arrival, you dock at a floating pontoon, and an underwater universe greets you. You can expect to see a rainbow of hard and soft corals, turtles, and a variety of fish species including butterfly fish, giant Maori Wrasse, parrot fish, and the ever-popular clown fish, also known as “Nemo”.

Field Guide: 101 Animals of The Great Barrier Reef, written by Dr. Martin Cohen, helps you to better understand the underwater world and is yours to keep.

Observatory: There is an underwater observatory at the pontoon, as well as a small marine life touch tank.  Floating “noodles” and life jackets are available as well.

Lunch today is a tropical buffet served on the boat.

Semi-Sub and Glass Bottom Boat: A semi-submersible craft and glass bottom boat allow those who prefer not to swim to still enjoy viewing the marine life at The Great Barrier Reef.

Optional SCUBA Diving: Snorkellers can also opt to learn about SCUBA diving one-on-one from the dive instructor—an intro dive (also known as “resort diving”) is a fantastic way to see the reef without having a certification. (Extra cost and medical restrictions apply, please see OPTIONS tab).

Slide into the Reef: You may like to finish your day by celebrating with a few slides into the Great Barrier Reef; your double storey pontoon has something that no one else does–a long and fun slide that finishes in the waters of the reef.

Accommodation: Cairns 3-star hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

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

Optional Community Service Project: Part of being a “sustainable” tourist is helping the community in which you are travelling.  This morning you exemplify sustainable tourists by participating in a service project for people that come to Cairns from remote Indigenous communities. These people come to Cairns for medical reasons, and often do not have anything with them. You learn to make special bags using upcycled materials, and then create packs with hygiene items they most need. No worries if you aren’t the best at arts and crafts – the bags are easy to make, and you’ll feel good doing it too. (An hour and fifteen minutes in duration; on request, no extra cost)

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

Meals Included: Breakfast

Check out this tour's educational outcomes
“The tour we had with Small World Journey is the best one I have ever had, including those tours I organized myself as an individual tourist. Our tour guide Lee is an interesting lady and knew how to get us fascinated about what we saw during the visit. Plus she was so well prepared for everything and organized, always helpful when we were in all kinds of situations. Plus the supervisor of Lee, Deb was also a very considerable and kind lady. To me, SWJ staffs were more like old friends than someone doing it as a business. They cared about tourists in so many ways beyond words written on contract and that was something really valuable when we were visiting a foreign city.”
--Li Bing, teacher, Purdue University USA (May ‘18)

How Your Trip Makes The World A Better Place

We’re not talking rainbows and unicorns. We’re talking about how we have put significant thought into how to make our student tours as safe as they possibly can be while still being fun; encouraging students to learn about and contribute to the community they are travelling in; and teaching them what “sustainability” really means.

Sustainability

AlthoughWe are determined and motivated to be the most sustainable business we can be. This is why we run our office on renewable energy, voluntarily offset our carbon emissions, and fulfilling our policy to give at least 5% of our annual net profits to local environmental and community organisations and charities. Here’s what else we are doing:

HELPING THE REEF: In addition to the coral tree we sponsor, we pay to “adopt” coral at Fitzroy Island through our partner. The coral propagation happening there is unprecedented and is being celebrated as a significantproject to help save the reef. Each of our groups that visit the reef receives a certificate on the tour and later receive updates on the coral.


ADOPTING A RAINFOREST PLOT IN YOUR NAME: We pay to have a 5-square metre plot of rainforest is adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue. On your excursion, your group will be presented with a certificate detailing the significance of this gift to the environment. In 2018-19, we purchased more than 100 square metres of rainforest adopted in our groups’ names.

CREATIVE WASTE REDUCTION: We give you your own water bottle and cloth shopping bag to eliminate the need for disposable bottles and plastic bags (and saves them from going in landfills!) We also recycle BOTH our hard plastics and soft plastics (through RedCycle) and have transitioned into NO WASTE snacks and NO WASTE lunches. Our food scraps get composted and put into our community garden, our bin liners are paper (not plastic) and we even wipe our bums with Who Gives a Crap 100% recycled toilet paper!

Community

SUPPORTING OUR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY: It is our policy to include a talk or an activity with an Aboriginal person on every trip we offer. By taking this trip, you are supporting grassroots indigenous tourism ventures and encouraging Aboriginal pride in culture.

Additionally, our student community service project involves students in making “Moon Sick Care Bags” which supply re-usable sanitary products to Aboriginal women in remote communities — this helps both Indigenous women AND the environment! (Ask us how your group can do this on their tour)


SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES: It is our policy to use locally owned suppliers and businesses unless their standards are not up to par (for example, if they have a bad environmental record).

VOLUNTEERING IN OUR COMMUNITY: Small World staff are incentivised to volunteer in the community, and are given time to do so during work hours. As a team, we also clean up our local mangroves once a quarter, recognising their importance at the nursery to the Great Barrier Reef.

Safety

SUPERB SAFETY RECORD: We’ve had thousands of students travel with us, and our safety record is excellent. Ask us for teacher references specifically regarding safety.

RISK ASSESSMENT FOR EVERY TRIP: We do a risk assessment for every student tour we run, and is sent to your organising teacher. We have safety protocols for our activities and a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Manual that documents these protocols. We also have a complete Crisis Management Plan. In addition, students are given a safety briefing during orientation that addresses hazards and risks for this region.


SAFE BUSES: All of our buses are equipped with seatbelts for every seat. While this is not a Queensland law to have them, we feel your safety is a priority. Our guides do safety checks at the start of each day of the trip. In addition, vehicles go through a Department of Transport safety inspection every 12 months.

SAFE GUIDES: Small World Journeys’ guides hold current Senior First Aid and CPR certificates, along with government-issued Driver’s Authority (if driving) and Working With Children cards (also known as a Blue Card) after passing a thorough background check. For more information on our guides, see About Us.

We do custom trips!

Still haven’t found exactly what you are looking for? All our tours are fully customisable and can be catered to suit your time-frame, student interests and budget. A geography excursion to the Great Barrier Reef? A biology excursion to the Daintree Rainforest? An Aboriginal culture excursion? Our educational trips in Queensland and New South Wales are hand-crafted for those who cannot find exactly what they want from the inflexible set itineraries of large tour operators.

If you are looking for a science trip, ecology trip, Aboriginal culture, or just a sample of the best of Australia – we can help.

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