Australia Language & Culture

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Australia Language & Culture

Improve your English AND experience the best of Australian culture! This Australian study tour for student groups combines mornings of English language instruction with afternoons and weekends of adventure. A homestay with an Aussie family means your language skills are reinforced and you get a taste of what daily life in Australia is like. Best of all, you get to experience a huge variety of environments: tropical rainforest, an outback farm, national parks and of course The Great Barrier Reef.

Unique activities to this study tour include a visit to James Cook University, a sustainability/aquaponics workshop, an Aboriginal culture park, team building games and activities, and a community service project.  Join us on an unforgettable study tour that will enhance your English, teach you about Australian culture, and introduce you to the most spectacular scenery in the world.  Open to class groups of 20 or more students.

15 Days/14 Nights
Cairns, Australia
Minimum 10 paying participants
$3147 AUD per person (including GST)
for 20 or more students (Add $50 per person for peak time of 15 June – 15 July)


  • Improve Your English Skills
  • Find Nemo at The Great Barrier Reef
  • Crack a Whip and Milk the Cows on an Outback Cattle Station
  • Visit James Cook University Marine Labs and a Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
  • Plunge Down a Natural Rainforest Waterslide and Swim Under Waterfalls
  • Learn to Catch Your Own Food with an Aboriginal Guide
  • Enjoy a Classic Aussie BBQ, Bonfire and Stargazing Under Outback Skies
  • Meet Massive Crocodiles, Feed Kangaroos and Cuddle a Koala
  • Learn How to Make Damper – Aussie “Bush Bread”
  • Visit and stay in the world’s oldest rainforest

  • Risk assessment
  • 9 days of tuition for closed English classes (just for your group)
  • All activities as described in the itinerary
  • Cairns airport transfers
  • Transportation to activities
  • Small World Journeys guide every day except Days 11 and 5
  • Additional specialty guides and educators
  • 11 nights at Australian family homestay (double placement)*
  • 1 night outback cattle station (basic single gender dorm-style rooms)*
  • 1 night Daintree Rainforest cabins (4-share dorm-style rooms)*
  • 1 night Cairns hostel (4-6 share dorm-style rooms)*
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches
  • All dinners
  • 101 Animals of the Great Barrier Reef field guide for each student
  • 101 Animals of the Wet Tropics field guide for each student
  • National Park and Marine Park taxes and levies
  • 5 metres square Daintree rainforest plot adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue
  • A reusable BPA free water bottle and cloth shopping bag for each participant
  • Coral adoption through Reef Restoration Foundation and updates on coral

*Two teacher rooms (private twin or triple share rooms) are included at Cairns accommodation in the trip price for groups of 20 students or more. A supplement of $175 AUD 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, 2022.

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

  • Photo with koala ($24 AUD)
  • Upgrade to hotel accommodation ($128 per person)


Fly to Cairns: Welcome to Australia!  You arrive in Cairns for your study tour and are warmly greeted by one of our staff members at the airport.

Arrival in Cairns:  Here you have a safety talk and an orientation on what to expect in Cairns and on your Australian tour.

Homestay:  Next you are introduced to your Australian homestay family.  You live in their home for the next two weeks, and you get to experience the typical life of Australians, including BBQs and evening activities.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner

School Orientation: Today you are transferred from your accommodation to the private English college for the first day of your study tour classes.  Your language school is accredited with The National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS), which means it is a guarantee that the school has been accredited in all areas of education, including high-level teacher qualifications, and the use of the latest, best-practice teaching methods.

On arrival you are given a brief orientation before continuing on to your English classes.

English Classes: In closed classes for your study tour group only of no more than 19 students you commence your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

Rainforest Waterfalls and Swimming Hole: After class and an introduction to the region, your guide takes you to a secluded freshwater swimming hole hidden in the tropical rainforest.  A series of small waterfalls flow into large pools surrounded by boulders, and rainforest trees hang over the water, keeping it cool and refreshing.

Damper Making Lesson: For those who are keen, your guide teaches you how to make damper, also known as “Aussie bush bread”.  You learn how to create savoury bread the way the Aussies have been doing it for years.  A yummy treat!  

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your study tour group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

Team-Building Activities: After lunch you have a fun-filled afternoon of activities designed to strengthen your sense of teamwork. Activities can include a “Lost at Sea” challenge, relay races, Beach Olympics, a raft-building exercise, a “magic carpet” initiative, and other games involving creativity, intellect, communication and working together.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

James Cook University Visit:  James Cook University is Australia’s highest-ranked university in environmental science and offers marine biology studies not found anywhere else.

Marine Labs & Aquarium:  Popular with film crews, the marine labs at JCU boast one of the world’s best sites for capturing marine creatures on camera.  Sophisticated equipment placed in the tanks allows for observing and filming animal behaviour up close. Additionally, JCU’s unique circular tank allows for a simulated current and the careful study of jellyfish. You meet staff who are on the cutting edge of marine science research, learn how they “milk” fish for venom, and about the latest findings in the development of anti-venoms.

Venomous Creatures & Mangrove Biome: Here you meet unusual and deadly creatures such as sea horses, baby crocodiles, cone shells, the lethal chironex jellyfish, and the extremely rare lung fish, found in captivity only at JCU. The cast members of Finding Nemo live here too.  You also investigate a working model of a mangrove biome, an important tool for studying effects on water quality and salinity as well as climate change mitigation.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

Hunting and Food Gathering:  Next you walk with two indigenous Yalanji guides along the coast their Aboriginal ancestors called home for thousands of years. Your 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 among the mangroves.  For these modern Aboriginal men, their core ethos is related to understanding and sharing the belief that hunting and gathering come with the responsibility of respect for resources and management which they continue today and pass on to others.

Cooking What You’ve Caught: Later you are invited to your indigenous guide’s home where you have a taste of what you’ve caught.

Accommodation:  Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

Crocodile Farm: This afternoon you meet crocodiles in their natural habitat as well as a crocodile farm at Hartley’s.  This multi-award winning eco adventure attraction is the best place to see crocodiles in Australia.  You learn why saltwater crocodiles were almost hunted to extinction, and their importance in ecosystems today.  Lagoon boat rides enable safe, guaranteed viewing of giant saltwater crocodiles in a natural setting.  Hartley’s is famous for its crocodile feeding, snake and wildlife presentations and is perfect for students on a study tour. In the Gondwana Gateway you also meet animals of far north Queensland, like monitors, snakes and the giant endangered cassowary.

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).

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Ferry Ride: Today you are ferried to the pristine Fitzroy Island. A fringing coral reef surrounds the island, part of the inner Great Barrier Reef, providing a sheltered home for a variety of fish and coral species.

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.

Snorkelling Lessons:  Your Small World guides first teach you the basics of how to snorkel.  Then they will explain some of the basic fish and coral types you will be observing in the water, and with your snorkel gear you take to the water to experience the reef for yourselves.  Using a life ring and a floating bar, you swim along with your guides who lead you to underwater examples of some of the reef’s most interesting features.  You can expect to see among other things giant clams, gentle turtles, spaghetti coral that waves in the current, lionfish, cuttlefish, colourful coral gardens and fluorescent parrotfish.

Glass Bottom Boat: For those who choose not to snorkel, you can still view sea life on a glass-bottom boat ride instead.  Your captain provides commentary, and you get a fantastic look at all of the reef creatures without having to even get wet.

Turtle Rehabilitation Centre: During your visit you also visit the island’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre where a collection of volunteers help save sick and injured sea turtles by looking after them until they are ready to be released back into the ocean.

Swimming and Marine Trampoline:  At the end of the day, you may love to go for a swim, bounce on the giant marine trampoline, or try out a paddle board in the shallow Welcome Bay.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Curtain Fig Tree: This morning you head up the mountain range into the Cairns Highlands for your first full day excursion on this study tour. Here the rich volcanic soils of the Cairns Highlands created a suitable environment for lush tropical rainforests, which in turn have attracted a host of mammal, reptile and bird life.  In the Highlands you visit a national park and pay tribute to a local high-profile resident – the massive curtain fig tree – and learn how these giants straight out of Lord of the Rings eerily “strangle” their hosts.

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.

Babinda Boulders:  The clear waters that pour from Mt Bartle Frere spill over massive granite bounders in this luxuriant section of jungle. Here you can learn about the significance of this special place to the local Aboriginal people, and swim in cool calm waters with the rainforest as your backdrop.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

In the afternoon, your group can choose from one of the following community service projects:

  1. Service Project for the Homeless – Preparing a Meal and Food Packs: Today a commercial kitchen opens its doors to you to give you space to prepare a meal for the homeless. With Small World Journeys staff guidance, you use donated food to prepare a meal that will be served to needy people tonight. Staff also teach you how to make special bags using upcycled materials. You then put food into the bags you’ve made—food items most appreciated by those living on the street.
  2. Project for the Reef: The second project involves working together to protect waterways, ocean and reef. By stencilling messages on drains, you contribute to raising awareness of urban stormwater pollution and its impact on the local marine environment.   The colourful and creative designs are a pleasant way to remind the community that all rubbish drains to the ocean.
  3. Project for Aboriginal Women in Remote Communities: You can also learn to make “Moon Pads” to distribute to Aboriginal women in need. During this activity you master some basic sewing skills, gain an understanding of the complex cultural barriers that affect women in remote and poor areas, and learn about the environmental/social benefits of making these reusable sanitary products. The pads you make are then taken to the Aboriginal community of Ampilatwatja.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

Aquaponics Activities: You gather at the property of an “aquaponics gardener” for a fun and intensive look at how to produce organic fruits, herbs, veggies AND fish in a sustainable way in your school or back yard.  Through hands-on activities, you learn how fish poop makes veggies develop, how things like sweet tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and fragrant mint grow without soil and how the icky-sounding but effective “worm tea” keeps insects away. Native bees on the property produce honey for collection, a breeding box makes fish food, and solar power keeps all systems running.

Make Your Own Sustainable System: The best part of the day is learning how you can make your own mini-aquaponics system that you can easily and cheaply re-create at your home or school to produce your own food.  This is a creative exercise to spark discussion about the global themes of agriculture, hunger issues and sustainability and to show students how, through principles of permaculture, anyone can be self-sufficient.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

Cairns Aquarium: The new Cairns Aquarium has more than 3 million litres of salt, fresh and brackish water displays. It showcases the incredible species and habitats found exclusively in Queensland’s Far North. The acrylic panel for the aquarium’s Deep Reef habitat mimics the “ribbon reefs” at the edge of the continental shelf – this is the only of its kind in Australia, and one of only three in the world. The design of the habitat allows aquarium visitors to see many of the creatures that cannot be found anywhere else in the world or are rarely seen due to their nocturnal habits. Several rare, endangered, unusual, and even deadly specimens are on display.

Accommodation: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

English Classes: In closed classes for your group only of no more than 19 students you continue your English language practice. During the day you participate in three hourlong lessons with breaks in between.

Certificate and Farewell:  During a closing ceremony, the academic staff at the English College presents you with your Certificate of Studies.

Outback Cattle Station and Wildlife: As you cross the Great Dividing Range, you enter outback country, where the dirt turns red and gum trees prevail. Here you are welcome guests at a traditional working cattle station and homestead, opened to your group.  On arrival, you hop in the hay truck to trace a route through the station–much of which has been set aside as a sanctuary for wildlife—and look for the kangaroos and crocodiles that roam the property.

Aussie BBQ and Stargazing: After a classic Aussie “barbie”, you have a fire under starry outback skies. From this remote outback station, views of the southern hemisphere stars are phenomenal. You’ll learn how to find southern constellations—including the Southern Cross—most of which cannot be seen at all from the northern hemisphere. Students sleep in single-gender dorm-style bunk houses, while teachers sleep in single cabins tonight.

Accommodation: Outback Farm
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Cattle Station Life: This morning you get a sample of true outback life on a cattle station. You visit the cattle yards to learn about the cattle musters and branding, and efforts made for humane animal treatment.

Cow Milking, Animal Feeding and Whip Cracking: You can meet 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.

Daintree Rainforest & Beach Eco-Lodge: Later you enter the magical Daintree Rainforest – the oldest continuously growing rainforest on earth.  Your lodge boasts an attractive swimming pool, guest laundry, and a superb location in the rainforest but directly on the beach.  The lodge uses grey water for irrigation, locally-sourced food for its restaurant, and recycles 80% of its waste.  Students sleep in dorm-style cabins and the sounds of the jungle surround you.

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

Fire at farm stay for exchange students

Cape Tribulation and Rainforest: After a night of immersion in the rainforest, you wake to birdcalls and the chatter of the jungle.  You can enjoy a sleep in this morning and enjoy this lush green paradise, with an optional swim in a nearby crystal-clear swimming hole.

Beach BBQ Party: In the afternoon, you head to the beach for a classic Aussie BBQ. You can stroll the beach, play games, and watch the sunset after which is a BBQ, music, dancing and a beach bonfire. This is a perfect tropical setting for a closing ceremony to end your time in Australia.

Accommodation: Cairns hostel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



This morning after breakfast you have some time to do some last-minute shopping.  Then eventually your study tour must come to an end and you are transferred back to the Cairns International Airport for your flight home.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Check out this tour's educational outcomes
“I cannot believe what we were able to do for the $. There were SO many varied opportunities for our learning and the guides were VERY knowledgeable. The owner met us personally at the airport and the whole group made sure our needs were met every step of the way. The daily breakdown with maps, guide bios and addresses was AMAZING. I loved the cattle station for the new learning. Restaurants: good variety, great service and food. Thank you for meeting ALL of our special needs.”
--Yvonne Featherer, YPJ Tembagapura School, Indonesia (April ’15)

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.


Although we wear bras and brush our teeth, you could say we are a team of hippy tree-huggers. This is why we run our office on renewable energy, voluntarily offsetting 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!


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. We are proud to say that in the financial year of 2018-19, we gave over $43,000 in business to Aboriginal-owned ventures.

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). In 2018-19, three quarters of our expenses were paid back into the local economy.

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.


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 six 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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