Custom Tours

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Custom Tours

Student group trips are all we do.  Therefore, all of our activities, accommodation, meals and super smart guides are handpicked for the happiness of students and teachers.

Choose from our list of activities based on your student group’s interest and educational goals.  Then we will put it all together in a custom excursion, create a risk assessment, and have every detail of your trip planned out.

From 4 days to 40 days
- you choose
Cairns, Sydney and options on The Gold Coast
Minimum of 10 paying participants
Customised to your budget and educational goals


  • A special website for your trip that includes online forms for parents to fill out
  • Expert land guides and marine biologists
  • Comprehensive risk assessment
  • Meals at restaurants and at accommodation
  • Accommodation in hostels or hotels – your choice!
  • Airport Meet & Greet
  • Ground transport by your guide
  • Equipment such as snorkel gear, lifejackets, etc.
  • Activities and talks with Traditional Owners
  • Goodies! Field guides, BPA-free water bottle and shopping bag to keep



  • Discover the Daintree Rainforest with an Indigenous elder guide
  • Learn from an Aboriginal artist about traditional painting styles and then create your own artwork
  • Guest speaker: Aboriginal ranger discussing traditional protected area management and TUMRAs
  • Cook, camp and share stories with the Mandingalbay Yidinji people
  • Listen to one of the last Indigenous speakers of Jirrbal explain aspects of this language
  • Sample “bush tucker” (food) on a walk with an Indigenous elder
  • Guest speaker: local doctor discusses the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and life expectancy
  • Watch creation stories play out in a 360-degree theatre and then a dance performance
  • Hear the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo
  • Perfect your boomerang and/or spear throwing techniques

  • Raft the whitewater of the Barron or Tully rivers
  • Do canyoning: abseil (rappel), jump and slide through a tropical river gorge
  • Spend two days on a live aboard boat at the reef
  • Rock climb and abseil under expert instruction
  • Climb to the top of one of the area’s highest peaks
  • Test your bravery while navigating a high ropes course
  • Explore labyrinthine caves with a national park ranger
  • Plunge down a slippery chute on a mat into a pool below – we call it “landsliding”!
  • Try cable skiing or wakeboarding at an aqua park
  • Earn a certification to SCUBA dive – or just try an Intro Dive

  • Discover an “ecorganic” banana farm and learn about their sustainability practices
  • Make butter on a dairy farm and learn about bio-dynamic growing principles
  • Visit a coffee plantation to discover the bean growing process and sip some samples
  • Learn about clonal seed propagation at a native plant nursery
  • Taste varieties of tropical fruit wine at a rural winery
  • Learn innovative techniques farmers are using to protect the Great Barrier Reef
  • Hear from Aussie farmers about a wide variety of crops and growing styles
  • Stay with a family on an outback farm
  • Discover a sugar cane and cocoa farm and taste the sweet results
  • Explore highlands and lowlands rainforest, savannah land, and outback country and learn the challenges of growing in each location

  • Collect data about coral predators and bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Visit James Cook University’s aquarium – venomous creatures, sharks and the cast from Finding Nemo
  • Find nocturnal wildlife with a spotlighting exercise
  • Guest speaker: Introduction to The Wet Tropics/Biodiversity
  • Perform a species transect using quadrats
  • Fashion insect traps in a “bug workshop” with an entomologist
  • View the Daintree rainforest from above in one of the world’s only tropical canopy cranes
  • Identify marine species with waterproof slates at the Great Barrier Reef
  • Learn about biological control technologies from a farm-based agronomist
  • Participate in a role-playing debate about a local environmental issue
  • Stay overnight at a rainforest research station
  • Talk with researchers at one of Australia’s top mosquito research centres
  • Investigate macro-invertebrates in different bodies of freshwater in the Daintree Rainforest


  • Hike up one of Queensland’s highest mountains on a trip challenge
  • Work as a team to build a raft
  • Participate in a challenge/obstacle course
  • Represent “countries” going for the gold with island or beach Olympics
  • Navigate Grade III rapids as a team on an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip
  • Traverse a low and high ropes course
  • Let our guide facilitate fun team-building games and initiatives
  • Try our Urban Challenge in Cairns or Sydney – winning team gets a prize


  • Learn to sew “Moon Sick Pads” for Aboriginal women in remote communities
  • Collect data about coral predators and bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef
  • Make a meal for the homeless and needy
  • Plant native trees in a riparian zone to help save an endagered frog
  • Stay overnight at a wildlife park and then help with the park’s operations
  • Learn about mangroves from a naturalist, pick up rubbish from those heavily impacted, and then tally your “rubbish results”
  • Do craftwork with elderly Australians in an aged care facility
  • Stencil messages on neighbourhood drains to raise awareness about water affecting the Great Barrier Reef
  • Collect data on the success of a rainforest revegetation project
  • Create hygiene packs for a charity helping needy people

  • Visit and study two ecosystems at risk
  • Geospacial scientist workshop with microdrones
  • Guest speaker: Impacts of Tourism – Case Studies
  • Join in our mapping activity to understand contemporary protected area management
  • Investigate macro-invertebrates in different bodies of freshwater in the Daintree Rainforest
  • Learn about geomorphology on a Great Barrier Reef island
  • Guest speaker: Aboriginal ranger discussing traditional protected area management and TUMRAs
  • Participate in a formal debate about a proposed urban development in Cairns
  • Ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and use a ranger’s talk as a case study
  • Guest speaker: representative from The Wet Tropics Management Authority explains the significance of this UNESCO World Heritage area

  • Monitor coral bleaching and coral predators at the Great Barrier Reef
  • Visit James Cook University’s marine labs and learn about cutting-edge research
  • Discover mangroves–the “nursery” of the reef–from our guide (and add an optional mangrove cleanup as a service project!)
  • Earn a SCUBA Diving certification
  • Measure water quality at the reef & understand what chemical tests say
  • Learn about friendly and frightening creatures during our marine biologist evening presentation
  • Encounter sick & injured turtles at an island turtle rehab centre
  • Camp on an island at the Great Barrier Reef with our marine biologist
  • Watch for whales in June, July and August on a reef trip

  • Collect data on the success of a Daintree rainforest revegetation plot
  • Guest Speaker/Case Study: Small World Journeys owner speaks about sustainability practices in a tourist venture
  • Visit Queensland’s first wind farm
  • Address issues of global food security by learning to make a mini- aquaponics system (growing your own food!)
  • Discover a sustainable timber farm & the things they make
  • Help with socio-cultural sustainability by helping Cairns’ homeless
  • Visit a recycling facility to discover innovative initiatives

Student tour get to know each other

  • Environmental Documentary Viewing
  • Rollerskating
  • Evening Presentation on the Reef
  • Ten-pin Bowling
  • Karaoke
  • “Beach” Volleyball
  • Cairns Night Markets
  • Campfire
  • Skits (we provide the costumes – you provide the drama!)
  • Classic Aussie BBQ beach party

  • Go behind-the-scenes at a Sydney theatre
  • Discover the hidden gems of the historic district with an Aboriginal guide
  • Participate in a fun Urban Challenge to learn more about the city
  • Get surfing lessons at Manly or Bondi Beach
  • Explore Sydney Harbour on an affordable chartered boat with a friendly captain
  • Be taught by an art historian about famous paintings
  • Climb the city’s Harbour Bridge pylon for amazing views
  • Tour the Chinese Friendship gardens – an oasis in the city
  • Celebrate Aboriginal culture at an Indigenous-run centre



  • Feed wild dolphins when they come into shore each night
  • Have fun at a host of theme parks: Movie World, Sea World and Dreamworld
  • Learn to surf a gentle section of Surfers Paradise beach
  • Help a local charity serving the homeless and needy
  • Zoom down giant sand dunes on a purpose-made board
  • Snorkel at a collection of bizarre shipwrecks

“All of the activities were wonderful as promised. All staff were friendly, courteous and extremely professional at all times. Punctual and checked up on the teachers continuously throughout the day. Guides were funny, informative, professional and courteous at all times. Having the same guides for most of the trip allowed relationships to develop which was great. Safety: I felt confident that the children were safe at all times. I would highly recommend them [Small World Journeys] to anyone who cares to listen.”
–Denise King, teacher, Firbank Grammar School, Melbourne NSW Australia (Feb ’20)

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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