Australia Highlights – 9 Day Adventure

Sydney, Reef, Rainforest and Outback

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.

Areas of Learning:

  • Aboriginal Culture
  • Ecology
  • Astronomy
  • Marine Science
  • Wildlife


  • 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

Benefits & Bonuses:

  • All accommodation, guides, transport to activities, and most meals included
  • We plan everything–making it easy for you
  • Price Guarantee: price will not change once you sign up for your trip
  • Expert local guides – not “bus drivers”
  • Detailed itinerary booklet & resources sent before the trip
  • We cater to student special diets and swimming levels
  • Goodies! Water bottle, field guide, cloth shopping bag and rainforest plot adopted in your name


Day 1: Arrival, City Tour and Harbour Bridge Pylon Climb

Day 1: Arrival, City Tour and Harbour Bridge Pylon Climb

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 Rocks Budget Accommodation
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride, Optional Surf Lessons, Aboriginal Culture & Sydney Observatory

Day 2: Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride, Optional Surf Lessons, Aboriginal Culture & Sydney Observatory

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 Rocks Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3: Fly to Cairns and Educational Presentation or Service Project

Day 3: Fly to Cairns and Educational Presentation or Service Project

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).


Service Project for the Homeless: Alternatively, you can participate in a service project for the homeless by making special bags for a local charity using recycled materials (which helps them save money!).  You then put in the bags food and hygiene items most needed by those living on the street.  A not-for-profit organisation will then distribute the packs you make.  In addition, a representative from the non-profit will speak to you about how members of the Cairns community become homeless, and how your gift will help. 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.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4: National Park, Waterfalls and Outback Cattle Station

Day 4: National Park, Waterfalls and Outback Cattle Station

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
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5: Outback Cattle Station Farm Activities and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Day 5: Outback Cattle Station Farm Activities and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

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 Budget Accommodation
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6: Wildlife Park and Daintree Rainforest with Optional Zip Line

Day 6: Wildlife Park and Daintree Rainforest with Optional Zip Line

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
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7: Aboriginal-Guided Traditional Hunting & Tracking and Reef Presentation

Day 7: Aboriginal-Guided Traditional Hunting & Tracking and Reef Presentation

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) fueled 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 Budget Accommodation
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8: Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling & Optional SCUBA Diving

Day 8: Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling & Optional SCUBA Diving

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.

Snorkeling: 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 & Sightings Ap: 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.  Before the trip, we’ll also give you information about downloading an app with which you can log in sightings of reef fauna and flora and your data is then sent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)

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 end of document).

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 Budget Accommodation
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9: Free Time, OPTIONAL Urban Challenge or Shopping and Departure

Day 9: Free Time, OPTIONAL Urban Challenge or Shopping and Departure

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

Optional Urban Challenge: If you have an afternoon flight, you can choose to spend the morning souvenir shopping, swimming at the lagoon or participating in Small World Journeys’ Urban Challenge! (no extra cost)  The Urban Challenge is a fun team-building exercise that allows students to learn more about the history, nature, art and culture of Cairns.  Small group teams compete against time in this treasure hunt-type activity in Cairns central business district.  This is a popular activity for students and the winning team gets a prize!

Cairns Lagoon:  You may wish to spend the last morning at the Cairns Lagoon.  With its fish sculptures and position right next to the ocean, it is the focal point of the city.

Shopping: Cairns is also the place to find a bargain. You can find opals, pearls, silver, clothing, massage oils, t-shirts, arts, crafts, Australian food products, toys, and plenty of souvenirs and gifts.   More upscale (and duty-free!) options at the Galleria include Louis Vuitton, Coach, Gucci and Bulgari.

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

Included: Breakfast

Is this  program too long or too short? Contact us for custom tour options that match your budget and objectives!

School Trip Fees Include:

  • 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
  • Coral adoption through Reef Restoration Foundation with updates on the progress of the coral
  • Mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuit hire on the reef trip
  • Pre-trip educational information
  • 5 metres square Daintree rainforest plot adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue
  • A reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag

*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 of $659 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.


School Trip Fees Exclude:

  • International & Domestic airfare – our travel agent can arrange this!
  • 3 lunches and 1 dinner
  • Personal expenses (phone, laundry, etc.)


  • Rides at Sydney’s Luna Park (ride prices vary)
  • Optional surfing lesson ($70 AUD)
  • Photo with koala ($22 AUD)
  • Intro or certified SCUBA diving ($70 AUD per dive, includes equipment)

Land Cost from 1 April 2021:

  • 15+ participants: $2345 AUD
  • 10-14 participants: $2398 AUD

(*add $50 pp for premium travel season between 15 June – 15 July)


All accommodation is included. In Sydney, you stay at an immaculate hostel in the quaint historic district with rooftop views of the Sydney Opera House! Spacious rooms have their own ensuites, and you can relax at the in-house cafe with WiFi access. In Cairns, you stay 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. One night is at an outback cattle station, where students sleep in single gender cabins with bunk beds, and group leaders stay in cabins. In the Daintree Rainforest, students and group leaders stay separately in single-gender dorm-style rooms with ensuite bathrooms –this is the perfect spot to enjoy the life and chatter of the jungle.  For options to hotel upgrade in Sydney and Cairns, see the Inclusions tab.

Optional Upgrade to Sydney and Cairns Hotel Accommodation:

  • Upgrade to hotel accommodation in Sydney and Cairns: (adds $196 AUD per person to trip)


All meals except 3 lunches and 1 dinner are included. You have a combination of catered and restaurant meals. A typical breakfast is a selection of cereals, toast, juice and fruits; lunches are combinations of sandwiches and salads with fruits and a sweet, and dinners are a sample of BBQs, all-you-can-eat pasta and pizza, seafood treats and local favourites. Ask us about vegetarian, kosher and halal options.

SCUBA Diving:

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SCUBA DIVING:  In order to participate in SCUBA diving, you will be required to fill out a medical form which can be forwarded to you in advance.  Some of the medical conditions that may disqualify you from diving are, but not limited to, the following:  Diabetes, Asthma, Ear/Nose/Throat Conditions, Migraine Headaches, Previous Head Injuries, Epilepsy/Seizures/Convulsions, Pregnancy and/or Poor Physical Conditioning.  We can forward you this medical form before the start of your trip.

Small World Journeys reserves the right to change the order of activities for logistical reasons.




  1. Read our Terms & Conditions and tell us you want to come.
  2. Pay a $200 AUD deposit for the group (not per person – just a flat $200 to secure your booking) via our payment page or by direct deposit/cheque.
  3. Receive a link from us to your special web page that has an electronic booking forms, waivers to e-sign, and more information about the trip.
  4. Have each student sign up via this link and pay you (the teacher) no later than 60 days prior to the trip. You then submit whole payment to us at 60 days.
  5. Enjoy your trip!

Question 1: Do I need a visa to visit Australia?

Answer: All visitors to Australia need a visa, with the exception of visitors from New Zealand. In some countries a visa is easily obtained by the travel agent who issues your ticket, and should be free of charge. For more information on getting a visa, please see: Australian Visas. All visitors will also need a passport, valid for at least six months after the planned return date.  

Question 2: How do we arrange airfare?

Answer: We do not arrange airfare in house, however we do work closely with a couple of travel agents who would be happy to help: In Australia, we recommend Kim Salter, our Melbourne-based travel agent. Contact Kim at or call + 61 0433 324 455 or toll free within Australia 1 300 640 821.   In the US, we recommend: Sandra Marron at Millennium Travel California. You can contact Sandra at or call  1-415-898- 7974.

Question 3: What happens when we arrive at the airport?

Answer: You will be met by a Small World Journeys staff member who will give you an orientation and then accompany you to your accommodation or first activity. Please note if you select flights that arrive or depart outside of the hours requested we can not guarentee supervision, or a staff memeber to meet you until the requested times.

Question 4: When is the best time to visit Sydney?

Answer: Sydney has a temperate climate. Summer is warm temperatures at 18-25 degrees celsius/64- 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters are mild, with average temperatures at 8-16 degrees Celsius/46-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is spread throughout the year.

Question 5: When is the best time to visit Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef?

Answer: Cairns is a tropical place, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year-round. In our summer (December-February), the weather is at its warmest and wettest. You can expect hot days with occasional tropical storms, producing lush green hillsides and plenty of waterfalls. Average temperatures are 23-31 degrees Celsius/73-87 Fahrenheit. In our winter (June-August), the climate is at its most mild, with warm days, cool nights, and little rainfall. Average temperatures are 18-26 degrees Celsius/64-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Autumn (March - May) brings unpredictable weather - it can be warm and rainy or hot and sunny. Springtime (September - November) is the most predicable, and days tend to be warm to hot with little rainfall. The visbility at the Great Barrier Reef is at its best September - November, but can be enjoyed year-round. Come June - September for seasonal whale watching.  

Question 6: What if I wish to SCUBA dive (intro or certified)?

Answer: Medical standards differ from country to country, certain medication / medical conditions may preclude you from diving in Australia (EVEN IF YOU ARE ALREADY CERTIFIED)

Certified Diving

If you are a certified diver, you will still be asked to fill out and sign an Advice to Divers Form. To be "certified" means you have taken a course (typically about 4 days long) and you now hold an Open Water Diver certification card from PADI, SSI, NAUI or other internationally recognized SCUBA diving organisation. If you answer Yes to any of the questions below, further medical clearance may be required. (This must be organised at least the day before your trip start date). In some circumstances you may be able to dive, with a certified professional (dive guide), at an additional cost.
Sample Medical Questionnaire For Certified Divers
  • Are you currently suffering from any illness or injury? Yes or No
  • Are you currently taking any prescription medication (excluding oral contraceptives) Yes or No
  • Since your last dive medical have you suffered from any conditions that may affect your fitness to dive? Yes or No

Introductory Diving

Intro Diving is also called "resort diving". You can do this kind of diving with a dive instructor even if you are not certified (see above). Doing an Intro Dive does NOT certify you to dive on your own in other places. If you are doing an introductory dive on a live aboard or day boat, you will be asked to fill out and sign a medical form. This form can be emailed to you prior to your trip if you are interested in Intro Diving. If you answer YES to any of the medical questions (for example, do you have asthma or take medication for migraines?) further medical clearance may be required. This must be arranged PRIOR to day of departure.

Question 7: Do we need to worry about jellyfish?

Answer: The box jellyfish are present in the northern coastal waters from November to April/May. The jellyfish are found close to shore—they breed in estuaries and very very rarely can they make it to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Most of the swimming beaches have “stinger nets” up during this season so people can swim. However, the tiny Irukandji jellyfish has been known on occasion to slip through the nets, and this is most often where people have been stung. It is a very painful sting, but there have been only 2 confirmed deaths in Australia due to the Irukandji jellyfish. The good news is that the jellyfish are rarely found at the outer Great Barrier Reef, where you will be snorkeling and/or diving. Most people swim on the reef without using any protection. According to the CRC Reef Research Centre, “In offshore waters around coral reefs, box jellyfish that cause Irukandji syndrome are usually well dispersed and the incidence of stings is very small.” Nonetheless, reef operators have “stinger suits” as well as wetsuits as an extra precaution.

Question 8: What happens if a student cancels?

Answer: If an individual student cancels from a trip within 30 days of the trip departure, no refunds are given. For this reason, we strongly encourage all parents to purchase trip cancellation insurance in order to protect against unforeseen circumstances which are the main cause for student cancellations. For more details, please see our Terms & Conditions.

Question 9: What is your safety record?

Answer: Our safety record is outstanding. Please ask us for teacher/supervisor references specifically regarding our safety measures and practices.  We do risk assessments for every excursion we run. We carry a first aid kit in our vehicles, as well as on the guide's person when in remote areas.  All guides are certified in first aid and CPR.  We give every student  a card with emergency numbers and safety information on it to carry, and we review safety measures as part of our orientation. Safety is absolutely our number one concern at all times. We do everything in our power to make sure each trip is as safe as it can possibly be.

Question 10: Do you do risk assessments?

Answer: Yes. We evaluate and re-evaluate the safety of each of our destinations and activities, and we always reserve the right to modify or cancel an itinerary if the guide feels that conditions are unsafe. We will gladly provide a risk management assessment specific to your trip on request. Small World Journeys' staff also adhere to a comprehensive Risk Management Strategy.

Learning Through Adventure

Australia is a country rich in unique natural environments, biodiversity, history and culture- the perfect place for a study tour! On this educational student tour you start in Sydney where you see Australia as a country- rich in culture and history. Your students will learn about Australia’s convict past, colonialism and the move towards multiculturalism. Most of your time is spent in the Cairns region where you focus on environment, science, ecology and social studies with two UNESCO World Heritage sites- the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropical rainforests on our doorstep. This is combined with a thriving Aboriginal culture and easy access to iconic outback make Cairns the perfect one stop destination for international groups travelling to Australia.

  • Hear about Sydney’s convict origins and early colonial history
  • Master a new skill surfing Sydney’s beaches
  • Learn about UNESCO World Heritage listing and the important environmental sites in the tropics
  • Talk to cattle station owners about the difficulties of life on the land
  • Discover the history and culture of Aboriginal people- the world’s oldest living civilisation
  • Experience snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef

Australian National Curriculum- Cross Curriculum Priorities

Sustainability: Your trip with Small World Journeys will be carbon neutral and students will receive an introductory talk on how our business and their trip are eco-friendly and ways they can contribute by participating in more eco-friendly practises. In addition the operators used by SWJ are chosen based on their eco-friendly practises.

  • OI.1 A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is an excellent example of how the biosphere is a dynamic system providing conditions that sustain life on Earth. As the world’s largest living organism, stretching over 2000km along Queensland’s coastline and home to 1500 fish species along with corals, molluscs, sea birds, turtles and whales all of which depend on a delicate balance in the biosphere to sustain the ecosystem.
  • OI.2 A visit to the rainforest demonstrates how all life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival.
  • OI.3 During your educational excursion your students will be able to discuss what it means to live sustainably as an individual and as a member of a bigger community to ensure that while it is necessary to look after the environment, it is also important to ensure that social and economic needs are also being met.
  • OI.7 On your Small World Journeys trip your students will explore and gain a better understanding of the environments in the Cairns region. Through this exploration they will see how the actions towards a more sustainable future reflect the values of care, respect and responsibility of the population and what is being done to educate visitors to the region so that same sense of responsibility towards the environment is felt.
  • OI.8 During their trip students will learn about past practises in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Wet Tropics and look at scientific developments and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts. With your guide you will discuss the impacts of things like development which are necessary for economic growth but can potentially threaten the area.
  • OI.9 During their trip students will learn about GBRMPA and WETMA and the factors that led to World Heritage listing of the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics of Queensland. The sustainable future of these ecosystems is the result of actions designed to preserve the quality and uniqueness of environments. On this excursion, students will also learn about the threats to the area and what actions are being established to restore areas damaged by cyclones, crown of thorns starfish, overfishing, logging, development and pollution.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures: the Cairns region is the perfect place to look more closely at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture with the influences of many language groups predominant in the region. In the south you will learn about the complex social system of the Jirrbal people.

  • OI.2 Your students will learn how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities maintain a special connection to and responsibility for Country/Place throughout all of Australia. In the Cairns region there are several different Aboriginal groups all of which have a strong connection to the reef, coast, rainforests and mountains.
  • OI.3 Students will hear from local Indigenous people about their unique belief systems and how they are spiritually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways.
  • OI.4 Within the Cairns region there are several different Aboriginal language groups. By visiting different areas of the region your students will learn about language from the Kuku-Yalanji, Tjapukai and Jirrbal people.
  • OI.8 Local Aboriginal guides will explain how their people have sophisticated family and kinship structures.
  • OI.9 After experiencing first-hand the intricacies of the local Aboriginal people your students will be in a better position to acknowledge the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people locally and globally.

How your trip supports the community

SUPPORTING  INDIGENOUS CULTURE: We 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. Your trip includes activities and interaction with local Aboriginal people, the traditional owners of the land on which you are traveling. By taking this trip, you are supporting grassroots indigenous tourism ventures and encouraging Aboriginal pride in culture. It is our policy to include a talk or an activity with an Aboriginal person on every trip we offer. 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 new 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: On this educational tour, we use locally owned accommodation, restaurants, and suppliers whenever possible to keep income in the community. This includes supporting farmers by purchasing locally-grown fruits and vegetables for you on your trip. We also give you a list of where to buy locally-made crafts and souvenirs so you can continue this support as well.  In 2018-19, three quarters of our expenses were paid back into the local economy.

SUPPORTING LOCAL HOMELESS & NEEDY PEOPLE: We make both financial and in-kind donations to Rosie’s Friends on The Street, a Cairns-based charity. Rosie’s seeks to provide homeless people and people living rough a hot meal, conversation and a non-judgemental human connection.  Small World Journeys’ staff also volunteer on Rosie’s outreach nights, and many of our students have made comfort packs for Rosie’s patrons! For more information on Rosie’s and other organisations to which we donate, see Philanthropy and Partnerships or ask us how you can incorporate community service with Rosie’s into your educational excursion.

How your trip is “Eco-friendly”

HELPING THE REEF: In addition to the coral tree we sponsor, we pay to “adopt” coral at Fitzroy Island through our partner Reef Restoration Foundation.  The coral propagation happening there is unprecedented and is being celebrated as a significant project 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.

REDUCING WASTE: We give you your own water bottle and cloth shopping bag to eliminate the need for disposable bottles and plastic bags. By reducing our need for plastic bags and bottles, we avoid having these things go into landfills or into the tummies of our native animals. We also recycle BOTH our hard plastics and soft plastics, and our trip snack wrappers get broken down and made into other things! For more information on how we donate to The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and other environmental groups, see Philanthropy and Partnership.

OUR OFFICE IS RUN ON SOLAR POWER: Our future is so bright, we gotta wear shades.

CARBON OFFSETTING: We calculate our company’s carbon emissions. Then we pay Sustainable Travel International (STI) to offset your emissions by investing in environmental and community-based projects. In 2018 we offset 76.72 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide! For more information about our carbon offsetting, see 10 Ways We’re ”Sustainable”.

How your trip is safety-oriented

REFERENCES:  We have had hundreds of students travel with us, and our safety record is excellent.  Ask us for teacher references specifically regarding safety.

VEHICLES: All of our vehicles are equipped with seatbelts for every seat. While this is not a Queensland law, 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.

RISK ASSESSMENT: We do a risk assessment for every student tour we run. That risk assessment then gets sent to the 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.

GUIDES AND SAFETY: Small World Journeys’ guides hold current Senior First Aid and CPR certificates, along with government-issued Driver’s Authority and Working With Children cards (also known as a Blue Card). For more information on our guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.