Australia-New Zealand – 14 Day Adventure

The Best of The Lands Down Under

Watch Lord of the Rings and you will know New Zealand:  snow-capped volcanoes, kauri pine forests, craggy mountains, rolling  emerald hills and bubbling geysers.  Combine the country’s natural beauty with native Maori performing the haka,  fearless bungy jumpers (could be you!) and the fun Hobbiton film set, and you’ve got New Zealand in a nutshell.  Then hop on a plane to Australia for dramatic change of scenery:  jungle-draped canyons, tropical waterfalls hidden in the rainforest, and the azure waters of the Great Barrier Reef, capped with a visit to an outback cattle station in the classic Aussie outback.  Friendly local guides show you the best of both nations, sure to be the adventure of your lifetime.

Areas of Learning:

  • Aboriginal Culture
  • Maori Culture
  • Wildlife
  • Ecology
  • Geology
  • Marine Science


  • Swim with dolphins in The Bay of Islands
  • Sand board down giant dunes
  • Go “black water rafting” in Waitomo’s labyrinthine cave system
  • Tour The Shire at Hobbiton – Lord of the Rings movie set
  • Take the plunge with an optional bungy jump
  • View New Zealand’s famous glowworms, kiwi, and sheep of course
  • Snorkel at The Great Barrier Reef
  • Outback cattle station: wild kangaroos, cow milking and whip cracking
  • Natural rainforest waterslide and waterfalls
  • Jungle canopy zip line
  • Wildlife park and cuddle a koala
  • Maori and Aboriginal culture, art and performance

Benefits & Bonuses:

  • All accommodation, most meals, guides and transport to activities 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”
  • We cater to student special diets and swimming levels
  • Goodies! Water bottle, field guide, cloth shopping bag and rainforest plot adopted in your name
  • MAKE IT YOUR OWN – This trip is fully customisable. Ask us for details!
Day 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand, Waitangi, Maori Meeting House and Kayaking

Day 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand, Waitangi, Maori Meeting House and Kayaking

Arrive and Transfer:  You arrive in Auckland and are warmly greeted by your guide at the airport. You then travel north to Paihia, gateway to the Bay of Islands and the “winterless north”.  (Departing airport at 8:30 am)

Maori Meeting House and Waitangi Treaty House:  Your first introduction to the culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people – the Maori – begins at a traditional carved wood wharenui (meeting house) at Waitangi.  You follow in the footsteps of Maori chiefs and a lone delegate of the British crown, learning of treaty controversies and why this is the birthplace of New Zealand as we know it.

Kayak the Waitangi River:  In the care of experienced instructors, you kayak among the mangrove trees and up the picturesque and gentle Waitangi River to the Haruru Falls, meaning “thundering noise” in the local Maori language.  [Note that this activity will not be possible if Auckland arrival is not in the early morning]

Games and Orientation:  As part of your welcome to New Zealand, you receive an orientation and participate in some fun ice breaker games with your guide.

Accommodation: Paihia Budget Accommodation
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Kauri Forest, Cape Reinga Sand Boarding and 90 Mile Beach

Day 2: Kauri Forest, Cape Reinga Sand Boarding and 90 Mile Beach

Kauri Forest: This morning you travel to Puketi Kauri Forest, named for the grand evergreens that grace this part of New Zealand.  You trace a boardwalk that winds among these gentle giants, listening for fantails and wood pigeons cooing. This is one of the last remaining swaths of kauris, prized by settlers for their tall straight timber.

Mangonui: Once a port for whalers and traders, the historic town of Mangonui is your next stop for morning tea at a café and a comfort stop.

Cape Reinga: Craggy windswept headlands tumble into the sea at New Zealand’s tip, where, according to Maori legend, souls depart the earth on their way back to their original homeland of Hawaiki.  You experience a different kind of descent with a “sand surfing” lesson and an exhilarating plummet down massive dunes on a body board.  Always a highlight for students!

90 Mile Beach:  Later you enjoy a frolic on the sweeping 90 Mile Beach, which, true to its name, offers up an expanse of sea, surf and sun.

Accommodation: Paihia Budget Accommodation
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3: Bay of Islands Cruise & Dolphin Watching/Swimming, Russell and Pakiri Beach

Day 3: Bay of Islands Cruise & Dolphin Watching/Swimming, Russell and Pakiri Beach

Bay of Islands Cruise: 144 tiny islets dot The Bay of Islands like a necklace of green gumdrops, and this is one of New Zealand’s most enchanting sites.  You hop aboard a cruising vessel that takes you around the Bay, weaving among a tapestry of dappled scenic vistas.

Dolphin Watching/Swimming:  The Bay of Islands also happens to be a favourite playground of the lively bottlenose dolphin. While there are no guarantees of sightings, on occasion there is a possibility you’re able to enter the water with these magical and intelligent creatures for a swim.  This is an once-in-a-lifetime experience with wild dolphins.

Russell Village:  Next you enjoy some free time in sweetly historic Russell, former capital of New Zealand. Sipping tea at an outdoor café, strolling tidily trimmed gardens or browsing gift shops of hand-made crafts, it’s easy to forget this town was once dubbed “the Hellhole of The Pacific.”  The town abounds in tales of rough whalers and boozy sailors, convicts and prostitutes, doing dirty deeds in a place Charles Darwin said attracted “the refuse of society”. Odd reminders of an unsavoury past include New Zealand’s oldest church that’s riddled with bullet holes. You return to the mainland by ferry.

Pakiri Beach: You travel south again today to stroll along beautiful deserted Pakiri Beach, over white sand dunes and through lush pohutukawa groves, with magnificent views of Little Barrier and the Hen & Chicken Islands.

Accommodation:  Pakiri Beach Motor Camp
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4: Travel to Waitomo, Glowworm Caves and Optional Black Water Rafting

Day 4: Travel to Waitomo, Glowworm Caves and Optional Black Water Rafting

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves & Walk: With your guide you creep through craggy caves to view some of New Zealand’s most unusual creatures – glowworms – that catch food through bioluminescence and make tiny twinkles in the darkness. A stunning short walk follows this activity that takes you through collapsed limestone cave system.

OPTIONAL Black Water Rafting* and Glowworm Caves: If you are a little more adventurous, you can opt for Black Water Rafting! You don thick wetsuits and “miners hats” for a thrilling adventure underground. You descend into a labyrinth of limestone caves, carved by a rushing stream that carries you and your inner tube along with it. Professional guides lead you into a lost world of underground waterfalls, cathedral ceilings of stalagtites and hidden passageways. Travelling deep into this cave system is the only way to view the most magical site: glowworms that light up the caves like the Milky Way. Your adventures ends with warm soup and bagels and a chance to view the photos your guide took of you in the caves. (*extra cost of 155 NZD)

This evening you stay in the hills of the tiny hamlet of Waitomo, translated from Maori meaning “water passing through a hole”.

Accommodation:  Waitomo YHA
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5: Hike Tongariro NP, Huka Falls, Lake Taupo and Hot Pools

Day 5: Hike Tongariro NP, Huka Falls, Lake Taupo and Hot Pools

Tongariro National Park:  Today you travel south into Tongariro National Park which reveals a mosaic of environments: sub tropical rainforest with green Crown Ferns and delicate orchids, silver and mountain beech forests, and a sub alpine environment with bluegrass and curled leaved neinei.  On a clear day, both Mt. Ruapehu and Mt. Ngauruhoe (the conical “Mt. Doom” to Lord of the Rings fans!) dominate the skyline.

Hike at Lake Rotopounamu: You start today with a stunning but easy hike around a crater lake that stands in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the North Island’s highest mountain.

Huka Falls:  Some of New Zealand’s most spectacular falls! On its way to Lake Taupo, the Waikato River funnels a massive amount of water through a narrow chute of 15 metres as it crosses a hard volcanic ledge, spilling churning falls into a crystalline pool.  You view the falls from an easy walk over a footbridge.

Honey Hive: Later at the Honey Hive, you learn of the importance of bees to the ecosystem, and view the busy bees from behind the glass.  Samples of their hard work sit out for you to taste and touch:  honey ice cream, honey skin products and of course, spoonfuls of straight honey itself.

OPTIONAL Bungy Jump:  New Zealand made famous this adventure sport, which has now become an iconic experience in the country.  Watch jumpers as they plummet into from a lofty perch on a platform above the lake or choose to take the plunge yourself!  (jump is extra cost of $185 NZD)

Hot Pools Soak: Next at DeBretts you soak in deliciously warm pools at a natural ‘hot spot’ – a geothermal spring known as Onekeneke.  Try for yourselves the magical mineral powers of the spring, a site whose healing effects locals have sworn by for years.

Accommodation: Silver Fern Lodge
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6: Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua, Te Puia Valley & Maori Cultural Presentation

Day 6: Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua, Te Puia Valley & Maori Cultural Presentation

Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland:  This morning you visit New Zealand’s most colourful natural volcanic environment. Its unique features include the world famous champagne pool, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground, huge volcanic craters and silica terraces.  A highlight is swimming a freshwater stream naturally heated by geothermal water on the Wai-o-Tapu field.

Rotorua:  Today you travel to the “bubbling” town of Rotorua, which is synonymous with thermal activity.  For sizzling displays of thermal magic, this town does not disappoint; this is one of the most geologically active places on earth.  Let your feet dance on naturally heated earth, watch geysers spurt, and soak your body in hot pools nestled among the ferns.  Here Maori culture reigns; this is the cultural heart of Aotearoa (translated as “Land of the Long White Cloud”).

Te Puia – Whakarewarewa Volcanic Valley: Later you explore the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, where the Pohutu and other geysers dazzle you with their grand sprays of steam. Here a mosaic of geothermal features also include Prince of Wales Feather geyser, “The Blue Pool” and a host of gurgling mud pools.  You learn how Maori people used some of the pools for cooking vegetables and eels from the local river, a practice done for centuries. You can find the country’s elusive national bird–and as New Zealander is affectionately called—the kiwi, also at Te Puia.

Maori Crafts, Games, Cultural Show & Hangi: An evening at Tamaki gives you an authentic introduction to Maori culture.  Maori warriors first determine whether you are friend or foe in a sacred ceremony, and then welcome you into their village.  At different huts among the pines you learn how the Maori keep their culture alive through dance and play:  you can try intricate poi twirling, a standing stick game, or the haka – a warrior intimidation dance. The highlight is an all-you-can-eat hangi, a traditional underground-cooked Maori feast and the singing of Maori songs.

Accommodation: Rotorua Four Canoes Lodge
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7: Options for Adventure Activities, Hobbiton Movie Set and Auckland

Day 7: Options for Adventure Activities, Hobbiton Movie Set and Auckland

Velocity Valley: This is your last chance to try up to four of New Zealand’s most iconic adventure activities:  “The Swoop” sky swing, Agrojet, Zorbing, Shweeb Racing on a suspended monorail, or Freefall Xtreme – a wind tunnel experience similar to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible. (Options are extra cost:  2 rides $85 NZD; 4 rides $129 NZD)

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour:  Follow in the footsteps of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins into the miniature world of The Shire, the home of hobbits.  Whether you have seen the Lord of The Rings trilogy or not, you will undoubtedly appreciate the efforts that went into the creation of this elaborate outdoor movie set from a still operational sheep farm.  From a giant tree whose thousands of leaves were glued on to the tiny pottery of a hobbit craftsman, careful attention was paid to infinite details.  Your guide entertains you with tales of what went on during filming, and how director Peter Jackson created illusions through the camera.  At the end of the tour, you cross a stone bridge to the true-to-life Green Dragon Pub. You can imagine yourself among dwarves and wizards as you sip sweet ginger beer.

Return to Auckland:  You return to Auckland, “City of Sails” and have the evening for souvenir shopping and a delicious dinner.

Accommodation: Auckland YHA
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8: Flight to Australia, Orientation and Dangerous Animals Presentation

Day 8: Flight to Australia, Orientation and Dangerous Animals Presentation

Flight to Australia & Orientation:   You are transferred to the Auckland airport this morning you’re your flight to Australia. You arrive in Cairns and are warmly greeted by your guide at the airport.  You are then transferred to your accommodation

Dangerous Animals Presentation:  Next you partake in a lively presentation about the myths and realities of Australia’s dangerous animals.  Which kills more people in a year – sharks or coconuts?  What type of snake strikes multiple times? What’s the difference between a “freshy” and a “salty” crocodile and who would you rather swim with?  These questions and more are answered in a fun interactive session that introduces you to Australia’s famous and not-so-famous creatures.

Esplanade, Swimming & Night Markets:  As a group you walk to the Esplanade where you have an orientation and time to swim in the giant lagoon.  Later tonight you have time for shopping at the Cairns Night Markets.  You can find opals, pearls, silver, clothing, massage oils, t-shirts, arts, crafts, Australian food products, toys, and plenty of souvenirs and gifts.

Accommodation: Cairns YHA
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9: Wildlife Dome, Outback Cattle Station Farm Stay & Boomerang Throwing

Day 9: Wildlife Dome, Outback Cattle Station Farm Stay & Boomerang Throwing

Wildlife Dome: Your first experience is the Wildlife Dome, where birds, reptiles and small mammals roam free inside a giant aviary enclosure. You can walk freely among the animals and view the Dome’s massive crocodile from a safe lookout. And for those of you who have always wanted a photo with a koala – here’s your chance!

Outback Cattle Station: Next you travel from Cairns into classic outback country, where the dirt is red, kangaroos roam freely and “jackaroos”(Australian cowboys) muster their cattle. Here you are welcome guests at a family-run traditional working cattle station and homestead, opened only to your group. You have a tour of the station via haytruck during which you look for wildlife, followed by a classic Aussie BBQ.

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.

Farm Stay BBQ and Stargazing:  Your single-gender cabins have bunk beds, all linen, and toilets & showers in an outside block., followed by a bonfire and stargazing.

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

Day 10: Outback Cattle Station, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Future of the Reef Presentation

Day 10: Outback Cattle Station, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Future of the Reef Presentation

Farm Activities & Sustainable Efforts: 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 what this robust rural family does to survive flooding, and drought. You also learn the efforts the station is making to reduce fine sediment runoff to the Great Barrier Reef and why the station is considered a Far North leader in protecting the Reef.

Cow Milking, Animals and Whip Cracking: Here you can visit 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.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: Back on the other side of the Great Dividing Range, you ride on the region’s 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.

Future of The Reef Talk: In the evening back in Cairns you attend a unique presentation on the future of the Great Barrier Reef.  Your marine naturalist teaches you the facts about the state of the reef, dispelling myths about bleaching and climate change, and relays the good, the bad and the ugly about reef tourism. During this talk, you learn the four key threats to the reef and how scientists are trying “assisted evolution” by breeding corals that are resistant to bleaching under higher temperatures.  Perhaps most importantly, you gain ten tips on how you yourselves can help save the reef and continue campaigning when you return home.

Accommodation: Cairns YHA
Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 11: Snorkelling at The Great Barrier Reef & Glass Bottom Boat

Day 11: Snorkelling at The Great Barrier Reef & Glass Bottom Boat

Boat Transfer to Green Island: The Great Barrier Reef—a UNESCO World Heritage Site— lies just off Cairns’ coast. Today you travel to Green Island, a rainforest island on the inner Great Barrier Reef.  Here you can sunbathe, stroll the boardwalk in the national park, or walk right into the water for snorkeling.

Snorkelling: Snorkellers will find most of the abundant life and colours exist right beneath the surface here at the reef.  Within reach are giant clams, angel, butterfly and parrot fish, turtles, sea stars and corals of a thousand hues.  Among the 1,800 species of fish and 450 species of coral, you  can expect to see Wally the giant wrasse, fan corals, sea cucumbers, stag horn coral gardens and just about the entire cast of “Finding Nemo”.

Glass Bottom Boat & Field Guide: For those who prefer not to swim, you can opt for 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.  A field guide for the creatures at The Great Barrier Reef is included in your trip so that you better understand the creatures you’re looking at (and the book makes a great souvenir!)

Buffet Lunch: Included today is a buffet lunch with different types of salads, bread, fruits, and hot dishes like noodles and curries. On the ride back, look for dolphins playing in the wake of the boat, and in the winter months minke and humpback whales can also appear.

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 YHA
Included:  Breakfast and Lunch

Day 12: Crater Lakes National Park, Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk and Platypus/Glowworms

Day 12: Crater Lakes National Park, Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk and Platypus/Glowworms

Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Tree Kangaroo Spotting:  You continue on to a special swathe of rainforest an area important to the Ngadjon indigenous people. This highland rainforest boasts a rainbow of bird life and mammals, and is the only region in the world to spot the elusive Lumholz tree kangaroo, or mupee.  Your local Ngadjon Aboriginal guide takes you into his country, and you listen to the lively stories of his ancestors, discover an explosive volcanic history and learn the regional “bush tucker” (food) that was yummy to eat.

Afterwards where the cool fresh waters of the North Johnstone River tumble over basalt lava flows at Malanda Falls, a freshwater pool beckons you for a swim.

Highlands Cabins: Later you settle into your dorm-style accommodation next to a gorgeous waterfall.  Cabins with shared bathrooms are split by gender, and teachers have their own cabins nearby with ensuites, small refrigerator, and tea & coffee making facilities.

Platypus Spotting and Glowworms: Near sunset with your guide you can look for the  elusive platypus that swims in the property’s stream, and after dark you can also creep down a path through the rainforest to view some of Australia’s most unusual creatures – glow worms – that attract mates through bioluminescence and make tiny twinkles in the night.

Accommodation: Highlands Cabins
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13: Outback Farm Activities, Waterfalls & National Park and Beach BBQ Party

Day 13: Outback Farm Activities, Waterfalls & National Park and Beach BBQ Party

National Park: This morning 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:  First up you visit Millaa Millaa Falls, the icon of tropical north Queensland and one of the most photographed natural sites in the region.  For those who are keen, you can swim out to the peculiar columnar basalt and view the falls the falls from behind – a perfect tropical swimming hole.

Beach BBQ Party: In the afternoon, you head to the beach for music, games and a BBQ dinner.  This is a fun way to end your trip, and will give you a chance to recount your adventures over the past 2 weeks.

Accommodation: Cairns YHA
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14: Optional Community Service Project, Free Time and Departure

Day 14: Optional Community Service Project, Free Time and Departure

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

Optional Service Project: Alternatively, you can participate in a service project for the homeless by making special bags for a local charity using upcycled materials (which helps them save money!) You then put it the bags food and hygiene items most needed by those living on the street.  Rosies Friends on The Street is a not-for-profit organisation that will then distribute the packs you make.  In addition, a representative from Rosies 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 (on request, no extra cost).

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

Included: Breakfast

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

 Trip Fees Include:

  • All activities and entrance fees as described in the itinerary
  • Professional guides and educators
  • Auckland airport transfers
  • Cairns airport transfers
  • Transportation to activities
  • All continental breakfasts
  • All lunches (except on Day 8 – travel day)
  • All dinners (except on Day 11’s “free choice” night)
  • 2 nights Paihia lodge (dorm-style lodge)*
  • 1 night Pakiri Beach lodge (dorm-style lodge)*
  • 1 night Waitomo hostel (dorm-style lodge)*
  • 1 night Rotorua lodge (dorm-style lodge)
  • 1 night Rotorua lodge (dorm-style lodge)*
  • 1 night Auckland hostel (dorm-style lodge)*
  • 4 nights central Cairns hostel (dorm-style rooms)*
  • 1 night at outback cattle station (dorm-style cabins)*
  • 1 night Cairns Highlands cabins (4-share cabins)*
  • 101 Animals of the Wet Tropics field guide for each student
  • Mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit/stinger suit hire on the reef trip
  • Reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag to take home
  • Marine park and national park fees
  • 5 metres square Daintree rainforest plot adopted in your group’s name and certificate
  • Coral adoption through Reef Restoration Foundation with updates on the progress of the coral

*Two teacher rooms (private twin or triple share rooms) 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 $789 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.

Trip Fees Exclude:

  • Airfare to/from New Zealand and Australia
  • Lunch on Day 8 and dinner on Day 11
  • Personal expenses (phone, souvenirs, laundry, etc.)

Land Cost to 31 March 2021:

  • 15+ participants: $3994 AUD
  • (Low numbers) 10-14 participants: $4088 AUD

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


  • Optional Black Water Rafting ($155 NZD)
  • Optional Bungy Jump ($185 NZD)
  • Velocity Valley Options (Ultimate VIP pass is $219 NZD which includes all 4 activities + bungy jump; 2 rides $85 NZD; 4 rides $129 NZD)
  • Optional professional photo with koala or crocodile ($22 AUD)
  • SCUBA Diving ($164 AUD for an intro dive or certified dive; $116 for the second dive)
  • Optional Community Service Project on Day 14 (free)

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.


All accommodation is included. In New Zealand, you stay at a combination of hostels and lodges, all of which have laundry facilities, internet access  and are fully heated. Most have TV lounges and sitting rooms.  In Australia, 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 private bathrooms –this is the perfect spot to enjoy the life and chatter of the jungle.


All meals are included except one lunch and one dinner. Your meals on tour are a combination of continental breakfasts, hearty packed and restaurant lunches, and delicious restaurants where you sample local fare. You try “billy tea” and damper (bush bread) after your aboriginal-guided rainforest walk, and enjoy a delicious beach “barbie” on your last night in Australia! Ask us about vegetarian, kosher and halal options.


The New Zealand portion of this trip is conducted in partnership with Learning Journeys. Small World Journeys & Learning Journeys reserve 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: When is the best time to visit New Zealand and Australia?

Answer: On this trip, you will be visiting New Zealand's mild North Island, and tropical Cairns in Australia. New Zealand: Anytime of the year is a good time to visit: students enjoy the mild temperate climate year round. Summer is between December and March and is never too hot. Winters are mild with no snow except on the highest mountains. Australia's Cairns region is a tropical, and outdoor activities can also 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 2: What do we need to pack?

Answer: A Suggested Packing List will be sent to you once you sign up so you will be able to adequately prepare for your trip.

Question 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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.

Question 8: Why should we purchase travel insurance?

Answer: We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance for your protection. Should a participant need to cancel their trip for any reason, our cancellation policy applies. However, travel insurance protects any loss they may experience should s/he or an immediate family member become ill or sustain an injury that prevents them from going on the trip.

Your trip offers an educational experience in New Zealand and Australia.

The North Island of New Zealand offers many educational opportunities:

  • The Bay of Islands is rich in New Zealand history and it here, a short drive from your accommodation in Waitangi, that the British Crown signed a treaty with Maori on February 6th 1840. This unique document, the Treaty of Waitangi is still at the centre of legal debate, claims and counter claims by both sides. Your visit to the Treaty Grounds will provide an insight into this colonial period and how this ‘founding document’ came into being.
  • Prior to the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, the top half of the North Island was swathed in dense sub-tropical rain forest dominated by the huge and ancient Kauri trees. Their timber was strong and straight and ideal for ship building and it was extensively logged by the Europeans to the extent that virtually none now remains. You will though visit Puketi forest which contains a large area of virgin forest, untouched by humans. Here you will see how New Zealand looked for millions of years and here the song of native birds. It is both a window into the past and a glimpse of the future as tens of thousands of Kauri trees are being planted in areas such as the Coromandel.
  •  No educational student group visit to New Zealand is complete without a look at the unique culture of the Polynesian Maori. To understand who they are today, you need to know how and when they arrived in New Zealand and their spiritual links to their past and their ancestors in Hawaiki. It is from Cape Reinga at the very tip of the North island that their souls depart under the sea, returning to their ancestral land of Hawaiki. At Te Puia you will also see the art of the traditional woodcarvers and have the opportunity to talk to the local Tangata whenua, or ‘people of the land’.
  • As you travel throughout New Zealand’s North Island, also known as ‘Te Ika-a-Maui’ or the ‘fish of Maui’ you will learn more about the amazing forces of nature that shaped this country. New Zealand sits of the edge of the Pacific Rim of Fire and what you see today is largely the result of the collision between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian plate to its west. The active volcanos, the geothermal activity and the geysers of Te Puia are all the result of this and created constantly changing the landscapes you will see.

Australian educational opportunities:

  • The Cairns, Australia region is perfect for programs with a 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.
  • A visit to 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.
  • A visit to the rainforest demonstrates how all life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their well-being and survival.
  • During your trip you 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.
  • On your Australia New Zealand 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.
  • Your students can seek adventure by learning to sand board, bungy jump or challenge themselves by working together whilst navigating a cave system during underground rafting.
  • Talk to Australian cattle station owners to learn about the challenges of droughts, cattle health, economic pressures and rural living. Essential to any educational trip to New Zealand and Australia is the perspective of the country’s indigenous people.  On this trip, your students learn about Aboriginal culture during a walk with an Aboriginal elder of the Kuku Yalanji tribe, and he explains rites of passage, medicinal plants, how his people found their way through the rainforest, and spiritual beliefs of his people.



How your trip supports the community

SUPPORTING LOCAL INDIGENOUS CULTURE: We acknowledge  Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islander People as the first inhabitants of Australia and Maori People as the first inhabitants of new Zealand and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where we work and our groups travel. Your trip includes activities and interaction with Maori and Aboriginal people, the traditional owners of the land on which you are traveling. By taking this trip, your are supporting grassroots indigenous tourism ventures and encouraging both Maori and 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, Small World Journeys gave over $43,000 in business to Aboriginal-owned ventures.

SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES: On your 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 in both New Zealand and Australia so you can continue this support as well.

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! Learning Journeys is an active supporter of Foundation for Youth Development and Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC), as well as a supporter of Tiritirimatangi conservation project. For more information on  other organisations to which Small World Journeys donates, see Philanthropy and Partnerships.

How your trip is “Eco-friendly”

ADOPTING A RAINFOREST PLOT/CORAL AT THE REEF: 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. Additionally, we pay to adopt a section of coral at The Great Barrier Reef in your group’s name. Important work is being done by Reef Restoration Foundation to propagate resilient corals and help save the reef. You receive a certificate from Reef Restoration Foundation and updates about the growth of your coral.

REDUCING WASTE: In Australia, 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. For more information on how we donate to The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and other environmental groups, see Philanthropy and Partnerships.

CARBON OFFSETTING: When you travel, you put carbon dioxide into the environment. We calculate the total carbon footprint of the Australia portion of your trip. Then we pay Sustainable Travel International (STI) to offset your emissions by investing in environmental and community-based projects. In 2017 we offset 76.72 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide! For more information, 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 have a complete Crisis Management Plan, we assess risks of the tour and are happy to complete a risk assessment for you upon request. In addition, students are given a safety briefing during orientation, along with a card with emergency numbers, accommodation addresses and phone numbers.

GUIDES, SAFETY & QUALMARK ACCREDITED: 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.  In New Zealand, Qualmark accreditation is a system developed by Tourism New Zealand and the AA and Department of Conservation approved, so you can be confident of the quality of your experience in New Zealand.