International Baccalaureate CAS Tour

On this trip we honour students of International Baccalaureate’s Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) program.  To fulfill their commitment to being active, inventive and helpful to the community, IB students will find themselves engaged in a host of unique and character-building activities. Students create dot art with an Aboriginal guide, plant native trees to revitalise degraded land, and learn to snorkel among a rainbow of life at the Great Barrier Reef.  They work as a team to build a raft, to clean mangroves that serve as marine life nurseries, and to monitor the success of a Daintree Rainforest revegetation plot.  With plenty of time for an Urban Challenge competition, a beach bonfire, looking for Nemo, and wildlife spotting under the care of an expert educator, this school excursion for IB students is sure to please.

Areas of Learning:

  • CAS: Creativity, Activity and Service
  • Ecology
  • Art
  • Marine Science
  • Aboriginal Culture


  • Help save the amazing marine life on the Great Barrier Reef through several service projects
  • Get first-hand experience with Aboriginal Culture, Art and History
  • Spend the night among the chatter and life in the jungle
  • Soar high above the Daintree rainforest in JCU’s canopy crane
  • Challenge your skills and creativity in raft building – and test it in the water afterwards
  • Ride the waves aboard a catamaran on a quest to find Nemo and assess the state of the reef
  • Discover medicinal and edible plants with Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal guides
  • Give back to nature by planting trees and monitoring a revegetation site
  • Spend an evening at the beach dancing, gazing at the stars and enjoying a real Aussie BBQ

Benefits & Bonuses:

  • All accommodation, guides and transport to activities included
  • Risk assessment provided
  • Price Guarantee: price will not change once you sign up for your trip
  • Expert guides – not “bus drivers”
  • We cater to 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: Arrival and Future of The Reef Talk

DAY 1: Arrival and Future of The Reef Talk

Arrival: You arrive in Cairns and are warmly greeted by one of our staff at the airport.

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.

Future of The Reef Talk: In the evening 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 Budget Accommodation
Included Meals:
Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Activity

DAY 2: Mangrove Talk & Clean-Up and Drain Stencil Service Project

DAY 2: Mangrove Talk & Clean-Up and Drain Stencil Service Project

Environmental Service Project to Help the Great Barrier Reef: This service project involves working together to protect waterways, ocean and reef. By stencilling messages on drains, students contribute to raising awareness of urban stormwater pollution and its impact on the local marine environment. The colourful and creative designs are a pleasant way to remind the community that all rubbish drains to the ocean.

Mangrove Boardwalk: Your next stop is the Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk. This raised walkway takes you through this critical mangrove ecosystem which is the breeding ground for many important aquatic species.  Your guide teaches you about the interesting aspects of mangrove systems and their importance to the Great Barrier Reef.

Creek Cleanup: Next you visit one of the creeks that makes its way to the ocean via the mangrove ecosystems. Unfortunately household rubbish also often makes its way into these creeks and so today you will be grabbing gloves and garbage bags to do your bit to clean up the waterway.  You tally your “rubbish results” at the end and the team with the top results gets a prize.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Included Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch
CAS outcomes: Activity, Service

DAY 3: Fitzroy Island & The Great Barrier Reef, Raft Building, CoralWatch and Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

DAY 3: Fitzroy Island & The Great Barrier Reef, Raft Building, CoralWatch and Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Ferry Ride: This morning you ferry to the pristine Fitzroy Island. Here a fringing coral reef surrounds the island providing a sheltered home for a variety of fish and coral species.

Guided Snorkelling: With full use of snorkel gear for the day, you can walk right into the water to explore the magnificent reef system that surrounds the island. Your marine naturalist leads you to underwater examples of biodiversity as well as examples of the reef’s most interesting features.  Topics you discuss can include, but are not limited to:  coral biology, fish populations and behaviour, endangered species, coral predators and threats to the reef, human impacts on the reef and climate change.

Raft Building: Next you use your intellect and creativity in a raft-building exercise. Using only tyres, ropes and some plastic containers, you must work together to produce a floating raft for your team, and then test its strength in the water.

CoralWatch Data Collection:  In the afternoon with your marine naturalist you engage in an activity that addresses concerns over climate change and coral bleaching. During this exercise you find out more about how and why coral bleaches.  You learn how to identify different kinds of coral, match its colours to a waterproof chart, and then record what you observe in teams of two.  The data then goes back to the University of Queensland’s Coral Watch scientists, where they analyse the results over time and look for any long term trends. Your results also go into a database to track bleaching around the world, and your group receives a graph of your results.

Reef Restoration Project Overview: Reef Restoration Foundation is a not for profit social enterprise that is establishing offshore nurseries at Fitzroy Island. The project aim is to accelerate the recovery of damaged reefs, and strengthen resilience to future bleaching events. The process mimics nature and allows damaged reefs to re-open faster. Today you are given an overview of how the project has been established at the island and the success story so far. Small World Journeys has sponsored one of the ‘coral trees’ that is a part of the coral nursery, and is proud to be involved with this first of breakthrough solution within Australia.

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

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

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Included Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Creativity, Activity

DAY 4: Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling and Eye on The Reef Data Collection

DAY 4: Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling and Eye on The Reef Data Collection

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 and Data Collection: Upon arrival, you dock at a floating pontoon, and an underwater universe greets you. During a guided snorkel tour with your marine biologist, 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”.

Data Collection & Service: Next you receive in-water training on how to conduct the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Rapid Monitoring Survey. Your marine guide will point out key features of the reef ecosystem, answer any questions, and conduct a practice survey with group. Then during a timed snorkel session, you record your underwater findings.  Your guide and waterproof slates help you identify a host of marine life and calculate benthic zone coverage. Most importantly, you look for signs of coral bleaching and coral predators which greatly affect the health of the reef.  Your data is then collected and contributes to the central reporting system used by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to manage the long term sustainability of this UNESCO World Heritage area.

Other Activities: Semi-submarine and glass bottom boat tours, underwater observatory, and marine life touch tank are all available for you to enjoy. The double-storey pontoon also has something that no one else does….. a long and fun slide that finishes in the waters of the reef. Lunch today is a tropical buffet served on the boat.

Each student receives a certificate of participation at the end of the day.

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)

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
CAS outcomes: Activity, Service

DAY 5: Native Tree Planting, Kuranda & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

DAY 5: Native Tree Planting, Kuranda & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Save Endangered Species by Planting Native Trees: Toting your shovels and gloves, this morning you give back to the community by planting native trees. On this service project, you help to protect a buffer zone to a World Heritage area. You plant native trees to moderate temperature and humidity and to create niches for other plants and animals. By working with seedlings, digging, planting, and watering, you get to meet some local volunteers, help the environment and contribute to the community.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: This afternoon you experience Cairns premier eco-attraction and winner of numerous ecotourism awards – the Skyrail. Your guide takes you to this unique rainforest cableway for a fantastic journey over Australia’s World Heritage listed tropical rainforest canopy and deep into the forest. Spanning 7.5 kilometres over Barron Gorge National Park, the Skyrail experience includes a scenic cableway ride and stops at two rainforest mid-stations.

Kuranda Mountain Village: At the end of the Skyrail lies the mountain village of Kuranda.  Have lunch together before you stroll around the market place for local arts and crafts, and sample some local fare.  Options in Kuranda Village include Koala Gardens*, The Butterfly Sanctuary*, and Birdworld*  (*entrance is extra cost).

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 Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch
CAS outcomes: Activity

DAY 6: Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Aboriginal Dot Painting

DAY 6: Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Aboriginal Dot Painting

Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk: Today you discover the Daintree Rainforest at Mossman Gorge, an area important to the Kuku Yalanji. Beginning with a traditional smoking ceremony, you wander rainforest paths, discovering with your guide how these Aboriginal people found their way through dense rainforest, made shelter and learned which native plants were tasty to eat. As your guide shares his stories, you learn how the seasons dictated life, what falls under men’s and women’s “business”, how to make fire in the rainforest and how to make fish very easy to catch. While on the walk, you can go for a swim in the sparkling clear water among the boulders, and perhaps paint your faces with traditional ochre rock paint. Your walk finishes with some billy-tea and fresh-made damper with native honey.

Aboriginal Dot Painting:  At an art gallery artist-in-residence Binna teaches you how to re-create the dot paintings that are a typical aboriginal style and symbolic of Australian art. He explains the meaning behind his paintings and what this art means to his people. You will be able to take your boomerang home with you – a perfect souvenir for your time in Australia!

Daintree Rainforest & Beach Eco-Lodge: Later you enter the magical Daintree Rainforest – the oldest continuously growing rainforest on earth. 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 Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Creativity, Activity

DAY 7: JCU Canopy Crane, Environmental Debate & Aussie BBQ

DAY 7: JCU Canopy Crane, Environmental Debate & Aussie BBQ

Environmental Debate: After a sleep in and relaxed morning, you get to participate in a debate which focuses on issues of development and effects on biodiversity. Students are given background information and a summary of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about a major resort development proposed for Cairns and then given different roles to play of community members.  You then argue for or against the building of the resort. This requires evaluating projected economic, social and environmental impacts as well as proposed sustainability efforts. It is a fun way for you to get involved with all sides of an environmental debate with a real-life example that has gained significant national media attention.

JCU Canopy Crane: Next on the agenda is to check out the canopy crane at The James Cook University Daintree research station. After a safety orientation and a discussion about the significance of this rainforest by an on-site expert, you climb into a suspended gondola with the crane operator. The crane then ascends over the rainforest canopy, and can swing 360 degrees, surveying the incredible biodiversity that has earned the Daintree UNESCO World Heritage status. (Please note students must be at least 16 years old to participate.)

Service Project: Whilst not in the crane, the group participates in an important service project at the research station. Hundreds of trees have been planted for re-growth on site, and students are taught how to do condition assessments of the trees as biologists and botanists do in the field. Students learn about pioneer species, herbivory, and how to use a clinometer and DBH tapes to measure tree growth. The results of the condition assessments are then contributed to the ongoing research on the success of “pioneer species” used by JCU staff.

Beach Party: On your way back to Cairns,, you head to the beach for music, games and a real Aussie BBQ dinner. This is a fun way to end your time in Cairns.

Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
CAS outcomes: Activity, Service

DAY 8: Free Time, Optional Urban Challenge OR Optional Service Project and Departure

DAY 8: Free Time, Optional Urban Challenge OR Optional Service Project and Departure

After breakfast this morning you have free time for last-minute shopping or swimming at the lagoon.  If you leave later in the day, you can choose one of the following options:

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! (on request, no extra cost)


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
CAS outcomes: Creativity, Activity

 School Excursion Fees Include:

  • All activities as described in the itinerary
  • Cairns airport transfers
  • Transportation to activities
  • Small World Journeys guide on Day 2
  • Marine naturalist on Day 3
  • Marine biologist on Day 4
  • 6 nights Cairns hostel (4 or 6 share single-gender rooms)*
  • 1 night Daintree Rainforest Cabins (4 share single-gender rooms)*
  • All continental breakfasts
  • All lunches
  • 5 dinners
  • Mask, fins, snorkel hire on Fitzroy Island and reef trip
  • Stinger suit hire during the wet season
  • 101 Marine Animals of the Great Barrier Reef field guide for each student
  • Small World Journeys reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag
  • National Park and Marine Park taxes and levies
  • 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 $575 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 Excursion Fees Exclude:

  • Airfare to Cairns
  • Dinner on day 2 and 5
  • Personal expenses (phone, souvenirs, laundry, etc.)

Land Cost to 31 March 2021:

  • 15 + participants: $2085 AUD
  • (low numbers) 10-14 participants: $2136 AUD

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


All accommodation is included. 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. In the Daintree Rainforest, students stay in single-gender 6-share cabins with ensuites – this is the perfect spot to enjoy the life and chatter of the jungle.

  • Upgrade to Cairns HOTEL accommodation: Your hotel is located within easy walking distance to the Cairns Esplanade and offers friendly, personal hospitality. Student rooms are triple share and teachers will enjoy twin share rooms with free WiFi. All spacious rooms feature LCD TVs, air-conditioning and private bathroom. The hotel has 24 hour reception, 2 swimming pools and a restaurant where a continental breakfast is served daily.  Add $95 per person


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 fruit 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.


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: 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 2: What is the weather like in Cairns and The Great Barrier Reef?

Answer: Cairns is a tropical place, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year-round. 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. 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 the autumn (March - May) the weather is more unpredictable: some days it can be warm and rainy, other days hot and humid. September - October tends to be the nicest time of the year - warm to hot days with little chance of rainfall.  

Question 3: What will we eat whilst on tour?

Answer: We understand how important food is to young people – and heaps of it! A typical breakfast will be a continental breakfast including juices, cereals, toast & jams (and optional vegemite!) and a typical packed lunch will be a meat and salad sandwich, drink, chips, biscuits and a piece of fresh fruit. Café lunches and restaurant dinners will vary, such as pastas, pizzas, steak and salad, but we place a big emphasis on variety and healthful options. One night we have a typical Aussie BBQ and other nights we eat in restaurants. Best of all, we carry our snack box when we travel to ensure that no one is ever hungry.

Question 4: 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 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: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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.

Question 10: What makes Small World Journeys "eco-friendly"?

Answer: An eco tour, in our opinion, is a trip in which everyone benefits: the community, the environment, you and us. Simply by joining one of our trips, you will be supporting carbon offsetting, Rainforest Rescue's Adopt-A-Square initiative, aboriginal cultural ventures and locally-owned businesses who are working towards a more sustainable future in tourism. As our guest, you are supporting us as well. Thank you! For more information, see 10 Ways We're ''Sustainable''.

Educational Outcomes of the CAS Programme

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) high school Diploma Programme (DP). It is designed to enhance the students’ high school experience by involving a range of activities intended to “enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience”. 

The CAS program lasts for 18 months through the DP program and involves activities and projects that together have to include all three aspects of the program – creativity, activity and service. Depending on the individual schools, students can choose between activities and projects within school, or find suitable alternatives outside of school.

In addition to everyday activities such as dancing, painting, volunteering, hiking, fundraising, swimming, playing an instrument etc., students can also choose to take part in a CAS trip. This is where Small World Journeys comes in – with an exciting new CAS trip designed specifically for DP students from all around the world! A CAS trip can be designed to aim at one of the three strands, but SWJ has incorporated all three aspects of CAS into one, adventure-packed trip to the tropics of Australia.

The IB states that “a good CAS programme should be both challenging and enjoyable – a personal journey of self-discovery”. This is what our CAS trip is designed to be. Every day includes a range of activities that each student can attempt at their own pace and level. The activities involve teamwork, initiative, communication, determination and courage, and by the end of it every student will have experienced creativity, activity and service in a whole new way!


How does each day relate to CAS?

Day 1 –Arrival and Future of The Reef Talk

After you get settled today, you have an evening presentation about the future of the reef, presented by a marine biologist.  This presentation sets the scene for tomorrow’s service project for the reef, and you also learn some background information on the places where you will be snorkelling.

Day 2 –Mangrove Talk & Clean-Up and Drain Stencil Service Project

Today’s first activity is a presentation about how plastic and other sorts of litter damages marine ecosystems. It sets the backdrop for a range of activities that you will take part of during the trip. Next is a very important service project where you go into the mangroves for a rubbish clean-up. Not only do mangroves filter the water that goes into the ocean, they are also nursing areas for many species of fish found on the Great Barrier Reef. Marine litter is one of the largest threats to mangrove ecosystems, so every piece of rubbish that is picked up is important and may save the life of your favourite reef fish!

The second activity of day 2 involves a creative way of protecting waterways, ocean and reef. You stencil messages on drains that lead to the ocean, and help raise awareness about urban stormwater pollution. Raising awareness is a vital aspect of protecting the environment, so this project involves both the creativity and service facets of CAS.

Day 3 – Fitzroy Island with Marine Biologist

Day 3 is filled with action as you head out to Fitzroy Island where you snorkel on the Inner Barrier Reef and visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Snorkelling off the beach today also prepares you for a more intense snorkelling experience out on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) tomorrow.  You are also challenged to build a floating raft as a team. Once done, you have to test its floating capabilities; this activity involves both action and creativity.

Day 4 – GBR Snorkelling, Data Collection & Community Service

Early morning on day 4 you head out to experience the Great Barrier Reef. The accredited eco-guide takes you snorkelling, and demonstrates how to look for signs of coral bleaching. You then survey a specific reef area for monitoring service work. Your guide also shows you some of the wonders of the reef (action). Part of you day involves sampling water quality,  looking for coral predators, and learning how staff eliminate them. All the data collected will be sent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GRMPA), and will be used for research and monitoring of the health of the GBR.

Day 5 – Native Tree Planting, Kuranda & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

The service project you take part in today is saving endangered tree species by planting native trees. This helps protect a buffer zone to a World Heritage area, and is a very valuable experience. After that you get to “fly” over the rainforest aboard the Skyrail Cableway, and spend the rest of the day in Kuranda Mountain Village.

Day 6 – Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Aboriginal Dot Painting

Day 6 is a cultural day where you get to learn about and experience true Aboriginal culture. It starts in Mossman Gorge, where an Aboriginal guide takes you for a rainforest walk (action) showing you some of their traditional ways and teaching you about their ancient history and culture. Next, your creativity is challenged when pursuing the traditional Aboriginal dot painting. You get to create your own masterpiece on a boomerang that you can take home as a souvenir. This night is spent in the Daintree Rainforest, and the last activity for the day is a night walk (activity) in the rainforest, in an attempt to spot some of the nocturnal animals of the rainforest.

Day 7 – JCU Canopy Crane & service Work, Environmental Debate & Aussie BBQ

Day 7 starts by waking up in a cabin in the middle of the rainforest. After breakfast you participate in an environmental debate where you have to use your creativity and intellect to argue for or against a major development. Next you get to test the James Cook University (JCU) canopy crane, which is used for research and monitoring of the rainforest. Whilst not in the crane, you will take part in a service project where you learn how to monitor a revegetation site. All the data you collect here is used in the ongoing research about pioneer species conducted by JCU students and staff.


Day 8 – Free Time, Optional Urban Challenge or Service Project & Departure

Today you can participate in the Urban Challenge (if there is sufficient time) that helps build teamwork and uses your creative skills to complete a treasure hunt. You compete against time, so the last bit will be spent running (activity) through Cairns! Alternatively, you can participate in an optional service project that involves making hygiene packs for the homeless and needy in Cairns.




How your trip supports the community

  1. 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.