Small World, Big Vision Trip Giveaway!

Our Free Trip Giveaway For Students

We understand not all students can fund a trip to North Queensland. It is therefore our big vision that all high school students–regardless of family income–have an opportunity to participate in one of our educational adventures. This is why we have launched our Small World, Big Vision trip giveaway for 10 Australian secondary school students and 2 accompanying teachers, for travel any time between 12 October 2020 and 30 November 2020.

All Inclusive:

  • All accommodation, all meals, educational activities, guides and airfare from the nearest capital city included
  • Risk assessment provided
  • Expert guides – not “bus drivers”
  • Student special diets and swimming levels catered for
  • Goodies! Water bottle, field guide, cloth shopping bag and rainforest plot adopted in your name

Areas of Learning:

  • Biodiversity
  • Wildlife
  • Ecology
  • Marine Science
  • Community Service
  • Aboriginal Culture


  • Find Nemo at The Great Barrier Reef
  • Plunge Down a Natural Rainforest Waterslide and Swim Under Waterfalls
  • Give back to the community with a fun service project
  • Participate in the Eye on The Reef program
  • Snorkel in small groups with an expert marine biologist
  • Learn About The Rainforest from an Aboriginal Guide
  • Local controversial environmental issue debate

How to Enter:

  1. Click on the teacher link below to go to the nomination form.
  2. Nominate a School. In order to be entered into the competition, a person currently employed as a school teacher (the “nominator”) must nominate a school by filling out the Small World Journeys online nomination form.  The nominator can nominate his or her own school, or a different school located in Australia. The nominator will be asked for the details of the organising teacher at that school (the “nominee”) who will represent the winning school.  The nominator and nominee may be the same person.
  3. Who Deserves To Win? Teacher nominators: tell us on the nomination form, in 100 words or less, why the students at the school you are nominating deserve to win an educational dream trip to Cairns.
  4. Wait for Our Drawing. Eligible nominations received during the Submission Period will be gathered into a database.  A winner will then be drawn at random on 2 April, 2020 .
  5. Pick Your Students! If your school is the winner, the organising teacher may choose 10 students and 1 other teacher to travel to Cairns between 12 October 2020 and 3o November 2020!  For full terms & conditions click here.

Teachers: Click Here For The Nomination Form

We are so grateful for our sponsors who share our vision:


Day 1: Arrive, Leadership Workshop and Teambuilding Activities

Day 1: Arrive, Leadership Workshop and Teambuilding Activities

Flight to Cairns: Welcome to the tropics! You are met at the airport by a Small World Journeys Staff member who gives you an orientation & safety briefing, along with an introduction to the trip. You are then transferred to your first activity.

Fundamentals of Leadership Workshop: Your first activity is a workshop that explores concepts of leadership through a fun series of interactive games and self-discovery tools. You learn ten qualities of good leaders, recognise leadership skills you already possess, and identify how to find your “super powers”. This workshop is facilitated by Small World Journeys’ owner and creator, Laurie Pritchard, who was the 2017 Cairns CBWC Small Businesswoman of the Year and the Institute of Managers & Leaders’ (IML) Owner/Entrepreneur Regional Winner. Having interviewed and hired hundreds of people over the past 18 years, Laurie can also teach older students what employers look for in job seekers, and the five common mistakes young people make in job interviews.  This is a fast paced, fun workshop in which you gain valuable insight about yourselves.

Group Initiatives & Games:  Next is a host of group initiatives and games designed to focus you not only on your leadership skills, but being a supportive team player as well.  Through problem solving games facilitated by your guide, you learn that being adaptable is an asset, that communication is key, and that the most outspoken person is not necessarily the best leader.  You have a chance to debrief each activity and review what you have learned each time.

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.

Tonight’s dinner is provided by Grill’d Cairns – fresh and healthy burgers!

Accommodation: Cairns YHA
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk, Waterfalls  and Cuisine & Culture Activity

Day 2: Aboriginal-Guided Rainforest Walk, Waterfalls and Cuisine & Culture Activity

Rainforest and Giant Trees: This morning you depart Cairns with your guide to explore the biological and geological marvels of the Wet Tropics Highlands. You visit a tract of mabi rainforest and learn why this swath of higher-altitude forest is endangered. You also pay tribute to local high-profile residents – a massive cathedral fig tree and learn how these giants eerily “strangle” their hosts.

Aboriginal Guided Rainforest Walk & Tree Kangaroo Spotting:  Next you meet a Ngadjon Aboriginal guide who shows you a special swathe of rainforest that’s been home to his people for hundreds of years.  As he takes you into his country, you listen to the lively stories of his ancestors and how he learned about his heritage.  He shows you regional “bush tucker” that was yummy (and not so yummy) to eat, plants that were used for medicine and first aid, and animals that may cross your path.  Here in the Highlands the combination of fertile soil, high rainfall and a volcanic history have created a unique set of conditions for the survival of some of our rarest species: here you may be fortunate enough to spot the elusive Lumholz tree kangaroo, or mupee, found only in this region.

Rainforest Swim & Visitors Centre: 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. Platypus and turtles are regularly spotted here as well.   A superb local visitors centre also brilliantly showcases this World Heritage Area.

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, where it is possible to swim under and behind the falls.

Cuisine & Culture:  This evening you have a special treat: a migrant now living in Cairns shares her story and her love of cooking with you.  You learn how to prepare a delicious meal from her home country, and armed with the recipe you can also re-create this meal when you return home.  In a time when the plight of migrants is widely discussed, this activity will allow you to understand circumstances in the world that cause people to flee their countries and will humanize this struggle.  You gain some culinary skills, feast on a fantastic meal, and perhaps make a new friend,

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

Day 3: Biodiversity Presentation, Fitzroy Island & The Inner Barrier Reef and Turtle Rehab Centre

Day 3: Biodiversity Presentation, Fitzroy Island & The Inner Barrier Reef and Turtle Rehab Centre

Intro to Biodiversity Talk:  Today you learn from an expert at the Wet Tropics Management Authority (WETMA) just what makes this region so special. Researchers, scientists and tourists alike come from all over the world to discover the supreme biodiversity in this World Heritage area, a region that came to be against all odds. You learn why this corner of Australia–with its jade mountains and lush emerald rainforests—is a geographical anomaly. By luck of shifting tectonic plates, the Wet Tropics earned the longest continually growing rainforest in the world.  Plants that ruled alongside dinosaurs still stand today. More than 100 animals are rare or threatened here and dozens of species live nowhere else in the world. Your expert discusses climate change protected area management and how different methods are used in the Wet Tropics.  You leave with insight about and appreciation of this globally significant area.

Ferry Ride & Snorkelling: Next you are ferried to the pristine Fitzroy Island on Fitzroy Island Ferry. A fringing coral reef surrounds the island–part of the inner Great Barrier Reef–providing a sheltered home for a kaleidoscope of colourful corals, parrot and lionfish, turtles, cuttle fish, rays and giant clams.  Your marine guide reviews snokelling basics and you can walk right into the water to explore the magnificent reef system that surrounds the island.

CoralWatch Data Collection:  In the afternoon 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.

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

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

Camping at Water’s Edge: Your campground is beautifully situated only steps from the water where you set up your tents.  There is a BBQ and covered pergola area for eating an ablutions block with toilets and cold showers.  There is also a small store and Foxy’s Café which offers a games area and nightly music.

Accommodation: Fitzroy Island Camping (tents, sleeping pads and bags provided)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4: Optional Lighthouse Hike, Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling and Eye on The Reef Data Collection with Marine Biologist

Day 4: Optional Lighthouse Hike, Outer Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling and Eye on The Reef Data Collection with Marine Biologist

Lighthouse Hike: This morning if you rise early and are up for a challenge you can choose to walk a gorgeous but steep rainforest track that gives way to dry open forest and scenic vistas. At trail’s end stands a historic lighthouse where views of the sparkling Coral Sea stretch to the horizon. For an extra challenge, push on to the summit of the island for 360-degree views.

Boat Ride to Reef: Your day continues with an air-conditioned ride on Sunlover 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)

Tonight’s dinner is provided by Fasta Pasta Cairns:  all-you-can-eat salads, pasta and pizza!

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

Day 5: Community Service Project and Daintree Rainforest

Day 5: Community Service Project and Daintree Rainforest

This morning you can choose from one of two service projects to give back to the community:

Community Service Project #1 – Project for Aboriginal Women in Remote Communities: Today you learn to make “Moon Pads” to distribute to women in need. Moon Pads provide women with a healthier, more sustainable and cost-effective alternative to disposable sanitary products. This service project provides free reusable, washable menstrual pads to girls who miss school when menstruating and face other barriers during that time of the month!

During this activity you master some basic sewing skills, gain an understanding of the complex cultural barriers that affect women in the poorest communities in the world, and learn about the environmental and social benefits of reusable sanitary products.

The Moon Pads are taken to the remote Aboriginal communities–places where there is still a stigma around menstruation and these products are gratefully received.

 — OR –

Community Service Project #2 – Mangrove Boardwalk & Cleanup: 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. You learn how mangroves deal with a lot of salt in their diet, how they act as the baby nurseries of the Great Barrier Reef and why both humans and the reef rely on these complex systems.

Creek Cleanup: Then 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.

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 but directly on the beach.  As a recipient of a 2016 QLD Excellence in Tourism Award, and Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2015, the lodge also uses grey water for irrigation, locally-sourced food for its restaurant, and recycles 80% of its waste. Students sleep in dorm-style cabins with ensuite, and the sounds of the jungle surroud you.

Accommodation: Cape Trib Beach House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6: Rainforest Swimming Hole, Environmental Debate and Depart

Day 6: Rainforest Swimming Hole, Environmental Debate and Depart

Cape Tribulation and Swimming Hole: After a night of immersion in the rainforest, you wake to birdcalls and the chatter of the jungle.  Nearby is a crystal-clear rainforest swimming hole used by locals and a perfect place to cool off.

Environmental Debate:  Following your swim, you participate in a debate in which each small group takes on a role and presents their argument either for or against the dredging of Trinity Inlet, still in the planning stages for Cairns.  This 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 media attention.

You return to Cairns and are transported to the airport.

Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Trip Includes:

  • Air fare from group’s nearest Australian capital city
  • All activities as described in the itinerary
  • Cairns airport transfers
  • Transportation to activities
  • Small World Journeys guide Days 1-2 and 5-6
  • Small World Journeys marine naturalist Day 5
  • Marine biologist dedicated to your group Day 4
  • 3 nights at Cairns YHA (4 – 6 share dorm rooms with private bathroom)*
  • 1 night Daintree Rainforest cabins (4-share dorm-style rooms with shared bathrooms)*
  • 1 night island camping
  • Tents, sleeping pads and sleeping bags hire
  • All continental breakfasts (cereals, toast, juice, butter, jam, peanut butter, tea & coffee)
  • All lunches
  • All dinners
  • Snacks
  • Mask, fins, and snorkel hire for both Great Barrier Reef trips
  • Lycra suit hire during summer season
  • 101 Animals of the Great Barrier Reef field guide for each student
  • National Park and Marine Park taxes and levies
  • Prize for winning team of rubbish clean up
  • Supplies for community service project
  • 5 metres square Daintree rainforest plot adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue
  • A reusable BPA free water bottle and cloth shopping bag for each participant
  • Coral adoption through Reef Restoration Foundation and updates on coral

*One teacher room is provided if teachers are of the same gender; if they are different genders two rooms will be provided. 

Trip Excludes:

  • Personal expenses (phone, laundry, internet, etc.)
  • Ground transport from your home to the airport & return
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)

Dates of Travel:

Student group must be able to travel between the dates of 12 October 2020 and 30 November 2020.


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 shared bathrooms – this is the perfect spot to enjoy the life and chatter of the jungle.


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.

Teachers: Nominate a School Now

Full Terms and Conditions of Trip Contest

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

Question 1: 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 2: 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 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: 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 5: 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 6: 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''.

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 2017-18, we gave over $34,000 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!

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 2017-18, 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). Some hold lifeguard and/or Bronze medallion certifications as well. For more information on our guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.