Surround yourself in sun, sand, and surf as you travel to the far reaches of the South Pacific. Visit Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia* on this marine-focused, high-energy semester. In Fiji, splash in waterfalls, soak in the laid-back island life, and live with a homestay family in the rural highlands. Venture through New Zealand, and find incredible adventures at every turn. Spot dolphins and penguins and marvel at breathtaking landscapes. In Australia, learn how to surf and scuba dive, and earn certificates in Wilderness First Aid and surf life-saving.
Throughout this semester, you’ll experience a balance of community-driven service, adventure, and experiential learning. You’ll hear the legends of the South Pacific from the local people and return their kindness through a variety of service efforts that may include agricultural, educational, and public health-based projects.
Your journey begins in Fiji at our ecolodge base house with sweeping views of idyllic Momi Bay. Complete a Wilderness First Aid certification that will prepare you to assess and manage medical emergencies in remote environments, including a long-term health and sanitation project. Spend a week in the picturesque Yasawa Islands working on marine monitoring and educational service initiatives with a few exciting excursions to search for manta rays, fish with the locals, explore some other islands along the way.
Next, it’s off to Rustic Pathways farmhouse base, tucked among the hills in the rugged Nausori Highlands. Live with a homestay family while working on the farm, help with ongoing construction to build an elementary school, and tutor local children. Our local program leaders will teach you how to live the laidback island lifestyle and enjoy the paradise of the Fiji Islands.
Leaving Fiji, a short flight will bring you to New Zealand, where jaw-dropping landscapes and action-packed adventures await. Your journey in the Land of the Long White Cloud will begin in the bustling metropolitan capital of Auckland. You’ll learn to surf in Raglan before visiting the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and travel to Rotorua, famous for Maori culture and boiling mud pools. Whitewater raft the foaming Kaituna River, and try luging, zorbing, and agrojetting! Spend your last day on the North Island kayaking on the Coromandel Peninsula before returning to Auckland.
Next, it’s off to the thrill-seeker’s paradise of the South Island. In Te Anau, cruise through spectacular Milford Sound, looking out for penguins, seals, dolphins, and whales. Road trip to Wanaka to experience even more of the natural beauty that makes the South Island a top destination for any adventure seeker. Finish in Queenstown where you’ll find heart-pounding optional activities such as bungy jumping and skydiving before flying to Brisbane, Australia, where the adventure continues.
Your month of aquatic adventures begin with a challenging yet very rewarding Surf Rescue Bronze Medallion certification course taught by expert Aussie lifeguards. Living within walking distance of the beach, develop valuable skills in the fields of surf rescue, ocean safety, and first aid. Take surf lessons taught by local experts. Next, spend three days aboard a yacht in Moreton Bay, learn the basics of sailing, and earn a Royal Yachting Association certificate. Learn about knots and sailing techniques by day and relax under a sky of endless stars at night.
More adventures await in the city of Cairns, the gateway to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. Check out the intricately connected ecosystem of the Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest surviving rainforest. Embark on a multi-day dive boat trip and obtain your Open Water Diver certification. Before finishing your semester, experience Sydney. Visit stunning harbors and the famous opera house, take an optional climb atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge. By the end of your journey, you’ll have more than just photos of these rewarding and exhilarating three months.
South Pacific Service and Ocean Skills students travel in their group of up to 15 peers and two or three program leaders. Students enjoy a week-long homestay experience in the highlands of Fiji, while the remainder of their semester is spent in accommodations like Rustic Pathways Base Houses, hotels, and hostels. This program is very physically active and features community service during the group’s time in Fiji.
Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:
Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear. For New Zealand, this means checking the weather for the week you will be in New Zealand and bringing warm clothes. The same two pairs of pants can be used all week!
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.
- Photocopy of passport
- Wallet/money/ATM card
- Journal and pens
- Outlet power converter
- Ear buds
- Change of clothes
- Water bottle
- Visa Documentation (if applicable)
- All Flight Itineraries
- Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
A 70-80 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.
- Socks (5)
- Underwear (10)
- Jeans (1)
- Lightweight Pants (1)
- Long Shorts* (2-3)
- Collared/Dress shirt (1)
- T-shirt (6)
- Tank tops (4)
- Long sleeve shirt (2)
- Swimsuit (2)
- Rain jacket
- Softshell and/or Micro Puff jacket (optional)
- Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
- Sneakers – All terrain – running/hiking
- Work gloves
- Quick dry towel
- Beach towel/sarong
- Rash guard
(travel sized in ziplock bags)
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Bug spray
- Hand Sanitizer
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact solution
- Foam earplugs
- Personal med kit
- Wet Wipes
- Razor/shaving cream
- Watch/alarm clock
- Large ziploc bags
- Large garbage bags for wet/dirty clothes
- Sleeping bag – small/lightweight a must (35 degrees and up)
- Any relevant Scuba Diving certifications
- Day pack rain cover
- Donations: As a responsible travel provider, we firmly believe in giving back to the communities and countries where we operate. As part of our holistic approach to business, we run a 501c3 nonprofit that supports high priority projects year round. If you feel inspired to join our global community of travelers making a difference, please consider making a donation here.
- Portable games (Bananagrams, playing cards, etc)
- Musical instruments
Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.
• Community service appropriate attire includes T-shirts with no visible undergarments and shorts should be knee length—think Bermuda or basketball shorts—to be respectful to the local culture and traditions.
• Leggings DO NOT count as long shorts. Long shorts must be loose fitting, like basketball shorts, or cargo shorts.
• Some students prefer hiking boots, and they are nice to have, but in the interest of packing light, it is fine to wear sturdy sneakers that will be comfortable for hiking activities.
• Scuba and snorkeling gear will be provided by dive company, but you may bring your own if you prefer.
• You will be receiving a “sulu,” a traditional Fijian sarong, when you arrive!