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Join us on our most popular two-week program in Australia. Experience the mountains, beaches, cities, and Outback of Australia on this two-week service adventure. Camp out in the bush, visit the Steve Irwin Zoo, sandboard down giant dunes, and learn how to surf! While on the coast you’ll monitor humpback whales at a marine mammal research center. You’ll also give back to the community by volunteering at an elementary school and playing basketball with special needs students.

Dates listed reflect travel time departing from and returning to the USA. International clients click here.

With our No-Stress Travel Policy, you cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.

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Program Profile

Community Service Component
Community Service Focus
Education, Environment
A Little Bit of Everything
Get to Know
The Sights, Nature
Travel Component
Moderate Travel Involved

  • Day 1

    Australia Here We Come!

    If you are travelling from North America, today you’ll depart Los Angeles for Brisbane in the evening on our escorted group flight. The flight will take about 14 hours – plenty of time to get to know the rest of your group before arriving Down Under.

  • Day 2

    In Transit

    Today is lost as you cross the international dateline, but don’t worry too much, you will get it back on your way home!

  • Day 3

    Welcome to Australia

    Arrive in Brisbane, where Rustic Pathways’ on-ground Australian staff will welcome you to your program. You will then transfer to our beautiful Glass House Mountains Base, which is nestled in the bush and rainforest about an hour north of Brisbane and some 40 minutes from the coast. Your staff will help you settle into the Aussie way of life. After you get to know everyone, head out to walk up to a lookout point for magnificent sunset views from the mountains to the coast.

  • Day 4

    School Service & Organic Farm

    Spend your morning assisting in the learning of local Aussie students as you volunteer at a local school. Participate in teaching activities, like joining an art lesson, helping out at the preschool, or assisting in a special needs classroom. Play cricket and other outdoor games with Aussie kids during break times. Prepare yourself for a day filled with laughter and smiles.

    This afternoon,  you’ll meet some local farmers at an organic farm. The region near our Base is known for agriculture, producing some of Australia’s finest vegetables, pineapples, strawberries, macadamia nuts, and avocados. Learn about sustainable farming practices, help farmers with their daily tasks, and pick some fruit and vegetables that you’ll donate to our service project tomorrow.

  • Day 5

    Service with The Shack

    Get ready for a great day! One of Rustic’s service partners in Southeast Queensland is a community group called The Shack. The Shack provides support for the homeless and people living on the margin. Today you will volunteer at a trailer park where low-income families reside due to housing unaffordability. We’ll give our organic vegetables to families, provide cooking lessons, share meals, run craft activities for the kids, and provide cross-cultural interaction for the adults.

  • Day 6

    Australia Zoo, Bindi The Jungle Girl, and Wildlife Hospital

    Spend the day exploring Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, which is just 20 minutes from our Base in the mountains. Australia Zoo offers the chance to see many of Australia’s native animals firsthand, and you will spend the day petting kangaroos, watching the awesome croc show, checking out dingoes, making friends with koalas and more. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Wildlife Warriors Animal Hospital – the most advanced wildlife hospital in Australia!

  • Day 7

    Beautiful Beaches and a Taste of the Outback

    This morning we farewell the Glass House Mountains and travel further up the coast. It will be time to grab your beach towel and bathing suit and head for one of Australia’s most famous stretches of sand, Noosa. Noosa National Park features spectacular coastal scenery and provides an important refuge for native wildlife, including the koala, glossy black cockatoo, and ground parrot. Jump through waves on the Oceanrider jet-boat for the thrill of a lifetime! You’ll want to get your fill of sun and sand here because this evening you will be off to our partner farm camp for a taste of the Outback life!
Tonight we head to Rustic Pathways’ famous farm camp. Set on 250 acres of bush land, this place is one of the most magical spots in the region. Arrive just before dark and meet Richard and Ria, our legendary hosts. Tonight relax around the campfire, spot the Southern Cross in the sky, then head out for a night adventure!


  • Day 8

    Experience Life on an Outback Farm

    Wake up this morning to an iconic Australian scene – kangaroos grazing in the paddock and kookaburras sitting in the gum trees. After a hearty breakfast, get ready for a day on the farm! You’ll be involved with a range of farm activities, including working with horses and helping rural farmers with their daily duties. Learn about natural horsemanship from expert trainers and witness 30 horses running into the yard at the call of a whistle!
After some famous kangaroo burgers for lunch, split into teams for your bush challenge! Learn how to crack a stock whip, throw a boomerang, play the didgeridoo, and cook damper over the fire. Tonight you’ll get to feed PJ the possum before a night of good food, an Outback cinema experience, and a cozy night’s sleep in a swag. This place is distinctly Australian and you’ll leave with many very special memories.

  • Day 9

    Market Mecca then Beach Base House

    After rolling up your swag this morning, it’s time to head off to the famous Eumundi Market, one of Australia’s largest outdoor markets. Held every Saturday and Wednesday mornings of the year come rain, hail or shine, the market turns this otherwise sleepy hinterland town into a vibrant mecca for shoppers on the hunt for unique Aussie souvenirs.

    After a morning of bargain hunting, we’ll make our way to our Beach Base House. Settle into your new home for the next few days, then spend the afternoon relaxing at Sunshine Beach!

  • Day 10

    Coastal Service and Special Needs Basketball

    Unite with local community members on an environmental service project. This morning you’ll spend several hours supporting ongoing efforts to preserve the delicate coastal environment. Then in the afternoon, head to a basketball coaching clinic, where you’ll assist special-needs students with fitness and skills. With plenty of smiles and high fives, this will be a fun afternoon before you relaxing at our Beach Base House for the evening.

  • Day 11

    School Service and Afternoon Surf

    Spend today volunteering at a local school. Participate in teaching activities like joining an art lesson, assisting in classes, and running leadership games for the students. Play cricket and other outdoor games with Aussie kids during break times. Prepare yourself for a day filled with laughter and smiles.

    After school, put on your “boardies” and get ready to catch some waves. This afternoon, head out for your first surf lesson! No previous surf experience is required – our team of expert coaches will teach you everything you need to know. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you’ll be up and riding waves in no time.

  • Day 12

    Surf and Ski: Stoked Saturday!

    Head down to the beach for another surf session. This second day on the waves will offer the chance to review what you learned yesterday and continue to perfect your style. After a few hours in the surf, you’ll be hungry for a famous Aussie pie and a lamington from a local bakery. Then you will head over to the cable water-sports park for some afternoon thrills. Try knee-boarding, waterskiing, or wakeboarding and have heaps of fun as you develop new skills!

  • Day 13

    An Island Adventure

    After 13 solid days of travel, this morning will be a relaxed Sunday with our leaders cooking a gourmet breakfast at the Base. Then drive south to Brisbane, board the ferry, and steam across the bay. Located 25 miles off the coast of Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island is a national park that is known for its natural beauty and wildlife. The wonders of the island will surround you for the next two days and nights as you camp at a well-established site near the beach. As today comes to an end, search for dolphins as the sun sets over the ocean and then head to the campsite for a night under the stars!

  • Day 14

    Marine Mammal Research, Sandboarding and Aboriginal Culture

    Meet with a marine biologist to learn about the marine life in Moreton Bay. This is an environmentally significant area with several rare species, and you’ll head out on a boat to partake in research and data collection. Equipped with binoculars, data sheets and a hydrophone, record your observations of migrating humpback whales as they breach, blow, and play near the boat! Previous groups have also seen manta rays, sharks and dugongs (similar to manatees).

    Later you will learn how to sandboard on the island’s biggest dunes, then meet an indigenous land owner and learn about the ancient Aboriginal culture, including demonstrations on boomerang throwing, fire making and didgeridoos!


  • Day 15

    Brisbane Bound

    Once camp is packed up, you’ll catch the ferry across the bay back to Brisbane. Here you’ll take a bike tour along the river, through the botanic gardens and around the city to experience the sights of Brisbane. You’ll catch the ferry on the river, stroll along the esplanade for lunch, then head across to the Museum and Art Gallery. Pick up some last-minute Aussie souvenirs along the promenade, then check into a youth hostel and dine along the river to celebrate your final night on program.

  • Day 16

    Returning Home or Transition Day

    Today will be full of fond farewells as you say goodbye to new friends and prepare for your next adventure. If you are continuing on to another Rustic Pathways adventure in Australia, today is a transition day between programs. You will spend the day on Australia’s famous Gold Coast with other students and leaders transitioning between programs.

    If you are returning home to the USA or traveling on to Fiji or New Zealand, your flight will depart Brisbane this morning. If you are traveling on to another Rustic Pathways destination, your staff will help you with your flight arrangements. Wherever you are headed, we wish you happy travels and hope you return to the Land Down Under soon!

An Important Note About Schedule Changes

Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.

The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.

“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.

“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.

For more information, email australia@rusticpathways.com

Program-Specific FAQs

  • This program easily connects to any program in Australia or Fiji that is scheduled to depart 14 days after its start date. Students connect between Australia programs at Brisbane airport on a Thursday morning. This program can also connect to our trips in Southeast Asia, however students may need to depart Australia one night early in order to arrive in Asia on time. Please contact australia@rusticpathways.com for further information on program connections.

  • Yes. Nearly all nationalities will require a visa to enter Australia. Residents of the USA should apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which is an online visa found at eta.immi.gov.au and costs US$25. Residents of Europe may be eligible for a free eVisitor visa. Other nationalities may require a Visitor Visa (e600), which costs approximately AU$130. Visa costs are not included in our program prices.

  • Rustic Pathways provides a flight leader to accompany students travelling on our group flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE) and return. Students joining this program from outside of the USA may need to travel unaccompanied to meet the group in Brisbane.

  • The flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane is approximately 14 hours one-way.

  • Yes, the advertised dates for this program includes travel time from the USA. Students from the USA will depart LAX on a Tuesday evening and return on a Wednesday morning. The program within Australia runs from Thursday to Wednesday. Please refer to the itinerary for further details.

  • This program is primarily based around the Sunshine Coast and Glass House Mountains, approximately 1.5 hours north of Brisbane.

  • Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.

  • Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 students. Additionally, each program maintains at least 2 primary program leaders, one male and one female.

  • Clean drinking water is provided throughout the program in Australia. We ask students to bring reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic usage.

  • Students are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Students will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If students are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken.

  • Australia uses 240V with a three-prong plug. Residents of USA and Europe will require an adaptor for their electronic items. You can see an example of the required adapter at http://www.korjo.com/Product-Range/Adaptors—Transformers/Adaptor—AUS-NZ-(AA-02)–For-products-from-UK,-US.aspx

  • It is Australia’s winter time, but the weather is generally warm in this part of the country. June/July/August in Queensland is the drier time of year, and normally the days have clear blue skies and sunshine. Temperatures will range from 65 – 75 degrees through the day, but it does get quite cool at night. The water temperature at the beach will generally be around 66 – 69 degrees.

  • For the first week, students stay at Rustic’s Base House in the Glasshouse Mountains, just inland from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. The house is situated on more than 50 acres of eucalyptus trees and overlooks stunning mountain peaks. Students will sleep 4-6 in a room on bunk beds, with males and females in separate rooms. Each room has an en-suite bathroom. There is a large kitchen here where most meals will be prepared. On their two-night excursion to the farm, students will sleep in ‘swags’ (traditional Australian camp beds) in huts. There are hot showers and flushing toilets at the farm.

    For the second week, students will stay in a rented house in the coastal town of Sunshine Beach, near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. The modern spacious two storey beach house has separate living and sleeping areas for boys and girls, a pool and is only a 5 minute walk to the beach.

    For two nights on Stradbroke Island, students will be camping in tents at a permanent, established campsite near the beach. The tents will be 2-3 person, and comfortable camping mats will be supplied. There are toilet and cooking facilities at the campsite.

  • Food in Australia is quite similar to American cuisine, with options such as pasta, sandwiches, salads, grilled meats, and pizza. We focus on providing fresh, healthy home-cooked meals. The group will prepare meals together and will eat at local restaurants once a week. Vegetarians and other dietary restrictions can easily be accommodated.

  • There are private American-style bathrooms and showers in the Base House, and public bathroom facilities at the campgrounds. There is hot water and flushing toilets throughout the program.

  • Generally students have access to email once per week. Public phones are available several times during the program.

  • Generally there is the opportunity for self-service laundry once per week. There is no laundry service available.

  • Generally the maximum group size is 15 students. It varies every trip, but typically there will be 10 girls and 5 boys in a group. If you contact us we can tell you the ages and genders of students on your program.

  • Students will be traveling for approximately 1-2 hours per day during the program to get between activity and service locations.

  • Rustic Pathways’ program leaders will drive students in 8-seater or 12-seater vans throughout the program.

  • Australia is a safe, low-risk country to travel to. There are no specific safety concerns on this program.

  • Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the International SOS and Center for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.

  • International SOS is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to International SOS benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.

    As a member you will have access to International SOS’ extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travelers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program. For more information please visit our International SOS webpage.

  • There are generally medical clinics within 30 minutes drive from program locations, and hospitals within 1 hour’s drive.

  • Yes, we can cater for nearly all dietary requests in Australia. Please let us know in advance so we can ensure that you are catered for.

  • No. Mosquitoes and bugs are generally not a problem on this trip.

  • Personal gifts, internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.

  • Add-on activities that may be available during this program are sky diving (approx $300-500) and Animal Encounters at Australia Zoo ($40 – $100).

  • We generally suggest $200 – $300 for spending money, plus additional for any optional activities that you would like to do.

  • Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage (http://www.rusticpathways.com/about/community-service-hours) for more information on how service hours are awarded.

  • Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organizations to identify and prioritize the needs of each community. Please refer to the itinerary for a description of the various service projects in this program. Please note that while we try our best to ensure we provide our advertised projects, some changes may occur due to the communities and project partners we work with.

  • You will need to bring a light sleeping bag and a rain jacket on this program, as we spend a couple of nights camping.

  • Students are required to be able to swim, as this program includes a number of aquatic activities.

  • No. But we will teach you some Aussie slang along the way ☺

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Below is your packing list, and for those of you looking for some extra guidance on what to bring, check out the packing guide for this program.

Rustic Gear. 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.

Carry-On Luggage

A small backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet and money (USD or AUD)
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • iPod or MP3 player
  • Change of clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Medication
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Travel power adaptor
  • Consent to Travel form
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
  • Arrival instructions for Brisbane

Checked Luggage

One medium-size duffle bag or roller bag with wheels is ideal for this program.


  • Socks (10)
  • Underwear (15)
  • Pants/capris (2)
  • Jeans (2)
  • Long shorts (1)
  • Shorts (1)
  • Tank Tops (3)
  • T-shirts (6)
  • Sweater/fleece (2)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Beach towel/sarong
  • Rain jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Sneakers/running shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Work gloves


(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Contacts and solution
  • Foam ear plugs
  • Personal med kit
  • Deodorant (no aerosols)
  • Wet wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Razor/shaving cream


  • Sleeping bag for camping
  • Travel Pillow
  • Headlamp with spare batteries


  • Portable games (Bananagrams, cards, etc.)
  • Musical instrument (guitar, etc.)
  • Wetsuit and surfboard

Items Provided By Rustic Pathways in Australia

  • Linens at base house
  • Swag bed for staying at Farm Camp
  • Tent and sleeping mat for camping
  • Surfboards and wetsuits for surfing
  • Other activity-specific equipment
  1. a

    Welcome to Australia! You will arrive in Brisbane and begin your journey.

  2. b

    Nestled in the Glasshouse Mountains and home to our Aussie Base House.

  3. c

    The home of Australia’s premier artisan market.

  4. d

    A rural inland town on the Sunshine Coast and home to Jabiru Bush Camp.

  5. e

    Beautiful beaches, stunning coastal national park, pristine river, and world class waves.

  6. f
    Sunshine Beach

    Another glorious Australian beach and home for a few nights.

  7. g

    Coolum beach is where where you will spend time leaning to surf.

  8. h
    North Stradbroke Island

    North Stradbroke Island is an island situated 30 km southeast of Brisbane offering loads of outdoor activities.