Welcome to Australia! You will arrive in Brisbane, meet your group, then jump on another flight to Cairns.
Experience the best of Australia on this non-stop adventure program. In just two weeks you’ll visit five different UNESCO World Heritage sites. Explore Sydney and climb the Sydney Harbour bridge. See the coast and snorkel or scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll also visit Ayers Rock and trek through the Daintree rainforest. Finally, learn about Aboriginal culture as you camp out in the infamous Australian Outback.
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.Read More
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.
Today is lost as you cross the international dateline, but don’t worry too much, you will get it back on your way home!
Touchdown in Brisbane – your gateway to the beautiful Land Down Under. Rustic Pathways staff members will be on hand to welcome you. After collecting your baggage and meeting your leaders, you are off on a connecting flight to Cairns.
The view out the plane window will be stunning as you land in far north Queensland. Upon arrival in Cairns, you’ll head up to the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest in the world! After a stunning drive along the world heritage listed Captain Cook Highway you’ll finally settle into your rainforest lodge.
For the rest of the day you’ll have time to get to know the rest of the group as well as your leaders.
Today you’ll have the opportunity to explore one of the oldest rainforests on the planet. Learn about the different plants and animals that make this place so special. You’ll head up to Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef – keep your eyes open in case a cassowary decides to show up! –
Once you’ve seen the rainforest during the day, it is time to explore it at night! Join an experienced guide in a memorable walk through the forest, where you’ll learn many awesome facts, a great end to an awesome day!
You’re in for a treat today! Take part in an exciting service project by volunteering at a wildlife park in sunny Port Douglas.
As a reward for your service, you’ll head to the AJ Hackett complex in Cairns, the leading bungee jump provider in the world. There you can choose to add-on a bungee jump from 160 feet or simply enjoy the fastest Jungle Swing in the world!
Finish the day with an educational presentation on the Great Barrier Reef, which you’ll be visiting tomorrow!
Sail out to the magical Great Barrier Reef and put your new knowledge to the test. With the world’s largest reef system as your playground, there’s no telling what you may see. Snorkel – or add-on a scuba dive – at two different sites during the day, giving you ample opportunity to spot fish, turtles, reef sharks, and Nemo!
Still wondering what you saw down there? The team of biologists on board will help you identify the species and teach you all about the reef system, this will be an experience you’ll never forget.
This morning you’ll fly into Alice Springs in the center of Australia. You’ll quickly discover the enormity of the country and the desolation of its central deserts. Upon arrival into Alice Springs, you’ll explore the town and get supplies for your outback road trip. Then you venture into the desert in 4×4’s and spend the night at a cattle station to take in the sights and sounds of the Australian Outback!
Today your road trip through the Outback begins! Make your way through a land that has been looked after by Aboriginal Australians for more than 60,000 years. Driving through the desert, keep an eye out for wild camels as you approach Kings Canyon. Stop along the way to visit some of the most beautiful gorges of the West McDonnell Ranges and have lunch in the middle of a meteorite crater! You’ll spend the night camping in safari tents at King Creek Station, a cattle ranch where they also catch and export wild camels!
The Red Centre is famous for its red sand and stunning Outback landscapes. Take a walk around the rim of Kings Canyon, a truly magnificent part of Australia. On your way around the canyon, pass the tropical pools of the Garden of Eden and the beehive rock formations called the Lost City. Be sure to stop and take in the scenery – Outback views don’t get much better than this!
Have you ever wondered what would you eat if you were to get lost in the Australian desert? This afternoon you’ll try the local food or “bush tucker”. Take a tour with an Aboriginal Australian and learn all there is to know about Aboriginal culture and survival skills! Make your way back to camp for some hot chocolate and marshmallows around the campfire.
Continue through the desert to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock). After checking into the hostel, head out to see the cultural center and walk around the base of Uluru – which spans nearly six miles! Marvel at Uluru, knowing that you’re witnessing one of the world’s largest monoliths. At sunset, watch The Rock change color and as the daylight disappears, the brightness of the Outback night skies will be a sight you’ll never forget.
Start the day with an unforgettable sunrise camel walk. Get off the camel and hop into a plane; today you can choose to skydive over Uluru! Take a 20 minutes scenic flight over the desert and the famous rock before you jump out of the plane! Not many scenic flights have such an exciting ending, right?
Finish the day walking through the Valley of the Winds in Kata Tjuta, another rock formation famous for its spectacular rock domes. Sunset here can be as equally impressive as Uluru itself.
This morning you’ll enjoy the sunrise while saying goodbye to the desert. Drive back to Alice Springs, where you’ll catch an afternoon flight to Sydney. Upon arrival into Sydney, transfer to the hostel, have some dinner and head out to explore Darling Harbour and Chinatown by night.
Your next few days will be spent exploring Australia’s most famous city. Head out to see the sights of spectacular Sydney Harbour, walk through the famous Rocks District, admire the bridge, and ponder the Opera House. Then cruise through the harbor to the seaside suburb of Manly and experience its well known surf shops and beautiful beach.
Today you can also choose the add-on opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge! One of only three bridge climbs in the world, this adventure is sure to get your adrenaline pumping and will show you Sydney from a unique perspective.
Today you’ll test your cooking skills preparing meals for the homeless people of Sydney. You’ll visit Our Big Kitchen, where you will learn about lesser-known social issues of the city and how you can make a difference through cooking meals for the homeless and refugees. In the late afternoon, head over to famous Bondi Beach, hang out with some Aussie surf lifeguards and finish the trip by checking out a few fun and trendy neighborhoods in this stunning city. Sydney is continually voted one of the world’s top 10 most livable cities and you’ll soon discover what makes it so special.
Today you will walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge to visit Australia’s oldest amusement park, – Sydney Luna Park – where you can opt to add-on a classic ride or simply enjoy the exciting atmosphere.
Head back to the city and get your last minute souvenir shopping done before one last special dinner with your group.
This morning we’ll take an early flight from Sydney to Brisbane. It will be a day 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.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 a travelling program and students move location every few days. The three main areas that we visit are:
1. Cairns and Daintree Rainforest, in Far North Queensland
2. Alice Springs and Uluru in Central Australia
3. Sydney and Brisbane
There are four internal flights on this program:
1. Brisbane – Cairns, approximately 2 hours
2. Cairns – Alice Springs, approximately 2.5 hours
3. Uluru – Sydney, approximately 3 hours
4. Sydney – Brisbane, approximately 1.5 hours
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 this link.
This weather on this program will vary, but will generally be warm to hot. It will be warm (65-75 degrees) in Alice Springs and at Uluru. It will be cooler (55 – 65 degrees) in Sydney, and hotter (75-85) in Cairns. There may be some rain in Sydney, but at all other places it is the drier time of year and the skies should be clear and sunny.
Students will primarily stay in lodges, hostels, and safari tents during the trip. Generally there’ll be 2-3 students in a room, with shared bathroom facilities. Please note that this is not a 5-star hotel program like Wonders and Riches of Southeast Asia.
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 at all accommodations, 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 Global 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 Global 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 Global benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.
As a member you will have access to International SOS Global’s 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 include scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef (approx. US$55), skydiving (approx. US$315 + photos US$110), bungee jumping (approx. US$120), giant swing (approx. US$80), and climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge (approx. $150 – $255 depending on age and type of climb).
We generally suggest $200 – $300 for spending money, plus additional for any add-on activities that you would like to do.
Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage 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.
No. Please refer to general packing list
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.
A small backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.
One medium-size duffle bag or wheeled bag is ideal for this program.
(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)
Items Provided By Rustic Pathways in Australia
Welcome to Australia! You will arrive in Brisbane, meet your group, then jump on another flight to Cairns.
A vibrant tropical city and a gateway to all adventures on the Great Barrier Reef.
A large tropical island, with a rainforest covering and its own fringe coral reef system.
The only place on earth where two World Heritage sites exist, including the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
Where your Outback adventure begins.
Kings Canyon is part of the Watarrka National Park in the Northern Territory.
Also known as Ayers Rock and one of Australia’s most popular attractions.
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and one of the most popular cities in the world.