Rustic Pathways Student Travel Programs in the South Pacific

Rustic Pathways Student Travel Programs in the South Pacific

Australia and Fiji

We’ve operated for years and even decades in many of the countries where we offer student travel programs. And in each of those countries, our dedicated full-time staff ensure students have safe and enriching experiences with Rustic Pathways.

Rustic Pathways map of programs in the South Pacific

What Are the Most Popular Teen Travel Destinations in the South Pacific

The island nation of Fiji is a hot spot for teen travel. Many of the other countries in the South Pacific are small and more difficult to reach. Fiji’s ease of access has made it the most visited country in the Pacific Ocean.

To the west, Australia is also a popular destination. However, it lies in the Indian Ocean. Despite that, it’s often listed as a South Pacific nation. Regardless, Australia and Fiji are often group on the same continent, Australia and Oceania.

Both nations are known for their beaches and water activities. This region has some of the best places in the world to snorkel, surf and boat.

The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia and the Great Sea Reef near Fiji are among the largest barrier reefs systems in the world. They make the area’s seas a haven for a wide diversity of marine life.

Inland, teen travelers can explore Fiji’s mountainous regions and Australia’s metropolitan cities and sparsely populated Outback. These areas are rich in culture and history.

Both countries have significant indigenous populations. Nearly 800,000 people in Australia are members of Aboriginal groups. While in Fiji, more than half of the population is indigenous. High school students traveling to Fiji learn about traditional customs and join in activities, like kava welcoming ceremonies.

On top of this, teens interested in environmental sustainability and animal conservation can greatly expand their knowledge while visiting the South Pacific region. In Fiji, the government is pushing sustainable tourism measures, leading the efforts in this field.

While in Australia, students can see many animals in the wild they can’t see elsewhere, such as koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies. Overall, it’s estimated that Australia is home to about 250 marsupial species and that about 80% of the country’s flora and fauna are uniquely Australian.

Fiji Islands

Fiji Islands
Credit: Rustic Pathways

Australia and Fiji

The Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay, the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, the Yasawa Islands – There are so many things to see in the South Pacific.

Rustic Pathways currently has programs in Australia and Fiji where you can see these spots, dive into meaningful service projects and get immersed in a relaxed way of life.

Snorkeling in Australia during a student travel program

Snorkeling in Australia

Featured Programs in Australia
Hands-on with unique wildlife
Age 14-18
$5,995 plus Airfare
Surf, koalas, and fun down under
Age 14-18
$3,495 plus Airfare
Featured Programs in Fiji
Fiji service and island living
Age 14-18
$3,995 plus Airfare
Waves, waterfalls & island wanderings...
Age 14-18
$5,695 plus Airfare

What to Expect While Traveling in the South Pacific

Geography – Millions of Miles of Water

Fiji is included in a few geographical categories. It’s one the 14 Pacific island countries and territories, along with nations like Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. Fiji is also listed as a South Pacific country and is part of the Australia and Oceania continent.

As an Indian Ocean country, Australia is not a Pacific island nation, but it is usually listed as a South Pacific country. And it’s the only nation that also is its own continent, though it’s grouped with Oceania.

Many of the islands near Australia are also part of this continent. But the nearby country New Zealand is now often listed as being part of the new Zealandia continent.

Most of Australia’s population lives near the coastlines where there’s fertile ground. Farms tend to be in the southeast and southwest. In the northeast is the Daintree Rainforest.

The famous Outback is in the interior of the nation. One third of Australia is desert, and the Outback is one region where people live amid the remote arid terrain. About one fourth of the Outback’s population consists of Aboriginal people.

About 2800 miles away, Fiji includes about 300 islands, though only 106 are inhabited.  About 70% of Fiji’s population lives on the largest island of Viti Levu.

Rustic Pathways students hike through the highlands in Fiji.

Rustic Pathways students hike through the highlands in Fiji. Credit: Rustic Pathways

The Fijian islands were formed from volcanic activity and several peaks above 3000 feet remain. The islands also have plateaus, lowlands and river systems.

Overall, Oceania covers an enormous amount of space. It includes 10,000 islands across 20 million square miles.  Most of that space is ocean water. Its land covers a small fraction – less than 2% of the area.

Climate – Warm and Windy

Oceania is hot and humid throughout the year. Some higher elevations are cooler, but generally the islands don’t have typical seasonal weather.

The winds sweeping across the islands are a key climate factor. They can bring in warmer or cooler weather and also rain storms. Tropical storms are a common concern in these island nations. Strong storms can deeply impact coastal communities or even entire islands.

Australia has a more diverse climate. The cities in the south tend to be a bit cooler, but the desert areas can be uncomfortably hot.

Jumping for joy in Australia

Jumping for joy in Australia.
Credit: Rustic Pathways

Unlike many of the Pacific island nations, Australia has more distinct seasonal weather. Like other regions in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons are opposite from Northern Hemisphere countries like the United States.

Indigenous Groups & Their Traditions

Major ethnic groups in the Pacific island nations include the Melanesians, Polynesians and Micronesians. Most indigenous Fijians are Melanesian descent.

Indigenous Fijians share a number of common traditions. This includes the  kava welcoming ceremony, during which a kava drink made from a root is shared. Plus, Fijians commonly gather for meke performances, which include dancing and storytelling.

In Australia, the Aboriginal people are closely related to the Melanesians. Cultural traditions they are known for include the use of the boomerang for hunting and the didgeridoo wind instrument for musical performances.

Want to Learn More?

Click on the country map below to learn more about our operations and teams in Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand.

Need help choosing a program?

If you would like to discuss program options with an expert, click below to schedule a call with a Rustic Pathways Global Program Advisor. This team of travel experts has worked in a variety of capacities with Rustic, from running programs to leading our in-country operations. They love working with families to identify the right student travel program.