Earn 20 hours of community service as you immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Australia’s world “down under” on this incredible three-week South Pacific adventure. The pristine beaches, rugged terrain, coral reefs teeming with marine life, and the bustling coastal cities of Australia will make for an adventure you will never forget. Travel to the other side of the globe and experience the joys of SCUBA diving, surfing, rafting, sea kayaking, and meaningful community service.
Our programs offer a wide variety of activity options. Explore the activities specific to this program below.
Your trip will begin in Los Angeles, where you will meet your trip mates and trip leaders. There, you will check into the group flight to the South Pacific together. It will be a big day of travel as you fly overseas, but also provide plenty of time to get to know each other, play a few games, and go over the incredible itinerary for the adventure to come. It will take your group the better part of two days to reach Cairns, your first stop, but all of the travel will be worth it. Plus, not many people can say they have crossed the International Date Line!
Once you’ve arrived in Cairns, the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, you will head straight to Cape Tribulation, home to some of the largest tracks of rainforest anywhere in the world! You will explore the mangroves of tropical Daintree National Park and then take a voyage on the beautiful coastal waters of Cape Tribulation in search of the Australian saltwater crocodile. Finally, before heading back to Cairns, you will work with an Aboriginal guide from the Kuku Yalanji people to learn traditional hunting and gathering skills from their culture.
Following your time at Cape Tribulation, you’ll embark on an exciting whitewater rafting adventure on the Tully River, which meanders through one of the most ancient rainforests in the world. The rainforests flanking this river have evolved unmolested for more than 130 million years, escaping the ravages of ice ages and volcanism that have plagued other notable rainforests. Some individual trees you’ll pass on the river are more than 3,000 years old. This full-day rafting trip on the Tully River will be action-packed as you tackle over 45 extraordinary class III and IV rapids.
Barnard Island Group National Park provides the perfect launch pad for your next activity – sea kayaking! These beautiful continental islands form a protected area on the Cassowary Coast and feature fantastically dramatic rock formations and dense rainforests that play host to rare island birds. Your group will head out in two-person sea kayaks for three days and two nights. Each morning you’ll glide over the shallow reefs teeming with tropical fish. In the afternoons and evenings, you will play on the sandy beaches at your remote coastal campsites, make dinner together, and take in this once in a lifetime experience as a group.
For the next few days your group will work closely with a local project working to protect the Great Barrier Reef by educating the public. You will help by collecting data on different sections of the reef. During this service project, you will learn all about the threats that face the reefs and how you can help and educate others. You will also have the opportunity to head out on the reef by boat.
Following your service work, the next adventure will be to earn your SCUBA certification. For five fabulous days, you will work with a dive outfit recognized as a worldwide leader in SCUBA education. For the majority of you who are not currently certified, you will embark on a top-notch learn-to-dive program. The first two days of the program will consist of pool and classroom training with your instructors. To complement your initial day of classroom SCUBA instruction, you’ll spend the afternoon learning about historical and modern-day life from the perspective of Australia’s native Aboriginal tribes. By the end of your second day of SCUBA training, you will be ready to use your new skills out in the open water.
The next three days will be spent on-board a Pro Dive vessel on the Great Barrier Reef. While on the reef, you will complete four training dives, which will complete the PADI open water certification. Following your training dives, you will be able to enjoy five more dives as a recreation diver, including a night dive! Those who are already certified to dive prior to arriving in Australia will have the option of doing several more open water dives during the first two days of the program while the rest of the group is learning in the pool.
After a day of rest, you will board a flight and head south to the city of Sydney. Packing away your summer clothes, it will be time to put on your warmer layers as, surprisingly, late July in Sydney is still winter in the southern hemisphere. The home to the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, Sydney is not to be missed on any Australian itinerary. You will spend two full days learning to surf and catching waves on the coastline of the city. It may be winter, but with wetsuits, the water is brilliant. Your summer adventure will conclude with a final farewell banquet, which will give you the chance to enjoy wonderful food, great company, and sights of the city at a delicious local restaurant. Your return trip home will depart Sydney and arrive in Los Angeles on the same day. (You will cross the international date line in reverse.) Upon arrival in the United States, you will pass through customs together then bid farewell to your fellow trip mates as you head off to your connecting flights home.
This was a once in a lifetime experience that exceeded my expectations. Our group was so special - students from across the country but we all got along and related in ways that I didn't know where possible. Amazing!
Carson, 2019 Australia Student
Trip Price Includes
- Group gear
- Personal gear and clothing
- Airfare to and form the trip start and end