Australia and New Zealand for Older Teens
$5,195 + Airfare + $550 Intra Trip
Jun 27 – Jul 13
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
Cairns, Atherton Tablelands, Moreton Island, Sydney and Queenstown
|Optional group flight there:||
LAX to Queenstown
|Optional group flight back:||
Sydney to LAX
Fly across the International Date Line and arrive in the Land Down Under! This journey to Australia & New Zealand is just for older teens and combines the perfect balance of adventure and cultural exploration. In New Zealand we will experience this country’s famed natural beauty. We’ll enjoy a boat cruise on Milford Sound, spot penguins, seals and dolphins along the way, ride the world’s fastest jet boat in Queenstown, and even participate in a traditional Moari ceremony!
After New Zealand we hop on a short flight for the ultimate Australian experience. Here, we will enjoy the best of Australia’s wildlife, scenery and culture. You will find yourself cuddling koalas, petting kangaroos, and adventuring in the outback. Highlights of our time in Australia will include exploring the Great Barrier Reef and visiting the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Join us for the ideal mix of insider knowledge, travel know-how, and fun as we explore Australia and New Zealand!
On This Trip You Will:
- Scuba dive* or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, immersing yourself in the amazing underwater environment
- Spot penguins, dolphins and seals during a boat cruise on Milford Sound
- Participate in a traditional Maori Ceremony
- Hold a Koala bear, pet a kangaroo and feed a dolphin
- Go sandboarding down massive sand dunes
- Hike through the rainforest and learn about this important ecosystem
- Discover (safely!) some of the most poisonous animals in Australia
- Learn how to properly throw a boomerang
- Take a journey deep into Middle Earth with a private scenic tour of amazing film locations used in “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”*
- Experience Aboriginal and Maori life and history
- Suit up and climb to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge for incredible harbor views*
- Visit the iconic Sydney Opera House
- Cruise through Milford sound enjoying the views and wildlife in one of the most gorgeous places on earth
- Zoom through the alpine canyons of the Shotover River on an exhilarating Jet Boat Ride.
- Swim in pristine waterfalls and lakes and slide down natural rock formations into natural rock pools.
- Explore Sydney’s iconic areas of Surry Hills, Manly and Bondi
*These are optional excursions.
DAYS 1 – 3: LOS ANGELES (FOR THOSE WHO OPT TO TAKE THE GROUP FLIGHT)
The group flight takes off, and the trip officially begins! We lose a day here as we fly over the international date line.
DAYS 3 – 6: QUEENSTOWN, NZ
We start our trip in Queenstown, where we pack in the action right from the start! Here, you’ll cruise through the spellbinding Milford Sound, where you’ll take in dramatic vistas composed of high mountains and rugged fjords, spot penguins and seals on the rocky shores, and watch dolphins playing in the waters around the boat. We’ll come to understand the cultural practices that link New Zealand’s past with its present, as we attend a traditional Haka and learn about the culture of the Maori. We’ll zoom through rock canyons in the world’s fastest jet boat, and check out some favorite local eateries and hot spots of the bustling ski town.
DAYS 6 – 11: CAIRNS
Heading to Far North Queensland in Australia, we’ll spend a full day in Kuranda, learning how to throw a boomerang, play the didgeridoo, paint aboriginal art, and enjoy a traditional Aussie BBQ lunch. You’ll also cuddle a koala, feed a kangaroo, and immerse yourself in a greenhouse full of butterflies. We’ll cruise the turquoise waters for a day on the incredible Great Barrier Reef where you’ll snorkel or scuba dive with sea turtles, hundreds of species of fish and coral, or just lay out and enjoy the sunshine. While in Cairns, we will also find ourselves strolling down the esplanade and exploring the famous night markets for some souvenirs! From Cairns, we will take a day trip to Atherton Tablelands, where we’ll take a tour of the rainforest, learning about the amazing ecosystem as well as swimming in picturesque inactive volcano crater lakes and under massive waterfalls.
DAYS 11 – 13: Moreton Island
Stay on the third largest sand island in the world! Here we spend our time hand feeding wild dolphins, sandboarding down giant dunes, and snorkelling through shipwrecks just offshore. We’ll also get the opportunity to spot massive whales during Australia’s whale migrating season, or just spend some time relaxing on the gorgeous beaches of the island.
DAYS 13 – 17: Sydney
Next, we explore the urban and cosmopolitan excitement of Sydney, with its splendid harbor and world class metropolis. You can visit the Botanical Gardens, take in a show at the famed Sydney Opera House, check out a movie on the world’s largest IMAX screen, stroll down Bondi and Manly Beach, enjoy the city’s fantastic shopping in Surry Hills, and explore Sydney’s world famous fusion food scene. To celebrate a life changing adventure we’ll enjoy our memorable final dinner with a breathtaking, 360 degree view overlooking all of Sydney!
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels and hostels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Queenstown we stay a short walk from Shotover St near the base of the Gondola. In Cairns we stay in the centre of town a few blocks away from the Esplanade. On Moreton Island near Brisbane we stay in resort-style accommodation. Finally in Sydney we stay in the heart of bustling Surry Hills, centrally located within walking distance of all the major attractions.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore two different but equally wonderful countries with their peers. The varied locations and activities throughout the trip give the teens a wonderful overview of this amazing part of the world.
What is unique about this program?
Swimming with sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef, interacting with some of Australia’s indigenous animals, cruising through Milford Sound and gazing over Sydney from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to name just a few! This program is chock full of unique experiences with something for everyone.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts, six lunches and all dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included: (not intended to be an exhaustive list) Airfare, rail passes, twelve lunches, visas & visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
At Travel for Teens, our trips typically fall into 3 different size categories.
Small: 7-14 students where 14 is the maximum.
Medium: Average is between 14-21 students with 21 as the maximum.
Large: Trips 21-35 students. These are our largest trips.
Typically Australia and New Zealand Service falls into either the medium or large range, but trip sizes differ from year to year.
How does this program connect to other programs?
This trip is designed to connect most easily with other TFT trips in Asia, Fiji and Africa. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Australia and New Zealand are very multicultural countries with an incredible array of cuisines from around the world. Each with large migrant populations the food is as authentic and delicious as you would find in the original country. Greek, Italian, Thai, Indian, Chinese, the choice is yours! For the adventurous eaters there is also kangaroo, crocodile and emu to try!
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to explore the safe pedestrian areas of Sydney and Cairns, the beaches of Moreton Island and the rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city.
What kind of Visa do you need for this trip?
US citizens will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authority visa for a fee of $20USD prior to travelling to Australia. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.