Australia and New Zealand Service
5,895 + Airfare + $550 Intra Trip Flights
Jul 13 – Aug 1
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
Cairns, Yungaburra, Moreton Island, Sydney, Queenstown
|Optional group flight there:||
Los Angeles to Queenstown
|Optional group flight back:||
Sydney to Los Angeles
Fly across the International Date Line and arrive in the Land Down Under! Our journey to Australia & New Zealand is a perennial TFT favorite, combining adventure with cultural exploration, and major travel destinations with little-known gems. In New Zealand we will experience this country’s famed natural beauty and enjoy a boat cruise on picture perfect Milford Sound nestled in the mountains. During the cruise we will keep an eye out for penguins, seals and dolphins! We will also take an exhilarating ride on the world’s fastest Jet Boat zooming through rock canyons. To cap off our time in New Zealand we will enjoy a traditional Maori Ceremony and even have the chance to learn the dance and participate! After New Zealand we will hop on a short flight for the ultimate Australian experience. Here, we will enjoy the best of Australia’s wildlife while completing service work at a nonprofit animal sanctuary dedicated to protecting the country’s unique and diverse wildlife. Our work at the sanctuary has a huge impact and our service work here has even been featured in the local news! Our other adventures in Australia will include cuddling koalas, petting Kangaroos, spending some time adventuring in the outback, exploring Sydney, discovering the Great Barrier Reef, and of course, immersing ourselves in the Australian culture and appreciating the relaxed lifestyle!
Throughout the trip, our TFT staff will be there to provide you with tons of insider knowledge and an itinerary that gives you options as to how you spend your time, so that you can feel safe making this trip your very own.
On this trip you will:
- Scuba dive* or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, immersing yourself in the amazing underwater environment
- Earn up to 20 hours of community service credits, assisting a non-profit animal sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Australia’s unique indigenous wildlife
- Spot penguins, dolphins and seals during a boat cruise on Milford Sound
- Participate in a traditional Maori Ceremony
- Hold a Koala bear and pet a kangaroo
- Feed a dolphin
- Snorkel through a shipwreck
- 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*
- See a performance at 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.
Featured Trip Combo:
DAYS 1 – 3: LOS ANGELES (FOR THOSE WHO OPT TO TAKE THE GROUP FLIGHT)
As the group flight takes off, the trip officially begins! Lose a day as you fly over the international date line.
DAYS 3 – 7: 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 7 – 10: 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, 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. There’ll be time to also explore Cairns and its famous night markets for all some wonderful souvenirs.
DAYS 10 – 14: Atherton Tablelands
Heading inland you will perform 20 hours of valuable community service by assisting a local wildlife sanctuary dedicated to helping indigenous wildlife in need, working alongside these animals feeding, cleaning, and performing maintenance to enrich their lives. We will also spend a day taking a tour of the rainforest learning about this amazing ecosystem as well as swimming in picturesque lakes and waterfalls.
Our service work at the center has been featured in the local news!
DAYS 14 – 16: Moreton Island
Stay on the third largest sand island in the world, spending your time hand feeding wild dolphins, sandboarding down giant dunes, snorkelling through shipwrecks just offshore or just spend some time relaxing on the gorgeous beaches of the island.
DAYS 16 – 20: 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 final dinner overlooking the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
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. In Yungaburra we stay in a cosy lodge nestled in the Atherton tablelands that feels just like a home away from home. 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, Australia and New Zealand. The varied locations and activities throughout the trip give the teens a wonderful overview of this amazing part of the world. In particular, the teens relish the opportunity to make a direct, visible difference to the local community they are giving back to. During this incredibly enriching experience they form strong connections and lifetime memories helping rehabilitate indigenous Australian wildlife.
What is unique about this program?
Swimming with sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef, performing community service helping Australia’s indigenous wildlife, 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.