Discover the best of Australia’s stunning landscapes and bustling urban centers on TFT’s Older Teens adventure in the Land Down Under. If you’re looking for an authentic, off-the-beaten-path experience in a teen tour, you’re sure to find it as you journey with TFT through lush rainforests, stunning coral reefs, and the rugged Australian Outback.
Start your journey in Cairns, where you’re sure to snorkel with sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef, get up close with koalas and kagaroos, and discover the incredible nature of the East Coast.
Then it’s off to the Gold Coast, where you will discover the city of Brisbane before reaching your island paradise where you will have the chance to feed wild dolphins, sand-board down giant dunes, snorkel through shipwrecks just off the shore and spend time relaxing on the gorgeous beaches.
Finally, you’ll reach Australia’s capital city of Sydney, where you will explore the urban and cosmopolitan excitement of the world-class metropolis. Immerse yourself in the relaxed lifestyle of Australian culture on our classic TFT journey through Australia for Older Teens!
*This trip is part of our longer Australia & New Zealand for Older Teens program.
During this program, you will…
- Spot platypus and wallabies, get up close with koalas and kangaroos!
- Scuba dive* or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
- Go sand-boarding down giant sand dunes
- Discover waterfalls, swim in their pristine pools and slide down natural rock formations
- Visit the iconic Sydney Opera House and explore the neighborhoods of Surry Hills, Manly and Bondi
- Suit up and climb to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge for incredible harbor views*
- Hike through the rainforest and learn about this important ecosystem
*This is an optional excursion
DAY 1: DEPART FROM LOS ANGELES (LAX)
DAY 2: CROSS THE INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE
DAYS 3-6: CAIRNS > KURANDA RAINFOREST > ATHERTON TABLELANDS
Our first stop in Australia will take us to the “Far North Queensland”. After landing in Cairns, we will spend a full day in Kuranda, learning how to throw a boomerang, practice playing the didgeridoo, and we’ll enjoy a traditional Aussie BBQ lunch. You’ll also have the chance to get up close with koalas and kangaroos, and immerse yourself in a greenhouse full of butterflies! Then we’re off to spend a full day cruising the turquoise waters on the incredible Great Barrier Reef where we’ll have the the opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive* with sea turtles exquisite sea life. In-between the adventure activities, we’ll take the time to explore the bustling city of Cairns, including visiting the famous night markets where you can pick up a souvenir or two! During our time in Cairns we will give back through Reef Teach, learning how to assist with marine conservation, including a turtle rehab center.
DAYS 8-9: BRISBANE > MORETON ISLAND
Hop on a quick flight and land in Brisbane. After exploring downtown, we’ll catch a high-speed ferry to the third-largest sand island in the world, Moreton Island. Choose how to spend your days — maybe feed wild dolphins, sand-board down giant dunes, or spend some time relaxing on the gorgeous beaches of the island.
DAYS 10-12: SYDNEY
We round out our time in Australia in Sydney, where you will explore the urban and cosmopolitan excitement of the capital city, with its splendid harbor and world-class metropolis. Visit the Botanical Gardens, discover the history of 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. Relive childhood adventures at Luna Park, Sydney’s iconic theme park.
DAY 13: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do.
Eat, stay, and travel like a local. Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we are consistently awarded “Top Youth Travel Organization” year after year.
"We are so glad that we found TFT. Our child has reported that he’s had experiences of a lifetime on every single trip. The counselors are fantastic and really demonstrate positive, appropriate young adult behaviors and have been fantastic role models. Our child’s confidence has improved during each trip. We appreciate that kindness and mindfulness are components of the group expectations and dynamics. Thank you Steve and Wendy and all the TFT staff!!!"
"Choosing to travel with TFT has been the best decision I have ever made. I have been able to visit France, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and all over Greece! These trips have never failed to disappoint with all of the wonderful people and exciting things they have planned! I never expected to be feeding sloths in Costa Rica or going on a private boat trip around the famous Greek islands. I have made new friends from all over the world that I still talk to today. One of the best things about every trip is the counselors! They are always very knowledgeable about every location, and are there to keep you safe and informed as well as to have fun in general. These trips are the best way to meet new people and enjoy brand new experiences that you will cherish forever."
"I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to Australia and New Zealand. It was absolutely amazing. I got to do once-in-a-lifetime activities such as scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Bridge Climb. These are memories that I will never forgot. for community service, we volunteered at a wallaby sanctuary. This was absolutely amazing, The wallabies were beyond cute, and they reminded me of my dog that I missed dearly. I never once imagined that I would be able to spend so much time with wallabies, and it was amazing. I had the most amazing counselors and met friends that I still keep in touch with. There was not a day that I did not love. If you have the opportunity to do this, you should, I can guarantee that you will not regret it."
Travel with us and discover why we are consistently winning awards for Top Youth Travel Organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in 11th or 12th grade and approximately 16 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. 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 Cairns we stay in the center of town a few blocks away from the Esplanade. On Moreton Island near Brisbane we stay in resort-style accommodation. 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 the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
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 form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we 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 friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about the Australia for Older Teens trip?
Students love that Australia for Older Teens provides an authentic adventure for teens their own age. This program is perfect for nature and adventure lovers!
What is unique about the Australia for Older Teens trip?
Swimming with sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef, performing community service that makes a direct and positive impact on Australia’s indigenous wildlife, and gazing over Sydney from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to name just a few! Australia for Older Teens is chock full of unique experiences with something for everyone.
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts and dinners.
Not included in the cost (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than filtered water at meals, lunches, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not program related, such as movies, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old within the calendar year and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 13 and 24 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food is an integral aspect of the travel experience, and we make an effort to eat at authentic establishments whenever possible. There is no better way to immerse ourselves in the culture of a place then through sampling the local delicacies. We stray away from westernized restaurants and chains that cater to tourists, because every true traveler knows the best food is found where the locals are eating!
Australia is a very multicultural country 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.
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor. For Specific questions pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
All US citizens will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authority visa for a fee of $20 USD prior to traveling to Australia.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!