Australia and New Zealand Service
5,895 + Airfare + $550 Intra Trip Flights
Jul 12 – Jul 31
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Cairns, Yungaburra, Milford Sound, Moreton Island, Sydney, Queenstown
|Optional group flight there:||
Los Angeles to Queenstown
|Optional group flight back:||
Sydney to Los Angeles
Fly across the International Dateline and arrive in the Land Down Under! Our journey to Australia and New Zealand is a TFT favorite, combining adventure with cultural exploration and major travel destinations with little-known gems. In New Zealand, we will experience the 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 even 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’ll hop on a short flight for the ultimate Australian experience. Here, we will enjoy the best of Australia’s wildlife while completing service work with local organizations dedicated to protecting the country’s unique and diverse wildlife and natural habitat. Projects include working at a rehabilitation center where we will help care for injured and orphaned tree-kangaroos and re-introduce them back into the wild, visiting an endangered ecosystem to help preserve the trees that gliding possums call home, and helping with the revegetation of local parks.
Our service work has had a direct and positive impact over the years and 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!
On this program you will:
- Earn up to 20 hours of community service working with Australia’s unique wildlife and flora
- Help with the rehabilitation of tree-kangaroos and their release back into the wild
- Spot platypus and wallabies, hold a Koala bear, and pet a kangaroo!
- Swim in pristine waterfalls and lakes and slide down rock formations into natural rock pools
- Visit the massive Hypipamee Crater
- See Feather-tail Gliders, the smallest of the possum species!
- Participate in a traditional Maori Ceremony
- Feed wild dolphins
- Snorkel through a shipwreck
- Go sandboarding down massive sand dunes
- Hike through the rainforest and learn about this important ecosystem
- Safely discover some of the most poisonous animals in Australia
- Learn the real way to 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
- Scuba dive* or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
- Cruise through Milford Sound, one of the most gorgeous places on Earth
- Zoom through the alpine canyons of the Shotover River on an exhilarating Jet Boat Ride
- Explore Sydney’s iconic areas of Surry Hills, Manly and Bondi
*These are optional excursions.
DAYS 1 – 2: DEPART LOS ANGELES (FOR THOSE WHO OPT TO TAKE THE GROUP FLIGHT)
As the group flight takes off, the program officially begins! Lose a day as you fly over the international Date Line–don’t worry, you’ll gain it back at the end of the program.
DAYS 3 – 5: QUEENSTOWN, NZ
We start our program 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 this bustling ski town.
DAYS 6 – 9: CAIRNS and KURUNDA RAINFOREST
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 we’ll snorkel or scuba dive* with sea turtles and hundreds of species of fish. There will also be time to explore Cairns and its famous night markets for some wonderful souvenirs.
DAYS 10 – 13: Yungaburra and Atherton Tablelands
Heading inland you will perform 20 hours of valuable community service assisting with a variety of local projects in the care and rehabilitation of native wildlife and flora. You’ll love this part of rural Australia with its incredible natural landscapes and friendly people. You will have the chance to see some Agile Wallabies living happily in suburbia before climbing the Great Escarpment onto the Atherton Tablelands where you will visit a huge strangler fig and look for the smallest and most primitive of the kangaroo species.
Take a walk at Lake Barrine to see some giant trees and vines while learning about the rainforest and its precious wildlife, followed by a refreshing swim! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo and even some platypus! 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.
Some of your service hours will be spent working at the TREAT nursery, a cooperative approach to revegetation involving government and community resources. At the display center, you will be able to see all of the work of the last 35 years made by this remarkable community group and how you will help contribute to this work! Take a break from your service work for relaxing walks to beautiful waterfalls in a secluded part of the park.
We then direct our service project to tree-kangaroo rescue at a rehabilitation center where injured and orphaned tree-kangaroos are rehabilitated with the aim of release back into the wild. Spend an afternoon heading higher into the mountains for a swim in Dinner Falls and to visit massive Mt. Hypipamee Crater.
Visit an endangered and restricted ecosystem on the edge of the rainforest where we will help to preserve the habitat trees of the Yellow-bellied Glider, the large, gliding possums that have very specific environmental needs. Changes in forest use and the invasion of other plants, both native and exotic, have made this forest more vulnerable to fire and removed some of the old trees on which the possums are dependent. Spend your last evening of your service work spotting little wallabies and Yellow-bellied Gliders feeding on the sap of the trees we have protected. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see Feather-tail Gliders, which are no bigger than your thumb and are the smallest of all the possum species!
DAYS 14 – 15: Brisbane > Moreton Island
Catch a morning flight from Cairns to Brisbane! After exploring the city of Brisbane, catch a high-speed ferry to the third-largest sand island in the world, Moreton Island. Spend your time feeding wild dolphins, sandboarding down giant dunes, snorkeling through shipwrecks offshore, or just spend some time relaxing on the gorgeous beaches of the island.
DAYS 16 – 19: 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, explore 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. To celebrate a life-changing adventure we’ll enjoy our final dinner overlooking the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
DAY 20: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FOR THE USA
WHAT KIND OF TEEN TYPICALLY PARTICIPATES IN THIS PROGRAM? WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN?
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.
This program is only for students who are currently in 9th through 12th grade and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
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 Street along the waterfront. In Cairns we stay in the center of town a few blocks away from the Esplanade. In Yungaburra we stay in a cozy 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 program.
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 LIKE MOST ABOUT 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 program 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, all dinners, chaperones and guides, program related activities, program related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included (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 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 LEADS THE PROGRAM?
The Trip Director for every program 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 program 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. Programs 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 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?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
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.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group almost 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 program, 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.
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/.
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.