G’day mate! Welcome to the land down under, a country that kangaroos, koalas, and even Nemo call home. Experience the world’s largest sand bar on Fraser Island and take a once-in-a-lifetime journey by SCUBA diving and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. Visit Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter, and ride the waves with two days of professional surf lessons. Indulge yourself with Tim Tams or do you dare try vegemite, Australia’s staple food? You will swim through waterfalls, raft through the rainforest as well as listen to a pin drop on your private tour of the Sydney Opera House. Crikey! Each day is better than the one before on this fantastic adventure. There’s more? You bet! Finish the trip with 5 spectacular days in paradise. Say Aloha to Hawaii.
We begin this trip with a chaperoned overseas group flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane. For those coming from the New York area, we have a chaperoned NY to LA flight to connect to the escorted overseas flight. Our trip leaders greet you at the airport and are with you for the duration of the flight to Australia. Everyone has the opportunity to begin trip bonding before we even land. The flight knocks a day off your life (because of the International Dateline) but you’ll make it up on the return flight when you get the very cool opportunity to live part of the same day twice.
For your return from Honolulu, we offer a chaperoned flight back to Los Angeles and onto New York. You may choose to join that flight and arrange transfers (if required) at suitable times; or you may fly from Los Angeles to your home city and our leaders help you to check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed.
Welcome to the Land Down Under and its famous Gold Coast! Learn to master the waves with two days of professional surfing lessons near Australia’s premier resort area. Ride the day away at Dreamworld and brave the Tower of Terror II. Wind your way through the amazing Infinity Light Show and Maze. Kayak and snorkel on pristine blue waters and stop to search for thousands of sub-tropical fish and incredible marine life such as dolphins, turtles, and stingrays.
Travel by catamaran to the world’s largest sand bar! Jump on a 4×4 ranger-guided eco-tour through a tropical rainforest and discover incredible wildlife. Experience unique foods from the rainforest and outback through a ranger-led Bush Talk and Taste. At night enjoy a bonfire on the beach, stargaze at the different Southern Sky and look out for the creatures of the night like sugar gliders – the inspirations for the extreme sport wingsuiting.
Explore the shops of Queen Street. Feed Kangaroos by hand, cuddle with koalas and discover crocs, emus and dingoes at the world famous Crocodile Hunter’s Australia Zoo.
Venture deep into the rainforests of the Atherton Tableland and check into our lodge surrounded by incredible scenery. View the miraculous 1,000-year-old, 200-foot-tall Cathedral Fig Tree on our waterfall tour through the rainforest. You will be fascinated by its history and learning how it actually receives its nutrients. Try to spot tree kangaroos on your guided canoe ride and platypuses on a guided walk.
Whitewater raft the incredible Tully River, one of the best rafting adventures you can experience with more than 45 rapids. Go cable wakeboarding or kneeboarding with zero wake on a man-made lake designed for this incredible sport. Learn about the reef during an educational session run by a local expert. Head to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park for an authentic Australian indigenous experience. Learn about the Dreamtime, how to throw spears and paint your very own boomerang. Relax at one of Cairns’ amazing northern beaches.
Dive into the most extensive reef system in the world, your chance to view sea turtles and virtually thousands of fish. Snorkel or SCUBA dive at the world’s biggest structure made by living organisms. (For your safety, all SCUBA operators restrict participants with certain medical conditions. Please ask about your own circumstances if applicable.)
Gaze from atop the 1,001′ Sydney Tower. Hit up the popular beach towns of Bondi and Manly. Take a thrilling once-in-a-lifetime climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge for stunning views. Check out the renowned Sydney Opera House on your guided tour. Explore the oldest area of Sydney, the Rocks and one of the newest, Darling Harbour. Tour the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Check out the city views from the Wild Ropes course at Taronga Zoo. Get ready for spins, slides, power-break stops, and fishtails as you jet boat through Sydney Harbour. Cheer like a local at a rugby game if there is one in town. For those on the 22 day trip, enjoy your farewell banquet – look back on a remarkable adventure through the Land Down Under and the best time of your life! For the 27 day program, the incredible action continues.
Check in for your incredible stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Swim at the Duke Kahanamoku Beach, the widest stretch of Waikiki. Sunbathe or swim at one of the hotel’s five pools. Stroll through the shops and cafes of Waikiki. Visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Hike to the top of Diamond Head for incredible views of Honolulu. Sail and snorkel in the pristine Hawaiian waters. Enjoy your farewell banquet and authentic luau and look back on your remarkable adventure through Australia and Hawaii – the best summer of your life!
Enjoy the Mantra on View, located on the Gold Coast in the heart of Surfers Paradise. The hotel is a block from the beach and surrounded by shops, restaurants, cafes, nightlife and attractions. Relax at the pool and workout in the gym.Visit Website
Nestled within the rainforest on the world’s largest sand island, the Kingfisher is the only eco-resort on Fraser Island. Designed to be integrated into the beautiful scenery and world heritage surroundings of the island, the hotel has all the amenities you would expect from a 4-star hotel including heated pool and hot tub, great breakfasts and nice rooms.Visit Website
Nestled amidst the magnificent Atherton Tablelands and close to the rainforest, your three night adventure here will definitely be a highlight!Visit Website
Beautiful tropical surroundings and modern contemporary style is waiting for you at Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort. Each of the resort’s 314 rooms feature a private terrace or balcony facing either the lagoon swimming pool, lush tropical gardens or Cairns city. The city location is ideal with easy access to the award winning Esplanade and Cairns attractions.Visit Website
Location location location! Stay at the Mantra on Kent which is ideally located in the heart of Sydney – just a short walk to amazing Darling Harbour and stunning Circular Quay. The hotel offers large spacious suites and modern amenities.Visit Website
As Waikiki’s only true resort, and located on Waikiki’s widest stretch of beach, this Beach Resort is nestled on 22 oceanfront acres. This hotel offers the perfect mix of exceptional hotel accommodations and classic Hawaiian hospitality.Visit Website
At Westcoast Connection nothing else comes first. From our extensive trip planning department through our management team and our leaders, it is our single biggest priority! Safety procedures, equipment – we’ve got it covered. All Trip Leaders and Directors are certified in First Aid and CPR. We are extremely proud of our safety record and welcome all questions you may have in this area. Please see more under Safety First.
Once you are on your trip, you will have sensitive leaders that are caring, approachable and always there for you. Your Trip Director and Trip Leaders are people with incredible backgrounds including teachers, guitar players, IRONMAN triathletes, SCUBA divers, volunteers, and so much more.
Every staff member takes part in and must complete our extensive training weekends that review our philosophy and procedures to provide a well-supervised and fun-filled program.
Our Trip Directors, the individuals responsible for overseeing each itinerary, take on the roles of teachers, coaches, camp counselors, mentors, concierges and hosts. They’ve been trained to provide individual attention and create an all-inclusive family atmosphere (our EACH & EVERY philosophy). There’s a definite art to building dynamic groups, and we’ve worked hard to master it! We want you smiling on day one right through to a teary goodbye at your farewell banquet.
Our leaders are non-smokers. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Summer Leaders section.
We can’t say it too many times, this is a really incredible group experience. A great dynamic starts with our secrets for group bonding. Our bag of tricks goes way beyond traditional ice breakers. Imagine people hunts, Rock, Paper, Scissors championships, Ninja tournaments, flash mobs and so much more. We work hard to get everyone moving beyond first impressions and creating an atmosphere of total acceptance. Our staff hiring and training emphasizes social safety and establishing an inclusive culture. Many of our travelers come as individuals and we have a geographically diverse enrollment with students joining us from across the USA, Canada and internationally. This mix helps eliminate cliques at the outset and establish an open environment that benefits you. We take great care in assembling groups to create an unforgettable social experience.
Your summer of a lifetime starts with us carefully crafting the perfect program. Our team is dedicated year round to creating exciting, meaningful experiences! You have a detailed itinerary, but not one that is so rigid that you lose chances for spontaneity! Our Trip Planning Department pays painstaking attention to detail, sweating the small stuff so that your summer experience is stress free. Our trips are designed with a very logical flow: action, adventure and excitement balanced with structured downtime and relaxation. There is a reason our itineraries are known to be “Perfectly Planned. Perfectly Paced.” Our year-round team has over 420 summers combined working with teenagers and we understand what you’re looking for. We describe our trips in as much detail as these web pages allow, but to truly appreciate the flow of a particular program, please speak with us to review the trip of your choice.
Planning teen trips is of course a science. But it is also an art. We know when to pick up the pace to get the adrenaline flowing. We also know when it’s time to chill on the beach or have a sleep in. As you review our Australia programs, know that we have worked year after year to make every minute of every day just right.
If we’re not seeing the sights, soaking up the Aussie culture or resting up because there is a tomorrow we’re out there playing! SCUBA and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, riding the waves off the coast of Surfers Paradise, whitewater rafting in the middle of the rainforest or even climbing the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. Vibrant cities like Honolulu, Brisbane and Sydney complement the adrenaline pumping activities and of course we experience aboriginal culture, local wildlife and see off the beaten path places as well. All told you’ll be in for the experience of a lifetime – so much more exciting than summer camp!
There is so much more to a teen travel experience than just traveling. Summer after summer we love nothing more than the feedback from parents sharing with us that their son or daughter has matured, has become more confident and outgoing, is more poised, more responsible and more worldly having had not just the summer of a lifetime, but a life changing experience as well. It’s amazing how much growth can occur when you are traveling and sharing the experience with incredible people in a warm and welcoming environment.
As you travel overseas and experience other cultures and customs first hand, your perception will change as your understanding of and empathy for citizens of other countries naturally grows. Whereas prior to your travels media headlines about a foreign government may have led to generalized conclusions, your new interactions with locals and firsthand experience will enable you to see we often share more in common with others than we may have known.
Imagine seeing first hand all you’ve learned about in your global or environmental studies class when you are standing on the steps of the Opera House, walking through the world’s oldest rainforest or swimming amongst the thousands of fish at the Great Barrier Reef.
Our experience lends itself to trying new things and stepping just outside of one’s comfort zone. With a taste of age-appropriate independence, and a healthy reprieve from the usual pressures associated with school life, we want you to be empowered and we provide you with an opportunity to grow.
Living, experiencing, and learning together, you will be afforded the chance to interact with other teens who share both similar and different backgrounds and interests. Everybody grows in their social acceptance of others. By the end of the program we hope to have lit a spark – to travel, to learn, to meet new people, to try new things and to explore. With new friendships, new memories and new life skills on which to build, our teen travel experiences are truly unforgettable.
There really is a difference in how different summer programs operate! Motivated teens going away with qualified leaders is a given. But what sets us apart is the depth of our qualified personnel that allow us to perform with the greatest consistency at the highest level.
Your Trip Director and Trips Leaders are with you throughout your program. They have daily contact with one of our two 24-hour Communication Centers and are in regular contact with our Company Directors. Our Company Directors are the most seasoned veterans who each oversee specific programs providing support to trip staff and to assist with any situations that may arise. Our Company Directors alternate between traveling to visit programs and being reached in the office.
Program visits enable us to provide ongoing support and development to our Trip Directors, allows trip staff to have a sounding board for their own progress in reaching trip goals, helps us to identify any challenging areas for improvement while it still has relevance to your summer rather than as a mention on your end-of-summer survey, and helps us to identify the future Directors from the current crop of all-star summer staff. These visits are by Company Directors along with our Regional Supervisors, who are former Trip Directors with further experience out in the field. Collectively our planning, supervisory and management team is an incredible resource with over 420 summers of combined teen travel experience. This way, we can lend a hand wherever and whenever a little extra effort is called for. Last year, we had 208 scheduled supervisory trip visits to make sure all was running well, provide ongoing support to our staff in the field and have fun! This investment in depth of personnel is unrivaled in teen travel and is a critical element to achieving consistent, excellent program quality and surpassing client expectations!
Included in the trip tuition are all activities and entertainment described, breakfast and dinner daily, lunches as indicated on your specific program, gratuities, taxes, land transportation, accommodations, and fanatical customer service from our full-time team and summer Communication Centers. This can add up to tremendous value!
Once your action-packed day is over, you’re going to need a place to crash. You will enjoy terrific centrally located properties. Every participant gets his or her own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest. For more detailed information, visit the section marked Where We Stay.
A big part of a journey’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality, quantity and choice of food! Breakfasts in Australia are at our hotels and are American style buffets with a variety of hot and cold choices (at our two-night lodge stay it is continental style). For dinners, either the whole group goes to the same restaurant and orders off the menu or we divide into smaller groups with staff to sample quainter places with a variety of different cuisines. For lunch, you enjoy the choice of eating in smaller groups and choosing from local cafes and small restaurants. A few lunches are included as prepared for us on full day activities such as the trip to the Great Barrier Reef and whitewater rafting. Your trip to Australia will be as comfortable as you want it to be. Food options are varied and plentiful from burgers and pastas to sushi and Mediterranean. Those of you who are more adventurous can try kangaroo meat, crocodile, emu or the Aussie staple, vegemite! And of course everyone comes home loving Tim Tams!
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive personal experience in this area. Please speak with us to review your needs.
This program has very little bus travel time, an added bonus of the itinerary. But when we are traveling, you’ll ride on a chartered deluxe, air conditioned motor coach with a professional driver.
You only need to bring one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in our packing list. Every week we either drop off laundry at a local wash and fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go; or where possible, we visit local laundromats.
While you’re out having the summer of your life, your parents should feel like they are in on the action as well. We post updates to our blog and Facebook page and e-mail photos approximately once a week so those at home can be in on the fun. Parents also have access to our dedicated office Trip Monitors 24/7 for any questions and/or concerns. We’re as in touch as any trip operator could possibly be via smartphones with e-mail and text. The goal is uncompromising safety and peace of mind, day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Participants may bring their personal cell phones.
In last summer’s surveys, 99% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!