G’day mate! Your Aussie adventure awaits!
Crikey, there are few things better than an experience in Australia: incredible beauty, friendly culture and thrilling adventure are just the beginning. You will cable-wakeboard and knee board, mountain bike, canoe, bridge climb, swim waterfalls and get the experience of a lifetime snorkelling and SCUBA diving the Great Barrier Reef. This awe inspiring experience is no ordinary summer; it’s the adventure of a lifetime!
For participants on this program, we help coordinate your flight times so we may greet you upon arrival in Sydney, Australia.
For your return from Cairns, we offer a chaperoned flight to San Francisco (or Los Angeles to be determined in the spring) and then on to New York. For travelers from outside either of these cities, we help you arrange transfers at the suitable times after the group has cleared customs and immigration.
Fly to Australia and its most populous and well known city, Sydney. Take a thrilling once-in-a-lifetime climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge for stunning views. Head out for surf lessons at one of the most famous beaches in the world, Bondi Beach. Check out the renowned Sydney Opera House on your guided tour. Explore the oldest area of Sydney, the Rocks and the newest, Darling Harbour.
(Note: The Australia Adventure 12 day program begins with students joining those who are on our 23 day New Zealand & Australia Adventure program for the second half.)
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. Mountain bike around Lake Eacham. Keep your eyes peeled for tree kangaroos and platypuses on a guided walk and night canoe. Spend time with all the amazing wildlife of Australia with a visit to Koala Gardens in the rainforest village of Kuranda.
Spend time with all the amazing wildlife of Australia with a visit to Koala Gardens in the rainforest village of Kuranda. Learn about the Great Barrier Reef at our interactive session with Reef Teach. Go cable kneeboarding or wakeboarding with zero wake on a man-made lake designed for this incredible sport. 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.)
We’ll have our final dinner in Cairns before we jet back home. Looking back on a summer of a lifetime in the land Down Under, you will wish it was longer!
The Sydney Harbour YHA is located right in the centre of all the action! Enjoy amazing facilities including private rooms for our group with in-room bathrooms, a group lounge and meeting area, and a rooftop terrace offering incredible views of the harbour and the Sydney Opera House. This is truly one of the best locations in the city.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
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 busy tomorrow, we’re out there playing! SCUBA and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge or even swimming in waterfalls deep in the rainforests. Of course experience vibrant Sydney, 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, searching for kangaroos and cassowaries under trees that are 1000 years old in the rainforest or swimming amongst the thousands of fish at the endangered Great Barrier Reef.
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!
We provide reasonable, comfortable accommodations. For your convenience and consistency of the group experience, we do not have any homestays. We stay at simple hotels and lodges; there is no camping. Each student has their own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest. For more detailed information, please visit the section marked Where We Stay.
A big part of a program’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality and quantity of food and variety of options. Breakfasts and dinners are enjoyed at the properties we visit or out at restaurants. For lunch, you will have the opportunity to eat in smaller groups and to choose from different options in the various towns and cities you’ll be visiting. On some occasions, we make our own breakfast and lunches – usually when we’re off the beaten path experiencing an amazing adventure highlight! No matter what there is always choice and variety. 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.
While in Australia we travel using chartered air conditioned motor coaches as well as by public transportation such as by bus, subways and ferries.
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!