Rustic Pathways actually began its operations in Australia and has been running trips here for 32 years. With offices and bases near both Melbourne and Brisbane, we have a deep and heartfelt attachment to Australia. We offer programs for high school students, as well as Gap Year programs and customised itineraries for private groups and families throughout the year. Our country director and managers have travelled extensively throughout this country and have a deep understanding of its people and environments.
We custom design our Journeys to meet your school’s requirements, so please contact us to discuss the type of experience you are looking for. As a general guide, here are some of the potential elements of your Journey through Australia:
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Rustic Pathways has strong community service initiatives throughout Australia. We support rural schools, assist with special-needs learning programs and promote environmental conservation. While many of the service programs offered by Rustic Pathways are located internationally, we recognise the strong need to encourage Aussie kids to become more actively involved within their local communities. We are currently developing new and exciting volunteer projects within Australia. Some of our service projects that you could support include:
Working in Indigenous Communities: Social, education and infrastructure projects in remote aboriginal communities and schools across North-western Australia.
Save the Children – Youth Hub: Help to run sports and cross-cultural engagement programs for indigenous kids at a youth centre.
Primary Schools and Education Exchange: Supporting children with their core subjects, and providing cross cultural education and relationships.
Aged Care Facilities: Providing social interaction for elderly residents which enhances their fine motor skills, while also providing cross generational relationships.
Environmental Conservation: Participating in a local beach clean-up, assisting local volunteers with the maintenance of national parks and community bushland.
The Shack: Support people in the local community who may be experiencing homelessness, domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse by cooking nutritious meals and running games and activities with local children.
Special Olympics Basketball: Assist athletes with their basketball skills and training, while also providing positive and healthy social interaction.
Wildlife Parks and Rehabilitation Centres: Lend a hand in one of the wildlife facilities we partner with around the country. Your duties may include shadowing park rangers, cleaning enclosures, redesigning habitats, collecting native foods and general grounds maintenance. Plus, enjoy getting up close and personal with some of our native wildlife!
Turtle Rehabilitation: Meet the founders of a volunteer turtle rehabilitation centre. Learn firsthand about ongoing conservation efforts on the Great Barrier Reef and the threats that turtles are facing. Take a trip out to Fitzroy Island to visit the rehab centre and assist with any tasks that need completing, like cleaning out the turtle tanks. As a reward for your service, you may have the opportunity for close encounters with turtles and even see them being released back into the wild!
Australia Zoo: Volunteer at Australia Zoo and learn what it takes to be a wildlife carer and zoologist by shadowing zookeepers. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
Whether it is experiencing Australia’s gorgeous landscapes and natural wonders or getting to know kids or families from a remote indigenous community, a Rustic Pathways adventure closer to home will not disappoint.
The Kimberley: Learn about social, education, environmental and medical challenges of living in remote outback locations. Develop an appreciation for Indigenous culture and heritage through experiencing their land and learning about their culture.
Explore the Cape York Peninsula: Travel to the Northern coasts of QLD to learn first hand about Turtle Conservation.
Discover the Sunshine Coast: As the base of the majority of Rustic Pathways’ operations in Australia, there is never a shortage of activities or places to visit in this sunny stretch of coastline.
Whale research: Head out on a whale research boat with a Marine Mammal Scientist to learn about and record Humpback Whales as they migrate up the east coast.
Sydney’s Harbour Districts: See the sights of spectacular Sydney Harbour, walk through the famous Rocks District, admire the bridge, and ponder the Opera House. Then cruise through the harbour to the seaside suburb of Manly and experience Darling Harbour and Chinatown.
Outback living: Learn how to throw a boomerang, play the didgeridoo, cook over a campfire, and experience bush life camping in the Outback.
Daintree Rainforest: Here you will find a veritable paradise of pristine white-sand beaches and incredible rainforest that grows right down to the sea. The sheer grandeur of this ancient rainforest will keep you in awe as you learn to appreciate why it is a World Heritage listed site and the world’s oldest continuously surviving rainforest in the world.
Adventure and challenge is inherent to every Journey, however,
if you are looking to physically challenge your students through a specific activity, you may opt to include:
Surf Lessons: Learn to carve up the waves from Sunshine Coast locals in a series of surf lessons.
Waterfalls & Gorges: Throw your togs and hiking shoes on and hike into a gorge for a swim in the Kimberley.
Cycling: Spend a morning discovering Brisbane city by bicycle while on a photography scavenger hunt.
Cable-ski Park: Spend an afternoon testing your skills at a cable ski park on the sunshine coast where you can water-ski, wakeboard, or kneeboard around the lake.
Great Barrier Reef: Sail out to the magical Great Barrier Reef. With the world’s largest reef system as your playground, there’s no telling what you may see. Snorkel – or scuba dive if you prefer – on a 1-4 day boat trip, giving you ample opportunity to spot fish, turtles, reef sharks, or even a dwarf minke whale!
Sky Diving, Bungee Jumping & the Giant Swing: Have the option of taking a skydive from 14,000 feet to see the reef from the air! Or push your limits and take a leap off the bungee tower! There’s also the option to swing through the jungle on a giant swing – flying from 135 feet down to 3 feet in 3.5 seconds!
Camel Rides into Kata Tjuta: Take an early morning camel ride into the lesser-known sibling of Uluru, it holds a wealth of surprises and beauty just waiting to be discovered.
Uluru (Ayers Rock): The infamous red-rock geological structure that is the world’s largest monolith astounds everybody who set eyes upon it.
Jet Boating: Jump on an ex- South African military jet boat for the ride of a lifetime as you punch through waves on the Sunshine Coast.
Sand boarding: Feel the power and speed at your feet as you sand board down some of the largest sand dunes in Australia.
There are various accommodation options that we can offer in Australia; it depends on how “rustic” you would like your Journey to be.
Hostels: A variety of shared dormitories in cities and towns
Camping: Both tent and swag style camping for remote locations
Base House: A traditional Queenslander home set amongst 50 acres of temperate rainforest in the Glass House Mountains of the Sunshine Coast.
The quintessential Rustic adventure in the remote Australian Outback
Fly to Darwin. Upon your arrival, there will be time to settle in to the hotel, freshen up, and start your orientation. Late this afternoon, head out to the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets to experience an amazing sunset over the ocean, watch local acts including a professional whip cracking performance, and pick up some Outback souvenirs.
After a relaxed morning of exploring Darwin, your guides will provide an education session on Australia to help build your knowledge and give you some context to the program you are about to undertake. After lunch you will get your first taste of the Outback on a unique boat cruise on the Adelaide River. This boat cruise has true blue Outback locals who feed salt-water crocodiles from the boat. You will witness these wild ancient creatures jumping out of the water in a feeding show like no other. You can’t get this close to crocodile in the wild (safely) anywhere else in the world.
From here, you will drive down the road for 20 minutes where you will learn all about Aboriginal culture from a local family. This experience gives you an opportunity to engage with aboriginal people, the environment and wildlife, learn basket weaving, spear throwing, how to play a didgeridoo and learn about the local bush food and medicine. You will be served damper at the end of the experience. After this introduction into the Outback, you will head to turquoise thermal springs for a relaxing afternoon dip followed by a barbie back at your accommodation. You will reflect and share your highlights of your first day in the Outback with your new found friends.
This morning you will head to the airport to embark on a flight to your next destination, Kununurra, across the Western Australian border. This is only a one hour flight as the distance is 433kms by air, but it would be 829kms by car due to the rough terrain and massive river systems along the way. You will be flying over million acre cattle stations and small towns that barely exist on the map. As you get close to Kununurra make sure tohave a look out the window to witness the majestic, red mountains and massive rivers. After landing in Kununurra you will pick up your 4WD’s and set up your swags for the very first time with help from your experienced guides. You are now in the heart of the West Kimberley, the true Outback of Australia. This afternoon you will get in your 4WD’s and explore the region’s beautiful scenery, before stopping to capture sunset views over the valley.
Today we head further into the Outback to The Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. This is well known as one of the most striking geological landmarks in Australia. With ranges formed from beehive-like mounds with orange and black stripes that will make you question if you have landed on another planet! You will explore these ancients landforms, creeks and cathedrals. Star gazing in this world heritage national park is truly epic with no town or city lights close by. You will cook over the campfire every night and toast marshmallows whilst we share stories and count shooting stars.
Kununurra’s population has a high percentage of Aboriginal Australians. The town is quite diverse and many young children here do not have stable support from their families. Without positive role models, children here can quickly find themselves on a destructive path, and sadly, Kununurra has the highest rate of youth suicide in Australia. Rustic Pathways has partnered with several local organizations to provide support to children in Kununurra. Today you’ll meet leaders within the community and learn about the issues children face and what’s being done to support them. The next two days you will help run some after-school activities for the local kids.
During your time at the local youth hub you will also cook and prepare much needed meals for women and children in crisis. After delivering these meals to the crisis accommodation centre to families and children in need of a nutritious meal, your efforts in the kitchen will be rewarded by watching the sunset in style over the charismatic township of Kununurra.
Today you will be helping out a local lady Mandy who has dedicated her life to saving, rescuing and rehabilitation sick and injured wildlife. Mandy looks after more than 50 kangaroos and wallabies, emus, and lots of different bird species and any other local wildlife that might need caring for at the time we arrive. You will help Mandy feed the animals, including the adorable baby Joeys. Once feeding time is finished you will set to work on projects that help to keep the animals safe and comfortable until they are ready to release back into the wild.
Continuing onto majestic Lake Argyle where you will go on a sunset boat cruise like no other. Keep your eyes peeled as you should see red tailed black cockatoos, wedge tailed eagles, whistling kites, yellow crested white cockatoos, kangaroos, wallabies, cows and maybe even a dingo or 2 along the way! Lake Argyle is the biggest man-made lake in the southern hemisphere. It is classified as an inland sea and at its peak in the green season Lake Argyle holds a staggering 32 million cubic metres of water. You will do a wildlife cruise of the lake’s shoreline and islands will to give you close encounters with an incredible variety of native fauna, from fresh water crocodiles, fish and wallabies to more than 240 species of birds – almost one third of Australia’s total known species. You also get to go for a swim and freshen up with the sunset glow all around you!
Today you will start the day off right, taking a dip in the infinity pool at Lake Argyle overlooking red rock cliffs and the blue water creating a view like no other. Head back towards Kununurra and camp at El Questro station for 2 nights. El Questro wilderness park is a one million acre cattle station filled with ancient gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes. This is the number one destination for Outback explorers in Australia. You will drive across rivers and creeks in your 4×4’s. You will climb, crawl and walk through billion-year-old gorges to get to some of the largest swimming holes in the Outback, with fresh spring water running all year round. You will be treated to another hot spring surrounded by tropical palms with crystal clear water. Here you will be camping on a river where you can swim at any time of the day. At sunset you will be driven up rocky hills to see the sunset over the mountains. Opt for some extra adventure by signing up for an add-on helicopter flight over the waterfalls or saddle up and enjoy the scenery from horseback (add-on).
Today we say goodbye to Kununurra by selecting sanding and polishing your own unique zebra rock pendant whilst enjoying delicious smoothies made from local produce. Wave your final goodbyes to the sun-kissed country and fly back to Darwin for some good tucker by the wharf under moonlight with your fellow explorers.
Today your final morning in Darwin will be spent soaking up the tropical heat on a discovery walk through the city and surrounds, lead by your guides. This will give you an opportunity to see some of the gems this town has to offer while picking up a few last souvenirs. This afternoon will be full of fond farewells as you say goodbye to the program leaders who have been facilitating your awesome Outback experience. Head to the airport and catch your flight home.
Please chat to us if you have any special requests that you would like included in your Journey.
There is nothing too big, small, or out-of-the-box that we can’t handle.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start designing your Journey!
We would be delighted to partner with your school to support the global education of your students.