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Student Travel In Australia

Life-changing, educational travel experiences right here in Australia.

Welcome to Rustic Pathways’ Student Travel In Australia!

Experience unforgettable student travel experiences in Australia with Rustic Pathways! Rustic Pathways has student travel programs in 19 countries around the world.  Did you know, though, that the first programs we ever ran were in Australia in 1983? We’ve been running Australia group tours for nearly 40 years!

We have deep roots within student travel in Australia. This has led to valuable partnerships and extensive local knowledge. Because of this, our domestic programs are truly unique.  We have offices and bases near both Melbourne and Brisbane.

In addition to our school group tours, we offer open enrolment programs for high school students. Check out our Rustic Trips, Summer Sessions and Schoolies Reimagined. We also offer customised itineraries for private groups and families throughout the year. Our country director and managers have all travelled widely throughout this country. This has contributed to a deep knowledge of its people and environments. They use this knowledge to create incredible experiences for our students. 

School Group Travel in Australia

You don’t need to take your students to the other side of the world to create powerful learning opportunities. Impactful, cross-cultural experiences can happen right here at home! Many Aussie students are only aware of a fraction of what this incredible country has to offer. On our Australia group tours students experience the geographic, cultural, social and biological diversity within their home country.

We custom-design our programs to meet your school’s requirements. Please contact us to discuss the type of experience you are looking for.  See our page on School Group Tours for general information about setting up a program for your students.

Australia Programs

Ancient Cultures & Coral Coasts

Travel through the East Pilbara to develop a new understanding of Australia. Discover one of the world’s oldest living cultures. The Martu people lived a traditional life in the western deserts until the 1960’s. Provide enrichment activities for Martu children to support youth development and education. Explore diverse geographic landscapes. Hike the red-rock gorges of Karijini. Swim under waterfalls in turquoise pools. Snorkel with manta rays and turtles on the vibrant coral reefs of Ningaloo. Road trip ‘off the map’ through Western Australia.

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Bushcraft & Survival

Test your grit and deepen your connection to nature on the ultimate Australian bush experience. On this program you will develop strong and trusting relationships with your group as you rely on each other and support each other using survival skills you’ll learn from our survival experts. Learn about navigation, bush foods, shelter building, and more! Test your skills in a multi-day survival challenge.

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Bushfire Recovery: NSW South Coast

Australia suffered its worst-ever bushfires in the summer of 2019/ 2020. The majority of the coastline south of Sydney was destroyed. More than 2000 properties were lost. Livelihoods were destroyed. Sadly, many farmers lost everything. We need your help to support residents and local businesses get back on their feet. Spend 5-7 days on the NSW South Coast supporting community projects. These may include clearing damaged properties, repairing fences, replanting gardens, and delivering care packages. During downtime, explore this spectacular stretch of coast. Swim in the turquoise waters, learn about the local Indigenous culture, stand up paddle board and hand-feed kangaroos.

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Cape York Turtle Expedition

Take a remote environmental service adventure into Cape York Peninsula. Work alongside indigenous rangers on various environmental service projects. Learn from them about Aboriginal culture and heritage. Night patrol along the beaches in search of turtles laying their eggs. Remove fishing nets from the nesting grounds. Record environmental data on turtles, wild pigs, and cane toads. Camp on a remote beach. Spot crocs, manta rays, and dingoes in a wild part of the country. You’ll be led by legendary Aussie guides.

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Central Australia Tours

This program is designed to give students a broad understanding of Central Australia and the country’s vast landscapes. Travelling from Melbourne by coach, students journey through Mildura, the Flinders Ranges, up the Oodnadatta Track, across to Coober Pedy and then through the Red Centre before flying home from Alice Springs.

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Critical Issues: Reef & Rainforest

Investigate some of Australia’s serious environmental issues. Venture into Far North Queensland on a trip to the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. Meet with experts to gain insights and various perspectives on environmental issues. Travel with Dr Olaf, a renowned marine scientist who will ignite your passion for marine conservation. Snorkel, hike, swim and bike through some of Australia’s most magnificent environments.  

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Epic Outback

An expedition of service and adventure in the East Kimberley. Travel in the footsteps of the original Rustic Pathways programs back in the 1980’s. Venture across the outback in a 4WD to discover the Kimberley. It’s a wild and remote region of waterfalls, cattle stations, kangaroos, dingoes and crocs. Support Aboriginal youth development projects. Contribute to social services through cooking meals for a women’s shelter. Learn about ancient Aboriginal culture through immersions and workshops. Build cultural bridges to lead our country towards reconciliation.

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Island Survival

Set out on the ultimate challenge for body, mind, and soul. Maroon yourself on Rustic Island. This remote island is in the southern Great Barrier Reef, 45 nautical miles off the coast. It’s a 13-hectare coral cay surrounded by reef and lagoon. Challenge yourself physically and mentally. Learn survival skills, wilderness first aid and marine biology from specialist instructors. Gain deep insights through personal development workshops facilitated by The REACH Foundation. This is a truly unique, unforgettable experience of student travel in Australia.

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KJ Martu Immersion

Take a deep dive into Martu culture with Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ). KJ is one of Australia’s most respected Aboriginal organisations. Its focus is on building strong, sustainable communities. Camp out on country with Martu people and KJ. Learn about Martu culture, history, heritage, cooking, bush tucker and land management. Deepen your understanding of Australia through exposure to traditional and contemporary Martu life. Explore Karijini National Park. Swim in tranquil waterholes. Hike through spectacular gorges in a vibrant desert landscape.

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Minke Whales & Marine Science

Join our marine scientist, Dr Olaf Meynecke, in Queensland for seven days of experiential learning. You’ll start out on the Gold Coast. There, you’ll learn about humpback whales, dolphins and dugongs. You’ll record data through observing whale behaviour to support ongoing research projects. Next, fly to Cairns where you’ll learn about turtle conservation. Then you’ll head out on a live-aboard dive boat. Spend 4 days and 3 nights at sea! Explore the outer Great Barrier Reef by snorkelling and/or scuba diving. Swim with Dwarf Minke Whales! You’ll also record data on their behaviour for an ongoing research project with James Cook University.

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Outback Survival

This is a program for competitive students who want to experience the remote Outback and challenge themselves and their survival skills in a desolate corner of the world. The trip will start in Adelaide. From there, journey to the magnificent Flinders Ranges. In this beautiful part of the country students will learn survival skills from an ex-Army survival instructor. Get your survival rations, split into teams and head out for a 4-day survival challenge to race to the extraction point. Build your own shelters, camp under the stars, and push your limits while developing essential lifeskills such as grit, independence and teamwork.

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Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve Project

A remote wilderness program perfect for students seeking field experience in environmental sciences. It’s hard to get any farther from civilisation than the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. SIWR is a largely unexplored piece of land on the Cape York Peninsula. It’s where Australia Zoo conducts their biggest crocodile research program. Students on this program work with close friends of the Irwin Family. Look forward to hearing first hand tales of Steve’s adventures during his infamous croc hunting days!

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Surf & Service

Enjoy an action-packed service adventure on Australia’s east coast. Learn how to catch a wave from expert surf coaches. Surf some of the country’s best breaks between Noosa and Byron Bay. Volunteer helping out at primary schools. Spend a smile-filled afternoon supporting the Sunshine Coast Special Olympics basketball team. Cook meals for a charity that supports people experiencing homelessness. Support cross-generational projects at an aged care facility. Develop new skills and learn more about yourself while camping out at a farm. Explore the beautiful Glass House Mountains.

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Tanami Desert Dreaming

Our Tanami experience is a very unique and special experience for Australian school groups. Billiluna and Balgo are Indigenous communities accessed from the famous Tanami Track, south of Halls Creek and northwest of Alice Springs. Through our community relationships in the Kimberley, Rustic Pathways’ groups have the privilege of being invited to visit Billiluna and Balgo. Spending 3-5 days in the community, students have a rare opportunity to be completely immersed into local life and culture.

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Urban Life: Women Speaking

Explore the roles of women in Australian society through personal interviews. Research, meet and interview women from a cross-section of society. Learn about the significance of women in Australian society. Identify social, political and economic realities faced by women. Empower students through inquiry-based learning and service-learning. Support them to become active in social impact and enterprise. Foster empathy and compassion in students through connections with women from marginalised communities.

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Wildlife Rehabilitation Project

Support a grassroots wildlife rehabilitation centre near Brisbane. Assist at a private rehabilitation sanctuary. Help care for rescued and injured wildlife. These animals are nurtured back to health, then released back into the wild. Learn about conservation issues from a wildlife biologist who’s undertaken research projects on echidnas and other native species. Assist with feeding animals, maintaining enclosures, and harvesting foods from the bush. You may also help with other essential day-to-day tasks. Students gain hands-on experience with wildlife while supporting one of our Foundation projects.

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You, A ‘Roo & Australia Zoo

A one-of-a-kind conservation program at Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Enjoy the ultimate backstage pass to one of the world’s top animal conservation destinations. Experience a day in the life of a zookeeper. Learn the basics of caring for a variety of native wildlife. See how they care for sick and injured animals at their world-class Wildlife Hospital. Utilise your new skills and knowledge supporting projects at a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

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Our Amazing Australian Program Leaders

Everyone on our team plays an important role in delivering amazing travel experiences to our groups. However, it’s our program leaders who are the face of Rustic Pathways. After all, they are responsible for facilitating safe and transformative programs on the ground!

Our clients frequently tell us that their program leaders were the best part of their whole experience. They say that without them it wouldn’t have been the same. That’s because we reserve this role for truly unique and outstanding individuals. 

Our program leaders come to us from many different backgrounds. Outdoor education. Youth mentoring. International development. Psychology. Marine biology. Each program leader brings unique experiences and perspectives to the programs that they lead.

It is essential that our program leaders are incredible role models for our students. We choose people who go above and beyond to create the best possible experience. 

All of our program leaders regularly undergo extensive training. This ensures they maintain our high standards in safety, student learning and group experience. 

Program leaders have the important responsibility of ensuring student safety. They are also tasked with facilitating life-changing experiences. They are skilled at helping students think critically about the world around them. Students finish our programs wanting to take action and contribute positively to society. 

Alanah

Alanah is our smiling go-getter, she lives for adventure and is happiest when she is out of her comfort zone or immersed in another culture.

Alycia

Alycia has an incredibly warm and infectious energy and loves sharing her passion for the outdoors with our students.

Andrew

Andrew is a guitar playing, nature loving, surfer extraordinaire, with years of experience in expedition leading and wilderness therapy.

Ben

Ben is the ultimate outdoorsman. There isn't a talent that this legend can't master!

Chris

Chris is a jack of all trades who loves a laugh and sharing his passions for permaculture and music.

Declan

Declan is a legend of the game. When he’s not on the road leading programs, you’ll find him mountain biking, rock climbing or four wheel driving!

Dominic

Dominic is our laughing outback legend, born and raised in the East Kimberley, there is no one else you would rather be in the outback with.

Eliza

Eliza is our ultimate hype girl and loves all things sustainability, camping and life outdoors.

Laura

Laura is a do-er. She started her own non-profit as a teen, and shares her passion for giving back with our students.

Liam F

Liam F is a professional football player, when he's not busy running trips or playing footy you will find him spearfishing and trying to keep the rest of the crew in shape.

Liam L

Liam L is one of Rustic's longest-standing program leaders, he is extremely passionate about showing students his land and has many unique stories to tell.

Magda

Magda is a Polish ray of sunshine who shares her love of life and surfing with our students.

Maria

Maria is our Colombian queen, and brings incredible energy and laughs to our programs.

Mat

Mat is a passionate adventure extraordinaire. Growing up in country South Australia he has spent 12 years working and living abroad across 6 continents.

Olaf

Olaf is our marine science expert, who is passionate about humpback whale conservation and loves sharing his excitement for the ocean with students!

Yushan

Yushan hails from Southern China, she’s a global citizen, multilingual and passionate about education outside of classrooms.

Locations

Our student travel in Australia takes advantage of our country’s gorgeous landscapes and natural wonders. You can also learn the ins-and-outs of one of our vibrant cities. See how locals live in different parts of Australia. Taking time to explore our home country will not disappoint! 

The Kimberley 

  • Learn about the challenges of living in remote outback locations. 
  • Develop an appreciation for Indigenous culture and heritage. 
  • Marvel at the stunning natural landscapes.
  • Swim in breathtaking waterfalls.
  • See saltwater crocodiles jumping for their food..
  • Contribute to community service projects supporting Indigenous youth.
  • Hike through incredible gorges.
  • Experience life on a working cattle ranch.
  • Camp in swags under the starry night sky.
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Cape York Peninsula 

  • Explore the northern coasts of Queensland. 
  • Learn first-hand about turtle conservation.
  • Keep an eye out for local wildlife like dingoes, crocodiles, feral pigs, and sea turtles.
  • Discover what life is like for locals in this remote part of the country.
  • Gain expert camping skills staying in no-facility campsites. 

The Sunshine Coast 

  • Stay in our RP Australia basehouse – the home base for many of our Australian programs.
  • Take hikes in the stunning Glass House Mountains.
  • Practice your surf skills at the multitude of beaches lining the coast.
  • Take an adrenaline-filled ride on a jet boat through the surf.
  • Visit the world-famous Australia Zoo.
  • Camp out on a farm where you learn about life in outback Australia.
  • Spot Koalas on a hike through Noosa Headland. 
  • Learn to wakeboard at a cable water ski park.
  • There is never a shortage of activities or places to visit in this sunny stretch of coastline!

Sydney’s Harbour Districts

  • See the sights of spectacular Sydney Harbour!
  • Walk through the famous Rocks District. 
  • Admire Sydney Harbour Bridge, and maybe even climb it! 
  • Visit the iconic Opera House. 
  • Cruise through the harbour to the seaside suburb of Manly. 
  • Experience Darling Harbour and Chinatown.

Daintree Rainforest

  • See where this World Heritage-listed rainforest grows right down to pristine white sand beaches. 
  • Marvel at the sheer grandeur of the world’s oldest continuously surviving rainforest.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for cassowaries – rare and incredible giant birds 
  • Taste black sapote – a local fruit that tastes like chocolate!
  • Help with service projects that contribute to the health of the rainforest ecosystems.
  • Go swimming at stunning Mossman Gorge.
  • Learn about the medicinal properties of the native flora and fauna.

The Dampier Peninsula 

  • Home to the Bardi people who are known as “The Salt Water People” due to their deep connection to, and reliance on, the ocean.
  • Explore Kooljaman – one of the only places in the world where stunning red cliffs meet white sand beaches and crystal blue ocean. 
  • Spot whales at Pender Bay – a World Heritage Listed stretch of Kimberley coastline.
  • Take a mud crab tour with a local family.
  • Go on a kayak and snorkel tour in the crystal blue waters off Cape Leveque.
  • Learn about the important role of the Bardi Jawi Rangers.
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The Pilbara

  • Marvel at the vast, dry landscape of the Pilbara. 
  • Take part in an incredible, one-of-a-kind immersion experience with the Martu.
  • Hear first-hand stories of how the Martu were one of the last indigenous groups in Australia to make contact with white people. 
  • Hunt and gather bush foods.
  • Hike to local waterholes. 
  • Adventure in the natural playground of Karijini National Park.
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The Northern Territory

  • Swim in crystal clear water holes in Litchfield National Park.
  • Learn from a local indigenous group about medicinal plants. 
  • Explore the legendary Kakadu National Park. 
  • Visit Darwin’s Mindil Beach Market.
  • Spot crocs during a boat cruise on the Adelaide River.
  • Camp out on a working cattle station.
  • Soak in the Katherine Hot Springs.
  • Learn about what life is like today for Indigenous Australians.
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Central Australia

  • Visit majestic Uluru – a must-do student travel Australia experience!. 
  • Adventure into Uluru’s lesser-known but equally impressive sister Kata Tjuta. 
  • Drive the famous Mereenie Loop through the remote wilds of this region.
  • Learn about the local indigenous history and culture. 
  • Find out about the history of Alice Springs and the first white settlers in this area.
  • Hike through stunning  King’s Canyon.
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Service Projects

Rustic Pathways has strong community service initiatives throughout Australia. We believe that impactful Australian student travel experiences should incorporate a service component. We support marginalised communities, assist with social services and contribute to environmental conservation projects. While many of the service programs offered by Rustic Pathways are located abroad, we also support Aussie students to get involved here at home. We are always developing new, exciting volunteer projects within Australia. Some of our service projects that you could support include:

Support Indigenous Communities

  • Contribute to social, educational and infrastructure projects in remote aboriginal communities. 
  • Run sports and cross-cultural engagement programs for indigenous youth. 
  • Provide after-school activity programs.

Primary Schools and Education Exchange

  • Facilitate enrichment programs focusing on cross-cultural exchange and global education. 
  • Provide a free school holiday program for low-income communities. 

Aged Care

  • Provide social interaction for elderly residents.
  • Help to enhance residents’ mental health and fine motor skills. 
  • Facilitate cross-generational relationships.

Environmental Conservation

  • Participate in a local beach clean-up.
  • Assist local volunteers with the maintenance of national parks and community bushland.
  • Plant trees and help with bush regeneration. 
  • Remove invasive plant species.

Social Services

  • Lend a hand to our community partners who support people experiencing homelessness, domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Cook nutritious meals for those in need. 
  • Run games and activities for local children from marginalised communities. 

Special Olympics Basketball

  • Assist athletes with their basketball skills and training.
  • Provide positive and healthy social interaction.

Wildlife Conservation

  • Lend a hand in one of the wildlife facilities we partner with around the country.
  • Shadowing rangers and zookeepers.
  • Clean enclosures.
  • Redesign habitats.
  • Prepare foods. 
  • Enjoy getting up close and personal with some of our native wildlife!

Turtle Rehabilitation

  • 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 tasks such as cleaning out the turtle tanks. 
  • Work with indigenous rangers to remove ghost nets from nesting grounds.
  • Conduct surveys on feral pigs – a major threat to the turtles as they eat their eggs.

Australia Zoo

  • Shadow zookeepers and learn what it takes to be a wildlife carer and zoologist. 
  • Prepare food for the animals.
  • Clean enclosures.
  • Provide enrichment activities for the animals

Whale Research

  • Head out on a whale research boat with a marine mammal scientist.
  • Learn about and record humpback whales as they migrate up the East Coast.
  • Contribute to an ongoing research project on migration patterns and behaviour.

Cultural Exploration

Indigenous Immersions

There is so much we can learn from Indigenous Australians. Building cultural bridges is critical for our country to move forward together. An immersion with our indigenous peoples is essential for students to develop a deeper understanding of their country.

Learn about traditional languages, cultures, family structures and bush foods. Camp out on country with Indigenous elders. 

We offer multiple different Aboriginal immersion experiences all around Australia, and had more information than we could fit here on our Student Travel Australia page. So, please find more information about our Indigenous Immersions here.

Adventure and Challenge

Adventure and challenge is inherent to every journey that offers students new experiences. Student travel Australia experiences should take students out of their comfort zones and encourage their growth. If you are looking to physically challenge your students through a specific activity, you may opt to include:

  • Hiking

    Explore the Great South West of Victoria, traverse Fraser Island or hike through Australia’s high country with our outdoor education leaders.

  • Outback Living

    Sleep in a swag, cook over a campfire, learn how to crack a whip, and experience bush life camping in the Outback.

  • Surf

    Learn to carve up the waves from expert coaches in a series of surf lessons on the Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay or Victorian Surf Coast.

  • Sea Kayak

    Explore the coastline and marine environments of Byron Bay and the Gold Coast on sea kayak adventures.

  • Waterfalls & Gorges

    Throw your on togs and hiking shoes and hike into a gorge for a swim in the KimberleyPilbara or Northern Territory.

  • Cycling

    Spend a morning discovering Brisbane city by bicycle while on a photography scavenger hunt, or explore Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania on mountain bike!

  • Cable-ski Park

    Spend an afternoon testing your skills at a cable ski park in Sunshine Coast or Cairns where you can water-ski, wakeboard, or kneeboard around the lake.

  • Great Barrier Reef

    Sail or cruise out to the magical Great Barrier Reef with marine biologists. With the world’s largest reef system as your classroom, there’s no limit to what you may learn. Snorkel – or scuba dive if you prefer – on a 1-7 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 Great Barrier 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!

  • Kata Tjuta

    Hike through into the lesser-known sibling of Uluru. Kata Tjuta holds a wealth of surprises and beauty just waiting to be discovered.

  • Uluru

    The iconic red-rock monolith that is sacred to the Anangu people who’ve believed it was formed by ancestral beings during the Dreaming. We challenge groups who are up for it to walk all the way around the base! 

  • 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.

  • Sandboarding

    Feel the power and speed at your feet as you sandboard down some of the largest sand dunes in Australia.

  • Survival Skills

    Spend a week on Rustic Island in the Great Barrier Reef learning survival skills and wilderness first aid.

Accommodations

There are various accommodation options that we can offer for student travel in Australia ; it depends on how “rustic” you would like your journey to be.

  • Base House

    Our private property sleeping 30 students, set amongst 50 acres of temperate rainforest in the Glass House Mountains near the Sunshine Coast.

  • Hostels

    A variety of twin-share, bunk rooms and dormitories in cities and towns such as YHA accommodation.

  • Camping

    Both tent and swag camping across Australia. Rustic provides camping gear for its groups, including off-road trailers in the Kimberley that are decked out for remote touring, and all necessary equipment for our Island Survival program.

  • Farm Stay

    Stay at an exclusive outback-themed farm near Noosa, a 250 acre private property where students learn natural horsemanship amongst a menagerie of animals.

  • Cabins

    Cabin accommodation at caravan parks and private lodges that provide comfortable facilities while students explore the surrounding region.

  • Rustic Island

    Join us on a remote island in the southern Great Barrier Reef that we’ve affectionately dubbed Rustic Island. Experience simple life in complete isolation from the outside world.

Next Steps

Please email us at rustic@rusticpathways.com.au to start planning an Australian student travel program for your students. There is nothing too big, small, or out-of-the-box that we can’t handle.

We would be delighted to partner with your school to support the education of your students.