Outback, Rain Forest, and Reef
- Meet Aboriginal people and learn about their spiritual beliefs.
- Snorkel with marine biologists along the Great Barrier Reef.
- Explore the oldest rain forest on Earth.
- See koalas and kangaroos at the world-famous Taronga Zoo.
Choose one of these projects and delve further into your area of interest:
Itinerary 20 Days
With roughly the population of metropolitan New York City and the landmass of the continental United States, Australia is the most sparsely populated continent on the planet after Antarctica. Its isolation for millennia allowed unique ecosystems and cultures to thrive. Explore rain forests, deserts, and the world's largest coral reef; and spot fascinating wildlife. Meet members of the Aboriginal community—the world's oldest living culture, which settled here more than 50,000 years ago. Experience Australia through the lens of your On Assignment project—Photography, Wildlife & Conservation, or Filmmaking.
Sydney3 days. The expedition begins with an orientation in the vibrant coastal city of Sydney. Break into teams to begin working on your On Assignment project. Browse a photo exhibition at the State Library of New South Wales; explore the lively Rocks district and take in spectacular views of the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Attend a game of rugby or Australian rules football, or visit the Opera House. Meet your first koalas and kangaroos at the famous Taronga Zoo, and visit the Sydney Aquarium to get acquainted with the marine life you will encounter on the Great Barrier Reef.
Uluru and the Outback
5 days. Fly from Sydney to the outback, and experience life in Alice Springs, the region’s largest city. Have your first interactions with Aboriginal culture, and discover how their people have survived for more than 50,000 years. Stop in at the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service and learn how education and health care are disseminated to remote communities across the vast outback by plane. Discover the role of fire in one of the driest places on earth, and learn to safely handle snakes and lizards at the Alice Springs Reptile Center.
From Alice, journey through the outback towards the largest monolith on earth, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock); a colossal piece of sandstone that rises abruptly from the desert plain. Trek through the adjacent Kata Tjuta with its giant rounded domes and bright green Ring Necked Parrots. Visit a working cattle ranch, examine ancient rock art and medicinal plants, and listen to Dreamtime stories told by our Aboriginal guides. Set up camp in the ‘bush,’ and help collect fire wood, prepare dinner, and sleep under the stars. Spot Scorpio and the Southern Cross, and learn a whole new set of Southern Hemisphere constellations.
Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef
10 days. Fly to the northern Queensland city of Cairns, and transfer to Port Douglas, our hub for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Set out on a private boat for a two-day snorkeling adventure with marine biologists. Anchor at the outer reef and snorkel along brilliant fields of coral. Spot sea turtles, giant parrotfish, the harmless reef shark, and maybe even a migrating humpback whale. Discover the reef and gain insights from the marine biologists on board, and learn about the threats to this unique ecosystem and the efforts being made to protect it.
Back on land, head north into the 125 million-year-old Daintree Rainforest. Hike through the lush vegetation to see cassowaries, crocodiles, tree kangaroos, and other endemic wildlife. Spend the night in a rain forest lodge and encounter the native species of the surrounding rain forest, wetlands, and reef. Soar high into the canopy of the rain forest on an educational zip line tour, and examine the canopy up-close on the observation deck at the local research station.
Wind down on the coastal side of the park on the white sand beaches of Cape Tribulation. Then, present your final On Assignment project to the group. The program ends in Cairns with a final group meal and celebration.