Outback, Rain Forest, and Reef
- Meet Aboriginal people and learn about their unique culture and spirituality.
- Set out on a two-day snorkeling adventure along the Great Barrier Reef.
- Set up camp in the Outback and sleep under the stars.
- Discover vibrant Sydney and see koalas and kangaroos at the 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, observing fascinating wildlife along the way. 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 Film & Video.
SydneyDays 1-5. 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 go surfing on Manly Beach. 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
Days 6-10. Fly from Sydney to the outback, and experience life in Alice Springs, the region’s largest city. Interact with Aboriginal culture, and learn how their people have survived for more than 50,000 years. Understand the role of fire in one of the driest places on Earth, and spend your first night around a campfire on traditional Aboriginal land.
From Alice Springs, journey through the outback towards the largest monolith on Earth, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). Steeped in mythology, this colossal piece of sandstone rises abruptly from the desert plain. Trek between the giant rounded dome of the adjacent Kata Tjuta on the lookout for 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, help collect fire wood and 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
Days 11-20. 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, harmless reef sharks, and maybe even a migrating humpback whale. Gain insights about the reef from 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 Rain Forest. 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. Explore mangrove habitat where the jungle meets the ocean and kayak along the reef. Trek out to the furthest point of the Cape in search of whales and other marine life passing by. Return to Cairns for two final nights and present your On Assignment project to the rest of the group. Enjoy a final meal and celebrate with your fellow participants.