Australia is a vast destination covering a variety of environments. We have a number of operations across the country, with permanent eco camps at iconic locations like the Larapinta Trail and in Kakadu National Park, to allow us to create nearly any type of school expedition.
Students can experience this wild country in many different ways, from a supported Larapinta Trail trek and Heysen Trail trek in the desert mountain ranges, canoeing tropical rivers on a Kakadu canoeing trip, sea-kayaking Tropical Queensland amongst the reefs and rainforests or trekking amongst the forests and coastlines on the Bibbulmun Track and Cape to Cape Track of South Western Australia.
World Youth Adventures has an unblemished record in the operation of school & youth adventures in Australia.
We will only operate tours in accordance with strict operational standards that have built our reputation as leaders in the student travel industry.
Three decades of tailoring successful student expeditions adds another dimension to the overall student experience.
Doing your research on a Australian school expedition? Ask us about our Price & Value Guarantee when you request a free quote.
The safety of our young travellers is our number one priority. Our commitment to provide a proper duty of care guides everything we do.
All our guides are experienced professionals trained in Wilderness First Aid.
Every tour is underpinned by an industry leading risk assessment plan that exceeds the benchmark standard in Australia, New Zealand, the UK as well as the USA and Canada.
Northern Territory: Experience has taught us that semi permanent campsites are softer on the environment than vehicle based camping. With this in mind we have custom built two architecturally designed semi permanent campsites along our most popular trail, the Larapinta Trail, with a third semi permanent campsite along the Larapinta planned for the future. The environmental benefits of the semi-permanent camp include:
Across our operations in Australia we practice the ‘Leave No Trace’ (lnt.org.com) principals when camping and bushwalking, which includes: Plan ahead and prepare; Travel and camp on durable surfaces; Dispose of waste properly; Leave what you find; Minimise campfire impacts; Respect wildlife; Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors.
We are continually pioneering unique cultural travel experiences with Aboriginal communities across Australia, particularly in Arnhem Land. This enables these communities to develop cultural tourism as a means of income and at the same time educates our travellers, giving them unique and intimate insights into the Aboriginal culture, which in turn fosters understanding and tolerance.
Tasmania: From the playful waters of the Franklin River to the soaring peaks of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania will surprise you with world class treks like the Overland Track and stunning landscapes of the Blue Tier & Bay of Fires. The Island State is a wilderness playground, with almost a quarter of the state World Heritage listed. The opportunities for exploration and adventure range from the sunny East Coast, with its granite crags and white sandy beaches to the deep gorges rainforests and whitewater of the Franklin River. The sub alpine crags of the World Heritage area are well accessed by the famous Overland Track or for splendid isolation, the South Coast Track is as far away from it all as you can get.
Larapinta Trail: The Larapinta Trail is one of the finest walks in Australia. Walking the high ridgelines of the West MacDonnell Ranges we gain a rare perspective of vast flood plains, the razorback rocky outcrops and sheer scale of this ancient land. World Youth Adventures can provide a number of experiences on this iconic outback walk ranging from 3 to 14 days.
The history of the Australian continent is the history of modern humans’ earliest ancestors. Research by archaeologists and geneticists tells the story of human history on Earth by tracing the origins of humanity back to a single group of early modern humans who migrated from Africa to Asia and beyond. Around 70,000 years ago, Earth was entering our most recent ice age and sea levels dropped significantly as an increasing volume of water was becoming locked into giant glaciers. So much so that the sea separating the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula would have been mere miles at its narrowest point, enabling our human ancestors to make the journey by sea from the Horn of Africa over to modern-day Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, on onwards into Asia, Europe and beyond. A recent DNA study has found that Australia’s first peoples were actually descendant from a separate group that migrated from Africa up to 24,000 years earlier than the major group, confirming the Aboriginal Australian population as one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world.
Indigenous Australia is multicultural, with many different community groups, geographic groups, languages and cultures. A quick note about terminology: the word “aboriginal” (upcapitalised) is a generic term used to describe the original native inhabitants of any country. The terms “Indigenous” and “Aboriginal” (both capitalised) are terms widely used to describe Australia’s first inhabitants. The terms are often used interchangeably in conversation, but the official stance by the Australian government and media is that Aboriginal people is used to describe the original inhabitants of mainland Australian and their descendants, the term Torres Strait Islander people is used to describe the original inhabitants of the Torres Strait Islands (which are part of the Australian state of Queensland) and their descendants, and the term Indigenous people includes both groups. Preferred terms vary greatly between different communities, and many people prefer to be referred to by their specific ancestral or geographic community group names. For clarity, this article uses the current government definitions.
Australia’s first inhabitants are thought to have arrived on the continent between 50,000–60,000 years ago. It would have been during periods of lower sea levels—when there were more extensive land bridges connecting Asia and Australia—that the first waves of settlement occurred. Subsequent waves arrived from the islands of Southeast Asia using watercraft, having since been confirmed as the world’s earliest seafaring voyages. Groups had occupied the entire continent by around 35,000 years ago, including the far southeast corner that would become the separate island of Tasmania when sea levels rose sometime between 13,500–8,000 years ago, isolating Tasmania and its inhabitants from the mainland.
During the long passage of time until European colonisation in 1788, Indigenous Australians continued to adapt successfully to the broad range of ecological and climatic conditions that Australia posed: from the harsh sunbaked aridity of the desert, to the cold subalpine conditions of the mountains and the dense humidity of the rainforest. An array of evidence including archaeological sites, ancient artworks, jewellery, tools and everyday objects details the complex societies and cultures that developed on the continent for tens of thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers who had simple material cultures that contrasted with their complex systems of social organisation, spiritual beliefs and land management.
The universe of Australian Aboriginal lore, spirituality and philosophy was, and still is, encapsulated within the concept of the Dreaming, a vast network of stories about the past, the present and the future; of the creation of and relationships between Aboriginal people and ancestor beings, animals, plants and natural entities including the earth, mountains, rivers, sky and heavenly bodies. Through dance, music, song and rit
Christian 61.1% (including Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Eastern Orthodox and many others); No religion 22.3%; Buddhist 2.5%; Muslim 2.2%; Hindu 1.3%; Jewish 0.5%; other non-Christian 0.8% (2011 Census)
Australia is a tolerant multicultural society with many different faiths, and the variety of religious affiliations is shown to be diversifying with each new round of census data. Although Australia has no official religion, more than 60% of Australians identify as being a Christian of some variety.
Australia is among the least-religious countries in the world, with one survey revealing that 44% of those identifying as religious believe that their faith does not play a central role in their lives (11). The percentage of people reporting “No religion” is on the rise, having increased from 18.7% in the 2006 census.
Officially and for the most part, Australia is a tolerant, progressive and inclusive society. However, the reality is that many people still experience discrimination or hostility from some based on their race/ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual preference.
Australian’s indigenous community is itself multicultural, with many different community groups, geographic groups, languages and cultures. The terms “Indigenous” and “Aboriginal” are both non-Aboriginal words used to describe Australia’s First Peoples. The term Aboriginal people is generally used to describe the original inhabitants of mainland Australian (and their descendants), the term Torres Strait Islander people to describe the original inhabitants of the Torres Strait Islands, which are part of the Australian state of Queensland (and their descendants), and the term Indigenous people to describe both. Different communities are divided on their preferred terms, and people prefer to be referred to by their community or geographic group, such as “A Yolngu man from Arnhem Land,” or “Elders from the Wurundjeri people of Melbourne.”
Central to the Australian psyche is the concept of “mateship”—a brotherhood of friendship, loyalty and egalitarianism. The notion of the “fair go” says that Australia is a democratic land of opportunity in which each person shares the same right to succeed, to receive a fair go.
The Australian sense of humour is sarcastic, ironic and self-deprecating, often “taking the mickey out of” (ridiculing) important figures including politicians, religious leaders and the royal family. It’s a well-embedded part of the national identity that can sometimes come as a shock to visitors.
Australia is a powerful high-tech urban industrialised nation, with nearly 90% of the population living in urban centres and 83.9% of the population having access to the internet.
Australia is a tolerant, multicultural society. Like anywhere, there are always a few bad apples, but for the most part Australians are friendly, respectful, helpful and easy-going.
Ask permission before taking photographs of people.
When greeting, people generally exchange a ‘hello’, hi’, ‘hey’, ‘g’day’, or ‘how’s it going?’ and may shake (right) hands, wave, or exchange a hug or kiss on the cheek with close friends and family. If in doubt, use the combination of ‘hi’ and a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact. It is also very commonplace for Australians to greet each other, regardless of whether or not they know each other, with the friendly term ‘mate’.
Many Australians smoke cigarettes, but there are laws about where you can and cannot smoke in public places. If in doubt, ask before lighting up. The same goes for drinking alcohol in public. Unlike many European countries, it is generally illegal to drink in public squares, parks and at beaches, or when walking down the street. Spitting on the footpath and littering rubbish are also both illegal and carry fines.
Queuing is part of Australian custom. People are expected to stand behind each other in an orderly line and wait for their turn in public bathrooms, banks, post offices, shops, bars, restaurants, ticket booths etc. “Pushing in” ahead of other people who have been waiting ahead of you is very much frowned upon and will anger people. In some situations, such as a busy delicatessen counter or government office, you take a ticket and wait for your number to be called.
Australia does not have a tipping culture, but it’s always appreciated if you leave a tip for excellent service in a bar or restaurant.
Locals and visitors flock to Australia’s stunning beaches and waterways for good reason, but there are dangers to be aware of, including huge waves on surf beaches, stinging jellyfish, sharks and strong currents or “rips” that can quickly drag swimmers out to sea. Check surf conditions (usually posted on boards at entry paths to beach) and always swim “between the flags” (i.e. at a section of beach patrolled by life guards).
Easter and Christmas are celebrated by the majority of the population, and New Year’s Eve (31 December) is marked with big celebrations and fireworks, just about everywhere. Chinese New Year is celebrated by many, Australia’s Muslim communities observe the holy month of Ramadan, and each of Australia’s different faith or ethnic communities observes its own important dates.
Most Australians celebrate 26 January (the anniversary of the arrival in Sydney Harbour of the First Fleet of European convicts and settlers) as “Australia Day”, a day to come together and celebrate multi-cultural Australia. However, Indigenous communities and their supporters understandably see this particular date as “Invasion Day”, a day of mourning for the injustices that Indigenous Australians would come to suffer as a result, and each year there are pleas for the date of the celebration to be moved.
The Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (March), Biennale of Sydney, Vivid Sydney (May) and Tropfest (February) are some of Sydney’s premier arts events.
White Night (February), the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (March-April) and the Melbourne International Film Festival (July-August) are some of Melbourne’s most popular arts events.
Hobart’s boundary-pushing Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) curates two exciting arts festivals each year: Mona Foma in summer (January), and Dark Mofo in winter (June), both showcasing music, arts and food. Other major events include the Falls Festival and the Taste of Tasmania festival (both December-January). Tasmania is often overlooked for tours by international music acts, however Mona has booked a steady flow of big name acts over the past few years.
Adelaide hosts the Adelaide Festival (February-March), the Adelaide Fringe (March-April) and WOMADelaide (March), the Australian chapter of the huge world music and arts festival created by musician Peter Gabriel.
Brisbane plays host to the Valley Fiesta (August), Brisbane Festival (September), Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (September-October), and the brilliant Woodford Folk Festival (December-January) about 1.5 hours north of the city.
Canberra hosts the Canberra Festival (March), the National Folk Festival (April) and the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (April).
Perth hosts the acclaimed Perth International Arts Festival (February-March) and Darwin celebrates multiculturalism with the annual Darwin Festival (August).
Some of the country’s most popular music festivals include Byron Bay Bluesfest, Splendour In The Grass, Soundwave, Falls Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, WOMADelaide, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Future Music, A Day On The Green, Rainbow Serpent, Stereosonic, Golden Plains, Meredith and St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.
Each capital city plays host to additional major events and festivals showcasing sports, music, dance, theatre, visual arts, food and culture. Cities and regional centres also each host an annual “Show”, multi-day affairs showcasing local agricultural produce and livestock, rides, games, food and entertainment.
Australia’s biggest sporting events include the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Australian Open (tennis), The Ashes (cricket), the AFL Grand Final (especially in Victoria), the NRL Grand Final and the State of Origin series (especially in Queensland and New South Wales), The Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup (horse racing).
Secular public holidays include New Year’s Day (1 Jan); Australia Day (26 Jan); Labour Day (March or October, depending on the state/territory); Anzac Day (25 Apr) and Queen’s Birthday (8 Jun).
Total population is 23,490,700 (as of June 2014), making Australia the 52nd most populous country in the world, growing at an annual rate of 1.09%
The median age is 38.3 years, with 18% aged 0-14 and 15.1% aged 65+
Sex ratio is 1.01 males to 1 female
89.2% of the total population lives in urban areas, with an average annual rate of urbanization at 1.49% (as of 2011)
The latest national census revealed hundreds of different ethnic/ancestral groups, with the top countries of birth for overseas-born Australians being United Kingdom 20.8%; New Zealand 9.1%; China 6%; India 5.6%; Italy 3.5%; Vietnam 3.5%; Philippines 3.2%; South Africa 2.8%; Malaysia 2.2%; Germany 2%, with 41.2% born elsewhere overseas (2011 Census). Australia’s Indigenous population accounts for only 2.5% of the country’s total population, but this percentage is on the rise. Indigenous Australia is comprised of people of Aboriginal origin only (90%), Torres Strait Islander origin only (6%) and mixed Aboriginal-Torres Strait Island origin (4%). In the Northern Territory, Indigenous Australians account for nearly 27% of the population, but in all other states and territories this figure is between 0.7% - 4% (2011 Census)
The large continent of Australia experiences a diverse range of climates. While the vast majority of the expansive interior is consistently arid or semi-arid, the coastal regions—where most of the population is found—experience a variety of climate conditions ranging from tropical, subtropical, temperate to alpine.
Precipitation is low and unreliable over the bulk of the interior, with many inland regions facing prolonged droughts. The northern regions of the country are subject to the northerly monsoons, bringing heavy rains to coastal Queensland in the summer months.
Although temperatures vary greatly throughout the country, the hottest months are December-February (summer) and the coldest are June-August (winter). Many parts of the Northern Territory and northern Queensland experience little monthly variance in temperature, with mild or warm conditions year-round. In contrast, the other states and territories experience marked seasons, especially in regions of higher elevation in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania.
Some high parts of the southern states experience snowfall and alpine conditions, but Australia is the only continent with no glaciers.
• In Hobart, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 12.6°C (55°F) to a maximum of 22.2°C (72°F) in January; to a minimum of 4.9°C (41°F) to a maximum of 12.3°C (54°F) in July.
• In Melbourne, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 15.6°C (60°F) to a maximum of 26.3°C (79°F) in January; to a minimum of 7.1°C (45°F) to a maximum of 14.2°C (58°F) in July.
• In Sydney, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 19.6°C (67°F) to a maximum of 26.5°C (80°F) in January; to a minimum of 8.7°C (48°F) to a maximum of 17.4°C (63°F) in July.
• In Adelaide, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 17.1°C (62.8°F) to a maximum of 29.2°C (84.6°F) in January; to a minimum of 7.5°C (45.5°F) to a maximum of 15.3°C (59.5°F) in July.
• In Perth, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 17.8°C (64°F) to a maximum of 30.8°C (87°F) in January; to a minimum of 7.7°C (46°F) to a maximum of 18.3°C (65°F) in July.
• In Brisbane, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 21.4°C (70.5°F) to a maximum of 30.3°C (86.5°F) in January; to a minimum of 10°C (50°F) to a maximum of 21.9°C (71.4°F) in July.
• In Alice Springs, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 21.8°C (71°F) to a maximum of 36.9°C (98°F) in January; to a minimum of 3.9°C (39°F) to a maximum of 20°C (68°F) in July.
• In Darwin, average daily temperatures vary from a minimum of 25°C (77°F) to a maximum of 31.8°C (89°F) in January; to a minimum of 19.4°C (67°F) to a maximum of 30.8°C (87°F) in July.
Island continent with no land borders. Surrounded by Indonesia, Timor-Leste (East Timor), the Timor Sea, Arafura Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria to the north; Papua New Guinea and the Coral Sea to the northeast; the South Pacific Ocean, Tasman Sea and New Zealand to the east/southeast; Bass Strait and the Great Australian Bight to the south; Indian Ocean to the south/southwest/west/northwest.
7,741,220 sq km, making it the 6th largest country in the world.
Australia is ranked 3 out of 178 on the Environmental Performance Index (2014)—which quantifies and benchmarks performance of government environmental policies and outcomes—with an improving trend.
Environmental issues include pollution and loss of natural environments due to industrial development; soil erosion from agriculture, overgrazing and urbanisation; desertification; soil salinity; limited natural freshwater resources and threats to the Great Barrier Reef from shipping traffic and tourism.
Natural hazards include destructive storms and cyclones, floods, bush fires and severe droughts.
Australia is a signatory to various international environmental and conservation agreements.
10% of the world’s biodiversity is found in Australia, with a significant proportion of endemic flora and fauna. Some 24,000 different species of native flora have been identified, covering everything from hardwood forest and woodland, to humid rainforest, to large tracts of mangrove, scrub and grassland. Common species include eucalyptus (gum) trees, melaleuca (paper bark) trees, figs, pines, acacias, wattles, banksias, proteas, warahtahs, orchids, ferns, creepers, vines, mangroves, shrubs, scrub and grasslands.
The fertile belt that runs the eastern coast ranges from lush rainforest in Queensland and New South Wales to subalpine and alpine vegetation in the southern states. The Daintree Rainforest in far north Queensland is the world’s oldest intact tropical lowland rainforest. The vast arid interior of Australia is covered mostly with drought-tolerant hummock grasslands. Western Australia is known for its abundant carpets of brilliant-coloured native flowers, the world’s largest collection of wildflowers. Tasmania is home to a variety of vegetation types, many of which are endemic to the state, including some of the world’s longest-living and slowest-growing trees, and many ancient species that are relics from the Gondwana supercontinent.
Australia’s wide variety of climates, soils and vegetation types supports an equally large variety of wildlife. Among the most iconic native species are kangaroos, koalas, emus, wombats, dingoes (wild dogs), echidnas, platypuses and Tasmanian devils. Other native animals include frogs, wallabies, pademelons, bilbies, bandicoots, quolls, possums, sugar gliders, flying foxes and bats; native reptiles such as goannas, frill-necked lizards, bearded dragons and red-bellied black snakes; and native birds such as kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, rosellas, cockatoos, galahs, wedge-tailed eagles, tawny frogmouth owls, magpies, cassowaries, currawongs, lyrebirds, bowerbirds and fairy penguins.
Australia has a number of dangerous animals to be wary of, including dingoes (wild dogs), sharks, crocodiles, box jellyfish, stinging stonefish, blue-ringed octopuses and various snakes and spiders.
Australia’s bountiful marine life includes 1700 species of coral and 4000 species of fish; molluscs and crustaceans; whales, dugongs, sharks, dolphins, whale sharks, sea turtles, fur seals and marine birds.
Australia is a country of great geographic diversity—lush verdant rainforests; stark, sunbaked deserts; forest-clad mountains, deep gorges and dramatic rock formations; great rivers and lakes; white sand beaches, coral reefs and tropical islands.
It’s the flattest and lowest continent, and with the exception of Antarctica, is also the driest. Mainland Australia is mostly flat and arid, containing large tracts of semi-desert and true desert. This arid remote interior is known as Outback Australia or The Outback. The major exception to this is the coastal rim, with the east coast being particularly fertile and varied.
The country’s major mountain system is the Great Dividing Range, a complex chain of mountain ranges that rises in Australia’s northern-most extremity, the Cape York Peninsula, and runs the length of eastern Australia through Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria before turning westward and terminating in the Grampians in southwest central Victoria. A southern spur of the range then crosses under the Bass Strait and rises again in Tasmania. At 3,500 km (2,200 mi), the Great Dividing Range is the 3rd longest mountain system in the world. Within the range are the country’s highest mountains, including its highest point, Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 m / 7,310 ft), which is located in the Snowy Mountains section of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales.
On such an arid continent, water security is of critical importance. Australia’s major sources of water are the rivers that have their sources in the mountain chains of the Great Dividing Range, and the Great Artesian Basin, the world’s largest and deepest fresh water basin, which supplies fresh water to much of inland Australia. The country’s most significant river system is the Murray-Darling, draining most of New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, along with parts of Queensland and South Australia. Lake Eyre (officially Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre) in central-northern South Australia is Australia’s largest lake, a large saltpan that has a distinctive pink hue due to the presence of specific algae.
Although Australia is referred to as an island, it is actually comprised of more than 8,000 separate islands of which mainland Australia and the island state of Tasmania are the two largest. At 120 km (75 mi) long and 25 km (15 mi) at its widest point, Queensland’s Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island. The world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, runs along the northeast coast of Australia for 2,300 km (1,400 mi), spanning almost the length of Queensland. Visible from space, the UNESCO World Heritage Listed reef is comprised of 900 islands and thousands of individual coral reefs.
Kakadu National Park (1981)
Great Barrier Reef (1981)
Willandra Lakes Region (1981)
Tasmanian Wilderness (1982)
Lord Howe Island Group (1982)
Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (1986)
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (1987)
Heard and McDonald Islands (1997)
Wet Tropics of Queensland (1988)
Shark Bay, Western Australia (1991)
Fraser Island (1992)
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh / Naracoorte) (1994)
Macquarie Island (1997)
Greater Blue Mountains Area (2000)
Purnululu National Park (2003)
Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (2004)
Sydney Opera House (2007)
Australian Convict Sites (2010)
Ningaloo Coast (2011)
World Youth Adventures can tailor make a school expedition to Australia to your school’s budget and curriculum requirements.
Talk to us about your next school expedition, or if you need some ideas check out the trips below.