Brighton Grammar Borneo Community Service Journey

Brighton Grammar Borneo Community Service Journey

Trip Highlights

  • Learn about the the unique cultural, historical, bio diversity and local indigenous communities of Borneo
  • Participate in the Coral for life and AWARE marine conservation programs
  • Join the Sepilok Orang Rehabilitation program
  • Experience the Sunbear Conservation Centre service program
  • Canopy walk at Poring Hot Springs
  • Enjoy snorkeling safari
  • Trek and safari on Kinabatangan River
  • Service program and tree planting at Kampung Bilit community school

Trip Summary

This unique and exclusive, activity based itinerary has been created for the students of Brighton Grammar to highlight the many aspects of Borneo with a service focus. From Australia we fly to Sabah which offers the ideal base for exploration of indigenous cultures, jungles, forests and an array of wildlife. Our adventure begins with activity based adventures including a snorkeling safari before we join a 2-day marine conservation service program and beach clean up. We then ascend high above the jungle canopy on a guided canopy walk gaining a greater understanding of this fragile environment. We then drive across the island to Sepilok Jungle where we then turn our attention to conducting environmental service by spending a day at the Sepilok Forest Reserve and the Borneo Sunbear Conservation Centre where we work alongside the carers and vets to lend a hand to support the important conservation work these organisations provide. We finish with a journey down the Kinabatangan River to continue our service program and meet the local indigenous communities living in the longhouses of the region. Our days will be spent traveling by boat up the longest river in Sabah and one of the best places in South East Asia to see wildlife in it's natural habitat. We finish our service programs with a tree planting project with a local school before flying back to Melbourne. It is unlikely that you could find a trip with more diversity and adventure.


After the months of planning and preparation the wait is finally over! You will need to check in at the International Airport 2 hours prior to your flight. On arrival you will be met at the airport by your guide and transferred to our centrally located hotel. After your arrival we will have a full trip briefing with our guide before we do a gear check and head out to explore Kota Kinabalu. We head out on a walk along the harbor front and nearby markets. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. Whilst in Kota Kinabalu we stay in our purpose built Lodge which offers dormitory accommodation for the students. Overnight Kota Kinabalu Lodge* *Our adventure lodge offers air conditioned dormitory style rooms accommodating 12 passengers comfortably. Toilet and bathrooms are communal. Rooms consist of bunk beds with hypoallergenic, memory foam latex mattress and pillow, LED reading light and storage area at the end of each bed. Rooms do not include towels, all travelers will be required to bring their own travel towel.

Meals:  D

Today we have breakfast and then travel by speedboat over the stunning Gaya Island for a snorkeling safari. This island has beautiful coral reefs without the crowds providing an ideal location for enjoying the tropical underwater world in a safe, comfortable environment. Our 3 session Snorkeling Safari is fully guided by our PADI Professionals for safety and enjoyment. Snorkeling is easy and fun, just about anybody can participate in the sport of snorkeling regardless of age, skill and physical fitness. We offer various snorkeling programs catering for the non swimmer, beginner, intermediate and advanced snorkeler. Between each session of approximately 45 minutes you will return to our beach house nestled in a secluded bay on Gaya Island where you will enjoy refreshments and a freshly cooked lunch. This afternoon we return to Kota Kinabalu. Overnight Kota Kinabalu *All snorkeling equipment is provided

Meals:  B,L,D

Coral For Life is an initiative created to form appreciation & awareness for life under the sea, in particular coral life. During the next 2 day program the students will learn about the role coral plays within the environment and coral mapping, as well as learning about other marine life and fish sizing techniques. Students get to experience coral in their natural environment while snorkeling. The qualified and trained guide elaborates and show differences between healthy coral & damaged coral in its natural environment and collect broken coral for re-planting - giving back life ! Participants learn how to re-plant broken coral that would otherwise perish. The treated corals are then placed in their new homes on our artificial house reef located in the bay just in front of the dive center when environmental conditions are most suitable. They will learn about coral mapping as well as learning about the other Marine life that abounds in this area. The afternoon is spent on a beach clean up program, AWARE - a good way to finish the day so see what impact rubbish has on our environment and what we can do to help keep our planet & oceans clean. Dinner will be Asian buffet style with drinking water. Overnight Kota Kinabalu

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we rise early and after breakfast we will farewell the coast and head in land to the dense jungle! We will drive (approx 130kms / 3 hours) to Poring Hot Spring. En route, make a stop at Nabalu village to savour local fruits and for handicrafts and enjoy the magnificent sights of Mt Kinabalu, the highest mountain between the Himalayas and Papua NewGuinea. The ecosystems of this UNESCO listed World Heritage Site are very special with climatic zones ranging from lowland forest to polar type summit zones. We will explore some of the many jungle trails and enjoy this unique opportunity to get closer to the rainforest ‘web of life’ on the canopy walkway 30m (100 feet) above the forest floor. Take a dip in one of the soothing, steaming hot mineral springs set in beautifully landscaped gardens. We then proceed to another World Heritage site - Kinabalu National Park (approx 40kms). Visit the botanical garden, home to many species of orchids, pitcher plants, birds, insects and butterflies with our guide. The unique flora of the area, including numerous species of rhododendrons and orchids and there is said to be more than 2,000 flowering plants in the forests of Kinabalu. We also have the opportunity to visit the Australian Memorial POW Park. Overnight Kinabalu Pine Resort (Mt Kinabalu region) in twin rooms Kinabalu Pine Resort's wooden cabins are fully built using the exclusive Selangan Batu Hardwood. All rooms have wifi access, TV and ensuite bathroom.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, you will be picked up at 08:00 to depart for your overland drive of approximately 230km (approx 3.50hrs) to Sepilok Jungle Lodge. Surrounded by tropical virgin Borneo Rainforest and with basic yet comfortable facilities it is a perfect base camp to allow us to explore with a guide the nearby jungle and learn about the flora and fauna. Overnight Sepilok Jungle Lodge - dormitory style.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we have breakfast and then meet our private vehicle for the 2 hour transfer to the Kinabatangan River. On arrival we travel down the Kinabatangan River to the Bilit Adventure Lodge. On arrival we will check in and have a briefing on the rain-forest and Bilit village. This afternoon we will head out for a 2 hour cruise on the River. The Kinabatangan River is one of the best spots in South East Asia to see wildlife in their natural habitat. This is the only place in Sabah where you can find a concentration of 10 primates including: orangutan, Bornean gibbon, long-tailed and short-tailed macaque, three kinds of leaf monkey, western tarsier, slow loris and proboscis monkey. Add to this eight different kinds of hornbill, herds of pygmy elephants, crocs and Wild Boar. We return to our lodge to have dinner before heading out on a night walk through the forrest. Overnight Bilit Adventure Lodge in triple share fan cooked rooms.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we can wake early and head out on a 6am cruise down the river. The forest is alive at this time of morning and it is a perfect time for viewing animals. We return to the lodge for breakfast for heading out on a trek to Kampung Bilit village. We will visit the local community and school and spend the morning with the students, joining them in a new tree planting initiative. We return to the lodge and embark on an afternoon cruise before returning for dinner. Tonight we are joined by the local community where we join in with cultural activities. Overnight Bilit Adventure Lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we transfer to Sepilok Jungle Lodge. Today we join the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. The sanctuary is surrounded by virgin tropical lowland Dipterocarp forest. A short nature walk through the lowland forest will lead you to a viewing platform where you will be able to witness the wild Orang Utans swing from branch to branch for their morning feedings. You can also view a short documentary about the orphaned orang utans that were brought in for rehabilitation until they are ready to be return to the wild. We meet with the ranger team for service briefing before starting our service program. Service may involves cleaning cages and feeding, some daily maintenance work such and learn how to conduct facility maintenance checkups. Overnight Sepilok Jungle Lodge - dormitory style.

Meals:  B,L,D

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) was founded in Sabah, Malaysia in 2008 as a two-stage effort to provide for the care, rehabilitation and release of orphaned and captive sun bears, as well as address the lack of knowledge and awareness of this little-known bear both in Malaysia and internationally. The Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), found only in south-east Asia, is the world’s smallest bear species. Volunteers will be working with our groups of rescued bears. The enclosures are very natural and have large rocky outcrops, native fauna, climbing frames and platforms, pools and other enrichment’s. It is a safe and happy home to bears that have been rescued from a range of different situations including poachers, the black market, the bile farm industry and businesses using them for entertainment, trades which often leave behind very young orphaned cubs. HOW CLOSELY WILL I BE WORKING WITH THE BEARS? There will be tasks that will not involve direct contact with the bears, but will benefit them greatly. These include building new enrichment’s, repairing and maintaining their enclosures and maintenance of the area surrounding the enclosures. You will also get to work with the keepers giving out the daily feeds and cleaning the enclosures (the bears will be brought in to holding cages whilst you are in the enclosure). THE BENEFITS You will have a unique, once in a lifetime chance to get behind the scenes of this world class bear rescue facility. Your time and your financial contribution will provide critical aid enabling us to rescue more bears and continue to improve and enrich their lives. On a personal level you will have an amazing opportunity to work alongside these incredible animals and gain the satisfaction of helping to make a difference to their lives. In the late afternoon, we will return to our accommodation. Overnight Sepilok Jungle Lodge - dormitory style.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we leave early and head to Sandakan Airport for the flight back to Kota Kinabalu and connecting to Melbourne

Meals:  B

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • International airfares ex Melbourne
  • 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 10 dinners
  • Expert guide (English speaking) throughout plus additional expert local guides for specialist commentary.
  • All land transfers required within the program in private air conditioned vehicles
  • All activities including entrance fees to sites as listed in itinerary.
  • All accommodation in dormitory or lodges based accommodation
  • Planning of the Borneo Sunbear & Sepilok Orangutan service projects.
  • Two teachers from Brighton Grammar traveling with the group
  • Pre Departure Information kit and evening meeting to help you prepare and pack.
  • All snorkeling equipment or snorkel safari

What's Not Included

  • Bottled water and aerated drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, email, laundry, etc.
  • Tips
  • Visa Fees
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory
  • Your group are required to raise a minimum of AUD$2,400 total for the various service projects


Duration:12 Days
Starting Point:Melbourne
Activities:Service Learning
Wildlife Safari
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4937