Come and discover the frontier of Australia with Rustic Pathways and our Australian staff. Led by expert guides with an intimate knowledge of this great land, this program is a rare opportunity to discover the REAL Australia. While Australia is popular for its beaches and cities, the country is very diverse and has so much to offer those seeking a real outback adventure. Stepping away from the east coast and heading into the Outback, this program will give you an experience in Australia like no other. Our Australian Director has lived in Australia for 32 years and regards this wild, untouched land and the best of part of his country.
Upon arrival in Brisbane, you'll transfer to a domestic flight and continue north to Darwin. This northern capital is a small city with a wealth of history and is home of the famous Sunset Beach markets. Once you've had time to acclimate to the hot northern tropics, our journey will begin in 4x4's as we travel south to the spectacular Katherine Gorge. A truly one-of-a-kind gorge and river, this scenery is only a preview of what's to come. Take a scenic helicopter flight (optional) over the gorge and cruise the river on a boat. Your journey will continue west through the Outback, crossing into the Western Australian border and reaching the Eastern Kimberly.
Our first stop is a wildlife sanctuary in one of the most stunning settings you’ve seen. Meet Barb – our host and a local legend - who lives by herself out in this Outback paradise. She’s one of the most remarkable people you’ll meet in your life, and her stories of Outback life have been an inspiration to all Rustic students who’ve met her. Part of your service will be assisting with the development of her wildlife sanctuary and you’ll be sharing the property with her kangaroos, wallabies and horses!
The next phase of the program will immerse you in Indigenous Australia. Of the 22 million people in Australia, indigenous populations only number 560,000 (or approximately 2.6% of the total population). Unbeknown to many international visitors, Aboriginal Australians live with some of the world's lowest standards of living. Indigenous health, education, and employment are some of the many challenges facing Australia, and the complexities involved with these issues make finding solutions extremely difficult. Rustic Pathways has strong relationships with local community organizations and you will be directly supporting Aboriginal youth through service projects such as the development of a school in a remote Aboriginal community.
One significant environmental issue in Australia is the migration of cane toads across the country. Originally introduced in Queensland to eat the cane beetle, the toads have spread across northern Australia and number over 200 million. This is an environmental disaster in Australia and the toads are rapidly wiping out species such as goannas, snakes and other native animals. Rustic Pathways has partnered with Kimberly Toadbusters – the region’s leading research group – to assist with seeking a solution to cane toads. Part of your sevice in this region will be spending two days on a cross-cultural exchange camp with Toadbusters and local Aboriginal kids.
When not engaged in community service work, you will be exploring the wonders of this spectacular part of the world. You will spend time on a working cattle ranch and see cattle being wrangled by helicopter, visit the second largest dam in Australia at Lake Argyle which contains over 70 islands that create a desert fjord. You'll also rappel down cliffs, swim in breathtaking waterholes, fish for the famous barramundi, and see massive crocs in their natural environment. A scenic helicopter flight (optional) will take you over the Bungle Bungle ranges - a landscape that has to be seen to be believed. Your amazing experience ends when you fly back to Darwin and return to Brisbane.
This is the ultimate Rustic Australian adventure. Explore the natural beauty of the land and spend time camping in remote areas with your new mates. Sleep in a swag (Aussie camp bed with thick mattress) under a million stars and keep clean like a true Outback Aussie with a few dips in the river! Expect to get dirty and dusty at times – but we guarantee you’ll love it!! Come and experience the REAL Australia that only Rustic Pathways can show you.
In the evening, you will depart Los Angeles for Brisbane on our escorted group flight. The flight will take about 14 hours - plenty of time to get to know the rest of your group before arriving DownUnder.
Wednesday disappears as you cross the international dateline - you'll jump ahead in time to Thursday - but don't worry, you will get the time back on your way home!
Today you will arrive in Brisbane, where Rustic Pathways's Australian staff will welcome you to your program. From here you will transfer to the domestic terminal where you connect onto a flight to Darwin. Upon your arrival in Darwin, there will be time to settle in to the hotel, freshen up and start your orientation. Late this afternoon we'll head out to the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets to experience an amazing sunset over the ocean and pick up some authentic souvenirs.
You'll spend today exploring Darwin and learning more about Australia. Visit the oil storage tunnels from WWII and experience the devastating Cyclone Tracy that wiped out the city in 1974. Explore the waterfront district, visit the wharfs, and walk through the trendy Cullen Bay marina. This afternoon your guides will provide an education session on Australia to help build your knowledge and give you some context to the program you are about to undertake.
This morning we will load up the 4x4's and start the journey into the Outback! As we start to head south, the city outskirts will quickly fade into the background as the road opens up into Outback Australia. The township of Katherine lies about 4 hours south of Darwin and is home to the stunning Katherine Gorge. Tonight we'll head out for dinner at a local pub and meet some of the locals.
After breakfast we'll make our way into Nitmiluk National Park to see the stunning Katherine Gorge. Carved by the Katherine River, this deep gorge has stunning sandstone cliffs, lush rainforest gullies and intimidating gorge walls. Taking a boat cruise through the gorge is one of the best ways to see the gorge, and there is also an opportunity to take a helicopter flight (optional) to see it from the air.
Today is a long haul drive to the west into another state - Western Australia. Driving the open outback roads will give you an appreciation for the remoteness and isolation of people who live in this region of Australia. You'll pass through small towns that barely exist on the map and will discover how life is different in this part of Australia. After crossing the state border, we'll finish the day's drive in the town of Kununurra, which will be our main hub for the next week.
On the eastern edge of the spectacular Kimberly region, this part of Australia is home to some of the country's most untouched wilderness. Your Aussie guides will take you to explore the town of Kununurra and the surrounding areas today. Set in the region where the movie Australia was filmed, Kununurra is an untamed, adventurous town that is gateway to some of Australia's most remarkable natural attractions. Today we'll get a feel for the local community and meet the people that we will be volunteering with. In the afternoon we head out to see Lake Argyle, the second-largest man-made lake in Australia that is an inland sea. The lake is remarkable sight in the outback landscape and has islands that create a fjord-like environment. Keep an eye out for dingoes, camels and 'roos as we return to Kununurra in the late afternoon to catch the sunset from a lookout.
Kununurra's population has a high percentage of Aboriginal Australians. The town's population is very diverse, and many young children here do not have stable support from their family. Without structure and positive role models, children here can quickly find themselves on a destructive path that compromises their future. Rustic Pathways students will be joining a local organization's program that provides support to local children. Your service will include providing a 3-day camping experience for local kids and assisting with after-school activity programs in town. The service will be safe and fun, but expect it to be challenging and confronting at times, and you will need to be both culturally sensitive and mature. The connections you will make with local people will provide you with an incredible insight into Australia, and there will be a focus on documenting the life stories of people you meet.
Today we will travel one-hour west and venture further into the Kimberly region. We'll stay on a cattle ranch that's larger than entire countries, and you'll experience how an Aussie cattle station (ranch) works. We then head to El Questro, a spectacular wilderness park that boasts picturesque waterfalls, billabongs (swimming holes) and hot springs. Then, to really feel like crocodile Dundee, you'll head out to spot wild crocs and throw in a line to catch a famous Barramundi. With Aussie guides as your leaders, these two days will top off an incredible experience in Australia.
This morning you have the option of a scenic flight to the Bungle Bungle Ranges. The Bungle Bungle Range, in Purnululu National Park, is one of the most fascinating geological landmarks in Western Australia. From an aircraft, the Bungle Bungle Range is a truly incredible sight, with ranges formed from beehive-like mounds with orange and black stripes. After returning to Kununurra this afternoon, we'll fly back to Darwin and stay in Darwin tonight.
Today we have a final morning in Darwin to shop for souvenirs and soak up the tropical heat. This afternoon we fly back to Brisbane and settle into a hostel. You'll suddenly feel a world apart from the Australia you've gotten to know over the last two weeks, and tonight we'll debrief your experiences while enjoying a final dinner as a group.
If you are returning home to the USA or traveling on to Fiji or New Zealand, your flight will depart Brisbane this morning. If you are continuing on to another Rustic Pathways adventure in Australia you will connect with your new leaders this morning. If you are traveling on to one of our other countries your Rustic Pathways staff will help you with your flight arrangements.
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity. The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
Please use the list below as a guideline of what to bring. If you are doing a combination of trips over two or three weeks, be sure to check the packing lists for all sections of your trip.
A small backpack is the best carry-on bag and will be useful throughout your program for day trips.
A medium sized duffel bag, wheeled bag, or a large backpack will be suitable. Students must be able to carry and load their own luggage.
Please bring a couple pairs of clothes and one pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty during your adventures in the red desert of the Outback.
During this program, you’ll take 3 internal flights in Australia. These will be from Brisbane to Darwin, Kununurra to Darwin, and Darwin back to Brisbane
Food in Australia is quite similar to American cuisine. Some meals will be cooked in kitchens at the houses, and some meals will be out at local restaurants or cafes. Vegetarians and other dietary restrictions can easily be accommodated. Australia also has many unique foods, and students will have the opportunity to try these as well!
At the start and end of the trip, you will be staying in hostels and you’ll share a room with 3-4 other Rustic students. The hostels are set up for young travellers with a great fun atmosphere. For about ten days of this trip, you’ll be camping under the stars in the Outback. There’ll be a choice of tents, swags (Australian camp beds), and hammocks. All are very comfortable and we’ll make sure you love it! Some nights we’ll be at camping grounds with hot showers and a swimming pool, while other nights we will be camping by rivers and waterfalls.
The northern part of Australia has perfect weather at this time of year. Nearly every day will have clear, sunny skies and the days will be warm to hot (80 – 95 degrees). The nights are warm with clear, starry skies – Australia has the best star gazing in the world!
Participants on Rustic trips are generally 60% female and 40% male.
This program connects in Brisbane to the Seven Wonders of Australia trip and our programs on the Sunshine Coast (Sunshine Coast Service & Adventure, Aussie Surf & Service, and You, A ‘Roo, & Australia Zoo). You can also easily connect to programs in Fiji and New Zealand, with direct flights from Brisbane. Students connecting to programs in Asia must do their Australia program first, and typically fly from Brisbane to Sydney for their connecting flights to Asia.
Yes, US citizens are required to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority to travel to Australia. Electronic Travel Authority is the Australian name for a tourist visa. Students are responsible for arranging their own ETA. ETAs can be obtained through a simple online application at http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/ Residents of other countries may need to take additional steps and can find more information at http://www.immi.gov.au/
All Rustic Pathways students are required to have an up-to-date tetanus shot. We suggest Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid vaccinations and recommend that you consult a doctor regarding immunizations for travel to the region. You can find additional information on immunizations for travel from the US Center for Disease Control at http://www.cdc.gov
Optional activities, snacks and souvenirs are not included in the program cost. Optional activities include a Helicopter Flight over Katherine Gorge (approx. $85 - $232) and a Scenic Flight over the Bungle Bungle Ranges (approx. $299).
Because safety is our number one priority, all of our programs have staff that is certified with First Aid and CPR training. Many of our guides are also qualified Wilderness First Responders, EMTs, Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.
Students should pack reasonably for this program. Laundry facilities will be available once during the middle of the program, for a cost of approximately $10 a load.
Students will have limited access to internet during their program when they visit towns with internet cafes. They will be able to purchase international phone cards at local convenience stores, which can be used to call home from the public phones.
Contact Us: For more information about The Outback Aboriginal Service Expedition you can email email@example.com.
The Outback Aboriginal Service Expedition combines well with the following programs.
Ages: 15 to 18 years old
Length: 17 days from the USA
Hours: Up to 50 hours awarded
Cost: $3,695 + $750 Internal Airfare
International airfare is not included in the above cost. Please check our Travel Desk for airfare pricing and specifics.
|Departs Tue||Returns Thu||Availability|
|18 Jun||4 Jul||Available|
|2 Jul||18 Jul||Available|
Dates shown are inclusive of travel time from the United States. Most Rustic Pathways trips interconnect, allowing you to design your own perfect summer program.Apply Now