Summer Camps in Australia
Follow the path of migrating whales along the East Coast of Australia, on a journey of exploration, adventure and insight.
On this 4-week summer abroad program you’ll go canyoning in the Blue Mountains, learning to surf in coastal National Parks, hiking on beautiful Fraser Island and Magnetic Island, boating among the Whitsunday Islands, and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.
At the heart of surfing is a connection-to-nature philosophy. We get to experience this in a hands-on way by undertaking volunteer conservation work alongside National Parks staff in two coastal National Parks. The project is a three-way collaboration between Pacific Discovery, Surfaris, and the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service.
You’ll learn about the conservation initiatives of Steve Irwin’s legacy, The Australia Zoo, and have a go at boomerang throwing and didgeridoo at a fantastic Aboriginal cultural center. You’ll try whale-spotting at numerous headland walks along our journey. There’s also time to explore vibrant Sydney, Byron Bay and Cairns.
Throughout your time in Australia you’ll learn an enormous amount about Australia’s environmental and ecological history and how that unique history has shaped Australia’s flora, fauna and people. Australia’s warm climate, friendly people, unusual wildlife, and dramatic natural beauty make it a fantastic place to experience. With a landmass comparable to the United States, but a population of only 20 million people, Australia is sparsely populated, yet home to some of the world’s most vibrant cities. Australia’s natural diversity is staggering - the world’s largest coral reef, lush rain-forests, and the most beautiful beaches. Wildlife is abundant, colorful and visible - kangaroos, koalas, flocks of raucous parrots, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and colorful reef fish.
This summer abroad program is suitable for high school graduates, gap year students, university students and graduates, ideally 18 – 24 years. Optional transferable academic credit is available on this program.
“I no longer question whether or not to leap into new and unknown experiences, no longer stand in the way of myself and of my happiness. This program gives every person the opportunity to learn about themselves and learn how to interact with the earth. It is freeing and exhilarating and I’ll be grateful for it for the rest of my life.”
This program can be combined with Fall or Spring semester program options in other regions of the world (Southeast Asia, Nepal and Tibet, China, South America, Central America) for an in-depth and enriching global gap year
- Rewarding service-learning conservation project in National Parks on the New South Wales Central Coast
- Exploring Sydney - harbor, beaches, museums
- Try boomerang throwing and didgeridoo at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Center
- Canyoning daytrip - rappelling, scrambling and hiking in the Blue Mountains
- 3-day learn to surf safari at secluded coastal national parks
- Soaking up the ambiance of Byron Bay, Noosa and Cairns
- Visit amazing Australia Zoo and learn about wildlife and the conservation initiatives of the late founder, Steve Irwin, the 'Crocodile Hunter'
- 3-day 4wd and hiking safari exploring Fraser Island National Park
- Experience life on an outback station (farm)
- 3 nights on Magnetic Island – koalas, day hikes, beautiful beaches
- Island-hopping daytrip and snorkeling in the spectacular Whitsunday Islands National Park
- Outer-reef day trip, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and experiencing its immense marine diversity
- Informal lectures and discussions on history, culture, society and environment
- Very personalized and supportive small group experience – maximum of 16 students
- Experienced and inspiring Pacific Discovery Program Instructors supported by local guides
Day 1-2. Sydney, Australia, arrival!
Bold, brash and beautiful, Sydney is arguably the world’s most vibrant city. On arrival you will be met by your Pacific Discovery Program leader and transferred to our downtown accommodation near Sydney Cove, where the first European settlement in Australia was established, over 200 years ago. A comprehensive program briefing takes place before we explore Sydney’s famous harbor and beaches, visit the Opera House and Australian Museum.
Day 3-4. Blue Mountains National Park
Just two hours from Sydney but a world away, are the rugged sandstone escarpments of the Blue Mountains National Park. Based from the main township, Katoomba, we'll get outdoors to discover for ourselves what makes ‘the Blueys’ so special. We spend a day canyoning - a unique adventure involving hiking, scrambling and rappels through sculptured rock canyons.
Day 5-8. Surf Camp
We journey north to an isolated section of coast where we stay at a surf-camp and learn to surf from our surfing-guru instructors on the myriad breaks in the area. Spend evenings relaxing at camp, playing games, debriefing each day and hearing the instructor’s wild stories, before a great sleep in preparation for a sunrise surf!
Day 9-12 Conservation Service Project
The project revolves around ecosystem enhancement in Arakoon National Park. And is connected to a state-wide program called ‘Saving our Species’ which aims to halt and reverse the growing numbers of Australian animals and plants facing extinction. This program aims to secure as many threatened species that can be secured in the wild as possible, for the next 100 years. Project work is supervised by National Parks sfaff.
Day 13-14. Byron Bay
On a sensational section of coastline, Byron Bay has been an alternative hang-out since the 1970s and is today, the quintessential surfing town. Tie-dyed hippies mix with bronzed surfers, artists and large numbers of local and international tourists, there to enjoy its beaches, boutiques and cafes. While here, we’ll do a half-day walk around Cape Byron to try and spot humpback whales on their migratory route.
Day 15-16. Sunshine Coast and Australia Zoo
From Byron Bay we drive north into Queensland. We’ll spend several hours exploring Australia Zoo, learning about the zoo’s wildlife, and the conservation initiatives of the late founder, Steve Irwin - the Crocodile Hunter. We stay on the Sunshine Coast near another gorgeous beach and try whale and dolphin spotting as we walk around the national park headland.
Day 17-19. Fraser Island National Park
Our favorite place in Australia! We head off on a three-day 4WD trip across Fraser Island - seeing turtles, dingoes, diverse forests and stunning freshwater lakes lapping white sand beaches. Fraser Island is the largest sand island on earth. We’ll take hikes through beautiful forests and stay in cabins near the coast each night.
Day 20-22. Myella Station
Join the Eeather family to learn about life on an outback station (farm). Myella is a 2600 acre cattle station and has been farmed by the Eather family for 80 years. During our stay you’ll get to work with animals and experience the families deep connection to the land. From Myella, we make our way north to the Great Barrier Reef.