Summer High School Programs in Australia with Rustic Pathways

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About

In 1983, Rustic Pathways took its first exploration through the sparse Australian Outback. Over thirty years later, we’re proud to continue adventures all over this gorgeous country. With offices and bases near both Melbourne and Brisbane, Rustic Pathways has a deep and heartfelt attachment to the land of Oz. From marine service and exploration programs, to trekking across the famous Outback, to working at the Steve Irwin Zoo, you're bound to have a blast in Australia!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 24 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 24
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Charlotte
10/10

Seven Wonders and Epic Outback

This summer was my first time traveling with Rustic and I was beyond impressed. I started with Seven Wonders where I saw a lot of the highlights of Australia and travelled all over Australia. The first few days spent in the Daintree rainforest included activities such as playing games on the beach, helping to rebuild the rainforest, going on a crocodile boat tour, and many more fun activities. We then left the Daintree and went to Cairns, which included bungee jumping, snorkeling or scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and posing with Koalas. We also went to the outback for a few days and enjoyed the amazing sunsets and beautiful hikes. Later in the trip we went to Uluru where we walked around the base of the gorgeous rock. We stayed there until sunset and watched the rock change color. At Uluru we went on a sunrise camel walk and went skydiving! The whole group bonded so well and the leaders were absolutely incredible. At the end of the trip we travelled to Sydney for a few days and climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge at night, ate dinner at the Sydney Opera house, explored all over Sydney, and helped out with a bunch of service projects. It was then time to say goodbye to my amazing group and leaders and switch to Epic Outback. On Epic Outback we started out by spending a few days in Darwin. Those days involved watching the sunset on the beach, going to a gorgeous swimming spot, and going on a jumping crocodile tour. We then spent some time staying at a gorgeous lake, went for a few swims, and enjoyed the incredible views. Almost the entire portion of Epic Outback was spent staying in our swags. These were personal tents that included a mesh top for amazing views of the stars at night. We travelled to Kununurra and did some incredible service projects there as well. From Kununurra we drove in our 4x4's to the Bungle Bungle's. This mountain range included incredible hikes, jaw dropping views of the stars and the Milky Way, and beautiful chasms. We were such a small group that everyone became so close to each other and we were able to create such incredible memories. The leaders on this trip were also absolutely amazing and had so much knowledge of Australia and all of the places we traveled to. One of my favorite places besides the Bungle's was El Questro. We stayed at El Questro for a few nights and enjoyed incredible hikes that ended it magnificent waterfalls, horse back riding, and amazing sunsets. I absolutely loved both programs and can't recommend them enough. One tip I would give you is to pack light. I thought I would need a lot more than I actually did. I will definitely be traveling with Rustic again, and can't wait for the upcoming adventures.

Yes, I recommend
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Catalina
10/10

Seven Wonders of Australia

Two years ago I had traveled with Rustic Pathways on a trip to Costa Rica, and since I had an amazing time I decided to sign up for a program this past summer to go to Australia on the 7 wonders program. It has everything I could've wanted and more. The trip was the perfect sampling of the continent, and the intructors were fabulous.
We began the trip flying into Brisbane on the group flight and then caught a connecting flight to Cairns with our group. Once we arrived we explored the Daintree and saw wild Cassowarys along side the road. After we went to the Great Barrier Reef and went snorkling. After Cairns we flew into the Outback where the trip really began to pick up. It was amazing the scenery and the people were great. I loved the outback seeing wild Kangaroos and Camels is a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish forever. Uluru is amazing and going skydiving above it made it even better. We had even taken a sunrise camel ride through the outback which was absolutely phenomenal. To top off the experience we traveled to Sydney next where we saw landmarks like the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. We went to a little beach town called Manly and it was amazing along with surfing at Bondi.
The trip had expanded my knowledge about another part of the world and I am so grateful to have had this experience. The instructors were great and really spurred an amazing group dynamic and I still keep in touch with those from my group who live in different parts of the country. The accommodation were also what made the experience, we had group hangouts in our rooms where we watched movies. This trip has been amazing and gave me amazing experiences and memories I'll cherished forever.

How can this program be improved?
This trip is great and I really would change anything, except maybe making it a bit longer because it was so much fun.
Yes, I recommend
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Lucy
10/10

My Amazing Australia Zoo Program

I had started my Rustic experience last year, when I did the Thai Elephant Conservation Project and I absolutely loved it! I knew that I had to do another program and I wanted to work with animals again. I decided to go on the "You, a Roo', and the Australia Zoo" program. I would definitely recommend this program to any animal lovers and any person that wants to go to Australia.

The first great thing about my Rustic trip (and with all international programs) is that everyone on the program took the same flight to Australia. We all became really close just be being together in the airport and on the plane with an adult flight leader and it definitely helped calm my nerves about making friends. While we were waiting in the airport, everyone on my program had dinner together, played ice breaker games, and really got to know each other and make those great bonds before we even stepped foot in Australia.

When we arrived in Australia, we went right to doing fun activities. After ice breakers, a down down of the schedule, and a few rules, we went right into our first activity, climbing Mt. Ngungun. Climbing Mt. Ngungun was definitely very hard and I thought that I wasn't going to make it, but the other students and program leaders were so encouraging and I can now say that I hiked up a mountain! Climbing Mt. Ngungun is just one example of how we're never sitting, doing nothing. There's always something to do and all of our days are jam packed with fun activities. When we weren't working at the zoo, we would go to the beach, walk around Brisbane, go shopping, play games, go sand boarding, snorkel, have karaoke jam sessions, or just sit around and talk.

In addition to always having something to do, the program was exactly what I had hoped for in terms of working with animals. I had the opportunity to work with zoo keepers in the reptile, koala, general mammals, tiger, and birds exhibits. In the reptile exhibit, I watched a vet give snakes shots and medication, I got to be in a room with 20 venomous snakes, which made me feel empowered, and I got to watch the croc demo, which teaches the zoo patrons about how to stay safe with crocs living near them. The koala exhibit was definitely my favorite to work in. After cleaning the poop off the floors in all the koala enclosures and putting in fresh eucalyptus branches in, I got to take a koala to the front of the zoo and patrons would come up and pet the koala and take pictures with him. The cool thing was, I was also in the picture, because I was holding the Koala. It was amazing to see how my trust the Australia Zoo and the zookeeper had in me to have me represent the Australia Zoo by being in the patron's pictures with the koala. After that, I went to the photo studio and helped with taking pictures of zoo patrons holding the Koalas. In the general mama exhibit, I cleaned up the kangaroo enclosure, cleaned the main floors, made enrichment activities out of clay for the echidnas, and help zoo patrons take pictures with the echidna. I had never heard of an echidna before, so it was so cool to be able to spend hours with a new type animal. The keeper also allowed us to go backstage and go into the new meerkat exhibit. He let my partner and I sit down and have the meerkats walk all over us! It was so cute and one meerkat even climbed up onto my shoulder to get a better view of the sky! Lastly, in the bird and tiger exhibits, I mulched the enclosures. I loved working side-by-side with zoo keepers that have dedicated their lives to animals and I got to be right up close to all the animals.

After working with the animals at the zoo, the zoo let us have a free tortoise encounter, echidna encounter, and a free picture with a koala. In addition, we got 10% off everything in the gift shop and a free day at the zoo. During the free day, I did a tiger encounter, a cheetah encounter, and a Komodo Dragon encounter. I loved all of my encounters and I got to see that even though people view these animals as dangerous and to stay away from them, they're actually pretty amazing animals.

The Australia Zoo portion of the trip was absolutely amazing and working at the Grassroots Wildlife rescue and Rehab Center was incredible too. One women runs this center and she hasn't taken a vacation day in 25 years, so our help was greatly appreciated. We got to work with kangaroos, birds, echidnas, emus, and even a bat! We helped build new fencing renovate old things. While we were working at the rescue center, we were supposed to be camping in tents in a nearby camp site. Well, the first night we were there there was a freak cold wave and the temperature got down to just above freezing. Everyone was huddled together and the program leaders tried to do everything they could to make us warmer. No was knew that this was going to happen, as it was so unexpected and really hot the past few days. The next day, we were all basically frozen and the it was supposed to be even colder the next night, so out program leaders called the country directors to work out a solution. The country director was amazing and so nice and got us hotel rooms for the next two nights. I loved this so much, because it shows just how accommodating Rustic is.

Lastly, the program leaders, Kate and Harry, were the best. Honestly, both of them were so nice and amazing and weren't the type of leaders that just shuffled us around from place to place and didn't care about us. They were like an older sibling and a friend to me. They put every single student over themselves. Since I'm vegan and deathly allergic to nuts, they always made sure that I had food to eat and would go our of their way to get me food. I just loved them both and they were amazing program leaders.

My Rustic Experience in Australia was one of the best experiences in my life. I made friends that will last a lifetime, had once in a lifetime experiences, had amazing program leaders, stepped out of my comfort zone, and had the best time of the life. I am forever grateful for the opportunities Rustic has given me and I think that every single person should do a Rustic trip at least once.

Yes, I recommend
Sarah
10/10

Epic Outback

To say that this trip was incredible is an understatement. If you want to learn about Australia and it's beautiful Kimberly Outback, this is the way to go. From exploring chasms thousands of years old to stargazing underneath the milky way to swimming in water holes with water as clear as glass, this trip has it all. I had the most amazing program leaders ever, they were both so knowledgable about Australia and were obviously very passionate about their jobs. This trip is filled with little moments that you will cherish and remember for the rest of your life. For me, laying on a 'beach' in a natural rock ampitheater while listening to indigenous Australian music and gazing up at the Milky Way was one of those moments. I also learned from this trip that I LOVE camping. Falling asleep in your swags (one man tents) underneath the stars every night while bundled up inside your sleeping bags is one of the coolest things about this trip. Epic Outback is certainly a trip for those who love nature and exploring and aren't afraid to get a little dirty. As for my life post-program... it was very sad to leave the people with whom I'd just spend about every second of the day with. You become so close with the other kids on your trip- it's like you've all been best friends forever. Every day I'm home in the states is a day I wish I was back in Australia. Future participants- bring good sandals! I learned the hard way that mine were not meant for the outdoors. Also, a power strip is always a good idea to bring so you can charge multiple appliances at once- you won't have a ton of access to outlets. Don't forget snacks too! I found myself wishing I had brought more granola bars and things to snack on during long car rides and airplane rides. Sign up now! 30/10 recommend!

How can this program be improved?
Make the trip a few days longer! Maybe just 5 days... so you can spend more time at one campsite and also so you can enjoy the country and your friends for longer. I would have liked to see a bit more of Darwin and Brisbane, but other than that, the trip was amazing.
Yes, I recommend
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Drew
10/10

Rustic Impresses Down Under

After attending the Sacred Valley Service trip, Rustic's premier Peru program, I thought it nearly impossible of how a program could top the experiences in the land of the Incas. However, I was drawn to the Seven Wonders of Australia trip due to its non-stop, eventful itinerary that journeyed from the Great Barrier Reef to the barren Outback to the architectural beauty of Sydney.

The trip itself, for someone who has travelled across the world, was not just one where I could check off Australia on my continents list. It was a program that allowed me to view the marvels of the nation and be granted the opportunity to view firsthand the historical and cultural aspects of Australia. Despite Australia's similarities to the United States such as their historical links to the British, I viewed a nation that has built its own history. Firsthand, I visited an Aboriginal community in the Outback and the way they survived through their methods of hunting, creating their own food supply, and their trading methods between tribes across Australia. Travel another couple hours and you will reach the area surrounding Uluru, where a town and even a large airport has been built to support the continuous flow of tourists. Surveying the way how Aboriginal land has shifted into an area constantly affected by tourism was unique to view.

Every activity or tourist site our group visited truly encompassed the Australian experience. The Great Barrier Reef, probably the greatest natural wonder I have ever seen, allowed each member of the group individual independence to explore species of the reef. I ended up breaking off and not only found a family of clownfish, but a reef shark. In the Outback, the wonders of Uluru and Kata Tjuta became our backyard as we explored the rock formations and watched their colors shift at sunset. Lastly, in Sydney, climbing the Harbor Bridge, visiting Bondi Beach, and ferrying to Manly, allowed me to get a unique experience of the city, one in which I felt shifted into an actual citizen of Sydney.

The activities that I mentioned before are not even a fraction of what I experienced in Australia; I wish I could mention everything that I viewed and experienced, but by the end, it could possibly be longer than Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Before I conclude, it is important to mention the community service at Our Big Kitchen and Thread Together. Firsthand, my group benefited homeless communities all over Australia whether it was making soup and strudel or disseminating piles of clothing into their appropriate sizes to be shipped in boxes to shelters across the country. On the trip, I especially felt that Rustic Pathways achieves its mission on introducing specific community service initiatives relative to the nation to its travellers.

Since I was on a Rustic trip last year, I viewed my travel group as the catalysts who affected how I saw, interacted, and enjoyed Peru. Relative to this year, that philosophy was truly accurate. The leaders and students on Seven Wonders exhibited the qualities that I had hoped judging from my experiences in Peru. I could see just from meeting my fellow travelers on the first day in Brisbane's International Airport that each teenager was individually motivated and willing to embark on any experience that could allow them to get the best opportunity while in the country. And our leaders were the best two people who could grant us the opportunities; the trip would have not been the same without their will to travel, their experiences, and most of all, their love for Australia.

How can this program be improved?
Nothing needs to be improved. If you are a heavy sleeper, however, be ready for early wake-ups. Trust me, they are worth it though.
Yes, I recommend
Laurel
10/10

Rustic, You've Done It Again.

Last year, I traveled to Thailand for 2 weeks with Rustic Pathways. My experience was so positive that this summer, I once again chose RP to be my guide in Northern Australia!
My trip this summer took me through many, many different landscapes as myself, my 4 Rustic leaders and 13 other students traveled through the Kimberley Region. We spent our days driving in the Trippy (a cross between a Jeep and a Thai song-tao) and and our nights in the traditional Australian swag (if a tent and a coffin had a baby). When we weren't staring out the Trippy window at the Outback's finest during our many, many hours of road-tripping, we were hiking canyons and gorges, cliff diving in the bluest lakes, or cuddling with kangaroos (literally). Photos and videos do not do the Bungle Bungle Mountains, the outback view of the Milky Way, or the Mindil Beach Sunsets justice at all.
When we weren't immersed in Australia's natural wonders, we spent time giving back to the communities that had welcomed us to the Outback. Between cooking meals for the women's shelter, playing Just Dance with the aboriginal kids at Save the Children (like a Boys & Girls Club), or feeding kangaroos at the rehab center, we always had work to do- and we enjoyed every second of it!
Epic Outback was the perfect balance of community service and vacation. I got to see a new part of the world (I'm at 6/7 continents now!), and also immerse myself in a new culture while interacting with many different types of people.
As always, the RP staff were amazing; they were well trained & well traveled, and they became just as close to me as the kids my age over the course of the trip. My group was the first full run-through of the Epic Outback program, and though a few tweaks were made, our staff handled everything like pros and made this easily the best RP trip (and overall trip) that I have ever taken. Nothing compares to the memories mad on this trip, and this experience has reinforced my love of travel & belief that it is the most important form of education. Plus, when I turn 21, I'd gladly work for Rustic Pathways to help other kids have the same experience that I had on this program!

How can this program be improved?
Make it a week longer, and spend more time in cities like Darwin & Brisbane. It would be the ultimate all-inclusive Aussie experience!
Yes, I recommend
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Katia
10/10

AMAZING

i had the time of my life meeting life-long friends, having once in a life-time experiences, impacting many lives for the better, including protecting the animals of this world and the nature we all live in. most importantly, taking in the beauty that life offers us everyday, being grateful and enjoying ourselves, our surroundings, the people we have with us and this amazing thing called life. i absolutely loved the Amazing Aussie Service Adventure and if anything, i would want it to be longer so we could all spend time with one another in such an amazing country. visit australia!

Yes, I recommend
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Abigail
9/10

Aussie Heart

Australia. I loved it there! The ocean was clear, warm, and blue... I made friendships there that will last a life time. If anything I would like to go there again. Certainly, I would enjoy taking another Rustic trip! Australia was gorgeous, so many ripe fruits and amazing animals! I definitely suggest this trip to those who want adventure in the outback.

Yes, I recommend
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Abby
9/10

Awesome Trip!

This trip was absolutely incredible! So many experiences that are tourists do not get to experience. We got to go into classrooms and see how the schools worked. We got the experience to go on hikes and the views were indescribable. The community service we did was meaningful. Our group leaders were amazing, they were fun and made us all feel safe. Over the course of the trip I created memories I will never forget!

How can this program be improved?
Everything was great, the only thing I would change
Yes, I recommend
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Sophia
10/10

7 wonders

My trip to Australia was truly life changing. I made so many friends. My favorite memory was from the outback. One night we all brought blankets and pillows to watch the stars and listen to a expert talk about them. I loved it because they were the same stars I have always seen but rustic helped me look at them in a different way.

Yes, I recommend
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Daniele
10/10

Best 2 weeks of her life

The first year of high school took a bit of a toll on our 15 year old and the confident, happy-go-lucky middle schooler we knew was hard to find by the end of the school year. Her Rustic Pathways trip to the Australian outback was just what she needed. Going on her own, for the first time, on the other side of the world without knowing anyone was a little daunting at first. What she found was a fantastic group of peers and inspiring group leaders that offered a unique opportunity to establish new bonds, regain her free spirit, put life into context, challenge herself in so many ways, build confidence and self-esteem and so much more. She came back full of positive energy and love for herself and the world around her and told us it was "the best two weeks of her life." We could not be happier. Thank you, Rustic Pathways!

How can this program be improved?
Nothing, really. I think that the success of this type of program also depends on being fortunate enough to have a great group of peers.
Yes, I recommend
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Susan
10/10

Amazing experience

Our daughter is 14, a rising 9th grader, and just completed the Seven Wonders of Austalia program with Rustic Pathways. She had the most incredible experience. Every place they stayed was rated number 1 or 2 on Trip Advisor (with exception of the base camp). The staff was energetic, fun and caring. The community service work was both inspiring and humbling. They program itself was top-notch. She loved the program, the people and the staff...she made so many new friends and they all became very close. It was a great group of kids and they all got along so well together. She went knowing only one person and came back having made thirteen lifelong friends. I can't say enough good things about the program and how organized they were- from meeting her at the airport, to activities, experiences, group activities, dining, etc and it was very safe. They were well cared for & looked after the entire time. I highly recommend Rustic Parhways and the Seven Wonders of Australia. It was an amazing experience that will forever change and shape who our daughter is.

How can this program be improved?
We wouldn't change anything!! It was a fantastic experience.
Yes, I recommend
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Julia
10/10

7 wonders of Australia

This trip is adventure packed and visits multiple once in a lifetime destinations. The highlights were scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, bungee jumping, climbing Ayers Rock, and climbing the sydney harbour bridge. I would recommend this trip to anyone.

How can this program be improved?
The additional activities were expensive and I would've liked to stay in sydney longer.
Yes, I recommend
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Taylor
10/10

Best summer of my life.

I have been on several other teen summer programs such as this one, even with Rustic Pathways, but Rustic's Australia program has made this by far the best summer of my life. I made friendships that will last a lifetime, and memories that I will never, ever forget. This trip was unbelievable; everything I hoped it would be and more.

Yes, I recommend
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Jenny
10/10

Awesome Aussie surpassed all expectations

By traveling with Rustic, you can always expect to have a full day ahead of you every single morning. To call the days busy would be improper because the activities and service projects you participate in are worth-while and leave an impact on you. It could be something as simple as walking around Brisbane or Mooloolaba and the other kids you meet from all around the world really help to enrich every experience. Surfing in a place like Australia is truly a one of a kind experience and I am forever thankful I got to create that memory with such amazing leaders and new friends.

Yes, I recommend

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Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

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