Trip Itinerary: Australia / Fiji Service
Days 1 - 2: Travel Days
All participants arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) where they are met by the group leaders. After an initial orientation and ice breaker activities, we board our flight bound for Sydney, Australia. We cross the International Date Line and lose a day which we will gain back at the end of our trip. Accommodations: Overnight flight
Day 3: Cairns
Today we fly to Australia’s tropical town of Cairns (pronounced “CANS”), located on the northern coast of Queensland. Through games, teambuilding activities and eating our first meals together, the adventure truly begins. We also introduce the role of “Leader of the Day” which is an essential component of every ARCC trip. Accommodations: Campground
Days 4 - 5: Wooroonooran National Park & Wildlife Refuge Service
We being the day by volunteering with a local organization called ‘Tree Force’ to plant much needed trees in the local area. This gives us a great introduction to the importance of sustaining natural ecosystems as we prepare to explore the rainforest! We then make our way to Wooroonooran National Park, one of the most diverse places in the Wet Tropics World Heritage area and host to some of the oldest continually surviving rainforest in the world. We experience this beautiful area as we swim under waterfalls and slide down a natural rock slide. Our guide also teaches us about the enchanting creatures of the rainforest like the Ulysses Butterfly and Green Tree Frog, and if we’re lucky, we may spot them!
At the end of the day, we arrive at a wildlife center and refuge in Port Douglas. This center serves as a rehabilitation center for countless injured, sick and orphaned animals. Under the supervision of a wildlife expert, we will have the opportunity to get face-to-face with wildlife which may include kangaroos, wallabies, birds of prey, goannas, quolls, snakes, lorikeets, cockatoos, owls, a koala or two and an assortment of other Aussie animals. We help with service work, based on our skills or talents, that simply help keep the wildlife hospital going (ex: like making signs, repairing enclosures, tending the vegetable garden for the animals’ food, etc.) This is a great way to contribute to the community while simultaneously helping wildlife. Accommodations: Campground
Days 6 - 9: Great Barrier Reef
For the next four days we learn to SCUBA dive,* spending two days in a classroom and pool, and then progressing to open water diving on the incredible Great Barrier Reef. The open water diving takes place off a liveaboard boat which allows us the absolute best experience to dive and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. We log 5 dives among corals, turtles, and an array of fish that could only exist in the underwater paradise of this amazing reef system. Those already certified take a three-day PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course and log 9 dives on the Reef, including a spectacular night dive.
Non-divers are able to snorkel on the reefs where the advanced students are practicing their dives. Since most of the spectacular sea life of the Great Barrier Reef is close to the surface, divers and snorkelers alike enjoy close-up views of tropical fish, turtles and a kaleidoscope of corals. Accommodations: Campground and Liveaboard Sailboat
*Please Note: To become SCUBA certified, you have to study, take quizzes and pass a final written and practical exam. You also need to pass a thorough physical exam performed by a dive physician. You cannot have used an inhaler or suffered from asthma in the past three years. Additionally, students with ADHD who are or have been taking Ritalin, or any of its derivatives, will not be permitted to dive. Quite a few ARCC students have failed the medical exam in the past for a number of conditions: history of migraines, childhood chest pains, Ritalin prescriptions, etc. Standards vary from doctor to doctor, but Australia has some of the toughest diving standards in the world. If you pass the course here, you can safely and confidently dive anywhere in the world.
Day 10: Cairns City Day
Today we have a relaxing morning and explore the town of Cairns. We spend time at the popular esplanade and swim in a fresh water lagoon. Our evening continues with an Aussie BBQ as we look back at our adventure thus far. Excitement fills the air as we get ready for our next destination, Sydney! Accommodations: Campground
Days 11 - 12: Sydney
We say goodbye to the coastal community of Cairns and head to the bustling city of Sydney for a couple days of seeing the sights. Sydney is home to the world-famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge, both at the top of our list of things to see. Located in the heart of the city, our hostel lets us taste the best Sydney has to offer. We are a short walk from Darling Harbor, and a beautiful ferry ride away from Manly Beach. Accommodations: Hostel
Days 13 - 14: Nadi, Fiji
We make our way to the tropical Island of Fiji where we continue the next part of our adventure! In Nadi, we spend a day becoming oriented with Fijian culture as we learn about their customs and traditions. We then make our way to Beqa Island by boat, also known as the “Island of the Firewalkers”, and take time to enjoy our new surroundings and prepare for our service projects ahead. Accommodations: Hotel
Days 15 - 17: Raviravi School
For the next three days, we are busy teaching, lesson planning and leading activities with the students of Raviravi School. We donate school supplies and teach subjects in English, math and science. We help the younger students with their English skills through fun activities and games and help teach the older children about geography and life in the United States. Accommodations: Traditional Burres
Day 18: Nanuku Island
Today we travel by boat to our own special island—Nanuku. Nanuku is simply sand and palm trees, and we can walk around it in ten minutes. A perfect place to rest after our hard work, Nanuku is truly a tropical paradise. Young Fijians from a neighboring village often sail out to help us gather coconuts from the palm trees. We set up camp for the night and enjoy this island paradise swimming, snorkeling and camping on the beach under the stars at night! Accommodations: Beach Camping
Days 19 - 20: Naiwaisomo Service
For the next two days, we participate in service projects that are most needed in the village of Nawaisomo. ARCC has been operating programs in Fiji for over fifteen years, and we have built long-lasting relationships with the Fijians in Nawaisomo. The service projects are designed specifically to help their community and vary from painting and repairing the school to building a footpath throughout the village or working on a recycling project. Accommodations: Traditional Burres
Day 21: Pacific Harbor and Nadi
Today we depart Beqa Island by boat, heading back to the mainland. We arrive in Pacific Harbor where we enjoy lunch and explore the colorful markets and coastal town. We then make our way to Nadi where we celebrate our adventures and new friends with a special final feast and closing ceremony. Accommodations: Hotel
Day 22: Departure
Eventually all good things must come to an end. We say goodbye to Australia and Fiji and begin our journey back across the Pacific. Once we arrive in Los Angeles, we get everyone to their connecting flights home. The memories of the experience and the group will carry us through to next summer!