Venture across the South Pacific to discover Australia and the tropical Fijian Islands. Experience the vibrant marine life of the Great Barrier Reef and stroll through the iconic Sydney Opera House as you take in the exquisite views across the waterways of the Sydney Harbor. Participate in traditional hunting and gathering under the mentorship of a local Kuku Yalanji guide and work with rangers on a conservation project at a wildlife center in Northern Australia to improve the habitats of local fauna. Experience the relationships ARCC has cultivated over twenty years with our Fijian friends while giving back to their warm and welcoming communities. Stay in traditional “bures” while and experience life off-grid in the Namosi Highlands. Enjoy falling asleep to the sounds of the sea on one of Fiji’s outlier islands. Return home with a greater appreciation for these two fascinating regions of the South Pacific.
Australia & Fiji
Island Village Initiative
*Airfare for group flight from Los Angeles additional
9th - 12th
July 11 – July 31
Arrival & Departure
July 11 – July 31
9th - 12th
*Airfare for group flight from Los Angeles additional
- Learn to SCUBA Dive on the Great Barrier Reef, One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
- Get Up Close and Personal with Native Marsupials at an Australian Wildlife Refuge
- Immerse Yourself in the Local Community on Fiji’s Outer Islands
- Participate in a Traditional Sevusevu Ceremony with Fijian Chiefs
- Explore the Incredible Biodiversity of the Ancient Daintree Rainforest
- Learn the Complexities of Australia’s Indigenous Aboriginal Population
- Prepare an Indo Fijian Meal to Distribute at a Local Women’s Shelter
- 20 Service Learning Hours
SCUBA Dive on the Great Barrier Reef
Earn your Open Water or Advanced Open Water PADI SCUBA certification from a 5-star dive center in Cairns, Australia. Working with our incredible instructors, complete coursework in the classroom and pool before heading out into the ocean. During the course, log 5 dives to achieve your Open Water Certification or upgrade to an Advanced Open Water certification by completing 9 dives. The highlight of the SCUBA adventure culminates with an overnight stay on a liveaboard boat which offers the best access to the reef while you take in the brilliantly colored corals, giant clams, sea turtles and over 1,500 varieties of tropical fish.
Connect Through Cultural Exchange
Throughout the program, orient yourself to the unique customs and traditions of Fiji. Learn first hand about Fijian culture and traditions while working side-by-side with host families during service projects, games, and immersive activities! Learn to practice Aboriginal hunting and tracking techniques along the coastline of Australia and more about the day-to-day lifestyle of the various communities you meet. Live in traditional Fijian Bures, participate in a kava ceremony, and learn to prepare local cuisine.
Immerse Yourself in Nature
See the Daintree Rainforest of Cairns, a World Heritage site and host to some of the oldest surviving rainforests in the world! Travel up the coast and visit some amazing beaches, feeling worlds away from city life. Volunteer at a wildlife center and refuge in Port Douglas and have the opportunity to get up close and personal with wildlife that may include kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and an assortment of other indigenous Aussie animals. Give back by assisting with much-needed maintenance tasks that keep the facility, a refuge home for countless animals.
See the Sights of Sydney
Visit the bustling city of Sydney for a couple of days of sightseeing! Sydney is home to the world-famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge, two iconic landmarks of many you will have the opportunity to see. Located in the heart of the city, the hostel lets you take in the best that Sydney has to offer, being a short walk from Darling Harbor and a beautiful ferry ride away from Manly Beach!
Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the program’s activities, length, climate and cultural differences. This list will be sent to you as part of your Pre-Trip Welcome Packet upon enrolling.
When in Australia, we spend most of our time in tropical north Queensland, which has a comparable climate to the Caribbean, sporadic showers and temperatures in mid 70s – mid 80s. During our time in Sydney, the weather can be a bit cooler (in the 60’s) which is perfect for exploring the city! In Fiji, we will be there during the dry season and island climate temperatures range from mid 70s – mid 80s.
ARCC has been operating programs in Fiji for over nearly twenty years, and we have built relationships with local Fijians who enjoy hosting ARCC student groups. We have designed service projects to help their communities. Projects will vary from painting, repairing and/or building additions to the local school, helping young students with their English skills, or making repairs on the village sea wall and footpath. We look to the Fijian community for ideas as to what will help their communities the most. We may also help out on a farm, collecting vegetables, coconuts or planting trees.
ARCC does recommend that you take some health precautions before your program begins in Australia and Fiji. When you enroll in the program, you will receive more complete information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. Please also refer to the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website. Our leaders carry a full first aid kit, and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR).
During our time in Cairns, Australia we stay in a guesthouse in dorm-style rooms sleeping 4-6 students. We spend one night on a live-aboard boat while diving/snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. In Sydney, we stay in a centrally located youth hostel in dorm-style rooms sleeping 4-6 students. In Fiji, we stay in a guesthouse for the start and end of our time, also in dorm-style room sleeping 4-6 students. During our service project on Beqa Island, we stay in two basic homes in the village and consider it ‘camping style’ as we roll out our sleeping pad and bags for added comfort.
While in Australia and Fiji we will get to each activity using various means of transportation: plane, bus and boat. We travel between Cairns and Sydney using Australia’s national airline and between Sydney and Fiji on Fiji Airways. We use both public and private charter buses once in Fiji and Australia. In Fiji, we travel by boat to get to the start of our service section.
The food we eat is a mix of Western-style food (sandwiches, pizza, etc.) and traditional local food such as fish, taro, cassava and noodles. Breakfast often consists of fresh fruit and doughnut-style pastries. We will have a chance to sample coconuts right off the tree as well as a variety of other fresh fruits. Vegetarians and medical dietary requirements (i.e. allergies) are catered for. It does help if we are informed of this prior to departure date.
There will be opportunities for regular showers during the trip, however you should not expect to take showers every single day. There will be no shower opportunities during the backpacking section due to the remote nature of the backcountry. There will be at least two laundry stops during the trip. For ease of travel, quick dry clothes are recommended on the packing list.
We suggest you bring $75 per week + $25 for each travel day. This is for souvenirs, laundry, phone cards, clinic visits, and other incidentals. ARCC pays for all meals, lodging, transport and activities. There is time to shop for souvenirs both in Australia and Fiji. We recommend that your main source of spending money is in the form of an ATM card or pre-paid credit/debit card to avoid carrying a large sum of cash. We suggest you carry no more than $50 in cash (smaller bills) to have available during travel days. As with any international program, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card cancellations.
Yes, all students traveling to Australia and Fiji need to have a valid passport. Please make sure the passport expiration date is valid at least six months after you travel. Passport applications are available at the post office. If you do not already have a passport, you should apply for one as soon as you enroll in this program. It normally takes six weeks to process a passport application.
Yes, you do need a visa to travel Australia. In the online enrollment packet you will receive soon after officially enrolling, there will be a visa application form. All you need to do is fill this form out and we will take care of all the processing that comes along with obtaining the Australia visa. There is no visa needed for Fiji.
Fiji is on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) +12 which is 16 hours later than New York (Eastern Time), 17 hours later than Chicago (Central Time), and 19 hours later than San Francisco (Pacific Time).
Australia is on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) +10 which will be 14 hours later than New York, 15 hours later than Chicago, and 17 hours later than San Francisco.
Although you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this program, it is important that you bring a backpack as your main piece of luggage. During the program the group will be navigating through airports, on and off buses, up and down stairways, and taking short hikes on unpaved paths. The group will be able to move much more efficiently if everyone is carrying their belongings on their back.
Although completely optional, if you would like to bring some donations for the Fijian communities we are working with, recommended items include: used or new books, notebooks, pens, coloring books, art supplies. Please keep in mind, you will need to be able to pack this in your main bag, so smaller items are best.
Absolutely not! You and your group mates will go through a 4-day PADI Open Water SCUBA certification course. After completing this course, you will be able to dive anywhere in the world.
No. All students who are already Open Water certified will go through a 3-day PADI Advanced Open Water Course where we can make sure everyone is up to PADI standards. During this section, you will get a chance to do deep dives as well as a night dive, and improve upon your skills.
No, if you choose not to dive you will still be able to travel with your friends to their dive sites. Everyone stays overnight on a live-aboard boat, enjoying the best the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. Off the boat, you can snorkel, swim, or just enjoy the sun, always staying right in the mix of things.
Have questions? Speak to one of our Program Directors, give them a call at (415) 332.5075 , they love talking about their trips!