Daintree Forest Queensland

Cairns Environmental Service Learning Tour

From rainforests, to coral reefs to mangrove wetlands – on this tour students will explore Cairns’ diverse eco-systems and participate in a range of activities that assist with environmental conservation. They’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Tjapukai Cultural Park, wildlife sanctuaries and  participate in community service projects that benefit the greater Cairns community.

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10 Days
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Your Adventure, Day by Day

Day 1 Cairns
  • Welcome to Cairns Upon your arrival, meet with your 'Service Project' guide and tour director, Afterwards check into your hotel
Day 2 Cairns/Daintree
  • Mangrove Boardwalk Today's first stop is the Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk. This raised walkway takes you through this critical mangrove ecosystem which is the breeding ground for many important aquatic species. Your guide teaches you about the interesting aspects of mangrove systems and their importance to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Creek Cleanup Next you visit one of the creeks that makes its way to the ocean via the mangrove ecosystems. Unfortunately household rubbish also often makes its way into these creeks and so today you will be grabbing gloves and garbage bags to do your bit to clean up the waterway
  • Daintree Rainforest Later you enter the magical Daintree Rainforest –some of the oldest continuously growing rainforest on earth. This is an important area for study: this area of the country has the highest concentration of primitive flowering plant families in the world, Australia's rarest mammal (the Murina florious bat) and 13 species of birds found nowhere else on earth
Day 3 Cairns
  • James Cook University Canopy Crane The James Cook University research station is home to their canopy crane. After a safety orientation and a discussion about the significance of this rainforest by an on-site expert, you climb into a suspended gondola with the crane operator. The crane then ascends over the rainforest canopy, and can swing 360 degrees, surveying 1 hectare of the incredible biodiversity that has earned the Daintree UNESCO World Heritage status. This research station is only 1 of 3 of its kind existing in the tropics
  • Service Project Whilst not in the crane, the group participates in an important service project at the research station. Hundreds of trees have been planted for re-growth on site, and students are taught how to do condition assessments of the trees as biologists and botanists do in the field. Students learn about pioneer species, herbivory, and how to use a clinometer and DBH tapes to measure tree growth. The results of the condition assessments are then contributed to the ongoing research on the success of “pioneer species” used by JCU staff
  • Beach BBQ Party In the afternoon, you head to the beach for music, games and a BBQ dinner
Day 4 Cairns
  • Service Project for the Reef Today your project involves working together to protect waterways, ocean and reef. By stencilling messages on drains, you contribute to raising awareness of urban stormwater pollution and its impact on the local marine environment. The colourful and creative designs are a pleasant way to remind the community that all rubbish drains to the ocean
  • Craft Project Your next project honours elderly people in the community living in a residential centre. Visits lift their spirits, and the energy and enthusiasm from visitors is always heartily welcomed. Together you will complete different craft projects and spend time playing card games and more. The crafts make a lovely keepsake for the residents and you feel good connecting with and sharing stories with your new acquaintances
Day 5 Cairns - Fitzroy Island
  • Ferry ride This morning you are ferried to the pristine Fitzroy Island. A fringing coral reef surrounds the island, part of the inner Great Barrier Reef, providing a sheltered home for a variety of fish and coral species
  • Snorkelling With full use of snorkel gear for the day, you can walk right into the water to explore the magnificent reef system that surrounds the island. Just offshore a kaleidoscope of marine life beckons to be discovered: colourful corals, parrot and lionfish, turtles, cuttle fish, rays and giant clams.
  • CoralWatch Data Collection our next project addresses concerns over climate change and coral bleaching. During this exercise you find out more about how and why coral bleaches. You learn how to identify different kinds of coral, match its colours to a waterproof chart, and then record what you observe in teams of two. The data then goes back to the University of Queensland’s Coral Watch scientists, where they analyse the results over time and look for any long term trends
  • Turtle Rehabilitation Centre During your visit you also visit the island's Turtle Rehabilitation Centre where a collection of volunteers help save sick and injured sea turtles by looking after them until they are ready to be released back into the ocean
  • Evening activities Enjoy a night at leisure exploring the Esplanade and Cairns Night Markets by foot
Day 6 Cairns
  • Community Service Project Today a café opens its doors to you to give you space to prepare a meal for the homeless. With Small World Journeys staff guidance, you use donated food to prepare a meal that will be served to needy people tonight. During food prep, staff teach you how to make special bags using upcycled materials (which helps them save money!) You then put food and hygiene items into the bags you've made - items most needed by those living on the street. In addition, a representative from the charity will speak to you about how members of the Cairns community become homeless, and how your gift will help
Day 7 Cairns - Port Douglas
  • Wildlife Habitat The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary is a leader in its field of wildlife immersion exhibits. Situated on eight acres of land allowing visitors to wander through and discover over 180 species in three unique environments; Rainforest, Wetlands and Grasslands. Here students will enjoy a guided tour going behind the scenes of the Wildlife Care & Rescue Centre and activities
  • Cairns Aquarium Students will be greeted by their Aquarium AquaNut expert guide before enjoying their 2-hour educational program of choice. Cairns Aquarium is a brand new facility designed to follow a drop of rain as it descends from the mountain range, through rivers to the reef. Travel through 9 ecosystems, with over 15 000 animals exhibited in 71 displays in both closed and open tanks, with a mix of terrestrial and marine creatures
  • Crystal Cascades Crystal Cascades is a secluded freshwater swimming hole hidden in the tropical rainforest. A series of small waterfalls flow into large pools surrounded by boulders, and rainforest trees hang over the water, keeping it cool and refreshing. This is largely a locals-only spot, unreachable by public transport, and a perfect place to soak up the beauty of the tropics
  • Palm Cove Beach One of the best beaches of Cairns in Australia. You will find a postcard views with palm trees ashore, while there is a swimming net in the water. Remember that you should not swim outside the net, as local open water is full of dangerous creatures.
Day 8 Cairns - Green Island
  • Big Green Cat Island Cruise After breakfast board the Big Cat and make your way to Green Island. A buffet lunch will be served on board during your cruise
  • Green Island Enjoy an afternoon on Green Island where you can snorkel, embark on a glass bottom boat tour or explore the island on a self guided walk
  • On the move Upon your arrival back in Cairns, board your coach and begin your journey to Tjapukai Cultural Park
  • Tjapukai Cultural Park Tonight's activities include Drinks and Canapes, Didgeridoo Journey, Tjapukai Dance Performance, Fire-making Ceremony, Buffet dinner, Fireside Farewell
Day 9 Cairns - Mossman/Daintree
  • Mossman Gorge Centre View the Indigenous contemporary Art Gallery where Arts and Crafts from the local Kuku Yalanji artists are show-cased here and explore the Gift Shop.
  • Afterwards, walk along the boardwalk to the River Lookout, then to the Suspension Bridge to view spectacular scenery. Journey into the lush rainforest of Mossman Gorge and experience the wonders of the world-heritage listed Daintree Forest, mountains and vivid flora & fauna
  • Jungle Adventures At night the rainforest heaves with the breath of dragons, the croaks and clicks of insects, the scurrying of bandicoots and the slow, deliberate slighter of snakes. Just you, a torch, and your very own human Wikipedia to introduce you to the furry, feathery and scaly locals
Day 10 Cairns
  • Final Day Morning at leisure to explore & shop
  • Departure Board your coach to Cairns airport to begin your departure home

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