Pacific Discovery | Australia Summer Program
99% Rating
(16 Reviews)

Pacific Discovery | Australia Summer Program

Pacific Discovery takes a Gap Year!

Pacific Discovery will not be offering any programs in Summer 2018, Fall 2018, or Spring 2019. After 18 years of running programs, we will be taking a gap year ourselves to focus on time with family and our own adventures. We will continue to offer our custom faculty-led high school and university trips.

Thank you for supporting Pacific Discovery and we wish you all the best for the year ahead.

Join our Australia summer program for an amazing 4-weeks down under in one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world.

You will get your fill of adventure with a myriad of exciting activities such as surfing, exploring the pristine white-sand beaches of Fraser Island, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, ocean rafting in the Whitsunday Islands, and canyoning in the Blue Mountains. Marvel at the breadth of unique wildlife you will see ranging from whales and turtles to koalas and kangaroos. Learn about Aboriginal culture and history and practice your boomerang and didgeridoo skills. Enjoy the vibrant cityscapes of Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns.

We spend a week participating in a rewarding volunteer conservation project in Keppel Bay Islands National Park, where you will learn an enormous amount about Australia’s fascinating ecological, environmental, and socio-cultural history.

Highlights
  • 3-day learn to surf safari at secluded coastal national parks
  • Rewarding service-learning conservation project in National Parks on the New South Wales Central Coast
  • 3-day 4WD and hiking safari exploring Fraser Island National Park
  • Outer-reef day trip, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and experiencing its immense marine diversity
  • 3 nights on Magnetic Island – koalas, day hikes, beautiful beaches
Locations
Oceania » Australia » Sydney
Oceania » Australia » Byron Bay
Oceania » Australia » Sunshine Coast
Oceania » Australia » Fraser Island
Oceania » Australia » Cairns
Oceania » Australia » Great Barrier Reef
Oceania » Australia
Oceania » Australia
Oceania » Australia
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Cultural Exploration
Hands-On Learning
Post-College
Post-High School
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
Wilderness
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
Timeframe
Summer
Accommodation
Hostel
Lodge
Inclusions
Accommodation
Activities
Airport Transfers
Equipment
Meals
Park Fees
Tour Guide
Transportation
Visa
Exclusions
Airfare
Travel Insurance
Primary Language
English
Age Min.
17
Age Max
24
Application Fee
$0.00
Deposit
$400.00
Starting Price
$6,350.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Program fee inclusions:
Visa (with optional group flight); All in-country travel and transport; All accommodation; More than two thirds of meals (see ‘meals’ above); All activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary; Week-long volunteer conservation project; Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism; Experienced program leader/s and local guides; Online image library for your program. Refer information booklet for international flight options.

Questions & Answers

For the Australia Program (4 weeks), it is around 5,350 USD (not including the airplane tickets). It includes around 80% of the meals and all visits/activities, so maybe plan around 500$ more for this and other personal expenses.

Program Reviews

  • Housing
    91%
  • Support
    96%
  • Fun
    95%
  • Value
    95%
  • Safety
    98%
Show 1 - 15 of 16
Default avatar
Siobhan
10/10

A truly unforgettable experience

Often travelling to countries, no matter the amount of research/planning you do, you never quite fit in everything you want to do but Pacific Discovery solved this problem perfectly. Despite the itinerary being jam packed full of amazing activities there was still room for spontaneity to highly individualise the trip to your preference!

The leaders Jess and Dan were absolutely fab and knowledgable and the head office company very professional. From the get go you know what to expect, and despite arriving a couple of days earlier than the program start there was never any uncertainty from the company or leaders in convening. The predeparture information is very helpful and if you ever have any questions head office are quick to respond.

The Australia Summer program was filled with so many activities on my bucket list and the geographical approach to the volunteering and program as a whole only added to the experience. Not forgetting the amazing group of individuals who you spend your time with, who are some of the best individuals you will ever meet. From surf camp, to snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, stand up paddle boarding, betting on frog races, attempting to swim in every body of water possible (as the handbook recommends) and bungee jumping on the very last day it really was truly an unforgettable experience and I would highly recommend it to everyone looking to do everything and anything or just something a little different.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ellie
10/10

Superior travel abroad experience

My experience with Pacific Discovery was life changing. I was a participant in the Australia summer program, and I would 100% recommend this program to anyone looking for a personal, adventure packed study abroad experience. The level of organization and variety of activities was so impressive, and the leaders of our trip were outstanding. Some of the most memorable moments on our trip for me were seeing over 20 migrating humpback whales, camping on our own personal island, diving on the great barrier reef, and even bungee jumping! Our trip was focused on fun and adventure, but also the Aussie culture and history. The mentors on our trip truly cared about the success and experience of each participant, and made the trip memorable. The high quality and professionalism of this company is outstanding. I would highly recommend booking a travel experience through this company!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Courtney
10/10

Summer of a Lifetime

Going to Australia for the 4 weeks that I did was an amazing experience. There was never a dull moment, and the program was great. I was able to do things I never expected to be able to do like rappelling, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, and learning how to surf.

My greatest accomplishment happened while we were learning how to surf. It was the second day, and the last time we were going to be able to surf on our trip. I hadn't been able to stand up all three times we had gone out, and I was feeling a little discouraged since everyone else had gotten up at least once. I just kept hanging out in the water and trying. There were only a few of us out there since it was drizzling. On the last wave, I got up for about 3 seconds and rode it out. I was on top of the world! Only one person saw it, but it was the best feeling in the world. This is one of my greatest memories from the trip.

Joining the Pacific Discovery trip was the decision I made during my four years in college.

Yes, I recommend
Aurora
10/10

Wish I could do it 1000 times over again!

I'm sure there are many that can say these experiences are life-changing but the Australia Summer Program by Pacific Discovery was special in so many surprising ways. First, we were fortunate to have a good group that got along and could laugh and experience together. I have kept in touch with a few but made a close friend on this trip who I have shared life experiences with in the past six years - weddings, births, deaths - I believe she was brought into my life for a reason!

Although I loved every excursion and place we stayed, it wasn't for some people in our group. Two of the young men in our group were expecting a little more freedom, but in my opinion, that's when you go exploring or backpacking on your own, which they did mid-program. The Australia program was structured enough to introduce us to the country in a fun, safe and respectful way, yet I felt we were given ample time to explore on our own. I didn't feel like I was being chaperoned around at all.

I learned so much about the country, their conservation of resources, traditions, cultures - it was a trip I would love to share with my friends and family again someday. I experienced adventures on this trip that I believe new visitors wouldn't have known or had the opportunity to do, had I tried to plan a trip like this myself with friends. Much love to PacDisco!

How can this program be improved?

It's been almost five years, and I gave this feedback to PacDisco right after the trip. However, there were terms on the packing list that were Australian such as using the term "jersey" instead of "sweatshirt" that we didn't know about. Sometimes clothing-wise or gear-wise I felt a little ill-prepared, but it didn't dampen my experience at all. I was on such an adventure high that I was able to roll with it!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Annie
10/10

Experience of a lifetime

Before signing up for the program, I always knew I wanted to travel to Australia but I didn't know if I would end up studying abroad at a specific uni or just travel. Going through Pacific Discovery was the perfect option. The leaders are amazing. I was nervous about staying in hostels and backpacking but I ended up loving every minute. The way we traveled with Pacific Discovery, we had the perfect combination of alone/free time if we wanted it, and time with group activities. Traveling up the coast was also better than some of the experiences I've heard of with studying abroad because you are limited to what you can see. I saw so much of Australia in one month that most students who just study there for a year don't get to see. The way we traveled up the coast was amazing. There is so much Australia has to offer and Pacific Discovery does a great job of hitting the great stops along the way. The activities that are planned in this program hit everything anyone would want to do in Australia. There was so much self-learning that occurred also during this experience. You learned to live for a month with new people and they became a family in that short span. This experience was life changing and it was one opportunity I will never regret.

How can this program be improved?

Maybe a few more days in Byron Bay or stopping in Brisbane!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Mckenzie
10/10

Summer of my Life

This program opened my eyes to new experiences and taught me there was more to life than meets the eye. It taught me to always try new things and face my fears. I had a huge fear of heights and I had the greatest support system to help me get over that on our adventure abseiling, a.k.a. walking down the side of a cliff. I also got to go surfing for the first time which was way harder than it looks, but so much fun! I can whole heartedly say the happiest moment in my life was on this trip. We were on North Keppel Island for a week long conservation project where the only form of civilization was an environmental learning center. During the day we would go to the center and volunteer with a group of children and at night we'd head back to our camp. One night, we were all laying on the beach looking up at the stars, which I've never seen so clearly in my life. It was silent but we could hear the ocean waves crashing against the shore. At that moment I was the happiest I have ever been, in a single moment I felt like every worry in the world was gone and my whole body was at peace. This trip rewards your mind and your spirit. You meet unforgettable people and it'll push you to your limits but it is so worth it. I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking for that one thing to really find yourself.

How can this program be improved?

I can honestly say there isn't anything I could possibly think of that I would change about this trip. No program is perfect, everything is planned out really well and anything unexpected is just the spontaneity of travel. Loved this program!

Yes, I recommend
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Ryan
10/10

Amazing!

This was one of the best trips I have ever been on! I have already booked another tour with Pacific Discovery. I would highly recommend checking out there Facebook page where you can find photos from previous groups trips to see all the adventures and exploration you get to do whilst your away. My favourite part of the trip was sleeping under the stars on North Keppel Island - a surreal experience I will never forget!

How can this program be improved?

I would have loved to have spent more time in Byron Bay - it was my favourite place on the trip!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Blake
10/10

Pacific Discovery Summer

The experience I had with Pacific Discovery was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I have done a lot of overseas travel but my trip to Australia was very unique. Pacific Discovery blends two different ways to travel into one. It gives you the feel of a guided trip but gives you the freedom to explore based on your personal interests. Since you are on trip with a tour guide you have someone who knows the area and how to get the most out of the environment that you are in. A huge part of the Pacific Discovery experience is learning to interact and live with the other individuals in your group. I did not know anyone going into this trip. So I knew I would have to learn how to interact and make connections with people who I had never met. Traveling in a van and sleeping six people to a room forces you to bond with others very quickly. Although getting along with my trip-mates was not easy at times, it made me a better person overall. I became more than friends with the people I shared the experience with, we became a family.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing that I can think of to improve this program would be to stay in some of the locations for longer amounts of time. A few of the locations had a lot to offer but I don't think we were there long enough to experience enough.

Yes, I recommend
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Olivia
10/10

10/10 Would recommend!

This was such an incredible experience! Going to a different country is tough to do when you're 18 - or any age, but Pacific Discovery made it seem less daunting. I remember feeling a little hesitant that the other people wouldn't like me or that I would do something embarrassing or they would make fun of me. That feeling lasted for less than an hour. The very first day we played some ice breakers and the leader checked in with each of us making sure we had all the help we needed meeting the goals we had for ourselves for the program. Whether it was social goals, personal or travel related that built the best foundation possible to have a fun and safe trip. I made friends I'll never forget and saw things I may never see again in that context. I am so privileged to have gone on that trip and met those people and I will never forget them.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly, packing in a coastal adventure in a van over a month is tough. I would've loved more time or maybe had we tried to cover less ground we may have been able to spend more time in specific places?

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Anna
10/10

Best Life Experience Yet.

For being so shy, I was very nervous about doing something so big with people I had never met before, BUT it ended up being the greatest thing I could have done for myself. The people I met were fantastic, my group got along so well, and we're all still in contact with each other. All of the amazing things you get to do on this trip, like snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, hiking in the Blue Mountains, learning how to surf, and hanging out with the wildlife, is something that I will remember forever! I'm so very glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, because I met some of the most amazing people and did some of the most amazing things that I will ever do in my life.

How can this program be improved?

There was one activity we did a lot of times and I would have rather done something new instead of repeating it but I had fun every time anyways!

Yes, I recommend
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Alex
9/10

An Amazing Experience in Australia!

Last summer was my opportunity - after I've just finished my undergraduate degree - to visit Australia, a country I've been wanting to explore for a long time ! It was an amazing experience on so many different levels. First, we got to meet people from all over the world which was very enriching... it's incredible how many things you can learn just from talking to new people! Our leader (Beth) was an open-minded, cool, easy going person; I believe the experience would not have been the same without her. I think the best thing was that the group became a family after only 3-4 days, which quite unbelievable... we merged to become one and there was no big issues between people, which made the journey so much more appreciable. I would have to say that I got to cross-off quite a few things from my bucket list, and it made me feel alive, which is probably the best feeling ever !! Thanks to PD and to our amazing group and group leader for this trip that I will cherish in my memories forever !

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lily
10/10

PacDisco Summer 2015

This past summer has been such an amazing experience for me. I was able to explore Australia in ways that I never thought was possible. All the activities that we did were one in a life time experiences and I am so blessed to have been able to partake in them. The leaders (Chicko & Lou) were amazing. They were supportive and were there whenever we needed them. They wanted us to have the best time and I know that they put a lot of hard work into the program. My favorite part would probably have been surf camp. It was sweet to be able to have instructors that really cared about helping you learn the skill of surfing as well as caring for you in general. As cliche as it sounds, the group became a family. It was my home for a month, and we grew closer together as well as grew into better people. I could not have asked for a better trip with such amazing leaders and participants. Will forever be thankful to Pacific Discovery.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Louise
10/10

An unforgettable experience

Being in a small group of 14 people was great as we built strong relationship with each other, especially thanks to the amazing activities we did. For example, we camped a week on North Keppel Island and worked for a conservation environnement learning program. The very natural and conserved environnement that we were in created a unique atmosphere.

Something unforgettable that happened on this island was when we decided to wake up at 5am to hike the little mountain to watch the sun rise. The thing that has marked me was that we decided to not talk until we would see the sun rise. So we did all the walk in silence, just our headlamp on our forehead, pointing at a few wild animals that appeared in our field of lights. Upon our arrival at the top, we sat down on the fresh grass facing the sea. The view was incredible. Still surrounded by the sound of nature's silence, as soon as the sun started to show up, without consulting each other, we all shouted ! This shout that came from our hearts was the expression of this moment of happiness.

I believe that this little story is the best example I could give of my day to day experience as it points out the amazing and very special energy that surrounded all of us during this trip from the start to the end.

How can this program be improved?

This is a hard question !
If I had to change one thing, it would be to organize 1 or 2 more evening games such as the psychiatric we did once or other evening activities because they are a nice way to increase group cohesion and complicity.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Celia
10/10

Experience of my life

I'm from Spain and I love to travel. Last year, i decided I wanted to make the best of my summer after finishing High School. I started looking for activities and adventures around the world and I found Pacific Discovery that would offer me all i wanted. I'm really greatful to have found it. I had an amazing experience. I got to know many people from around the world and discover the East cost of Australia. At the end I didn't want to leave my friends that had become a family.
We had the opportunity to do many activities such as surfing, bungy jumping and safaring.
I recomend this experience to anyone who loves to travel.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Alex
10/10

Learn to cook frugally and learn to cook well

Being able to learn ways to cook good food simply has been an invaluable experience. I distinctly remember now how to cook better than decent pasta using just broth and spices. 8/10 food for 2-3 people for under 15 Australian dollars? Count me in any time!

How can this program be improved?

A more random seat selection system would be nice for the van ride to ensure a more consistently mixed set of seating arrangements.

Yes, I recommend

About The Provider

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Pacific Discovery gap year, semester and summer programs are experiential education programs, suitable for high school graduates, university students and recent graduates, developed with a focus on six core components: educational travel, service...