Pacific Discovery | Australia Summer Program

Video and Photos

Sunset and silhouette dreams on North Keppel Island during our volunteering period
Snorkeling on the Whitsunday Beaches, Airlie Beach Australia.
Rappelling and scrambling with the group in the Blue Mountains.
One of the first few days: Sydney Opera House!
The huge sand dunes of Fraser Island.

About

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

Gap Year Scholarships and Grants for 2021 AVAILABLE NOW!

Pacific Discovery is delighted to open applications for our Gap Year Scholarship and Grants for 2021. Our undergraduate scholarship and grants offer deserving students aged 17 – 24 the chance to utilise more than $200,000 in financial aid towards gap year programs offered by our organisation. These funds are available for students seeking both summer and semester intakes in 2021. Scholarship applications close 31st March 2020.

Questions & Answers

24 years

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.

Reviews

99%
based on 16 reviews
  • Housing 9.1
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 16
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Siobhan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Ellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Courtney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Aurora
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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!
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Annie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe a few more days in Byron Bay or stopping in Brisbane!
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Mckenzie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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!
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Ryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have loved to have spent more time in Byron Bay - it was my favourite place on the trip!
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Blake
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.