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Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji

Adventure in the South Pacific

June 30 — August 1
$11,490 + airfare

Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji

Adventure in the South Pacific

June 30 — August 1
$11,490 + airfare

Immerse yourself in the culture and wonders of the South Pacific on this summer program for high school students to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. Experience the island paradise of Fiji, the alpine winter landscapes of New Zealand, and the rugged Outback and spectacular coral reefs of Australia. Go beyond the typical tourist experience and engage with places and cultures in exciting ways.

• Participate in a kava ceremony in a traditional Fijian village
• Ski the majestic slopes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps
• Sail as part of a crew through the Whitsunday Islands
• Spot red kangaroos as you hike through the Australian Outback
“The program exceeded our expectations! We hoped our child would connect with the group and make the most out of the trip. He did just that. The Putney group was so well organized that it helped to relieve any anxieties that came up!”
—Amy & Andrew Lasker, Elmhurst, IL

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Los Angeles, and fly together to Nadi, Fiji. One day is lost while crossing the International Date Line. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Pacific Harbour, Fiji — 5 days

Start your adventure at an ecolodge in Fiji, a tropical paradise in the South Pacific. Get to know your Putney group and immerse yourself in island life. Learn about Fijian culture and home life in a coastal village that depends on the ocean for sustenance. Participate in a traditional kava ceremony, help prepare meals, and explore the spectacular coast together with local friends. Travel up the Navua River by longboat to visit a remote highland village. Float your way back by innertube, stopping to swim at a secluded waterfall.

Nadi & Yasawa Islands, Fiji — 4 days

Immerse yourself in the multicultural city of Nadi, visit the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, and enjoy the therapeutic goodness of a mineral-rich mudbath. Contrast the bustling and urban way of life in Nadi with the slow-paced traditional life experienced in Pacific Harbour. Explore the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters of the Yasawa Islands. Snorkel and scuba dive through vibrant underwater ecosystems and partake in a coral restoration project with marine biologists and the local community. Reflect on your time immersed in this incredible culture and prepare for life down under.

Auckland, New Zealand — 1 day

Bid goodbye to the tropical beauty of Fiji and fly to New Zealand’s Northern Island, and begin familiarizing yourself with Kiwi culture. Spend one day taking in breathtaking harbor views and savoring the city’s international dining scene.

Skiing in New Zealand — 4 days

Fly to Queenstown, located on the rugged and beautiful South Island, surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Ferry across Lake Wakatipu, hike a scenic trail, and make your way down a mountain on the exhilarating Skyline Luge. Visit a selection of New Zealand’s most famous “ski fields,” where adventurers of all abilities ski or board in snow-filled basins above the timberline. Lessons are available for beginners. Explore the alpine town of Wanaka and break into cooking teams to prepare group dinners at your accommodations.

New Zealand Homestay — 2 days

Join Kiwi host families for a two-day homestay. Learn how to shear a sheep, watch a rugby match with homestay brothers and sisters, help make a traditional New Zealand meal, or take a “tramp” with your Kiwi family. Both leaders stay in town during the homestay, and the group gets together for excursions each day.

Maori Traditions & Christchurch — 2 days

Experience a Maori marae, a sacred communal space, and learn about the ancient traditions of the country’s oldest surviving culture. Join in time-honored songs and speeches, listen to myths and legends that have been passed down through generations, and participate in a traditional Maori hangi ceremony. Wrap up your time in Aotearoa in the Gothic-style city of Christchurch and make final preparations for your upcoming maritime adventure.

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands — 5 days

Fly to Airlie Beach and board a yacht for a multi-day sailing trip through the spectacular Whitsunday Islands. Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, sleep on deck under the brilliant Southern Hemisphere stars, and relax on white-sand beaches. Lend the crew a hand as you learn the basics of sailing. Spot whales, tropical fish, spectacular coral reefs, and dolphins from the ship as you make your way among the islands.

Sydney, Australia — 3 days

Experience life in lively Sydney. Take in a rugby match, explore the city by bike, visit the world famous Taronga Zoo, or have a picnic lunch down on “The Rocks.” Visit the Sydney Opera House, go surfing, and enjoy cafés and galleries as you explore the streets and “laneways” of this thriving, cosmopolitan city.

Australian Outback — 3 days

Adventure across the Outback toward Uluru, the largest monolith on earth. Steeped in mythology, this colossal piece of sandstone rises abruptly from the desert plain. Trek between the giant rounded domes of adjacent Kata Tjuta on the lookout for bright green ring-necked parrots, plunge into the cool waters of desert swimming holes, examine ancient rock art and identify medicinal plants, then camp out in “the bush” and sleep under the stars. Listen to Aboriginal dreamtime stories, catch a sunrise over this otherworldly landscape, and learn about the cultures that have lived here for over 40,000 years. Cap your amazing adventure with a final BBQ dinner around the campfire and reflect on your experiences with new friends.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from Uluru, Australia, to Los Angeles, by way of Sydney, with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Los Angeles, and fly together to Nadi, Fiji. One day is lost while crossing the International Date Line. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Pacific Harbour, Fiji — 5 days

Start your adventure at an ecolodge in Fiji, a tropical paradise in the South Pacific. Get to know your Putney group and immerse yourself in island life. Learn about Fijian culture and home life in a coastal village that depends on the ocean for sustenance. Participate in a traditional kava ceremony, help prepare meals, and explore the spectacular coast together with local friends. Travel up the Navua River by longboat to visit a remote highland village. Float your way back by innertube, stopping to swim at a secluded waterfall.

Nadi & Yasawa Islands, Fiji — 4 days

Immerse yourself in the multicultural city of Nadi, visit the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, and enjoy the therapeutic goodness of a mineral-rich mudbath. Contrast the bustling and urban way of life in Nadi with the slow-paced traditional life experienced in Pacific Harbour. Explore the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters of the Yasawa Islands. Snorkel and scuba dive through vibrant underwater ecosystems and partake in a coral restoration project with marine biologists and the local community. Reflect on your time immersed in this incredible culture and prepare for life down under.

Auckland, New Zealand — 1 day

Bid goodbye to the tropical beauty of Fiji and fly to New Zealand’s Northern Island, and begin familiarizing yourself with Kiwi culture. Spend one day taking in breathtaking harbor views and savoring the city’s international dining scene.

Skiing in New Zealand — 4 days

Fly to Queenstown, located on the rugged and beautiful South Island, surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Ferry across Lake Wakatipu, hike a scenic trail, and make your way down a mountain on the exhilarating Skyline Luge. Visit a selection of New Zealand’s most famous “ski fields,” where adventurers of all abilities ski or board in snow-filled basins above the timberline. Lessons are available for beginners. Explore the alpine town of Wanaka and break into cooking teams to prepare group dinners at your accommodations.

New Zealand Homestay — 2 days

Join Kiwi host families for a two-day homestay. Learn how to shear a sheep, watch a rugby match with homestay brothers and sisters, help make a traditional New Zealand meal, or take a “tramp” with your Kiwi family. Both leaders stay in town during the homestay, and the group gets together for excursions each day.

Maori Traditions & Christchurch — 2 days

Experience a Maori marae, a sacred communal space, and learn about the ancient traditions of the country’s oldest surviving culture. Join in time-honored songs and speeches, listen to myths and legends that have been passed down through generations, and participate in a traditional Maori hangi ceremony. Wrap up your time in Aotearoa in the Gothic-style city of Christchurch and make final preparations for your upcoming maritime adventure.

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands — 5 days

Fly to Airlie Beach and board a yacht for a multi-day sailing trip through the spectacular Whitsunday Islands. Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, sleep on deck under the brilliant Southern Hemisphere stars, and relax on white-sand beaches. Lend the crew a hand as you learn the basics of sailing. Spot whales, tropical fish, spectacular coral reefs, and dolphins from the ship as you make your way among the islands.

Sydney, Australia — 3 days

Experience life in lively Sydney. Take in a rugby match, explore the city by bike, visit the world famous Taronga Zoo, or have a picnic lunch down on “The Rocks.” Visit the Sydney Opera House, go surfing, and enjoy cafés and galleries as you explore the streets and “laneways” of this thriving, cosmopolitan city.

Australian Outback — 3 days

Adventure across the Outback toward Uluru, the largest monolith on earth. Steeped in mythology, this colossal piece of sandstone rises abruptly from the desert plain. Trek between the giant rounded domes of adjacent Kata Tjuta on the lookout for bright green ring-necked parrots, plunge into the cool waters of desert swimming holes, examine ancient rock art and identify medicinal plants, then camp out in “the bush” and sleep under the stars. Listen to Aboriginal dreamtime stories, catch a sunrise over this otherworldly landscape, and learn about the cultures that have lived here for over 40,000 years. Cap your amazing adventure with a final BBQ dinner around the campfire and reflect on your experiences with new friends.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from Uluru, Australia, to Los Angeles, by way of Sydney, with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_xausa_neal-from_2
Neal From
View Bio
2023_xausa_devon-swinburne
Devon Swinburne
View Bio
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Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_xausa_neal-from_2
Neal From
View Bio
2023_xausa_devon-swinburne
Devon Swinburne
View Bio
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About the Destination

The South Pacific is an area as rich in cultural history as it is in biodiversity and scenic beauty. From the white-sand beaches of the Fijian islands, to the snowcapped peaks of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, to the stunning coral of the Great Barrier Reef, we explore the unique landscapes and cultures of these three island nations. Through visits with Fijian, Maori, and Aboriginal communities, we learn how Indigenous cultures in the region are managing to maintain their traditions in increasingly diverse cultural landscapes.

Language

English is an official language in Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. In Fiji most of the population also speaks either Fijian or Hindi.

Climate

Fiji is tropical, with days and nights hovering around 85°F. Temperatures in New Zealand at lower elevations will typically range from 40–60℉ (4–15°C), and temperatures on the ski slopes are mild and pleasant. Temperatures in Australia range from 50–70°F (10–21°C) in Sydney, up to 85°F (29°C) in the Whitsunday Islands, and dip down to 30°F (-1°C) at night in the Outback.

Cuisine

Traditional Fijian cuisine incorporates seafood, root vegetables, and coconut milk into many dishes, as well as fresh tropical fruits. The strong British influence in Australia and New Zealand can be seen in its cuisine: meat pies, fish and chips, stews, and hearty breakfasts. Recent immigration has brought along with it cuisine from the Mediterranean and Asia.

About the Destination

The South Pacific is an area as rich in cultural history as it is in biodiversity and scenic beauty. From the white-sand beaches of the Fijian islands, to the snowcapped peaks of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, to the stunning coral of the Great Barrier Reef, we explore the unique landscapes and cultures of these three island nations. Through visits with Fijian, Maori, and Aboriginal communities, we learn how Indigenous cultures in the region are managing to maintain their traditions in increasingly diverse cultural landscapes.

Language

English is an official language in Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. In Fiji most of the population also speaks either Fijian or Hindi.

Climate

Fiji is tropical, with days and nights hovering around 85°F. Temperatures in New Zealand at lower elevations will typically range from 40–60℉ (4–15°C), and temperatures on the ski slopes are mild and pleasant. Temperatures in Australia range from 50–70°F (10–21°C) in Sydney, up to 85°F (29°C) in the Whitsunday Islands, and dip down to 30°F (-1°C) at night in the Outback.

Cuisine

Traditional Fijian cuisine incorporates seafood, root vegetables, and coconut milk into many dishes, as well as fresh tropical fruits. The strong British influence in Australia and New Zealand can be seen in its cuisine: meat pies, fish and chips, stews, and hearty breakfasts. Recent immigration has brought along with it cuisine from the Mediterranean and Asia.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Exploration

To learn more about our Exploration programs click here.

Independent Project

Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn about the impacts of coral bleaching as you explore the Great Barrier Reef, master the rules and culture of rugby in the South Pacific, or create a recipe book with authentic Fijian recipes.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program and you should be enthusiastic about outdoor exploration and varied daily activities. Experience in skiing is not required, and beginners can take lessons, as a range of terrain is available. If you are scuba certified, you will have an opportunity to dive in Fiji. During your homestay and throughout the program you must be willing to contribute to daily chores that are a part of living cooperatively.

Accommodations

Accommodations range from small family-run inns to campsites in the Australian Outback, and berths on a sailing yacht to refuges high in snow country. Students have access to common and outside space at our accommodations for community meetings, working on projects, socializing, etc. Leaders reside together with students throughout the program.

Meals

We experience many different types of cuisines throughout our adventure that are culturally specific. We form cooking and cleaning crews for the skiing and Outback portions of the itinerary, and eat most other meals at restaurants, as picnic lunches, or in the homes of our Fijian, Kiwi, and Aussie friends.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Exploration

To learn more about our Exploration programs click here.

Independent Project

Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn about the impacts of coral bleaching as you explore the Great Barrier Reef, master the rules and culture of rugby in the South Pacific, or create a recipe book with authentic Fijian recipes.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program and you should be enthusiastic about outdoor exploration and varied daily activities. Experience in skiing is not required, and beginners can take lessons, as a range of terrain is available. If you are scuba certified, you will have an opportunity to dive in Fiji. During your homestay and throughout the program you must be willing to contribute to daily chores that are a part of living cooperatively.

Accommodations

Accommodations range from small family-run inns to campsites in the Australian Outback, and berths on a sailing yacht to refuges high in snow country. Students have access to common and outside space at our accommodations for community meetings, working on projects, socializing, etc. Leaders reside together with students throughout the program.

Meals

We experience many different types of cuisines throughout our adventure that are culturally specific. We form cooking and cleaning crews for the skiing and Outback portions of the itinerary, and eat most other meals at restaurants, as picnic lunches, or in the homes of our Fijian, Kiwi, and Aussie friends.

A Day in the Life: Whitsunday Islands​

Due to the traveling nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in the Whitsunday Islands.
7:00am
Wake up and enjoy breakfast on the deck of your sailboat
8:00am
Join the crew as you help sail across the Coral Sea
10:00am
Hike to a cave on a nearby island containing ancient Aboriginal paintings
12:00pm
Make your own sandwich from a spread on board your sailboat for lunch
1:00pm
Explore the Great Barrier Reef while snorkeling
4:00pm
Relax with some beach time
6:00pm
Eat dinner on the deck of your sailboat and take in the sunset
8:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and plans for tomorrow
10:00pm
Gaze at the stars before heading to bed in the berth of your sailboat

A Day in the Life:
Whitsunday Islands​

Due to the traveling nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in the Whitsunday Islands.
7:00am
Wake up and enjoy breakfast on the deck of your sailboat
8:00am
Join the crew as you help sail across the Coral Sea
10:00am
Hike to a cave on a nearby island containing ancient Aboriginal paintings
12:00pm
Make your own sandwich from a spread on board your sailboat for lunch
1:00pm
Explore the Great Barrier Reef while snorkeling
4:00pm
Relax with some beach time
6:00pm
Eat dinner on the deck of your sailboat and take in the sunset
8:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and plans for tomorrow
10:00pm
Gaze at the stars before heading to bed in the berth of your sailboat
“The homestay was one of the highlights of my entire trip! The family was amazing and I loved getting to hang out with locals and get a feel of their daily lives.”
—Alaina C., Emerson Waldorf School, Chapel Hill, NC
mackenzie-grapes

This Program is Directed by

Mackenzie Grapes

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

mackenzie-grapes

This Program is Directed by

Mackenzie Grapes

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

Enroll in two programs & save $1,000!

$800 tuition discount + no application fee

Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji
Adventure in the South Pacific

2024 Dates
June 30 — August 1

Duration
33 days

Tuition
$11,490 + airfare

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
16–18 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Los Angeles


 

Additional Info

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

 

2024 Dates
June 30 — August 1

Duration
33 days

Tuition
$11,490 + airfare


 

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
16–18 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Los Angeles

 

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

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Request More Info

Alaska
Baja & the Gulf of California
Barcelona
Belize
Chile & Peru
Germany & Sweden
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Montana
Peru
Switzerland
Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji
Croatia & Slovenia
Cuba
Faroe Islands & Iceland
Italy & Greece
Japan
Kilimanjaro
Panama & Colombia
Patagonia: Skiing
Spain, France, & Portugal
Switzerland, Italy, France, & Holland
Spain
France
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Tuscany
Barcelona
Tokyo
Argentina
Costa Rica
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Fiji
Hawai'i
Morocco
Nepal
Peru
Puerto Rico
Tanzania
Thailand
Vietnam
Iceland
France & Holland
Italy & Greece
Spain
France
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Hawai'i

Why Choose Putney?

Putney has been the leader in student travel and educational summers for more than 70 years. As a family-run organization, our decades of experience, our dedication to quality programs, and the personal service you receive are unmatched.

We invite you to subscribe to hear about new programs and upcoming events, and start your path to the summer of a lifetime.

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