Join us for an active cultural adventure in the South Pacific. Experience the otherworldly Australian outback, the alpine winter landscapes of New Zealand, and the island paradise of Fiji. Get beyond the typical tourist itinerary and experience these unique places and cultures in engaging and exciting ways.
- Spot red kangaroos and thorny devils as you explore the rugged Australian outback.
- Become a part of the crew as you sail among the tropical Whitsunday Islands.
- Participate in a traditional haka dance and learn about its significance to the Maori people of New Zealand.
- Observe sea turtles and giant clams up close as you scuba or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
- Ski the light powder snow of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
- Participate in a traditional Fijian kava kava ceremony with our local hosts.
Adventure Down Under
This high school summer travel program to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji combines outdoor adventure — snorkeling, sailing, skiing, and camping under the stars in the outback — with cultural exploration — living in rural New Zealand and lending a hand on a sheep farm, strolling the streets of cosmopolitan Sydney, hearing myths told by Aboriginal guides, as guests in a Maori village, and joining a Fijian ceremonial meal. In the course of just five weeks you can meet a wallaby, swim in turquoise water off a deserted South Pacific beach, take the wheel of your sailboat as you cruise along the Great Barrier Reef, visit the Sydney Opera House, milk a cow, learn to the rules of rugby with Kiwi friends, and lay down fresh tracks in Southern Hemisphere powder.
With over 30 years of experience running programs ‘Down Under’, we rely on the on-the-ground knowledge of Putney’s longtime contacts, who insure that you travel as an insider. From Aboriginal guides in the outback, experts in the natural and cultural history of the region, to our native Kiwi hosts, who introduce us to life on a sheep farm as well as the ski fields of the Southern Alps, to our hosts in a small Fijian village, Putney’s contacts grant us unique exposure to the places we visit.
Midway through the program, spend five days living with a Kiwi host family in the South Island’s sheep and dairy farming region. This is an unusual and fascinating opportunity to participate in life in rural New Zealand while getting to know a local family. Help out with household and farm chores like cooking and sheep-shearing, and join the family on an outing to a rugby game, to spectacular geological sites such as the Moeraki Boulders, or to a traditional Maori hangi, a cultural performance and feast.
After extended stays in Australia and New Zealand, we enjoy five days visiting the island paradise of Fiji, staying at a rustic eco-lodge. It is an ideal place to relax, defrost from the Southern Hemisphere winter, and reflect on the adventures we have experienced together as a group.
Accommodations range from small family-run inns to campsites in the Australian bush, and berths on a sailing yacht to refuges high in snow country. We form cooking and cleaning crews for the skiing and bush portions of the itinerary. We eat most other meals at restaurants, as picnic lunches, or in the homes of our Kiwi, Aussie, and Fijian friends.
Physical Challenge Level
Our programs are active. Days are filled with movement — snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, walking the streets of Sydney, or snowboarding on Mt. Cook are all activities you might participate in during this program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.