Join one of our groups for an action-packed 7 week tour combining adventure travel with volunteering on Australia’s famed East Coast. Your journey begins in the awesome city of Sydney before heading north to Brisbane via the legendary Byron Bay. You’ll spend 2 weeks volunteering on an environmental conservation project - a great way to give back to this amazing country - before continuing north into Queensland.
Sailing on the Whitsunday Islands, 4 x 4 jeep rides on Fraser Island and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef are just some of the highlights. Your epic adventure ends with a trip to Cape Tribulation, a stunning paradise where the reef meets the rainforest!
- Check out Sydney’s sights on our harbour cruise
- Try surfing at Byron Bay
- Assist on a vital environmental conservation effort
- 4 x 4 driving on Fraser island
- Overnight sailing around the Whitsunday islands
- Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
- Visit Cape Tribulation, where the Reef meets the Rainforest
Week 1: Sydney
Arrive in Sydney where you’ll meet your leader and the rest of your group, and enjoy a welcome dinner and orientation. Your first week is packed with activities as you explore this incredible city and surrounding area. Activities include a Harbour cruise, a Blue Mountains tour and plenty of social activities!
Week 2: Sydney – Brisbane
Leaving Sydney behind, we begin our journey up the East Coast. First stop on the itinerary is Byron Bay, an idyllic town with great beaches and a vibrant coastal surf culture. Carrying on north we reach the Gold Coast and iconic Surfer’s Paradise. Our final stop this week is the vibrant capital of Queensland and an optional chance to visit the world famous Australia Zoo!
Week 3 & 4: Brisbane – Cairns
We continue our East Coast adventure as we head deep into the state of Queensland. Highlights on this leg of the journey include a 3 day jeep safari on Fraser island; the largest sand island in the world! 1 night sailing around the Whitsunday islands with visit to Whitehaven beach! And stop at the popular hang-out of Airlie beach. Final stop is Cairns where you’ll be able to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world!
Week 5 & 6: Environmental Conservation Volunteering
Australia has a rich and diverse natural environment and spending time volunteering abroad on a conservation project will help to preserve it for future generations. By being part of a conservation effort, you are able to make a positive difference to conservation of nature upon which all life depends and is interconnected.
We work with a number of different project partners including regional councils, national parks, museums, land care groups and other national conservation agencies. The exact project you work on will be determined by what is needed at the time, past groups have done land-care work with Green Space, helping to manage the ecosystem and environment in the Cairns area, which also helps protect flora and fauna and the Great Barrier Reef.
Week 7: Cairns & Cape Tribulation
For your final week, we’ll take a short trip to Cape Tribulation – a breathtaking ecotourism headland where the Reef meets the Rainforest. Learn about this unique environment as you take a boat ride on the Daintree river and hike along one of the trails and boardwalks, but keep an eye out for crocodiles and other wildlife along the way! On your return, you will have a few days to enjoy the activities and beaches in and around Cairns before your final farewell party and airport transfer.
For available start dates check out the 'Dates & Availability' section below - you may need to scroll right to view the prices and book on! You can secure your place on your chosen adventure with a deposit of either $300 or 10% of the trip price, whichever is higher. The remainder is paid leading up to the trip departing.
- Pre-departure support
- Airport pick-up
- Gapforce Leader
- Local support staff
- All accommodation
- Some meals
- Program transfers & equipment
- Trips & activities as listed in brochure
- Return airport transfer
- 24/7 emergency back up
- Financial failure protection
What is not included:
- Flights to/from destination
- Travel insurance
- Visa & Vaccinations
- Spending money
- Some meals (full details available in the brochure)
- Tips and gratuities for local guides
Who is this program for?
This program is for anyone looking for a group experience exploring the East Coast of Australia, combining backpacking with environmental conservation. There is no prior experience required although the minimum age is 18 and you must also have your doctor sign our medical form confirming you are medically fit to participate. A reasonable level of fitness is required to participate, and if you plan to take part in any open-water based activities eg surfing and snorkelling, you must be able to swim 200m.
Where will I be staying?
You will stay in a variety of accommodations throughout your trip including lively hostels, guesthouses, camping and sailing boats on the Whitsundays. Most accommodations will be dorm style with shared bathrooms.
What is the food like?
Up to four group dinners will be provided during the trip, along with 3 meals per day during the volunteering phase. Specified meals are also included during the Included Trips (see brochure for details). Vegan and vegetarian diets can be catered for, please check with us regarding further dietary requirements and/or allergies.
Who will be supervising me?
Throughout your expedition you will be accompanied by a Gapforce Expedition Leader. At various stages of your expedition we utilise the services of local support staff including project coordinators, drivers and guides.
What type of transport will I be using?
You are responsible to getting yourself to and from the start point of the expedition. During the expedition, program transfers are included. Travel is a combination of day and overnight journeys using a range of transport including public and private buses, jeeps, boats and taxis. Please give us a call for more information on individual journey details.
*Please download the program brochure for full details!
Fun down under
An amazing seven week trip going up the east coast of Australia. This 7 week trip allowed 12 strangers to bond and become great friends whilst doing unbelievable activities which have created lifelong memories. Personal highlights include skydiving in cairns (a must do for anyone on the trip), the overnight boat trip to the Whitsunday Islands and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.Michael, 23, gap year student from the UK
Australia Adventure with GapForce
I have never traveled abroad by myself before, and needless to say I was anxious when I got off the plane. However, my fears were immediately put to rest when I met up with the GapForce group. Being a relatively small group (11), it made it easy to get to know one another and made it much easier to stay together as a group instead of splitting up. We formed strong bonds throughout the journey, and I am grateful for the friends that I made. Our trip started in Sydney and we went all the way up the coast to Cairns. Along the way, we participated in numerous activities that were simply breathtaking. I will never forget when we went kayaking in Bryon Bay and whales swam right under us. There was also the three day camping trip on Frasier Island, which was one of the best experiences of my life, aside from getting rid of the spiders for my tent mates. We also went sailing at Whitsundays and got the chance to snorkel and see tons of marine life and sleep overnight on a sailboat. Those were just a handful of all the activities we were able to participate in, and I loved every one of them. However, none of that would have been possible without our group leader Joe. He made sure that the group was organized and prepared for everything. He made sure we all got the most out of this trip and even suggested some additional activities. They were mainly nature walks, but the ones I did go on were great. He made sure I got everything I could have out of this trip and I can't thank him enough for that. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to travel abroad because this was one of the best experiences of my life.Ben, 18, gap year student from the US
The Australia adventure was the first trip with Gapforce that I have done and I would highly recommend it. There was only a small group of us (11) including our leader Joe who made this experience even better. I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing group of people to spend the 7 weeks with. I learnt a lot about the Australian culture along the way as well as involving myself in many activities at the different locations visited.[...] Joe gave us enough space and freedom for the group to get out of the trip what they wanted and enjoy the trip as much as they could, but enough structure when we needed it and asked for it for us to feel comfortable ‘alone’ on the other side of the world.I’d highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to get away from home to travel but not wanting to do it alone as you get to meet some amazing new people, and I can easily say I’ve got friends for life who I will keep in contact with. The memories I have will last forever and I can’t wait to share it with my family.[...] Throughout this trip, just getting to know everyone you were with was brilliant. You build such a strong bond with people very quickly, which makes the trip fly by. There are times where you won’t all get along or agree, but that’s inevitable when you spend so much time together for 7 weeks. I have made some amazing memories with people I never imagined meeting. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever done.Lauren, 19, gap year student from the UK
Overall my experience was amazing. I could not have asked for a better group of people to spend 7 weeks with and I feel like this trip really helped me grow a bit. I feel like I’ve learned so much about different different people that live in different places. The activities were unbelievably cool and this country was breathtaking. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a trip across the world to leave home for a bit and meet amazing people and make many memories that will last forever.Betse, 20, gap year student from the USA
Australia GapForce Adventure
The Australia GapForce Adventure, led by Joe Craig, was an experience of a lifetime. I made lifelong friends, discovered one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and I had fun! I felt comfortable the second I arrived at our first hostel in Sydney. Everyone was so welcoming and soon it did not feel like I was on the other side of the globe. We traveled up the coast, and each destination had something unique to offer. Some highlights include seeing the ostentatious Opera House in Sydney, kayaking with whales in Byron Bay, seeing the Australia zoo, and zip lining in Daintree Rainforest. We also did volunteer work in Cairns, which was very rewarding. Examples of the volunteer work include mulching in the Botanic Gardens and weeding in Sugar World park. I enjoyed giving back to the beautiful land through which we had been traveling for two months. Through all these adventures, we were guided by our responsible and kind leader Joe Craig. He offered a beautiful blend of leadership and familiarity. He was extremely knowledgable of the places we encountered, and he was able to answer almost every question we had with ease. It was obvious that he really cared about our group, and he worked diligently to make sure we had an incredible experience. At one point on the trip I had a stomach virus, and I remember distinctively how Joe responded. He kept asking how I felt and was very considerate of my illness. Even though I was not in the comfort of my own house, Joe made me feel comfortable. Joe also was very responsible. He made sure we were on time for everything, and if there were any setbacks along the way, Joe handled it with ease and adapted well to every situation. Not only was he an amazing leader, he was also a wonderful friend with an excellent sense of humor. It was clear that our group respected him as both a companion and a leader. I cannot thank GapForce and Joe Craig enough for this amazing expedition! The trip was amazing and something I will remember for the rest of my life.Chris, 18, gap year student from the USA
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- Duration: 4 to 7 weeks
- Departures: January, March, October