Group Flight Information
Program participants will meet the group organizer at the below airline check-in counter three hours before the departure flight. If you have trouble locating the group, please notify your group organizer or contact SSA.
DEPARTURE FROM USA
RETURN TO USA
A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event SSA is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.
SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please also make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.
SSA will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the Smithsonian Student Adventures staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.
Please have all travelers check below to ensure their name is spelled exactly how it appears on your passport. For edits, email lacey@SmithsonianSA.com.
Community & Project Details
Minkie Whale Monitoring Surveys and Snorkeling
Relatively little is known about these whales and it is assumed that they migrate every winter from Antarctic waters to locations such as the northern Great Barrier Reef. These whales seem curious of stationary ships and will readily approach snorkelers repeatedly. You will have ample opportunity to look into the eyes of these beautiful whales as they calmly cruise below or to your side. You will be briefed by the researcher on board on how to survey the minkie whales. You may be asked to take specific photographs for identifying individuals or recording particular behaviors. All data you collect will be passed to conservation researchers and used to understand the behavior and ecology of these whales, their migration patterns and to manage whale tourism.
Darling Harbour Whale Cruise
We will embark on a whale-watching cruise that begins as a cruise in the harbour and exits into the open ocean where migrating humpback whales can be seen. These animals migrate from Antarctic waters during the southern winter to the coastal waters off Queensland. Many of these wanderers stop to rest, and exhibit spectacular displays (fin and tail slapping, breaching, spy-hoping and others) associated with aggression, play and mating. On board we will learn about the successful conservation of this whale species after decades of hunting drove them to near extinction in Australian waters and beyond. This is an opportunity to climb to the top of Australia’s most famous “Coathanger” for some very remarkable views of the city and its surroundings. You will learn about the history of the how the bridge was built and the impact that it has had to the people of Sydney.
There will also be the Dreamtime walk where you can try to make a boomerang come back, hit a target with a spear and play a didgeridoo. You will also have the opportunity to paint a canvas with traditional patterns and motifs, under the guidance of an artist. You will again get a chance to meet Australia’s unique fauna at the same Park. See many unique Australian mammals, birds and reptiles found in tropical Australia, including the tree kangaroo.
Daintree Discovery Centre
There is a strong chance you will be able to see wild Cassowaries in the center. These are large and flightless birds increasingly threatened by the loss of habitat in Australia. Learn about conservation issues for this and other species such as the tree kangaroo- yes- a kangaroo that hops about in the treetops!
Tramp Ant Program
The Tramp Ant program takes place in the Wet Tropics World Heritage area next to the suburbs of Cairns. In recent times, an Argentinean ant species, the Yellow Crazy Ants, were accidently introduced to the Cairns and the surrounding wet tropical forests, probably by hitching a ride on international cargo. Many colonies have been detected and there is immense concern that these ants could negatively impact local biodiversity. If left unchecked, these ants could spread further into the Wet Tropics. We will partner with the Parks and Wildlife authority and the Wet Tropics management Authority to survey, detect and eradicate colonies of these ants from the suburban areas bordering the wet forests.
Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo Habitat Rehabilitation
This species of tree kangaroo is one of two species found in Australia. Their natural habitat is in the wet tropical rainforests of northern Queensland, especially in the Atherton Tablelands. The tree kangaroos in Australia have a conservation status of Vulnerable due to large-scale loss of rainforest habitat. In addition, the fragmentation of existing habitat forces these tree roots to travel over open ground when moving from one forest to another. This activity places the tree kangaroo at risk of being hit by a car and attacked by domestic dogs. Our role will be weeding and planting native rainforest species to create safe corridors for the tree kangaroos to navigate from one forest to another.
Communication & Blog
The easiest way for students to keep in touch with family and friends at home while traveling will be using Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants) via Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.
SSA tries to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, they should direct all general inquiries to info@SmithsonianSA.com. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S.
Here is the link to your blog: -Coming Soon-
What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.
Australia Packing List
6 pairs of underwear
6 pairs of socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
4 t-shirts (some quick dry)
2 long sleeve shirts
1 warmer jacket
1 rain jacket
2-3 pairs of travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
2 pairs of comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
1 pair of durable athletic/hiking shoes
1 pair of sandals (optional)
1 pair of work gloves
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
Band Aids and Neosporin
Medication in properly marked original container
Journal and pen
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Alarm Clock and watch
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle
1 quick-dry towel
Deck of cards or other portable games