loading spinner

From the Outback to the Reef: Australia with your Grandchild

Program No. 21942RJ
From koalas to kangaroos, discover amazing Australian wildlife with your grandchild as you camp under the stars, learn about local culture, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and more!

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Protecting the Environment

We offset a portion of the emissions created by your travel. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Age 10 - 14
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
Jun 15 - Jul 1, 2024
Per Adult
Per Child
Jun 15 - Jul 1, 2024
/ Adult
/ Child
/ Adult
/ Child
Select Date

At a Glance

Are you an animal lover? What about a water sports fan? Lucky for you and your grandchild, Australia has something for every type of adventurer. Together, dive right into “the Land Down Under” while snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef or spot crocs as you cruise through a swampy lagoon. Gather around the fire on a campout under the stars and learn the Aboriginal art form of dot painting with some awesome experts. Alongside your grandchild, experience one of the most amazing countries on Earth, filled with two exciting weeks of stunning red desert, tropical rainforests, colorful coral reefs, jumping kangaroos and a cool camel ride!
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Stepping in and out of and paddling a kayak. Walking up to three miles at a time over varied terrain. Standing at least three hours daily; climbing stairs, getting on/off public transport, carrying own luggage. If you believe you require wheelchair assistance to get through an airport you are not fit enough to participate in this program.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Grab your paddle for a kayak adventure through Sydney’s Royal National Park – the second oldest national park in the world.
  • Meet Aboriginal Australians and taste their traditional bush food before exploring Uluru.
  • See how many colorful fish you can spot as you snorkel the amazing Great Barrier Reef.

General Notes

This program is for grandchildren ages 10-14.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
David O'Brien
Originally from the island state of Tasmania, Dave O’Brien has lived in North Queensland for more than 30 years. Working as a biologist almost his entire career, Dave has been involved in reptile research, aquaculture, government organizations, private enterprise and owning his own business. Outside of work, Dave’s interests include birding, photography and long-distance running. He has been married since 1986 and has two adult children, presently living in Melbourne, Australia and Alberta, Canada.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of David O'Brien
David O'Brien View biography
Originally from the island state of Tasmania, Dave O’Brien has lived in North Queensland for more than 30 years. Working as a biologist almost his entire career, Dave has been involved in reptile research, aquaculture, government organizations, private enterprise and owning his own business. Outside of work, Dave’s interests include birding, photography and long-distance running. He has been married since 1986 and has two adult children, presently living in Melbourne, Australia and Alberta, Canada.
Profile Image of Sue Grebenschikoff
Sue Grebenschikoff View biography
Sue Grebenschikoff is an instructor and site coordinator in Cairns. Originally from Sydney, Sue moved to Cairns 20 years ago after she fell in love with the tropical region. Sue has a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a concentration in marketing, is a keen gardener, and loves to travel and meet people. She has worked in various capacities for many years on award-winning wilderness adventure programs around tropical North Queensland.
Profile Image of Andrew Fitzgerald
Andrew Fitzgerald View biography
Andrew Fitzgerald is a keen astronomer with considerable experience presenting information on stars, planets, our solar system, and the galaxy to large groups. He regularly presents a session on the local radio station informing locals and visitors of current astronomical features and events. Andrew’s wealth of knowledge enhances sessions exploring the features of Southern Hemisphere skies.
Profile Image of Rayleen Brown
Rayleen Brown View biography
Rayleen Brown is an Aboriginal who worked as a project officer to help Aboriginals secure their traditional land. She now owns and operates a successful catering business that’s been specializing in traditional bush products and foods for the past 10 years. In addition, Rayleen is a member of the national Bush Foods Council, an educator for schools across Central Australia and a mentor with the local Desert Leadership Program. She continues to be a strong advocate for the Aboriginal people to this day.
Profile Image of Michael Kidd
Michael Kidd View biography
Michael Kidd is a retired secondary school principal and teacher. After teaching mathematics at four Sydney high schools, he was appointed the principal of Hurlstone Agricultural High School, a school on 200 acres of farmland with 300 boarders, mostly from the country in New South Wales. He and his wife Robyn (also a retired secondary school principal and Road Scholar group leader) have traveled extensively with their two daughters. As group leader, Michael loves to share his passion for his homeland with Road Scholars.
Profile Image of Martin Ludgate
Martin Ludgate View biography
Martin Ludgate was a lecturer at Charles Darwin University in Alice Springs, where he lectured and managed the educational travel program. Now semi-retired (although still doing some lecturing and leading educational excursions), Martin has a keen interest in local history and culture as well as the landscapes, flora and fauna of the Northern Territory. “The great pleasure of enabling Road Scholar participants to bring alive their desire to experience a sense of Outback Australia, which they have heard so much about, makes my involvement so rewarding,” Martin says.
Profile Image of Russell Boswell
Russell Boswell View biography
Russell Boswell is the manager of savannah guides and savannah way limited. A long-term Cairns resident, Russell’s background is in education and marketing. His tourism career has included group and safari operation, magazine publishing and training local experts. Russell sits on several industry committees and has been the proud recipient of a Cassowary Award for services to Wet Tropics nature-based tourism.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
True History of the Kelly Gang
by Peter Carey
A powerful, daring novel, steeped in the colonial history of late 19th-century Australia. Outlaw, folk hero, thief and patriot, the Irish immigrant Ned Kelly and his clan figure large in the Australian mindset. Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel (his second after "Oscar & Lucinda") takes the form of a series of rough, captivating letters by the barely literate gang leader to his young daughter. Kelly was hanged in Melbourne in 1880, where his mother was also imprisoned.
Tirra Lirra By The River
by Jessica Anderson
One of Australia's most celebrated novels: one woman's journey from Australia to London and back again. A book about the sweetness of escape, and the mix of pain and acceptance that comes with returning home. Winner of the 1978 Miles Franklin Award.
The Tears of Strangers
by Stan Grant
A family memoir charting the political and social changes of Aboriginal Australians over the past 40 years.
A Fortunate Life
by A. B. Facey
The is the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. The autobiography of Albert Barnett (Bert) Facey - farmer, labourer, jackaroo, WWI veteran - lived from 1894 to 1982, predominantly in Western Australia's frontier territory. Facey's story, published at the age of 87, brings to life his experiences as a child labourer, itinerant rural worker, soldier and Depression-era farmer. Despite the trials faced, he always considered he led "a fortunate life". It is considered a classic of Australian literature. It is one of Australia's favourite books.
My Place
by Sally Morgan
In 1982 Sally Morgan travelled to her grandmother's birthplace, Corunna Downs Station in Western Australia. She wants to trace the experiences of her childhood andolescence in Perth in the 1950's. Through memories and images, hints and echoes begin to emerge and another story unfolds - the mystery of her aboriginal identity. Gradually her whole family is drawn in to the saga and her great-uncle, her mother and finally her grandmother tell their stories in turn. My Place is a work of great humour, humanity and courage.
Playing Beatie Bow
by Ruth Park
An Australian children's/young adult's novel. The game is called Beatie Bow and the children play it for the thrill of scaring themselves. But when Abigail is drawn in, the game is quickly transformed into an extraordinary, sometimes horrifying, adventure as she finds herself transported to a place that is foreign yet strangely familiar . . .
Position Doubtful
by Kim Mahood
Since the publication of her prize-winning memoir Craft for a Dry Lake, in 2000, writer and artist Kim Mahood has been returning to the Tanami desert country in far north-western Australia where, as a child, she lived with her family on a remote cattle station. The land is timeless, but much has changed- the station has been handed back to its traditional owners; the mining companies have arrived; and Aboriginal art has flourished. Comedy and tragedy, familiarity and uncertainty are Mahood's constant companions as she immerses herself in the life of a small community and in groundbreaking mapping projects. What emerges in Position Doubtful is a revelation of the significance of the land to its people - and of the burden of history.
Young Dark Emu: A Truer History
by Bruce Pascoe
The highly-anticipated junior version of Bruce Pascoe's multi award-winning book. Bruce Pascoe has collected a swathe of literary awards for Dark Emu and now he has brought together the research and compelling first person accounts in a book for younger readers. Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. He allows the reader to see Australia as it was before Europeans arrived - a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent.
Chasing Kangaroo
by Tim Flannery
An ode to the kangaroo in all their splendid diversity and oddity. Revisiting his early love of kangaroo fossils, Flannery weaves engaging tales of his adventures on the trails of marsupials past and present with his travels and encounters with eccentric scientists and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.
by Tim Winton
A bewitching fable sure to delight readers of all ages. A wise exploration of the difference between the acquisition of information and the quest for knowledge, Blueback is an achingly beautiful story about family, belonging, and living a life in tune with the environment, from Tim Winton, one of Australia's best-loved authors.
The Nargun and The Stars
by Patricia Wrightson
After a millennial sleep, the stone-like Nargun awakes to roam the land again - unless a recently orphaned little boy and his new family can somehow halt the mythic creature's deadly advance. A children's fantasy novel set in Australia, it was one of the first Australian children's books to draw on Aboriginal Australian mythology. The novel was the winner of the 1974 Children's Book Council of Australia Children's Book of the Year for Older Readers.
A Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia
by Thomas Keneally
With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, the miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillip, the ambitious (and bland) captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales. You may be familiar with Keneally as the author of the acclaimed work (made into an equally-renowned film) "Schindler's List".
A Town Like Alice
by Nevil Shute
Nevil Shute's most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback.
Dark Emu : Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture
by Bruce Pascoe
History has portrayed Australia's First Peoples, the Aboriginals, as hunter-gatherers who lived on an empty, uncultivated land. History is wrong. Using compelling evidence from the records and diaries of early Australian explorers and colonists, Bruce Pascoe reveals that Aboriginal systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia's past is required - for the benefit of us all. Dark Emu, a bestseller in Australia, won both the Book of the Year Award and the Indigenous Writer's Prize in the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards.
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia
by Ken Simpson • Nicholas Day
A handbook and field guide to Australia's birds with 2,000 vivid color illustrations, each accompanied by a brief description and revised range map. This more compact seventh edition features 16 new or revised color plates, new maps and condensed information.
A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia
by Steve Wilson
A comprehensive account of the 800 species of Australian reptiles, grouped by family. Each entry includes a distribution map, notes on habitat, range and conservation status. Covering crocodiles, sea turtles, freshwater turtles, geckos, flat-footed lizards, skinks, dragons, goannas, blind snakes, pythons, file snakes, colubrid snakes, terrestrial elapids, sea snakes, and, sea kraits.
by Bruce Chatwin
Rory Stewart provides the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of Bruce Chatwin's celebrated travelogue, which is as much about its gifted author - and the meaning of travel - as about the Aboriginal people and their ways of life. Chatwin transforms a journey through the Outback into an exhilarating, semi-fictional meditation on our place in the world.
Fishwatcher’s Field Guide: Great Barrier Reef
by Idaz Greenberg
A double-sided, laminated card covering the reef fish of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the tropical Pacific.
My Brother Jack
by George Johnston
The Miles Franklin award-winning classic. Through the story of the two brothers, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths: that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest Aussie battler, whose greatest ambition is to serve his country during the war. Acknowledged as one of the true Australian classics, My Brother Jack is a deeply satisfying, complex and moving literary masterpiece.
Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia
by Peter Menkhorst • Frank Knight (Illustrator)
A comprehensive guide to 376 species of kangaroos, koalas, bandicoots, wombats, deer, seals, whales and other mammals of Australia featuring full color illustrations by Frank Knight. Third edition

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.