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School Camps at the Southern Great Barrier Reef

The benefits of outdoor education are well established – it fosters critical thinking, leadership skills, evaluating risk taking and promotes positive mental wellbeing among students. The natural choice for an outdoor education destination is of course, the world famous Great Barrier Reef!

A school camp at the Great Barrier Reef is the ultimate destination for studies on Biology, diversity, tourism and other science related fields.The Southern Great Barrier Reef is the closest point to Brisbane and a visit to the amazing Lady Musgrave Island & Coral Cay provides students the chance to witness the “great 8” animals (whales, turtles, sharks, clownfish, giant clams, coral, rays and maori wrasse) as well as understand the biological significance of the reef. 

  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Study Areas
  • Experience Options
  • Sample Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • FAQ’s
  • Booking Terms

The Great Barrier Reef School Camps & Education Tours

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, and is an ecologically, economically & bio-diverse region of importance in Australia. It is the ultimate destination for studies on Biology, diversity, tourism and other science related fields. The Southern Great Barrier Reef is the closest reef point to Brisbane and a visit to the amazing Lady Musgrave Island & Coral Cay provides students the chance to witness the “great 8” animals (whales, turtles, sharks, clownfish, giant clams, coral, rays and maori wrasse) as well as understand the biological significance of the reef.

It’s not hard to see why schools and colleges come from all over Australia to see this fun filled adventure classroom! 

So why choose Trailblazer Tours for your next school camp?

Trailblazer Tours is an eco-accredited tour company who have been providing quality school camps for many years and is backed by our sister company Australian Sunset Safaris. We boast:

  • Free door to door service for schools within a 100km radius of Brisbane
  • Door to door service for a small additional charge for schools up to 800km from Brisbane!
  • Professional and friendly guides complete with DA’s (medical and police checks required)
  • The ability to cater for large schools 100+
  • Custom built itineraries to suit your KLA’s – just tell us what you need
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coaches
  • Risk assessments provided

Study Areas at the Great Barrier Reef

We have summarised the main areas of study suitable on our Great Barrier Reef tour below. The list is by no means exhaustive and if you have an idea or requirement you would like to discuss with us, please feel free to get in contact—we happily custom build itineraries to suit your needs.

Biology & Marine Studies

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef eco-system, encompassing shallow estuarine areas to deep oceanic waters and presenting a unique biological study area. During the full day Lady Musgrave Island Tour, students will have the chance to experience life on the reef up close, and be educated by a marine biologist during the day. They will have the chance to see the “great 8” animals on the reef including whales (during season), turtles, sharks, clownfish, giant clams, coral, rays and maori wrasse plus a multitude of corals and other marine life.

Download the School Camp Information Pack for more information on Biology Camps

Geography, Sustainability & Tourism

Much has been publicised in recent years on the threats & challenges to this unique and iconic destination. Climate change, sedimentation, overfishing & un-sustainable tourism are all threats to the health and biodiversity of this living organism and students will be able to follow up in-classroom studies with immersion in the reef environment. 

Download the School Camp Information Pack for more information on Geography Camps

Physical Education

Where better to study physical education than a living breathing reef!

Activities that support physical education include:

Guided snorkelling

Optional scuba diving

Optional Surfing & SUP lessons

Optional Guided eco kayak tour

Tours can be tailored to visit any sites of significance to your studies.

Experience Learning at The Great Barrier Reef

The Southern Great Barrier Reef presents an amazing array of eco-adventure activities which will have your students buzzing from sun up to sun down. With a multitude of natural experiences mixed with a dose of adrenalin-pumping outdoor adventure activities, students are easy to keep entertained and teachers are able to tick off the "curriculum" list. 

We also have a range of additional optional activities not shown below, that you will find in our School Camp Information Pack download.

Snorkel School

Enjoy a relaxed learn to snorkel session at the Bargara Basin whilst feeding hundreds of fish by hand in waist deep water. This is a great intro session to get students prepared for their snorkelling adventure on the reef.

Snorkelling Lady Musgrave Reef & Coral Cay

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef is something that will stay with your students for a lifetime and is all part of the included experience on the reef. Quality equipment and full safety equipment and supervision is provided including safety vests & pool noodles if required.

Students will snorkel in the Lady Musgrave Island lagoon which is teaming with exotic fish and marine life. They will get up close and personal with a variety of marine life and corals including turtles, starfish, tropical fish – they might even find “Nemo”.

Glass Bottom Boat

The glass bottom boat tour allows students to have the full reef experience and view the underwater world without getting wet. You will witness different types of corals including hard and soft as well as thousands of tropical fish, some turtles and an abundance of other local marine life. Learn from the expert    skipper as he takes you on a journey of discovery through the Coral Lagoon.

Coral Cay Walk

Explore the uninhabited Lady Musgrave Island with a marine biologist! Learn about the unique and fascinating wildlife, history and natural phenomena of this coral cay.

Fish Feeding

Fish Feeding is a popular activity for schools. Join in the “fish feeding frenzy” as the water boils with fish at the edge of the pontoon. Fish of all colours and sizes come in from everywhere at fish feeding time, including “George,” the giant Potato Cod.

Mon Repos Turtle Research Centre & Hatchery

March to November

Students will visit the Mon Repos Turtle Centre and learn about the special journey turtles and people have taken at Mon Repos, the colourful history of the area and about Mon Repos Regional Park.

November to March

Join a QPWS Ranger at Mon Repos Turtle Centre on a guided tour to watch nesting and hatching of marine turtles*. This special ranger led experience has been carefully created to help students understand and appreciate the life cycle of the turtle, to manage turtle watching, and to ensure successful breeding for the survival of this endangered species.

It is an amazing sight to see these huge creatures heaving their way up the beach to find a safe spot to dig a nest and lay their eggs. It’s even more amazing to see the little hatchlings scurry out of the sand and down the beach to the water to start their new life in the open oceans. This is the experience of a life time for all who participate.

Australian Animal Zoo

Visit a boutique Australian zoo where students have the opportunity to cuddle a koala, hand feed kangaroos & emus, hold a live snake and even a baby crocodile. Bring learning to life with a live snake handling and croc feeding demonstration.

3 Day Great Barrier Reef Sample Itinerary

For more itinerary examples, please download the Great Barrier Reef School Camp Information Pack or give us a call to discuss your specific needs – we’re more than happy to tailor an itinerary to your learning outcomes.

We also offer combined tours to the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, Moreton Island and Brisbane – check out our discovery tours for more information!

Day 1

  • Get picked up at your school in our air-conditioned vehicles
  • Stop at Childers to experience Native Australian Boutique Zoo. Get photos with Koalas and Kangaroos, hold a Crocodile and much more.
  • Enjoy a relaxing Learn to Snorkel session where students feed hundreds of fish by hand in waist deep water.
  • Visit Mon Repos Turtle Hatchery, the world’s largest turtle Research Centre.  See the life cycle of turtles with an incredible display* guided by National Park rangers. From November to March Students may have the opportunity to witness turtles laying or hatching on the beach. Please talk to us for more information about this activity.
  • Check into Resort before a group dinner & stargazing beach walk

Day 2

  • Early light continental breakfast before boarding the most luxurious air-conditioned boat on the Great Barrier Reef to Lady Musgrave Island
  • Guided walk on Lady Musgrave Island
  • Snorkelling the reef & coral cay
  • Glass bottom boat tours on the reef & fish feeding
  • Arrive back on mainland in the late afternoon for showers or swim in pool before dinner
  • Beach walk or night activities organised by teachers

Day 3

  • Continental/hot breakfast at resort
  • At Neilson Park, enjoy a game of Volleyball or explore the esplanade and its history
  • Choose one of our optional activities below (some have additional fees)

Hinkler’s Aviation Museum

Become part of Bert Hinkler's story through interactive displays; fly like Bert on distinctive glider        simulators, be enthralled by Bert's life achievements and personal story in the movie theatrettes, sit in the replica Avro Baby aircraft and also view the original from his record setting 1921 flight.

Bundaberg Ginger Beer Factory guided tour

Discover the secrets of Bundaberg Brewed Drinks with a variety of hands-on activities at the home of ginger beer. Take an amazing journey through the True Brew Experience Tour. Use our interactive touch screens to see what happens to the humble ginger root as it’s crushed, brewed and fermented to make the world’s finest ginger beer. You can also sit back and enjoy the unique 15 minute 3D hologram     adventure, ‘Doug’s Promised Land’ in our theatre.

The LARC ½ day Aboriginal Goolimbil Tour

The concept of the Goolimbil Walkabout tour is for guests to have the opportunity to accompany a hunter and gatherer on an expedition through coastal bushland, then into mangrove wetland and onto littoral rainforest where a gathering place is located.

Surfing or SUP lessons

Join Enviro Reefs Surf School, a locally owned and operated surf school and SUP school that offers inspirational surfing lessons and SUP lessons for every skill level.

Bundy Bowl Activities: Laser Tag & Dodgem Cars

Let your students run off some energy with laser tag, dodgem cars, mini golf or ten pin bowling!

Our students are accommodated at Kelley’s Beach Resort, an Eco Certified establishment committed to reducing their impact on the environment—you can read more about their sustainability commitment here. It is located by a nature reserve and only 1 block from Kelly’s beach – the main swimming beach in Bargara and boasts a games room, spa, sauna, tennis court plus 5.5 acres of cartwheel space!.Groups are catered for in 4-5 person villa’s and teachers have access to a WIFI hotspot.

 

We pride ourselves on providing the best transport options available for our school camps, and can move groups of up to 180 all at once in our custom-built 4WD coaches. All vehicles are air conditioned and suitable for on-road and off-road travel. Features of our service include:

  • FREE door to door service for schools within a 100km radius of Brisbane
  • Door to door service (small additional fee) for schools up to 700km radius of Brisbane
  • Comfortable 4WD air-conditioned coaches
  • Professional and friendly drivers with full driver’s authorisation 

Are we able to combine locations for our camps?

Yes absolutely! We offer trips to multiple destinations such as Moreton Island & Fraser Island, Fraser Island & The Great Barrier Reef, Moreton Island, Gold Coast theme park and a night in Brisbane! These combined trips are perfect for interstate schools who may have a little further to drive.

Do you provide risk assessments for activities?

We sure do – we have a safety and risk assessment handbook which will be sent to you upon booking.

How long does it take to get to The Southern Great Barrier Reef?

From Brisbane, the trip takes around 4 hours but we make a stop at a boutique animal zoo for lunch along the way.

Is there WIFI at the accommodation

Yes, WIFI is available at the resort

Is there a shower on the snorkelling vessel

Yes, a shower is available for your use throughout the day

PAYMENTS, CANCELLATIONS & T&C’S

1. QUOTES

– please note that a quote does not automatically reserve your preferred dates, and is only valid for 14 days from issue date. Should we not receive confirmation of quote by the end of the 14-day validity period; a new quote may need to be issued.

2. DATE SECURITY DEPOSIT

– once you have confirmed your quote, we will issue you with a tax invoice and confirmation documents. Unless otherwise stated, all bookings must be secured with a 30% or $1000 deposit payment (whichever is greater), within 14 days after confirmation. Failure to provide the date security deposit by the due date will result in the forfeit of the camp dates requested. Please note that this deposit amount will be deducted from the total invoice.

Payments can be made via direct deposit, cheque or credit card. Please note that all credit card payments will incur a 1.5% surcharge fee.

3. BALANCE PAYMENT

– a final balance invoice will be issued 14 days prior to camp upon receipt of final numbers.  If final numbers are not advised by this date, the last number update will be used.

4. OTHER PAYMENTS

– a new tax invoice will be issued for any additional payments incurred after the above final payment has been made. Any new additional payments will be due immediately, unless otherwise stated. Any credit amounts / refunds payable will be issued after the camp travel dates, unless the camp is cancelled prior to travel dates.

CHANGES AND REQUESTS – unless otherwise stated:

All details pertaining to final numbers, dietary requirements, special requests and medical information must be received no later than 14 days prior to travel.

  1. Any decrease in numbers 14 days or less prior to the confirmed date of travel will not be eligible for a refund or a credit. (This is due to certain costs outlaid.)
  2. Any increase in numbers inside 14 days prior to the confirmed date of travel will be accepted and charged additionally. (Subject to space availability.)

CAMP CANCELLATIONS – unless otherwise stated:

  1. If advised at least three (3) months prior to the confirmed date of travel, the paid deposit amount may be kept as a credit for use for a future camp booking.
  2. If advised within (2) months prior to the confirmed date of travel, the paid deposit amount will be forfeited in-full.
  3. Cancellation notice provided 14 days to one (1) month prior to the confirmed date of travel will result in the forfeit of the paid deposit amount in-full, and will also incur a 25% cancellation fee.
  4. Any camp cancellations received 14 days or less prior to the confirmed date of travel will not be eligible for a refund or credit.
  5. Any cancellations made up to one (1) month prior to the confirmed date of travel where no final payment has been made, will incur a 40% cancellation fee as well as forfeit the deposit amount paid.
  6. All credit amounts have a validity of 12 months, after which time if the credit amount has not been redeemed it will be forfeited.
  7. All administration fees will be calculated on the total camp amount due.

Note:  Trailblazer Tours reserves the right to send home any student who is deemed to be behaving inappropriately. No refunds are applicable in this instance.

ACTIVITY AND OTHER IMPORTANT T&C’s

  1. Trailblazer Tours reserves the right to cancel, delay and / or reschedule activities or services due to unsuitable weather. (Please note that the entire camp itinerary is dependent on activities chosen, tide times and the size of the group.)
  2. A requirement of our insurance company is that all students /parents have completed their indemnity forms before being allowed to swim or participate in activities covered. These forms must be handed to the Tour Guide at the start of the camp.
  3. All schools are responsible for completing the provided medical and special dietary forms on behalf of their students. This must be faxed or emailed to our office at least 14 days prior to travel.
  4. School representatives are at all times responsible for the behavior of students in their care.
  5. It is the responsibility of the school representative to dispense any medication to students with the permission of parents / guardians. Trailblazer Tours will under no circumstances dispense or administer any medication.
  6. A duty of care is owed to students in the school environment and while on excursions. The Education Department's duty of care owed to students for the duration of an excursion cannot be delegated from the school to parents, caregivers, volunteers or employees of external organisations.
  7. To ensure the health and safety of students and staff, schools are required to proactively manage all aspects of a variation to school routine. The school's duty of care to students extends to school excursions and camps, which are integral to students' educational programs. Activities conducted away from schools may increase risks and therefore the standard of care required must reflect the increase in identified risks.

A note on QPWS (National Park) Fee Changes in 2015

For educational groups travelling on a fully facilitated camp with Trailblazer Toursor sub-contractors there is no longer a need to complete forms for exemption of national park usage fees.  Schools & educational groups will now be automatically exempt from these fees.  Where the aforementioned group is taking a vehicle, they will be eligible for fee exempt vehicle permits and should contact camping support (camping.support@nprsr.qld.gov.au) to obtain their relevant permits.  This is the responsibility of the group taking the vehicle.

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I use Trailblazers for school groups and have always found their services to be the best. Programs run to schedule, the guides are very informative and all staff friendly and helpful. The students gain a memorable experience whilst learning so much. Cannot recommend them highly enough.

Delma Smith

CTIA