Early February - Mid April, 2023
Early February - Mid April, 2023
*Program dates include online sessions to prepare students prior to travel and synchronous interviews to complete final assessments after travel.
- Milford Sound
- Blue Mountains
- Great Barrier Reef
- Canggu, Bali
- Ubud, Bali
Contact us for course equivalencies in your school board.
9:1 Student to Staff Ratio
Why Take this Program?
As you land in New Zealand, you will feel like you are in your own Bilbo Baggins adventure. World-class surfing, marathon hiking, and stunning mountain ranges are balanced with academic pursuits in literature, mathematics and media. If you want to prepare yourself for university and test your GRIT this is the course for you. From treks through lush rainforests in Milford Sound, to hikes on the Fox Glacier in New Zealand, the adventure continues to Australia where you will surf on Bondi Beach in Sydney, hike the Blue Mountains, and dive to the depth of the Great Barrier reef before settling into the tranquil beaches of Bali. While the academics strengthen your cerebral cortex, the adventure will blow your mind.
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What People Are Saying
I want to give a shout out to the MEI staff for the incredible experience Jesse had on the Adventure Down Under trip. We picked her up at the airport last night and she truly has never been happier. The trip and interaction with the teachers has given her a new perspective on herself and the beautiful world she lives in. We are so grateful to the teachers and the entire team at MEI for providing this experience.
Parent of Jesse MacMillan, Adventure Down Under 2016
Explore this program's detailed itinerary for a sense of the journey ahead!
Online Foundation Work
We start this program with two weeks of Online Live sessions. You will meet virtually with your teachers and classmates daily to read and discuss assigned readings and begin novel study projects. The Foundation Work period gives you a chance to review major assignments and get to know your crew so that you can hit the ground running when you land in your first location.
Day 1: Our journey to New Zealand, Australia, and Bali commence in Toronto where teachers and students get to know one another and settle into the rhythm of the program. There, we conduct activities and complete foundational course material before setting off for New Zealand. All of our preparation allows us to hit the ground running and dive straight into the adventure that awaits.
Days 2-6: If ever there was an epic destination to explore, New Zealand is it, with its world-class surfing, marathon hiking, and stunning mountain ranges—it is little wonder it served as the all-natural set for the Lord of the Rings films. Our grand adventure begins on the South Island, where students participate in team-building as they whitewater raft in one of the region’s winding rivers before relaxing in a natural hot spring. In Queenstown, the students are introduced to their morning workouts and academic routines. Students consider the importance of Maori culture to the development of New Zealand through our first literary discussion of Witi Ihimaera’s The Whale Rider. Queenstown acts as a jumping-off point for students to explore everything New Zealand has to offer, from hiking to engaging with local Māori leaders in Marae. Students also have the chance to dine on Hāngi, a traditional Māori feast cooked on heated rocks in a buried pit oven, and to ascend Cemetery Hill for a spectacular view of Ben Lomond and Lake Wakatipu.
Days 6-12: In Milford Sound, students embark on an otherworldly trek through Fiordland National Park, where the beautiful becomes the sublime. While hiking through the lush rainforests along the coast, students have the opportunity to witness dolphins, penguins, and seals in their natural habitat. From the sound, students travel to Fox Glacier where the outdoor adventure continues on its incredible natural ice formations fed by four alpine glaciers. Here, students develop their skills of descriptive writing and poetry, while storyboarding and gathering footage for their major media project in their English course.
Days 12-17: From New Zealand, we travel to our first Australian destination, Sydney, where students are immersed in one of the world’s most active cities. Set against a backdrop of breathtaking mountains and golden beaches, students hit the ground running, utilizing the upscale harbourfront district as their home base. Here, our Physical Education program focuses on maintaining balanced health through presentations on diet, exercise, and mindfulness while our evenings are spent delving into our elective courses, whether they are English or math. Beach volleyball tournaments, surfing lessons, and Ultimate Frisbee games on the white sand of Bondi and Manley Beaches fill our days, while sunset views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge reveal why Sydney is such an iconic city.
Days 17-20: Before boarding a flight to Queensland, students enjoy an unforgettable three-day trek through the eucalyptus forests of the Blue Mountains. A UNESCO World Heritage area, the mountains connect body and mind as we hike rugged mountain terrain, cross rivers, and share campfire dinners - with an ever-eager eye looking out for koalas and kangaroos! As we pass the sacred aboriginal site, The Three Sisters, and through the blue haze of Jamieson Valley, we take advantage of this ideal location to discuss indigenous rights and reconciliation.
Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
Days 20-28: In Cairns, everything switches gear as our days are spent focusing on academic writing and the development of effective argumentation, while afternoons are spent boulder climbing, playing handball, or diving for volleyballs along the city’s Esplanade Lagoon. Family dinners at the public barbeques or group meals in our cozy apartments complete our days in Cairns before we make our way to one of the world’s most spectacular regions—the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkelling or scuba-diving among the clownfish, sea turtles, and the formations of the reef itself make for memories no one will ever forget. Two nights aboard our vessel with the friendliest, and most knowledgeable staff allow us just the right amount of time at the world’s largest coral reef.
Days 30-35: Back on land, students ascend to the tropical heights of the Atherton Tablelands along the north-east coast of Queensland. An adventurer's paradise, we canoe local lakes, visit stunning waterfalls, and hike through a rainforest. Aside from the funky cafes of Yungaburra and the local platypuses, our cozy accommodations offer the best of Australian hospitality and a calm and quiet abode to complete activities and assignments.
Days 32-36: Flying from Cairns to what seems like paradise—Bali—students decompress from their epic journey through New Zealand and Australia. They immerse themselves in the energy of Canggu that is deeply connected to the joyous spirit of this island and its smiling inhabitants. Residing in Canggu, an economy driven almost entirely by its visitors, students examine the far-reaching effects of tourism and globalization as they begin preparations for their Independent Study Units. Our mornings are spent surfing the local breaks, while our days consist of exploring the island teeming with kingfishers, wild orchids, and monkeys. We conclude each evening in Canggu over bowls of fresh curry and grilled seafood.
Days 40-49: From Canggu, we travel northeast to the nearby city of Ubud, where our attention turns to final exam preparation in between visits to the Tegallalang rice terraces, Monkey Forest, and the Goa Gajah ‘Elephant Cave.’ What a way to finish high school! Here, students write final exams and celebrate their journey as they conclude their adventure through Oceania. On the last evening together, students reminisce over dinner and a final podcast performance before packing up for their long flight home.
Departure from Bali Airport (Day 40)
Online Final Evaluation Week
Upon your return, you have time to complete additional research and pull your work together before your final one-on-one online assessment. This week allows you to reflect on your travel experiences and integrate them into the course material. MEI staff have found this style of evaluation enjoyable and the most authentic way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and academic skills.
great barrier reef
- Ministry-approved credit(s) upon successful completion of the course(s)
- Custom course pack
- Student Login
- MEI journal
- MEI T-Shirt
- Digital yearbook
- Hotels and accommodations
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Entrance fees to all course-specific sites
- Return airfare from Toronto's Pearson International Airport
- Approximate airline departure taxes, surcharges and fees
- Airfare between countries
- Transportation between hotel locations via private coach
- Transportation for all listed program excursions
Program Fee Does Not Include
- Local Transportation
- Course texts
- Medical Insurance and Cancellation Protection†
- Non-refundable $95 Registration Fee
† All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.
**Program cost does not include non-refundable $95 registration fee or any airline taxes or fees. Please note the possibility of increases in airfares and land costs prior to departure. Any increase must be borne by the individual participant.