Meaningful Christian Journeys of Discovery Close to Home

As we learn to adjust to a new world with international travel restrictions and border closures, we are blessed to have the opportunity to explore our own backyard and learn so much about our own Church history, early Christian activities and Indigenous connections, here in Australia (and New Zealand).

Olive Tree Travel have put together a series of meaningful, insightful and spiritually awakening journeys that unwrap the complex layers of our own colonial history and seek to leave participants with a much more in-depth understanding of what it means to have connection to country, people and land.

We invite you to keep exploring, continue travelling and visiting these local communities & tour operators that rely on your support for their livelihoods. Reconnect with your own social networks as you enjoy all that Australia (and New Zealand) has to offer Christian travellers wanting to be part of an all-inclusive experience where everything is taken care of.

View below our current available tours for 2020/21.

Pilgrimage from Dubbo – Bourke (God’s own Country) Escorted by local Historian, Dr Paul Roe

11th – 18th April 2021

The wide red country round Bourke on the Darling is Paul’s patch and even though he’s explored it for forty years or more, it still surprises him. That’s mostly because it’s story-rich. And it’s not just local yarns either – there are stories there that will knock your socks off. Explorers, poets, bushrangers, cameleers, riverboat captains, and a host of plain folk are ready to tell us extraordinary things about our own country that we would never have realised.

For Paul, the most inspiring are the visionaries who shaped Australia with their faith. Why don’t you join Paul and he’ll do his best to send you home with a swag of tales that will leave you wide-eyed and wondering. We guarantee you’ll never see Australia quite the same way again!

Paul is a historian from the Outback with 50 years’ experience in engaging audiences, eye to eye, mind to mind and heart to heart with Australia’s powerful stories of faith. Paul has a doctorate in history that focusses on telling our Australian Christian story. He’s offended by the way followers of Jesus who have generated so much social capital in our country, have been edited out of our shared journey. He believes it’s urgent to return their stories creatively to the national conversation about the future. Paul is committed to equipping an army of storytellers who will inspire people in every corner of the country by making this invisible faith-narrative, visible again.

PLACES ARE LIMITED.

Register your interest here

Eternity Walking Tour, Sydney

Friday 11th December from 9am (commencing at Central Station) for 5 hours

Tour price: AUD$250 per person (includes morning tea, lunch and lots more)

Let’s get walking, talking & chalking….

Arthur Stace (1885-1967) was, and remains, one of Australia’s greatest and best-loved Christians.  A working class battler, Arthur was mired for decades in poverty, alcoholism and petty crime until his conversion at a gospel meeting for “down and out” men at Sydney’s St Barnabas’ church on Broadway.

Read more

Miraculously reformed, literally overnight, he devoted the rest of his life to the service of God, most famously as “Mr Eternity”. 

For 35 unbroken years, from November 1932 until shortly before his death, Arthur spent hours each day chalking that single word – Eternity – on and around the streets of Sydney. He died a household name – and his mission has survived him. On New Years’ Day 2000, shortly after midnight, at the culmination of Sydney’s millennium celebrations, Arthur’s word was emblazoned on the Harbour Bridge and seen by billions of television viewers around the world.

Now, 20 years on, for the first time, you can walk in Arthur’s steps and even share some of your own Mr Eternity stories and memories with us! Our tour will take in many of the “landmark” locations of the Eternity legend, including the house in Redfern where Arthur was born, St Barnabas, and nearby Victoria Park, where Arthur prayed his first prayer. You will go to the place where, on 14 November 1932, Arthur was inspired to begin his Eternity mission – the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle in Darlinghurst (now the Eternity Playhouse), where the Rev. John Ridley preached on “Echoes of Eternity”. Other stops include the house in Pyrmont from which Arthur set out each day, and some of Arthur’s favourite chalking locations. Morning tea & lunch at the 2 Eternity Café’s included!  

About our tour guide:

Roy Williams is a leading expert on the subject of Arthur Stace. In 2017, with the help of Elizabeth Meyers, Roy researched and wrote the definitive biography of Arthur, Mr Eternity: The Story of Arthur Stace. Published by Acorn Press (an imprint of Bible Society Australia), the book has been a best-seller across the country. Mr Eternity is Roy’s fourth book. As well as being an historian of Christianity in Australia, and (like Arthur!) a mid-life convert to the faith, Roy has lived and worked in Sydney all his life and feels a close infinity with the people and places behind the Eternity legend.

Photos courtesy of Esme Strauss (Burton Street Tabernacle) and Sydney Morning Herald photographer Trevor Dallen, 1963  and Elizabeth Meyers.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE HURRY! PLACES LIMITED: BOOK here

HIS-STORY, Our Story: Learning from Sydney’s early Christian past to shape our Christian future

SAVE THE DATES: Thursday 18th – Saturday 20th March 2021

Cost per person: TBA

Join us in Sydney for an unforgettable 3 day fully immersive experience featuring engaging seminars, discussions & local touring by some of Australia’s greatest Christian Historians.

Based at St Philip’s & the Garrison Church in Sydney, we’ll be hosted by Rev Justin Moffatt, who’ll showcase and reveal the treasures left behind by the first fleet Chaplain, Rev’d Richard Johnson.

Hear from award winning author, Stuart Piggin, Christian Story-Teller, Paul Roe & Graham McLennan (founder of Christian History website www.chr.org.au), who’ll share their knowledge, passion and ability to turn our audience into an army of gifted story-tellers to ensure that the legacy and lessons learned from our early Christian forebearers will be passed on to the next generation.

All seminars, lectures, walking/coach touring is INCLUDED as well as hotel accommodation (options) & numerous meals to ensure this will be a meaningful experience not to miss!

Here’s an overview of how our 3 days is shaping up:

Day 1: The Convict Church, 1st Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian services, lunch. Early Aboriginal interactions (In the Rocks, CBD & Dawes Point), Dinner

Day 2: St James, St Stephens, Mitchell Library (Opportunity to view the Hassell papers, papers of Thomas Haweis, founder of the London Missionary Society, Marsden, Macquarie), Tour the Legislative Council, possible lunch at NSW Parliament House, afternoon excursion to Botany Bay & La Perouse, Dinner

Day 3: RiverCat to Cockatoo Island (Convict Chapel) and on to Parramatta (Marsden Story, Elizabeth Macarthur & St John’s Cathedral, Lunch. Bus returns to Sydney for drop offs.

Stay tuned as more details come to hand….

Places are strictly limited.

Click here for more details

Discovering New Zealand’s Cultural & Christian Heritage

26th January – 4th February 2021
Led by Malcolm Falloon

Samuel Marsden was a Yorkshireman serving as the Senior Chaplain to the Penal Colony of New South Wales, established the first Christian mission in New Zealand a little over 200 years ago in 1814. Marsden had been an Anglican minister in New South Wales since 1794, but he was also interested in taking the Christian Gospel to the South Pacific and New Zealand. Through his providential friendship with Ruatara, a local Ngāpuhi chief, Marsden was able to settle three missionary families in the Bay of Islands arriving there on 22 December 1814. He also preached the first sermon there on Christmas Day to a congregation of over a 1000 Māori. In all, Marsden made 7 visits to New Zealand over the course of the next 20 years until his death in 1838. For most of that period, Marsden directed and supported the mission from his parsonage at Parramatta. The mission faced many difficulties and setbacks and it was not until 1825 that the first convert was baptised. Yet by the time of Marsden last visit in 1837, large numbers of Māori were responding to the Christian message and by 1850 some 90 percent of Māori had converted to the Christian faith.

We invite you to come & immerse yourself in New Zealand and discover some of that which makes this nation’s heartbeat. Let Malcolm Falloon, an Anglican Minister and mission historian, help you discover the way in which Christianity was introduced into New Zealand and how and why it was embraced by Māori. You will also be in awe of the nature and beauty of God’s creative handywork and begin to understand something of the culture of Māori. Today, one in seven New Zealanders identify as Māori and their history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand’s identity.

Click here for more details

Journey to the Centre

A unique journey to Central Australia, combining visits to the key iconic sites and spiritual experiences led by local Christian leaders. Escorted by Rev Dr Rob & Andrea McFarlane, Uniting Church Australia

Autumn 2021

Central Australia is a rich source of spirituality and beauty. Indigenous culture stretches back tens of millennia, embedded in a landscape many millions of years in formation. European presence has been a complex interaction of domination and compassion. Other people have also walked this country, such as Afghan cameleers, and many still come with a dream to call Australia home. Contemporary Alice Springs is a vibrant multicultural centre. Each of these threads are part of the tapestry we will explore.

Our Journey to the Centre is a geographical journey to the centre of our island home, and is also an emotional and spiritual journey to the centre of our being. We will combine unique opportunities for spiritual experiences as well as visit some of the iconic places of the geographic centre. These will include Campfire in the Heart, worship at Alice Springs Uniting Church, workshops and story-telling with local Christian & Indigenous leaders encountering both the dark and light sides of history, visits to missions, art galleries and studios, and experiencing the “wow factors” of Kings Canyon and Uluru. For our time together we will form an intentional community to which all are welcome.

Rob and Andrea have previously led study tours tracing the growth of early Christianity from Jordan and Israel/Palestine, through Turkey, then on to Greece, Malta and Italy. These tours have been Biblical, interfaith and archaeological. Their experience includes previous visits to Central Australia which inform this Journey to the Centre.

Click here for more details

Exploring the Spiritual Wonders of Tasmania (lutrawita) with Rev’d Dr Garry Deverell

Join Dr Deverell on this all-inclusive trip to explore the spirituality of this unique landscape. As both a trawoolway man whose family has lived on this island for over 25 thousand years, and as an Anglican priest, Garry will help you read and interpret the spiritual significance of this unique island, in both its indigenous and colonial manifestations. By visiting places that are important to both Aboriginal and Christian peoples, you will be encouraged to appreciate the work of the divine in and through both landscape and people. You’ll also come to appreciate the extraordinarily tragic history of the colony, by exploring the complex relationship of the British establishment with both the original inhabitants and with the many convicts sent here from Britain and Ireland.

Click here for more details

Tasmania: The Land at the Edge of the World

Join the Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Rt Reverend Richard Condie to explore the state’s unparalleled beauty, wild places, abundant wildlife, and pristine wilderness. It’s pure water, fresh air and fertile soils make it a place of some of the best produce in the country. It is also a place with a long history – Aboriginal culture that dates back 40,000 years, and more recent European history, that is a mixture of sad stories of dispossession and massacre of the Palawa people and convict brutality, alongside the growth of agriculture, tourism and the arts; and all along the story of God in Tasmania, and the growth of the gospel.

Our hope with this tour is to introduce you to the land, the history, the food, and some of the stories that make this place special. We will also be introduced to some of the Christian work happening in the state, through the Anglican Church. It will be my privilege to welcome you to Tasmania, share some of your journey with you, and introduce you to some of our people and places. We’d love you to come and join us in this special corner of Australia.

Click here for more details

Upcoming Tours to Australia and New Zealand

Start DateEnd DateDestinationDuration (days)Tour NameEscorted By Christian Tours Keywords
11th APR 202118th APR 2021Dubbo-Bourke8Pilgrimage from Dubbo - Bourke (God's own country)Paul Roe Brochure Enquire now NZ
26th JAN 20214th FEB 2021New Zealand (for Australians)9Discovering New Zealand’s Cultural & Christian HeritageMalcolm Falloon Brochure Enquire now NZ
26th JAN 20214th FEB 2021New Zealand (for New Zealander's)9Discovering New Zealand’s Cultural & Christian HeritageMalcolm Falloon Brochure Enquire now NZ
17th APR 202125th APR 2021Central Australia8Journey to the CentreRev Dr Rob & Andrea McFarlane Brochure Enquire now NZ
T.B.CT.B.C.Tasmania8The Land at the Edge of the WorldRt Reverend Richard Condie Brochure Enquire now NZ
T.B.C.T.B.C.Tasmania9Exploring the Spiritual Wonders of TasmaniaRev’d Dr Garry Deverell Brochure Enquire now NZ

Please check back here soon as we continue to add more exciting local Australian & New Zealand journeys.

Find out more today