Two young Gunnedah girls never thought they would leave the shire, but they will soon be embarking on the trip of a lifetime to Japan - all for free.
Gunnedah High School Year 10 students Kiah Squires and Macy Friend will jet off to Japan on Sunday through the Girls Academy program.
The seven-day trip is fully funded by Idemitsu Australia Resources, and will include a visit to Tokyo Disneyland, and cultural sites such as Kyoto and Hiroshima.
Both girls put in last-minute applications and were incredibly surprised when they were chosen.
"I didn't think I would leave Gunnedah, let alone go to Japan, and then it happened and I was like holy shit," Kiah said.
"I've never been on a plane before either and it's like a 10-hour trip."
Macy said that, after finding out she had been chosen, she called her mum, who "started freaking out".
"She didn't believe me at first; I was like, 'I am actually going to Japan'," she said.
"If anyone asked me at the start of high school if I was going to Japan, I would've said 'No, you're crazy' - but it's actually happening."
It’s going to make me want to do it again, like travel to other places and learn different cultures.Kiah Squires
Gunnedah High School student Lucy Lincoln was chosen for the 2017 trip, and said it was a great opportunity that changed her confidence.
"I'd always wanted to go to Japan, so I finally had the opportunity to go and I was pretty excited," Lucy said.
"Being in such a small community, a lot of people don't really want to experience things like that; they're not adventurous."
Lucy said this year's girls should "just have fun and explore and look at everything".