We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have over the phone (1800 267 999). Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions.
What will I carry?
Prior to the program we will inform you of what you may be carrying. Depending on the length and style of your program you are likely to carry a backpack which may contain your clothing, sleeping gear and water. The backpack will also contain a portion of the shared group equipment including food, cooking items and shelter. The weight of your backpack is calculated using your body weight, ensuring everyone is carrying the appropriate amount for their body size. Instructors will also double check pack weights after the participants have packed them.
What activities will we do?
Our programs are, by nature, challenging, that’s why people leave feeling empowered, inspired and resilient. However not all of the challenges are physical. Outdoor activities vary from location to location and may include rock climbing, caving, abseiling, ropes course, mountain bikes and water activities, like canoeing and rafting. Please be aware that all of our locations offer different opportunities for adventure and program activities will ultimately be determined by the natural features of the location and the prevailing climatic conditions of the seasons. Expect the unexpected!
How fit do I need to be?
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic or an outdoors expert to take part in one of our programs but you will need to be in general good health. Our programs include a variety of challenging outdoor activities, so the more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy it. We recommend walking a little bit each day, building up until the start date of your program.
Is it difficult?
All activities and challenges are within the capabilities of anyone who is willing to try. We work on the principle of ‘challenge by choice’ – it’s up to you how far you want to challenge yourself, we’ll be there to encourage and support you.
Will I be safe?
Safety is the number one priority at Outward Bound Australia. Our dedicated full time Quality and Risk Manager sets Safe Operating Procedures which, as well as exceeding Adventure Activity Standards for the relevant state or territory, are a product of nearly 60 years’ experience and international best practice. Our operating procedures are audited bi-annually by Outward Bound International and internally on alternate years by our Safety Advisory Committee. This committee also meets quarterly to review best practice.
Our instructors are rigorously trained to adhere to the Safe Operating Procedures. Each instructor has completed the working with children check relevant to the state or territory in which they operate.
How will I go to the toilet?
Due to environmental reasons, we don’t regularly use pit toilets while camping out. As an alternative to this we have a hygienic, private toileting system that we assemble for use each day of each program.
I’m over/under the age limits in my preferred program, can I still enrol?
Our courses are carefully constructed to suit specific age levels, because of this we rarely allow anyone out of these age brackets to participate in that specific program. We don’t mix adult participants with minors.
What food will I eat?
Whilst on program you’ll be very active so we have developed a food system to specifically meet the demands of life at Outward Bound Australia. There are a variety of menus including fruit, vegetables, bread, cereal, pasta, rice, cous cous, meat and various snacks. Your team members and you will plan and cook the meals for the entire group from a selection of fresh, dry and tinned food. You will have 5 meals a day whilst on program, and can ask for food at any time! We can cater for people with special dietary requirements such as vegetarian/vegan, dairy free, and gluten free and we have a nut free policy. Make sure you list your special dietary requirements on your ‘personal medical declaration’ when enrolling in your course so we can cater for your needs. Bringing snacks is not permissible on our programs for as it detracts from the sense of community sharing and can cause an inequality among group members.
What happens to my bag from home whilst I’m on program?
All items not used on program as well as the bag you brought to Outward Bound Australia will be stored for you until the end of the program.
Can I bring technology?
Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and music players are not permitted on the program. We maintain a place apart from outside distractions.
Should I bring a camera?
You can bring a camera on program. However there will be some times when you are not able to use it, such as roping activities, group debriefs etc. If you do bring a camera, please ensure it is well protected and waterproofed.
I follow cultural routines; can I follow them during a program?
Sure, as long as the cultural routines are permissible within our Safe Operating Procedures and insurance policies. Our instructors will do their absolute best to provide ample time and space for your cultural needs and practices, please disclose your needs to your course coordinator as soon as possible so that we can do our best to accommodate them. Participants who are unable to wear a helmet will not be able to undertake activities where a helmet is required. Safety must come first at Outward Bound Australia.
I’m not sure if I can attend because of my medical condition/disability?
We have a detailed medical screening process to ensure care is taken when presented with certain medical conditions.
Make sure you complete the ‘Personal Medical Declaration’ which we provide to you, and list as much information about your condition/s as possible. We assess each medical declaration individually and will discuss your personal circumstances with you to ensure that we can provide you with the best support possible while on program.
Some medical conditions require a further medical clearance form to be completed to ensure you are able to come on a program. Make sure you bring extra medication just in case.
What happens if there is a bushfire or flood?
We are practiced in re-routing programs due to bushfires, floods or other natural events. We closely monitor weather and other natural hazards before and during programs and we are prepared with evacuation plans and/or alternative routes.
My child has never been away from home before, is this a problem?
It may be difficult for your child initially; however Outward Bound Australia ensures a supportive environment whilst on program. Your child will be among friends and staff who will be there for support. Our instructors often face this situation whilst on program and have learnt from experience and training to help your child deal with this.
How do participants maintain hygiene throughout the program?
Strict hygiene practices are taught and implemented throughout the program, such as hand-washing facilities with fresh water and disinfectant. As most of our programs are expedition based there are no showers available throughout. Often water activities are incorporated in the program which will give the participants a chance to get wet and clean, and there are other ways to stay ‘clean enough’. However no soap or products can be used as they will pollute the river/waterway. Information about feminine hygiene is provided to all participants prior to the program and will be discussed at the start of the program.
What gear does Outward Bound Australia supply?
Unless you are advised otherwise, Outward Bound Australia supplies essential items such as backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent or bivvy, food, as well as other gear required. You are required only to bring clothing, minor equipment (eg head torch), personal hygiene items and any medication you may require on program. Either Outward Bound Australia or your organisation/school coordinator will supply our required gear list on enrolment.
The Instructor will set the clear expectation and understanding that each participant is personally and financially responsible for the proper care and maintenance of their issued equipment. The equipment is to be returned in the same condition in which it was issued. Where possible, any damage is repaired during the program, to emphasise the group’s self-sufficiency, their reliance upon the equipment, and the consequences of not treating their resources with care. If any damage is caused by deliberate malicious acts, or if an item is lost, the participant may be required to reimburse the value of the repair or replacement, thus reinforcing the action-consequence philosophy of the program.
Where can I find the clothes required for program?
Outward Bound Australia or your organisation/school coordinator will supply our required gear list on enrolment. All of the clothing we ask you to provide is essential for the outdoors and can be sourced at many places.
Mountain Designs offers a 12 month discount of up to 25% for Outward Bound Australia participants; take evidence of your program enrolment into the store. Other stores may choose to provide a discount: make sure you tell them it’s for an Outward Bound Australia course.
Kathmandu is generally well supplied with children’s sizes.
Op shops and Army surplus stores are a great source of cheap durable clothing.
Aldi often sells good, suitable thermals, boots and other equipment.
Don’t forget you might be able to borrow clothes from family and friends.
What type of rain jacket will I need?
Your waterproof rain jacket needs to form a waterproof/outer shell over your clothing. It must have a good hood and be waterproof (not shower proof). Longer rain jackets are preferable (halfway down your thighs). Please do not bring ski parkas, nylon jackets, water ‘resistant’ jackets or quilted jackets as they are not waterproof.
What type of boots/shoes will I need?
Your hiking boots/shoes should be rubber soled and provide good ankle support. Your boots should also be durable, in good condition and well broken in. You should NOT wear elastic sided boots or canvas shoes (these types of footwear are not supportive when carrying a loaded pack).
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