Navigator – Australian Alps – January 2019

Welcome to everyone to the Navigator – Australian Alps adventure.

Everyone has arrived safely and excited to meet their instructors Marita and Forrest. We do have a few hot days.

We’ve already seen them running around playing some games to get to know each other in the cooler part of the day. We are expecting hot weather over the next few days but have solid plans in place to ensure the team is safe. We look forward to sharing some photos and stories of their successes. Please send them good wishes by commenting!

We wish to thank the Defence Community Organisation and Ulladulla Lions Club for their support of many of the young people on this great adventure.

Day 1

Today will be focused on expedition preparation. Everyone will be getting their backpacks packed for the first time. Forrest and Marita will also be working on everyone to come together as a team and have the Giant Ladder planned for the cooler late evening.

Notes from the field:

“We all arrived at basecamp to begin the amazing adventure in the bush. New places and faces made us all nervous, but after a few teamwork games we all started to get used to each other and have loads of fun. In the afternoon we faced the Giant Ladder. This taught us many valuable teamwork skills (Jack and El got up the quickest!).

After sorting our gear (which was a lot!) We then went down to the river and splashed around to cool off. That evening we set up our bivvy’s (bivouacs) and assigned our daily team roles. A few hours into this 12 day adventure and we were all starting to become friends before we knew it.

A big challenge of the day was the vigorous heat, but none the less we all agreed that the Giant Ladder pushed our limits to the next level.”


Day 2

Even with the hot weather there is a happy mood amongst the team as they get to know each other.

Due to extreme heat over today and forecast into the next few days our team made the decision to keep them closer to base.

They have been able to head out to Ingledene Forest for some navigation experience. This will help in their expedition so that they have the knowledge and skills for their expedition once the weather cools down.

Tomorrow they will make the best of the cooler morning challenging themselves on the individual ropes course before cooling off in the river and planned leadership workshops in the afternoon.

Notes from the field:

‘A ship is safe in the harbour but that is not what ships are built for’

Today we raised the Blue Peter flag as a traditional ceremony to show that we as a team were about to head out on our adventure. We headed out for our first hike of the 12 day expedition. Before starting the hike we learnt the ins and outs of navigation. This lesson will help us take responsibility for ourselves so that towards the end of the expedition we will be the leaders and the instructors will be following. To escape the heat of the sun we stopped frequently and also had to adjust our packs so that they fitted correctly. We climbed through fences, over fences and under fences – we had to take our pack off every time. Thankfully we went to a river to cool down for several hours. We had sandwiches for lunch and ration packs for dinner.”

Day 3

With the hot weather the team has been getting up early to make the most of

the cooler weather in the morning. The team escaped the main heat of the day by heading indoors for workshops and turning on the aircon (don’t tell anyone!). Outward Bound has been part of a research project keeping records of water quality in the nearby river systems and the team helped out after dinner.
Notes from the field:
“We woke up with an early start of 5:30am. The first challenge of the day was the huge high ropes course which pushed all of our limits and challenges us. After morning tea we then had a bunch of leadership and public speaking activities. We played a few games such as Ninja, One of the games Baseball Ninjas has become our team name because it’s our favourite game.

Our dinner was noodles and tofu stir fry. We cooked in our the camp stoves in a big wok. After dinner we headed down to the Murrumbidgee River to explore the river. We learnt about the water testing and tested the water PH and oxygen levels before heading back to camp to escape the incoming storm.

Day 4

Day 5 and 6

After some much needed rain to cool the ACT down the group finally got to head a bit further into Namadgi National Park. They headed down to Nursery Swamp in the Orroral Valley. Orroral Valley is a stunning area surrounded by rocky ridgelines and filled with mobs of kangaroos.

” We walked 3km through the Orroral Valley passing the historic homestead and finishing at the tracking station. When we arrived we started our 2424hr solo which was interrupted by a storm and strong winds. We were gathered together as a group for safety under shelter because of lightning for a short period before being sent back out to our solo shelters. Everyone was excited (and nervous) to go on the 24hr solo.

After the solo people were relieved to see each other again and happy to spend so much time by ourselves. Being away from others by ourselves was a big challenge. We learnt a lot about ourselves and some found their inner peace.

Jack, Tori ant Liz were the leaders.”

Day 7

Notes from the field:

“Today the group walked the furthest we have done so far. The hike was approximately 10km – uphill and steep. After hiking we learn how to set up anchors for abseiling. The leaders for today were Oscar, Tim and Jamie. It was hard to lead because people were both physically and mentally tired.

Looking back on the day, the biggest challenge was the hike we completed. We had to wake up at 4:30am to ensure that we would avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Everyone was challenged in one way or another though we all pushed through.”

Day 8

Stepping out of comfort zones for young people is an important part of learning not just on an Outward Bound adventure. Being able to transfer what they have learnt about themselves by overcoming fears, nervousness and compassion for others to the real world are skills that stay with them for life. Today the crew challenged themselves with abseiling and also visited the impressive Legoland.

Legoland is situated on Honeysuckle ridge – a collection of granite tors being slowly exposed over thousands of years. Wriggle holes and expansive views over the valley combine to create a memorable experience.

Notes from the field:

“The day started early as usual which had everyone a little grumpy and tired. We soon got over our grumpiness and were really excited (and nervous) to go abseiling. We then headed to a place called ‘Legoland’. ‘Legoland’ was a huge cave which was amazing. We climbed up and through the rocks. Forrest told us that there is a rock in the cave called “Pride Rock” like out of the Lion King with an amazing view. He was not lying as it was an awesome view. We could see the valleys and other mountains where we had walked. It felt like another world. Magical! Climbing back down and out of the cave was fun too. We had a choice between a hard path and an easy path – naturally we all chose the hard path.

We then walked back to Collination tower and did our first off track navigation. A girl from the group (me) fell over a log and landed on a fire ant nest, after several bites she was cursing the mountain! We made it to camp after a big effort and collected another food drop.

Looking back on the day a lot of people in the team are scared of heights or confined spaces so abseiling and caving were two of the most challenging parts of the day.  signing out, Baseball Ninjas”

Day 9

Some stories and adventures get bigger the more you retell them. If that is the case, we wonder what these stories will be like in 20 years! Happy reading the latest…

Notes from the field:

“Leaders of the day: Tim, Aaron and India

The ninth day was the hardest so far. We had a 12km hike to our destination. The team ventured out to our first stop about 3km away. Shea and Harry navigated us downhill through the bush. We found a green open spot in the forest for morning tea. Our next stop was lunch. We “bush based” meaning there was not a set path and we had to make our way through the trees, sticks and uneven ground that engulfed us. We revitalised woth a delicious salami sandwiches and switched navigators to Kaylee and Liz. With more intense hiking we all started to tire but our determoination helped us push past the aches and keep moving forward. The last hour of the day was the hardest but the campsite at the end was worth it. A serene valley where we had a delicious meal (freeze dried beef, hooney soy chicken, pasta and mash. We peacefully enjoyed a peach coloured, vibrant sunset over the mountains.”

Day 10

Notes from the field:

“Today was the most challenging day of our camp. Starting the day at 5:30am we packed up to get ready for a massive hike. The whole day consisted of hiking with limited stops. Climbing up from our campsite to the top of Mt Tennent was such hard work though extremely rewarding.

The team were all exhausted by the end of the  day though we all had a sense of accomplishment. The fact that we all pushed through and made it to the top of the mountain shows our commitment and enthusiasm and how much we have grown on the journey.”

Day 11

With only a few days left the team are implementing many of the skills that they have learnt. Navigation, time management, problem solving and leadership are some of the essential skills that they will demonstrate as they complete their expedition. The team had camped the night before a few kilometres from the summit of Mt Tennent and the plan was to hike up without their packs on to see the sunrise. They would also during the day complete a service project – regenerating a section of the Murrumbidgee corridor. This has been a long term service project that many other Outward Bound participants have been involved in for over 8 years and is having a long term impact on the health of the land and the river.

Notes from the field:

“We had an early wake up at 4am to begin our hike up to the summit of Mt Tennent to see the sunrise. We had breakfast and hot chocolate at the top before  heading back to camp to pack up. The team chose their navigators and then started to plan for the journey down the mountain. The hike took about 3 hours to get down to the Murrumbidgee River. There we met Tim and his dog poppy who helped us to learn about the natural environment and the importance of land care through tree planting. We then completed the final leg of our journey back to Outward Bound’s National Base.

The team are looking forward to seeing their families and friends again but sad to depart the friends that we have made. We’ve all become like a family and feel that we are renewed and changed after this experience.

Looking back on the day the biggest challenge was the long walk down from Mt Tennent and the biggest learning was from our service project. He opened our eyes to how every little bit counts to help our environment. It was a long and challenging day but it was so rewarding and made the whole experience worthwhile.”

Day 12

Celebrating their achievements over the past 12 days the team awoke one final time. Today they would part as a team hopefully with some wonderful memories and things that they have learnt. Showered and fed they reflected on their accomplishments before celebrating at their certificate ceremony. We wish all team members a safe onward journey. Well done!


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