Australian Alps Navigator | October 2018 | Outward Bound Australia
October 01, 2018 11:35AM

Australian Alps Navigator | October 2018

Hello, and welcome to the blog for Outward Bound Australia’s Navigator program! This blog will follow the adventure of the October 2018 program. Throughout the program, check back each day for updates on what is happening. Like what you see? Proud of your young person? Leave a message in the comment section below. 


Day 1

Right from the start there were both smiles and nerves as gradually the back deck filled with participants and family. Participants had started their journey some time ago, anticipating the program. This morning they made the physical journey to Tharwa, the base camp for their adventures.

When the Outward Bound van arrived with the final team members, we had our opening Blue Peter ceremony. We raised the flag for all to see; a flag that reflects Outward Bound’s nautical beginnings, a flag that says the ship has left the port to travel outward bound. And so as family said their goodbyes, the program Facilitators Abi and Forrest took the wheel.

There was a vibrant energy in the group, as they and the Facilitators got to know each other, begin new friendships and set the scene for what is to come. The group was keen for their hiking which begins on Day 2.

Giant Ladder was the first activity, one that involves dealing with heights and needs good team work. This activity allowed participants to begin exploring and developing their skills and their minds. A great challenge.

Then it was time to issue all the expedition gear,  put up the sleeping tarps, prepare and cook dinner, and prepare for what is ahead. Bring it on!



Day 2

Written by ZW

The group was up early and easily ready for the 9.30am departure by bus to the Yankee Hat car park in Namadgi National Park. Before the hike began, the group went through a basic introduction to the use of a map and compass. This marks the beginning of the group’s independence, as they will be deciding the course taken during the hike, with suggestions made by the two Facilitators. As the group passed through the bush land and plains of the national park they were struck by the sheer vibrancy of the wildlife they encountered, exemplified by the abundance of kangaroos they saw. During the hike, the group passed an Indigenous rock art site , dating back to the at least 800 years ago. Then it was off to set up camp on the banks of Rendezvous Creek.

The group is feeling well motivated after their first day on the trail , which has given them confidence in their navigational ability. Well prepared meals by the cooking groups have resulted in group morale being high. While the environment crew has been doing a great job in keeping everyone hydrated.

The key lesson of today would be the importance of communication. With the group quickly learning that if tasks are set out for everyone prior to making lunch or camp, these tasks would be accomplished quicker, allowing more time for relaxation prior to night fall.


Day 3

Written by TK, SS and JH

After our first night of expedition, the group woke up to an energiser activity and then packed down camp. Before leaving camp, we completed a leadership activity to determine the leadership styles of each person within the group. This was followed by a lesson in navigation and a skill called pacing, which helps to estimate how far we walk.

During lunch the rain began and didn’t stop, so we needed our rain gear to continue up the mountain. We found ourselves on the wrong peak but decided to keep going. Consequentially, we ran out of daylight to trek downhill and so set up camp on the mountain. Hot drinks and dinner helped to boost morale. We also had fun making a dance circle to keep warm before a final debrief and heading to bed for a well deserved rest.

Challenges included keeping positive during the climb and enduring the persistent rain. The group learnt that even though the situation may not go as planned,  a solution can still be found. Also, we learnt that it is important to keep positive to get the job done in the face of adversity. 

Today was the first day participants took on the role of group leaders, with TK, SS and JH as the first trio. The role involved time management, group check-ins and debriefs as we travelled. As well, it meant helping to organise and execute efficient camp set up.

Our morning navigators were AL and SM, with MH and TA taking over to bush-bash our way up the mountain. The navigators were tasked with constructing and following a path to our destination using the map and compass skills we learnt in an earlier lesson.

We have also taken on the responsibility of the morning and evening call-ins to Base using the two-way radio. We are learning how to use the radio and NATO phonetics, such as alpha, bravo, charlie, etc. when referring to people and places. This helps to protect privacy. The call-ins help with planning and generally ensuring that the program is going well. So far LP, TP and WD have had some radio time. The group instructors oversee this and talk to base themselves as needed.

During our last debrief of the day, just before bed, we decided as a group who the MVP (most valuable player) for the day was. We thought this person worked the hardest and put in more effort over all others. Today this person was JH.


Day 4

Written by WD, AP and EG

Today we hiked from the top of Nursery Hill to our designated campsite in Orroral Valley. We have seen many kangaroos and joeys! Today was a test of our resilience against a backdrop of a cold, wet morning and a long, slippery hike. As we are writing this, we feel accomplished and a little sore. Encouragement has come in the form of team members starting sing-a-longs and games throughout the day. The instructors are challenging us with an onslaught of riddles as well. All in all, we are feeling tired, hungry (although we are just about the have dinner), ready for bed but excited for the days to come.

Maintaining a positive attitude was challenging at times due to the repetitive terrain throughout the hike. However, we learnt so much from this including time management and how to work in a team.

The morning navigators were PG and AM and the afternoon navigators were TGP and LPL. The leaders today were WD, AP and EG. Radio call-ins today were conducted by AP in the morning, EG in the afternoon and WD in the evening. 

Dinner today is burritos and we’re happy about it!


Day 5

Everyone is currently engaged in Solo, hence there are no photos or blog from the group today. Participants use this time to reflect on their experience and learning so far, and to prepare for their contribution to the remaining program. 

Outward Bound Australia recognises the growth potential in providing quiet, personal time for participants. Hence, Solo for this age group is 24-hours overnight. Participants establish a personal camp just out of sight of one another for this period.  

Facilitators check-in with all participants during this time. A signalling system allows participants to indicate if they would like to talk to the Facilitators; otherwise they are left to their solitude. The participants can call out for the Facilitators at any time if necessary. 


Day 6

Written by TGP, PG and AM

The group returned, rejuvenated from their 24 hour solo. After we did a little debrief we began a hike to base of the mountain.  Here we did an activity to illustrate the Experiential Learning Cycle (Plan – Do – Review). After that we did a buddy walk. This is where we split into pairs to get to know each other, discussing some personal questions as we continued walking to camp. The buddy walk helped us to feel more connected as a group and morale was high for the rest of the day.

We will be abseiling tomorrow so in the afternoon we practiced tying knots (the group will actually have to build the abseil system using the Activity File that has photos and instructions. The instructors will be on hand to make sure the system is safe and just as the photos show).

At out night location and with no more activities, we became aware that the area was riddled with possums. We faced the challenge of protecting our food from the possums as the night drew more possums in. We were able to scare a lot of them off and went to sleep.  When we woke up the next day we faced the problem of ice on all our kit and hutchies, and our water was all frozen.


Day 7

The cold morning made for a slower start, and with both caving and abseiling coming up today, some of us were excited and others were feeling nervous. Getting from camp to Lego Land was all uphill. Here, we explored the caves, climbed though tight spaces and admired the view from Pride Rock. Supported up the team, everyone pushed through.

Yesterday, we learned the basic skills required to construct an abseil system. Today, we needed to put all our new knowledge together. Two of the leaders, MH and LM, headed down the abseil first to survey the area and help others come down. We are super proud of SM, TA, PG and SS for conquering their fears of heights. They felt very proud and happy to have dared to face their fears and challenges.

MH, LM and SM had the opportunity of leading the group through “Sunday Funday”, enjoying every bit and taking the chance to improve their communication and leadership skills. They supported and encouraged all team mates down the abseil and through the tight caves. Both MH and LM also had the chance to speak on the radio in the morning which they enjoyed.

After abseiling we headed to camp, this time with more daylight left. This meant we could cook dinner and set up bivvies more easily. The Drop Bears (that’s us) then crawled into bed and had an early night.


Day 8

Final Expedition.

It’s quite symbolic that the group’s final expedition begins from this morning, at a campsite on a ridge that divides the program and the terrain they are travelling through. 

To the west is Yankee Hat where they started, Rendezvous Creek, Nursery Hill and Ororral Valley. Here they have taken a lot of instruction, began practising their bush craft, leadership, teamwork skills and their ability for self-reflection.

To the east is the way home and the way forward. It is literally the way back to the Outward Bound Australia base and thus one step closer to going home. But it is also the way forward, the direction of their future possibilities. Those possibilities begin with the group taking charge of the final 3-day expedition. This is where the group takes the lead and the instructors keep one or more steps behind. There is now less focus on facilitation and more focus on the challenge of taking charge, where as a group they have to navigate, time keep and generally look after each other for the next three days.  They are writing nothing for the blog and living more in the moment of their expedition.

From camp they head out past the abseil site, past Lego Land, both places of challenge and wonder, and on towards their first day and the navigational challenge of The Dog Leg. They manage this well and soon enough find themselves at a lovely open saddle where they can camp and call it a day.


Day 9

Final Expedition – Day 2

We are not sure exactly how early the Drop Dears needed to wake up, but we know they had to back track a little to get enough water for their day of hiking along a high and challenging ridge.   

The team finally emerged from the bush, after descending the last spur, in fading light. Torches came out as they hiked the last passage across open farm land. It’s totally dark when they reached camp, and it started to rain. They set about making camp. It’s a late dinner tonight followed by a well earned rest. This might sound like an epic day, however their biggest hiking challenge is still to come tomorrow.


Day 10

Final Expedition – Day 3

The rain came down this morning as the 700 metre ascent of Mt Tennent rose before the group. This leg of their expedition was made all the more difficult because it was again through untracked bush land. However, late in the afternoon, the group called in to announce that they were indeed celebrating on the summit. Well done Drop Bears!

Then it was downhill in search of a campsite for the night. The group found a rarely used Outward Bound Australia campsite called Never Land. This is no doubt a likely take on the fanciful world of Peter Pan, but we think it might well be a haven for those who think ‘Never Say Never’, a mental attitude to help persevere when things are tough.  

Tomorrow it’s downhill; perhaps a welcome relief for sore legs.

Day 11

Written by LM and PH

Today we walked from camp back to the top of Mt. Tennent to watch the sunrise. With so much cloud about we didn’t see a lot, but we took breakfast with us and we sat all snuggled together to keep warm. Then it was back to the saddle and on to the National Park Visitors Centre. Part way down at Cypress Pine lookout we could see lots more and so we hung there for a while, chatting and watching.

Tim met us at the bottom to plant trees in the river corridor. He told this great story about the fisher with a net.  The story is about someone who starts getting holes in their net, and they don’t fix it. Gradually the net gets worse and worse, and holds less and less fish. Eventually the fisher says, I can either fix it or get a new one. Make a choice and get on with it.  Tim goes on to talk about how our environment is something different. We can’t just buy a new one so we have to look after this one. Tree planting make a difference and that’s what we’re doing today. We planted one tree each.

Tim told another story as well, that it’s pretty cool that often when people plant trees they won’t necessarily get to sit in the shade of that tree, but someone else or some animal will.

Lunch was followed by the high ropes course. This was a lot of fun and for some a little scary.  The day was passing by and the temptation for dinner was a Vegemite coated lamb roast. Can’t wait!

Leaders today were LM, SM and SS.

Day 12

When you’ve worked hard for the last 11 days, and ran the whole show for 3 days of expedition with the rest of team Drop Bears, then you might like a cooked breakfast and a shower. And that is what they got.  It’s been a fun last day, lots of stories already. Thanks for being part of such a special program and congratulations to you all.

61 comments for "Australian Alps Navigator | October 2018"

Darryl & Jenny Coleman
October 12, 2018 7:23AM

Hi Lachlan,

What an amazing trip you have had. Have fun on your last day.

We can’t wait to hear all about it.

Love you,
Nan & Pop

Christine W
October 12, 2018 12:59AM

Hi Sarah,
What a fab achievement, well done for pushing through the hard tasks. Sending lots of love, Aunty Chris xx

Joan Vale
October 11, 2018 9:32PM

Hi Sarah,
That last photo of you is so lovely !!!!!!
You look so happy and I hope you are very proud of yourself for doing and finishing the outward bound.
I can’t wait to see you and talk to you after your birthday party,
Love and hugs, Grandma, xx

October 11, 2018 9:05PM

Dear Sarah

Hi big sis I hope you are enjoying your days at Outward Bound,
the photos are awesome that I saw, and it looks like a lot of fun.

P.S: See you soon!

From Ryan xoxo

October 11, 2018 8:58PM

Dear Sarah

Hey sis hope you are enjoying your last days on Outward Bound, seen the photos and they look awesome.

P.S: See you soon

From Kirsten

Tony Moller
October 11, 2018 8:48PM

Hey Sarah,
Can’t believe its almost over, is that why you’re all smiling? I’ve really enjoyed the photos & the blog keeping us all informed of your amazing adventure. Looking forward to you coming home tomorrow.
Lots of love Dad, Ryan & Kirsten

Sean and Liz wareing
October 11, 2018 4:34PM

Loved the recent photos, your cheeks look so rosy and sounds like you had a wonderful time. We are home now and look forward to seeing you . Well done. Much love Nanna and grandad xx

The Crawley Family
October 11, 2018 3:33PM

Hi Jemi,
What an amazing adventure you’ve been having!
We loved being able to follow along, see the photos and read all about your experiences and how you’ve managed in difficult conditions.
We’re so proud of you and look forward to seeing you back at Tharwa.
Lots of love Mum, Clint, Josh and Ava xx

Marwa Hudson
October 10, 2018 9:01PM


Margo Piefke
October 10, 2018 7:49PM

Hello William,
An amazing journey you and the others are experiencing. I send my love and encouragement. Drink in the fresh air and scenery ,love always Grandma.

October 10, 2018 7:40PM

Hi Jemi,

We are enjoying following all of the experiences and the blog of events, sure looks like some challenges that you, and the group, are overcoming. Keep on enjoying the experiences and we are looking forward to a “debrief” on your return, take care and have fun!. love GMS & GPR

Jane Sage
October 10, 2018 6:08PM

On the home stretch now Will! We are all excited that you’ll be home soon to tell us all about the fun and challenges. Been fantastic to be able to follow along with the blog. We’ve been thinking of you all out there with this weather. See ya Friday! xx

Robin & Warwick Lewarne
October 10, 2018 3:46PM

Hi Atticus,
Looking forward to seeing you back at 140. Hope you are enjoying yourself, stay well.
I see you have to cope with rain, my sister Helen who I sent to Outward Bound at Richmond in the summer of 1967(?) had to cope with heat. When you return you can debate with Helen which is the preferred season!
With love,
Robin & Warwick

Joan Vale
October 10, 2018 3:18PM

Hi Sarah,
I have enjoyed catching up with the new photos and seeing your smiling face!!!!
You are close to finishing now, so hope your last days go well. I look forward to seeing you soon to hear all about your adventures.
So, so proud of you,
Love and hugs, Grandma, xx

October 10, 2018 1:13AM

Hey Will,
We are following along at home and loving seeing what you are doing each day. Proud of you.
Xx Channy

The Graham Family
October 10, 2018 12:45AM

Hi Pippa
Literally between a rock and a hard place but what a smile at the end of it!
Love Mum, Dad, Toby and Max

Helen & Les
October 09, 2018 7:29PM

Hi Shaun
Well awesome work with the carving going into those small spaces
Hope your weather warms up and keep the photos coming
Helen &Les

Grans and Grandah
October 09, 2018 5:38PM

Hey Jems,

Is that you wedged under a rock? Wow!
Awesome stuff you’re doing!!
Looking forward to hearing more!
Lots of love
Grandah and Grans:)

October 09, 2018 11:39AM

Hi Tiana,
You conquered the abseiling!!! You strong independent woman 🙂 I bet you are relieved and happy about that. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

Peter & Lisa
October 09, 2018 6:11PM

Hey Tiana,

Peter and I hope you are having a great time out there in the wilderness – looks like an amazing adventure!

Marwa Hudson
October 08, 2018 9:21PM

Hey Moose
I got on the internet just to say hi. Looks like a great time. Got me grinning. You’ll have to show us where you’ve been.
Legends all.
Good hunting.

October 08, 2018 7:39PM

Go for it “Whiskey Delta”!! and remember Will….It feels good to be lost in the right direction!….well done and keep going..Matt

October 08, 2018 2:23PM

Hi Lexi

You will be enjoying the fine weather after the rain!

Yours was a great achievement camping on Nursery Hill. I hope you managed to keep warm up there.

Big hugs, Mary

Katherine Moller
October 07, 2018 7:10PM

Still been thinking of you and your adventurous, hope u are achieving alot for yourself.
Enjoy the last few days to remember what you did.
Will talk to you about it when your home.

Mark Lewarne
October 07, 2018 7:09PM

Hi Atticus,

I hope you are keeping well, it looks absolutely amazing and I know you will be in your element, we hope you are having a fabulous time and I just have to say please stay hydrated as I know you are not %100 well. We all miss you! And look forward to more updates.

Lots of Love Mum, Dad, Spencer and Gabriel xxxxx

Mark Lewarne
October 07, 2018 6:18PM


Great to see you are having a fantastic time. The family is missing you as usual so use this time constructively to spread your wings, get a few scrapes, make some friends, conquer the challenges and make you stronger going forward.

We love you (mum paid me $5 to say that)

See you soon

Your family at 140

Liz and Sean wareing
October 07, 2018 4:02AM

Sarah, sorry about the rain but we need it but what an experience you are having .We are having last weekend in England and it’s raining too. So pleased we got those good shoes. Xxxx

Grans and Grandah
October 06, 2018 9:35AM

Hi Jems,

Great to see all the photos. Shame about the weather but I know you’ll make the most of it! Try to stay warm and dry and live the moment.

Grans and Grandah.

October 05, 2018 7:55PM

Hi Jemi,

Looks like an enjoyable experience with plenty of learning and application. Keep up with the smiles and enjoy the ongoing challenges and activities, Go Girl !!!
Love, GMS & GPR

Joan Vale
October 05, 2018 6:37PM

Hi Sarah,
Thinking of you as you are hiking out in the rain. It must be challenging for you!
But, being positive, our farmers need the rain so much, so we should be thankful for them.I hope you are enjoying yourself in spite of the weather.
Love and hugs, Grandma!!😍

Josh Crawley
October 05, 2018 5:52PM

Hey Jem!
Looks like a lot of hard work, but I’m sure you will be able to push through it!
I hope you’re having a great time, stay warm and dry, and enjoy your burritos! 🌯
Lots of love,
Ya bro Josh xx

The Crawley Family
October 05, 2018 1:51PM

Hi Jemi,
Great photos of Day 3 and 4!
Glad to see that even the rain didn’t stop you smiling.
We’re looking forward to seeing what the rest of the trip brings and hearing all about it.
lots of love Mum, Clint, Josh and Ava xx

Kim Guy
October 05, 2018 9:29AM

I’m so proud of you I hope it doesn’t rain to much. Can’t wait to hear all about it. Love Mum Matty Aletia and Kalen

The Graham family
October 05, 2018 4:01AM

Hi Pippa
Looks like great fun (and hard work)!
Missing you and looking forward to hearing all about it.
Love, Mum, Dad, Max and Toby xx

October 04, 2018 6:59PM

Hi Tiana,
So very proud of you. Have a great adventure and know that I am thinking of you. I know you are going to have a great and challenging time. Can’t wait to hear all about it. Go girl! Love Cath xxx

October 04, 2018 7:39PM

Hey Tiana! Youre doing awesome! Go those heights gurl, you can do it! I promise!
Remember pigeonhouse!
Love ya!

Maree Carter
October 04, 2018 7:39PM

Hi Tiana!
You are an amazing adventurer!! Hope you have the best time, love Auntie Maree XXxx

October 05, 2018 8:41AM

Hey Tiana,
Looks like your having a great time. Better than sitting around doing nothing like some people we know. Lol. I’m so proud of you going on this camp. You show us all your strength and how capable you are not to mention your sweet heart. Embarrassed you yet? Have a wonderful adventure out there. Hope you don’t get too wet and muddy. But then again you might like that. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

David and Sean Wareing
October 04, 2018 1:54PM

Sarah…..have an awesome time. Sean thinks you’re very brave!

Remember, there’s only one person i the world you can change.

heaps of love

Uncle David and Sean

Alexandra Macaualy
October 04, 2018 1:29PM

Have a wonderful time Alex. We love and miss you. Mum, Dad, James, Mei Li, Prada and

October 04, 2018 12:00PM

Hi Will,

Looks great. Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures when you get home.

Love, Channy

Sean and liz wareing
October 04, 2018 7:37AM

Hi Sarah, so proud of you taking this challenge as it will be something you will never forget. Sounds so exciting and hope the weather continues to be great. Look forward to the next blog. All our ❤️

Jon Wareing
October 04, 2018 9:02AM

Hi Sarah,

You go girl!!!
Very proud of you for giving it a red hot go!!!
All our love
Jon, Micki, Cassie and Madeleine xxxx

Josh Crawley
October 03, 2018 11:36PM

Hey Jemi,

Just a quick one to let you know that your big bro is thinking of you– I hope you’re having a great time and enjoying all the exciting new things that an experience like this offers. Go get ‘em, Jem!

Lots of love,
—Josh xx

Joan Vale
October 03, 2018 10:15PM

Hi Sarah,
How are you going? Dad gave me this link tonight and I have enjoyed reading and seeing the photos!
I am so proud of you taking on this challenge!!!!!
Love and hugs, Grandma ⛺️

Katherine Moller
October 03, 2018 9:48PM

All the best in your adventures, don’t break any bones.
Ha Ha.
Enjoy all the activities you do as well, your reminding me of what I went through.
There will be ups and downs, but I am sure you will overcome everything.
Love Mum

Tony Moller
October 03, 2018 8:35PM

Hey Sarah,
Hope you have an awesome adventure! Enjoy all those activities and adventures. Looking forward to the blog & seeing lots of photos.
So proud of you, love Dad

Team Shaun
October 03, 2018 8:30PM

Hi Shaun
Loving the pics, keep it coming.
Give it 100%, very proud of you mate.
Look forward to hearing all about it when your home.
Love Mum Dad Jesse and Tanar.

Les Mortimer
October 03, 2018 6:12PM

Hi Lachlan. Hope you are having a fantastic time mate. Look forward to hearing of your adventures.
P.S. don’t trip over lol.

October 03, 2018 5:16PM

hey Will

how are you. If you don’t know who I am well I’m Madi Aletia’s friend your sisters friend.
how are you good luck.

words from your sister “I love you”

hope it goes well

October 03, 2018 2:16PM

Hi shaurn
It’s raining over here your weather
Looks good.keep the photos coming as
We enjoy looking at what you are doing
Love Helen and les

October 03, 2018 1:25PM

Dear Jemi,
I hope you have a really fun time. You might see some animals in the bush, like kangaroos or chickens. I saw the photos of the climbing thing and it looked good.
Love you! xxxxx

Jeannie and Bill Joselin
October 03, 2018 8:36AM

Hey Jemi,
Loving the blog and photos! We feel like armchair travellers on your exciting adventure! Those packs look heavy!!

lots of love and hugs as you face and overcome Outward Bound challenges.

Grandah and Grans:)

October 02, 2018 7:50PM

Hi Jemi,
Have a great time and enjoy all the experiences and adventures.

Love, GMS & GPR

Jane Sage
October 02, 2018 5:31PM

Go Will!
Thinking of you as embark on this awesome challenge and adventure.
Love Aunty Jane, Uncle Charlie, Haven, Koen and Grandma xx

Kim Guy
October 02, 2018 5:13PM

Hi Will,
I’m so happy excited and proud of you. Can’t wait to see the pictures.
Love mum

October 02, 2018 5:05PM

Hey Jemi,
Thinking of you and your exciting adventure.
lots of love Grandah and Grans

October 02, 2018 2:54PM

Hi Lachie,
Go make some great memories mate.
Proud of you for taking on the challenge.
Love you very much,
Mum, Dad and Josh xxx

October 09, 2018 9:44AM

So proud of you Lach, see you soon buddy.

Lata Wilkinson
October 02, 2018 12:24PM

Hi Zachary,

Wishing you an awesome 12 days of adventure and reflections and making friends and trying new things.We are so very proud of you for making this journey and we know you will have a fabulous time so give it your 150%. Sending you lots of love and huggies…mum,dad and storm

The Crawley Family
October 01, 2018 3:59PM

Hi Jemi,
Have an amazing adventure!
We’re all thinking of you and look forward to following the blog.
Love Mum, Clint, Josh and Ava xx


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