All the days of packing, signing forms and travel arrangements have all led to this exciting day – the first day of the Australian Alps Navigator program! Arriving in many different ways, the participants collectively met at Outward Bound Australia’s national base eager to begin their adventure. Introductions, name exchanging and smiles were the first priority on day 1 before receiving their wilderness ready equipment consisting of many items from a sleeping bag to the kitchen sink! The group bonded well and the anticipation rose as the day came to a close and the beginning of day 2 grew closer.
The group was up before the sun, decked head to toe in running gear. Through the rain they ran, wet but not damp in spirit because despite this early morning challenge the group had already adopted a ‘Never give up attitude’! Upon completing the 2km task, up next was Individual Ropes. Despite the participants undertaking the high ropes course alone, completion would have been difficult if it weren’t for the team support and encouragement heard from below. Hearing “you can do it’’ and “keep going” from the ground below, made each step easier knowing people believed that it was possible for you!
Everyone was very tired and sore after a huge day. As a team their quote for the day was, “I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up, my friend.” And after hearing that, we know their days ahead would be filled with many more new achievements and experiences with new friends.
Today was an especially exciting day for the group because they had their first experience as navigators! The group had a huge challenge of reaching certain checkpoints placed on the map, the final one leading to their campsite. They hike in gullies, hikes up hill, hiked downhill to finally reach their campsite. This was a challenge for the entire team and everyone had to come together to complete the last checkpoint. After a lot of exercise, the group realised that for today their biggest leaning about hiking was how crucial water intake is! Not just water, but also food. Dinner was certainly polished off tonight!
Yesterday’s navigation practise came in handy today when the group tackled their first full expedition to Booromba Rocks! This involved hiking up and over the mighty Mt. Tenant, a large mountain which is the most recognisable mountain seen from the OBA base. The last 2 kilometres to the saddle before the peak was the most challenging part of the day for all.
Reaching their lunch spot required determination, teamwork and one last burst of energy. Everyone helped each other to reach the top. Finally reaching the saddle felt fantastic! And furthermore, reaching the summit of Mt. Tenant to see the breathtaking view was worth every step of the journey so far.
As the sun went down the group reflected on their day, realising that each and every one of them can climb a mountain with everything they need on their back! And climb a mountain they had!
Everyone crawled out of their sleeping bags, feeling a little sore and tired. Everyone knew that today would be another challenging day so they continued to get their breakfast ready and prepare themselves with positive attitudes.
Today was the second day of the expedition and after yesterday’s Mt. Tenant feat today was easier already. The more the group walked, the easier it became! The toughest part of the day was trying to hammer their tent pegs in the dark, dry ground. Losing some pegs may also have had something to do with this!
So many interesting learnings from the team today, including: don’t forget your tent pegs and make sure you check your shoes for spiders!!
Excitement was evident around the group this morning as today they would be going to Lego Land! Lego Land is a great place for adventure and fun and consists of huge rocks, piled together and worn away over time to create cave like crawl throughs and amazing views. The scramble through Lego Land was great fun and some stretched their comfort zones by squeezing into the small crawl throughs and pushing through the holes. The view from the very top, over looking into the valley was spectacular!
Everyone enjoyed the action packed day, as well as the uphill bush bash which led them to Lego Land. Despite the challenge of it, the day was a grand one.
Today was another day of stretching the teams comfort zones. Abseiling a steep vertical decent, looking over the Orroral Valley would be the biggest challenge of the day. Everyone came together as a group, supporting each other and encouraging the less confident abseilers, helping them to believe that they could do it! The view mid-abseil was magnificent, especially with the sun shining down into the valley below. Tonight around camp, there were many shared feelings of accomplishment!
Despite the past days being focused a lot on team work, today was very much a day about one’s self. For a whole 24 hrs, each individual in the group was given their own designated space, equipment and food. During this time they were given a specific task to be completed, a task which would help them in years to come.
Day 9 and 10
Solo was completed – 24 hours alone! After discussion, the group realised that spending 24 hours alone without electronics, home comforts and just nature was quite a rare experience. Everyone was really happy to see each other and after spending a whole week together, 24 hrs felt like a long time apart. The team came together quite quickly, completing a difficult team task in only 15 minutes! The instructors were very impressed! And as a positive consequence for doing so well the group was treated to delicious treats for the campfire that night.
To reach their campsite, an expedition was needed and after a week of preparation the team were working like a well-oiled machine. It was a late night, and a big day! Everyone was glad to be back together! On day 10 the group continued their final expedition reaching heights where they were able to see the view of Boboyan Forest! It was their favourite moment of the day and they got a group photo from the top of a knoll. The expedition was definitely a challenging one, the group walked for hours through the bush, it felt as though it really was never going to end but with perseverance and persistence they made it to camp!
Day 11 and 12
Today was the day, the final day of expedition and the final night sleeping under the stars. The group knew this would be one of their last chances to prove to each other how much their team could achieve and how hard they could push. The long spur (a defining specific feature of a mountain) to Hospital Hill ridge was the biggest challenge of the day; it tested the group’s navigational skills. Keeping track of their location right on the home stretch proved to be difficult as well! Finally, they reached their final destination and a white van was waiting for them promising warm showers and a bed off the ground! Everyone in the group was hugged and cheered by one another as they completed their last quest Outward Bound.
On the drive home, everyone was exhausted and felt appreciative of the cushioned seat they could relax on. They said goodbye to the last sights of Namadgi National Park, and although they were sad about leaving their bush experience behind. Each and everyone in the group felt so proud of what they had achieved and knew they would remember it forever. The next morning the team were presented with their Outward Bound Australia pins, awarded their certificates and lowered the Blue Peter Flag. Soon after they were greeted by their parents, friends and relatives! Goodbyes were said, and hugs were given all round. What a great experience the group had at Outward Bound Australia.
Thank you so much to the group’s effort and amazing attitudes throughout the course! It is always the choice of the individual in what they make of an experience, and everyone certainly made it the greatest experience possible! -OBA Team
Special Thanks to GreaterGood and Lions Clubs of Figtree, Milton Ulladulla, Kambah and Braidwood.
As always, our partners and sponsors have played a big role in getting this program up and running. Their contribution ensures that even more young Australians get the chance to discover, develop and achieve their potential. Outward Bound Australia wishes to thank the following sponsors and supporters.
Outward Bound has partnered with Australian Lions Clubs for over 50 years to give local youth the opportunity to take a unique journey of challenging, yet fun-filled self-discovery. The very first Outward Bound Australia program included an Australian Lions Club participant – making us natural partners since the very beginning. Our Youth programs focus on challenging all young people to be better than they believe they are, recognising and building on their strengths, and overcoming perceived weaknesses together.