School Holiday Programs

School holiday programs with Outward Bound Australia are far beyond a recreational experience. Ditch the school uniforms, books, laptops and study for the hidden wonderland and adventure of Australia's favourite destinations.

Young Explorer
12 - 14 Year Olds
Take on challenge. Explore the real world. Experience adventure, fun & friendship.
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15 - 17 Year Olds
Discover your potential. Conquer challenge. Traverse the natural world.
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Family Adventure
1 Adult & 1 Youth (12-16 Yrs)
Connections for life. Share great experiences and build strong family relations.
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Essential Information
Program Overview

Outward Bound Australia provide a range of school holiday program adventures in some of the most scenic and picturesque settings across Australia. Your young person will be excited to adventure with us and enjoy their school holidays away from the confines of books, laptops, homework, assignments, mobile phones and social media.

Tailored & Age Specific

Our School Holiday Programs centre around two dedicated youth programs for adolescents and teenagers aged 12-14 and 15-17 years.

Our programs capture the essence of youth and build explorers and navigators….

The Young Explorer Program is on offer for each school holiday period, excluding Winter. This program is specifically tailored for 12-14 year-olds and is run across 5 fun-filled days.

The Navigator Program, designed for 15-17 year-olds, runs across 12 adventure-packed days and is available in some of Australia’s wilderness wonderlands.

Want to build a memorable family connection?

Our Family Program runs across the School Holiday periods for 5 memorable days. Family Programs are designed for 1 adult and 1 child in school years 7-10.

Outward Bound’s selection of exciting School Holiday Programs appeal to prospective leaders, aspiring athletes, environmental champions and everyone in between. Your young person will be encouraged to participate in unique outdoor opportunities, cooperate with a group of peers and, most importantly – have fun. They will be supported to take on new challenges, consider risk and develop courage and resilience.

The range of activities across the adventures is customised to focus on personal development, experiential learning, challenge, acceptance and resilience.

Learning outcomes are designed around lifelong skills. Each participant is supported to learn that they are capable, courageous and independent.

Emerge beyond the tent….

Across the school holiday programs, participants will embark on a journey of discovery – the natural environment will inspire them. The challenging activities will ignite their sense of adventure and spark personalities to shine.

What's Included

Across the Outward Bound School Holiday programs all accommodation, meals, activities and specialised equipment are included in your camp fees.

Accommodation & Activities

Our programs are expedition-based, with youth staying in a new campsite each night. All national park fees, camping and activity fees are included. Each location will have comfortable accommodation facilities to provide a relaxed, happy camp experience for each participant. Unless noted otherwise, young adolescents and teens will share accommodation facilities with members of their same gender.

Activities will vary depending on from location and the time of year. All activities are covered within your program fee.


Toileting facilities or amenities will be dependent on the specific location of each camp.


All transport required during the program will be provided by Outward Bound. It is your responsibility to get to and from the camp departure and collection points at the beginning and end of the camp.

Meals & Catering

Each camp facility has excellent fresh and healthy food options available for participants across the week. All breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (including water and purification of course!) are provided at each location and each stage of the adventure. The experience of learning how to cook a variety of meals is all part of the program. If your young person has allergies or specific dietary requirements, please contact us to discuss how we can best cater for them.


All camp activity equipment will be provided by Outward Bound. A packing list will identify the participant’s personal items they need to pack for each specific camp location. Everything else – we provide!

All safety equipment, maps and communication devices will be issued upon arrival along with your backpack, sleeping shelter and sleeping mat.

Individual Needs

Our program facilitators are trained professionals who administer and manage the camp itinerary and are familiar with young adolescents’ needs.

We are not psychologists or therapists, but we have a firm understanding of this age group and provide support, encouragement and friendship so that everyone has a fantastic time.

Wherever possible, we will make adjustments to best cater to your adolescent’s specific needs to ensure their health, safety, and comfort when away from home.

Support & Encouragement

Two professional Outward Bound Australia leaders will accompany the program for the entirety of the programs’ duration. Each program emphasises individual skills development in an age-appropriate manner. Your young person will be encouraged to participate in new challenges, cooperate with a group of peers and, most importantly – have fun. They will be supported to take on new challenges, consider risk and develop courage and resilience.


Safety is serious business when working with teens and adolescents. At all times our programs are facilitated by qualified and trained instructors, with a clear understanding of our Safety Policy.

All necessary safety and risk assessments are undertaken to ensure the health and welfare of participants comes first. Our Risk Management Policy can be located here: Risk Management Policy.

We balance risk, reward and responsibility as core tenets of our mission. We actively encourage and support adolescents, teens and youth during their formative years so they can realise how amazing they really are.


Where am I sleeping?
Our programs are expedition-based. You will be hiking to a new expedition campsite every night where you will share a bivvy (A-frame tarp, with waterproof groundsheet and sleeping mat.)

What will I eat?
We value fresh food wherever possible, and organise regular food drops to provide fresh ingredients throughout your program. Participants will learn to cook a variety of group meals, including pasta, rice, burritos, and maybe even a roast dinner. We are able to cater for most dietary requirements. We will request your specific dietary needs before the program.

Can I bring technology on program?
An Outward Bound program is your opportunity to ‘disconnect to reconnect’, so we do not permit technology such as phones, tablets, music players, etc. on our programs. If you need to bring these for your journey to or from program, then we can securely store these for you while you are out bush.

Do I have to wear hiking boots?
We recommend hiking boots for all our programs. If you are unable to source these, you will need to find a suitable pair of lace-up, fully enclosed footwear, that has a rigid sole and provides ankle stability.

Do I have to bring the wet weather clothing?
We use the rain jacket and waterproof overpants as a heat-trapping layer in the evenings, just as much as a waterproof cover in the case of rain. For the majority of situations, we continue with our program when it is raining, and so very strongly encourage participants to provide these items.

Do I have to bring the thermals?
For programs running May – September, yes you do need to bring the thermal top and bottom to program. For programs running at other times, you can choose if you want to bring these or not. Overall, we recommend bringing thermals for any time of year, as they can act as a lightweight jumper in the evenings, or as a pair of pyjamas (which are not a part of our packing list).

What activities will I be doing?
All Outward Bound programs include a hiking expedition and team initiatives. Other activites may include abseiling, rock-climbing and high ropes. Programs in Walpole WA and Grampians VIC usually usually also include a water-based activity.

Do I have to be very fit to come on a program?
An Outward Bound program is an expedition in the natural environment, so you need to feel confident enough to manage walking on uneven ground for 5 – 10km every day of your program length, while carrying a hiking backpack weighing a minimum of 6kg. A full hiking backpack typically weights up to approximately 15kg. We do adjust our programs to meet the capabilities of each age group.

Are your programs suitable for wilderness therapy?
An Outward Bound Australia program is a personal development opportunity, focusing on the outcomes of personal leadership, group collaboration, motivation and initiative. Our programs are not specifically designed as therapy or respite. However, Outward Bound runs specific wilderness therapy programs for people suffering mental illness.

Do participants come with friends, or as individuals?
Most participants arrive on their own, and depart with a set of new friends.

Where is the program held?
All-year-round programs operate from our National Base in Tharwa, ACT. We operate seasonally from our base in Walpole WA, and our remote set-up along the Snowy River, VIC.

What are the toilet facilities?
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 programs are carefully constructed to suit specific age levels. Because of this we rarely allow anyone into a program that they do not qualify for. If you would like to join a program outside of your age bracket, please contact us to discuss your situation.

Can I bring a camera?
You can bring a non-phone camera on program. However there are times when you will not be permitted to use it, such as roping activities, group debriefs etc. If you do bring a camera, please ensure it is well protected and waterproofed. Before you take photos that have other people, you must gain the consent of everyone visible.

I follow cultural routines; can I follow them during a program?
Yes, as long as the cultural routines are permissible within our Safe Operating Procedures and insurance policies. Our staff will do their best to provide ample time and space for your cultural practices, please disclose your needs to our staff 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.

What gear does Outward Bound Australia supply?
Unless you are advised otherwise, Outward Bound Australia supplies essential items such as backpack, sleeping mat, sleeping shelter, food, cooking and specialist activity equipment. You are required to bring your own sleeping bag, clothing, personal camping equipment (eg head torch), personal hygiene items and any medication you may require on program. Outward Bound Australia will supply the required gear list on enrolment.

Core Outcomes of Outward Bound Programs

The recently released Outward Bound International Global Impact Report 2020 revealed the centralizing theme of CONNECTIONS across all regions and 5 CORE OUTCOMES of Outward Bound programs consistent across the worldwide network of Schools. Connections to:

  1. Self
    • Resilience
    • Confidence
  2. Others
    • Compassion
    • Social Competence
  3. The Natural World
    • Environmental Responsibility
Adrenalin-Fuelled School Holiday Camp Activities
Kayaking & Canoeing
Responsibility, risk-taking and independence.
Raising awareness of the critical relationship between behaviour and consequences is one of your most important learning experiences.
High Ropes & Giant Ladder
Building social and physical confidence.
Courageous moments build momentum in your life – you will take these experiences home and build on them in your daily lives.
Hiking & Orienteering
An enthusiasm for the natural world.
Developing passion and interest in the natural environment helps us see the world in a different light. You will be inspired!
Abseiling & Rock Climbing
Nurturing optimism and resilience.
Program activities support your positive mindset, helping you to participate willingly and proactively in unanticipated challenges.
Raft Building & Problem-Solving
Practicing patience and team building exercises.
Differing life experiences, skills and abilities come together, giving you insight into working with others for the greater good.
Overnight Expeditions
Seeking a spirit of Initiative and adventure.
Our programs provide a positive outlet for defining boundaries, seeking meaningful and challenging experiences rather than mere “thrill-seeking”.
School Holiday Fun
An engaging, physical and adventure-filled experience that will keep teenagers entertained from start to finish. This is a holiday program with a difference.
Build Confidence
By understanding their true value, potential and capabilities, young people can promote a sense of self that is confident and courageous in the face of challenge and adversity.
Authentic Adventures
Our programs deliver meaningful, challenging and dynamic experiences rather than just “thrill-seeking”. Rise to meet the challenge and realise your potential.
Our Crew
Helene de Lagillardaie
Head of Operations
Our regional and mobile operations and field crew are managed by Helene. Helene brings a breadth of international expertise and has established a reputation as one of OBs most respected, hard-working leaders, inspiring and mentoring a dedicated field crew.
Ash Cochrane
Senior Group Leader
Ash grew up in New Zealand. She joined Outward Bound Australia after having done programs as a participant with OBNZ. She is passionate about trail running and surf-lifesaving. When not in the field with a group, Ash is usually running up the local tracks and mountains. She loves chocolate and will take food bribes!
Nick Murray
Group Leader
Nick first started with Outward Bound as a participant on our Summit to Sea program! This journey took him on to become a group leader and work with us. Nick loves whitewater paddling and climbing. Nick’s specialty are his famous Monday morning friendship pancakes.
Forrest Perrin De Graff
Senior Group Leader
Forrest’s interest in the outdoors was nurtured in him through the Scouts. On his off time, Forrest loves playing Dungeon and Dragon and having board games sessions. Forrest’s culinary specialty include a delicious Japanese Curry and fluffy pancakes.
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