Rainforest Young Explorer Northern New South Wales – April 2017

Outward Bound Australia is very excited to welcome you to our first ever Young Explorer Program – a unique Youth Expedition for participants aged between 12 and 14 years. On Program we have children from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland – follow along as these courageous teenagers undertake a challenging and inspiring journey alongside the Northern Rivers and heritage listed rainforest.

Five whole days without the internet, social media (and parents) these participants will undertake a journey which involves canoeing, mountain biking, high ropes, bush cooking, navigation and hiking through the best of the Australian bush.

Lucky for them they will be accompanied by two of our most inspiring Instructors, Lauren and Hayden – both passionate and highly skilled outdoor adventurers.

Recently arrived from England, Lauren is so excited to be back in Australia and is loving being out and about in the Aussie bush. Lauren loves rock climbing on her days off and eating copious amounts of chocolate; her favourite food. While it will be tough – five days without chocolate – she knows the Easter Bunny is not too far away….

Hayden’s dream is to have the job title “explorer”. Being the biggest Bear Grylls wannabe in Outward Bound is sometimes tough as he constantly wants to be out in the wilderness, exploring, learning and improving his skills. Hayden’s hobbies are boats, sailing and anything on ships. Adventuring is what he does and outside of ‘work‘ he is consistently sustained on a healthy diet of chicken nuggets (his favourite food) …. Sorry Hayden – there are no nuggets on Program!

Here you will find updates from the program including a written account of each day’s events as well as photos.  You can expect the written portion to be quite up-to-date, photos may take a day or two as they are a little harder to get out of the bush!

Day 1 – Sunday 9 April 2017 – The Adventure Begins

It was a quiet start to our Young Explorer Program – some of our young adventurers had flown in from Victoria while others had been driven down from Queensland.    It was clear that some of our participants were nervous yet very excited about what would unfold this week.   Any shyness and the quiet soon dissipated as they all got to know each other very quickly with some games and initiatives – ice breakers – over morning tea.

The first task at hand was to learn how expertly pack a back pack with all of the essentials to see them through the next 5 days.  The groups took part in our Outward Bound tradition of raising the Blue Peter, the naval symbol for going “Outward Bound” — leaving the safety of their harbours and entering the unknown.

Loaded up with supplies such as food, plenty of water, shelter, cooking and emergency equipment our group headed out to the circuit and have set up camp for their first night with no technology, no parents and no cosy bed!  There will be some interesting stories around the campfire this evening!

Day 2 – Monday 10 April 2017 – Off to an Astonishing Start

Our Group Instructors woke up to an awesome sight this morning.  One tent group eager to start the day had already packed down their tent, packed their bags and set up the breakfast and washing tubs before anyone else was even awake at 7am!  Working as a team these children know how to get things done and make the most of the day!

Our Young adventurers are proving themselves to be very hard working and energetic, giving the activities and games 100% every time. After a canoe paddle this morning, this afternoon’a challenge is bound to get everyone moving outside of their comfort zone with their first high ropes activity –  an abseil!

Day 3 – Tuesday 11 April 2017 – Routine Sets In

Our intrepid group of Young Explorers have settled well  into the swing of camp life.  Everyone is now an expert at setting up and packing down tents, organising group meals – from collecting fire wood to preparing the food and establishing cleaning stations.  They’ve also become very good at un-packing and re-packing  their packs.

In the morning our Group completed their canoe expedition along Clarrie Hall Dam.  The afternoon involved a return to Base Camp for a sheltered lunch in relative ‘civilisation’.  This was the hump day and perhaps the day when some of our participants were missing their home comforts the most.  However,  this sturdy bunch all donned their packs and headed back out for the evening camp-out.  With their their packs on they trekked up Gregs track – a somewhat challenging and steep uphill section through beautiful rainforest. The group stopped for a light snack of bush tucker along the way and enjoyed a first for many, native finger limes!

Day 4 – Wednesday 12 April 2017 – It’s a Fun Day

Sleeping under a full moon in the rainforest has been an experience these Young Explorers won’t forget in a hurry.  The sun continues to shine in the Mebbin National Park and our participants were challenged with heights and bikes.  The morning was spent tackling the Giants Ladder and the afternoon was all about exploring Base camp on our fleet of mountain bikes.

Day 5 – Thursday 13 April 2017 – Time to Say Goodbye

Our Adventurers were up early  to make the most of  their last morning of camp.  Today they had the luxury of heading over to our Longhouse for a proper hot breakfast of pancakes! After filling their bellies, the group headed to Pamper pine, a high ropes activity where they climb a tall hoop pine, stand on a small platform and launch them selves into the air to grab a trapeze! What a way to finish their five day adventure!

Our Instructors, Lauren and Hayden then officiated at the last ceremony of lowering the Blue Peter, signifying the end of this adventure.  It’s now time for our excited young Participants to head back home and enact the personal goals they have set during the course.  One of the most wonderful things about an Outward Bound adventure is the friendships made during this Program – Well done April Young Explorers!

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