Tharwa, ACT

Outward Bound Australia’s national campus is at Tharwa, on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River at the foot of Mt Tennent, on the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal people. Tharwa is the Ngunnawal word for Mt Tennent.

Just 30 minutes from Parliament House in Canberra, Tharwa has 142 beds in comfortable cabins with commercial kitchen and dining, high-ropes course, climb and abseil tower and is the launching point for expeditions along the Murrumbidgee corridor, Booroomba, Tidbinbilla and into Namadgi National Park, the start of the Australian Alps Walking Track.

An ideal location for cabin-based programs or full expeditions, Outward Bound’s Tharwa Campus currently hosts adventure learning programs for Years 4 through to adults. With a work commencing in 2023 on bushcraft workshops, low ropes course, bike track and pizza ovens with outdoor dining, Outward Bound’s national campus will become even more attractive for your outdoor learning experience.

Sample 5-day Expedition Program

Outward Bound programs are designed to deliver the learning outcomes you want for your students. This is the starting point for our discussion and we build a program from there. A 5 - 10 day expedition out of Tharwa, ACT can include variations of the following activities: hiking, high ropes, rafting, rock climbing on natural cliffs, abseiling on natural rock, environmental service and camping.

Sample 5-day Campus-based Program

You can still have an Outward Bound experience, with a lot of the same learning outcomes, staying in a cosy cabin with a hot shower each night. A 3 - 5 day campus-based program at Tharwa, ACT can still include variations of the following activities, you just come back to your bed at night. Hiking, high ropes, rafting, climbing on the timber tower on campus, abseiling on the timber tower on campus, environmental service.

Sample Tharwa 5-day Leadership Program

Outward Bound Leadership programs aim to deliver a range of knowledge, skills, and experiences to help your team become more effective leaders. Program content will vary depending on your organisation’s specific goals and objectives, but all leadership programs will encourage understanding and development of different leadership styles, traits and characteristics; both of self and others. With strong focus on: Effective communication - active listening, effective feedback, and persuasive communication. Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, empathy, and emotional regulation. Strategic Thinking: analyse complex situations, identify key factors, and develop effective strategies. Team Building and Collaboration: build trust, foster collaboration, and manage conflict. Ethics and Integrity: education and guidance on ethical decision-making and the importance of maintaining ethical standards.

Sample Tharwa 5-day Heroes Journey

The hero’s journey is a common storyline that involves a person who goes on an adventure, learns a lesson, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge, and then returns home transformed. The hero’s journey can be boiled down to three essential stages:

  • The departure. The hero leaves the familiar world behind.
  • The initiation. The hero learns to navigate the unfamiliar world.
  • The return. The hero returns to the familiar world.
It could be argued every Outward Bound program is a hero's journey, but we tailor programs to meet the specific requirements of the young people you work with.

Service is a key part of all Outward Bound programs. It encourages participants to think of others and consider the value of contributing to the community and sustaining our natural environment. Service activities vary for each program, based on the needs of the different areas at different times of the year. They include environmental activities such as tree planting, removing invasive weed species, or conducting flora or fauna surveys, including riverwatch. Other service activities include providing support for local landowners, including ACT Parks and Wildlife to remove old fences and rehabilitiate campsites destroyed by recent bushfires.
Solo time can be one of the most impactful elements of an Outward Bound program. Having become comfortable in the outdoors and with the company of the group, ‘time out’ provides an opportunity to rest and reflect. Students are provided with their own ‘spot’ to spend an afternoon and/or overnight with their own bivvy shelter and food. Whilst only 100m or so apart from each other and the nearby supervision of the Group Leaders, this is a unique solitary experience that enables students to reflect on their achievements, dreams, values and goals and focus on what really matters. It provides a rare opportunity to escape today’s digital noise and the views of others - to slow down and listen to their own heart and mind. There is a natural buzz of excitement, chatter and enthusiasm as the group reforms, ready to take on the next part of the expedition.
Citizen Science
Australia is the the driest inhabited continent on our planet. Water is extremely precious and many ecosystems that are already stressed from lack of water are also under threat of pollution. All of us living within water catchments contribute directly or indirectly, significantly or not so significantly to the degradation of our waterways, often without realising the relationships and impacts that humans make. Undertaking a Citizen Science project on the Murrumbidgee River that could involve counting animal species or testing water quality to help young people understand the vital relationship they have with our waterways and contribute in meaningful ways to maintaining these ecosystems.
Please call Ian Wells on 0419 203374 to discuss your program or email
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