By: OBA Webmaster On: April 7, 2017 In: Uncategorized Comments: 17


Australian Alps Navigator April 2017 | Youth Development Program

Welcome to the Blog for our Australian Alps Navigator program.  Follow along as these young adults undertake a challenging and inspiring journey through the Australian bush.  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 (although their may be a few days over Easter without a post), photos may take a day or two as they are a little harder to get out of the bush via the kookaburras!  Please join in and leave your comments – we’d love to hear from you!  Stay tuned for the first post!

Day 1

All Navigators have arrived safe and sound to a sunny but cool Canberra day. The participants will be divided up into two teams to be accompanied and lead by our group leaders Matt and Kelly and Sam and Sarah. All participants settled in well with their first lunch together and have had an interesting afternoon learning about the gear they will be carrying. All participants will have the chance to lead their team over the next few days as well as each being integral team members. Stay tuned for some of the photos over the next few days from their first challenge – the High Ropes.

Day 2

Today is a day of adventure and challenge! Both teams are getting to know each other well and friendships are already beginning to be formed especially on the High Ropes course. Both teams have spent much of the day having fun in the air. The high ropes course requires individuals to climb up to 10m and challenge themselves on the elements (all harnessed and connected to safety lines of course!). For many it pushes their comfort zones as they let go of the ropes to see how many claps they can get balancing on the foot wire. For others it is a chance to enjoy the adrenaline of running across the Indiana Jones bridge which wobbles like jelly.

After completing the high ropes course each team had a chance to work together on the Giant Ladder. The Giant Ladder rungs get wider as they climb and they soon find themselves working with their climbing partner to help each other to the next rung. One participant proudly pointed to the top after they were back on the ground and said “Wow, I got  to there!”. The teams will head south in the vehicles today to begin their journey back. It’s an exciting start to their journey and we look forward to welcoming them back on Day 12 to our National Campus. Good luck teams!!

Day 3 and 4

Both teams began their journey north after spending the night near the historic Brayshaws Hut. The teams were excited to begin the first section of their expedition. The mood in the teams is high and individuals are already helping each other out. One team reported in success with their first section of navigating. All team members were taught about map reading and compass use and this lead them to a nice grassy campsite to set up their bivouacs. Fin, Ryan and Jake were especially helpful in helping team mates with the hiking.

This morning the teams would continue on towards the Yankee Hat area. Yankee Hat is renowned for its Aboriginal rock art, as well as the beautiful valley with rabbits running through it. Today Michael, Dylan, Ihab and Ryan M had a go navigating the team to their first food drop. The teams would camp further up the valley before heading off track to climb once again into the hills. Please bear with us as the kookaburras haven’t dropped the photos to us yet. Both teams are doing great and really picking up the skills that will help them excel as a team and individuals. 

Day 5 and 6

Happy Easter everyone! The teams are still making their way north and have arrived in the Orroral Valley for their overnight solo. They have had a couple of challenging days and whilst the days have been reasonably warm by the afternoon they woke up to frost on Saturday morning. It’s nothing that they can’t handle although getting out of a warm sleeping bag on a cold frosty morning takes some courage.

The teams hiked up Rendezvous Creek range to Nursery Swamp – a huge trip. Nursery Swamp is nestled among the mountains and technically is a fen completely covered in sedge grasses. From here the team dropped down into Orroral Valley to the supply drop and found an Easter treat – Hot cross buns! 

They write that while some team members have some sore feet from the big hike they are feeling “pretty good” to “great” and were determined to finish what was a physically and mentally challenging hike. As the scribe for the day Madi writes it was “SO hard but SO worth it!”

The team members will have a rest day with their overnight solo before heading once again into the mountains for some abseiling and bouldering. Stay tuned!

Day 7 and 8

The two teams have completed their overnight solo. Solo is a chance to refresh, reflect and enjoy the nature by themselves supervised in the valley by our group leaders. For many it is a chance to enjoy the serenity and peace and quiet after being around others for the entire time. For some though solo is more challenging than rock climbing and abseiling combined and they learn something about themselves they may not have realized. Participants are given a small tarp, some basic food and positioned in a private place with their personal belongings and journals. Group leaders will check in on them at regular intervals but apart from that the only visitors they will encounter at their site is the odd kangaroo or bird. Participants are asked to be creative and make a gift for their team as well as set themselves some goals and reflect on their strengths. All team members came off the solo feeling “refreshed, re-energized, strong and outgoing” and some have shared some poems:

“Swigity, swag, what’s in the bag? Some water, food, that makes me glad. If only I had someone to share the time that it took to think up this terrible rhyme” R

Hard Things

On Easter Sunday here we are

We come together from near and far. 

The morning sun it melts the ice.

Freezing? Sure but the view is so nice.

Wallabies, roos gallivanting around,

The crickets chirp, do you hear the sound?

Nothing rhymes with orange, that’s very true. 

But our team? We stick together like glue.

Before us lies a challenge, it’ll be hard,

So instead of handing out Easter Cards, I will present some words which will guide

Or in serious cases, save your hide:

“That is hard, but you can do hard things”

Doesn’t that sentence have such a nice ring?

It keeps me going when the going gets tough

When the night is cold and no ones around,

When I found that my bivy was on an ant mound,

Remember you’re strong, you’re always enough

You can do things which appear to be rough

Listen to the thump of tiny bird wings

And recall only this:

You can do hard things!

Day 9

After the solo the teams headed out of the valley up onto Honeysuckle ridge line. The ridge line is renowned for it’s huge granite boulders where the teams abseiled over precipitous edges. Hearts thumping, and palms sweaty each participant pushed their own comfort zones.

Following this they headed on north and began their final expedition prep. This would take them over two challenging Mountains – Dead Mans Hill and Mt Tennant.

Each team would choose some of their fellow team members to lead them in the final expedition and instructors were very happy with the skills that everyone had picked up from the beginning of course. It would be up to the teams now to really demonstrate those qualities of compassion for others, resilience and self responsibility to see them through to the end under the watchful, encouraging supervision of the instructors.

Unfortunately one of the cameras decided to go off on its own camping trip so photos from one of the groups have been missing. Stay tuned for more news on the Final Expedition.

Days 10-12


Both teams stepped up well into leading themselves with all the new skills that they had learnt over the preceding week. Whilst the teams had some big hills to climb they worked together well and managed to get to Mt Tennant for the sunrise of Day 11. This was a great achievement and from there they could see part of the journey that they had come as well as see Canberra to the north. It was all down hill from there and they arrived back at National Base to camp that evening and have a celebratory dinner. 

Day 11 and 12 finished well with team members having the opportunity of one last high ropes challenge – the Giant Swing! Rushing through the air tied into the safety rope was an exciting Adrenalin rush to finish the program. Almost as good a feeling as having their first shower at the end of the program. All participants in this Australian Alps Navigator should be proud of what they have accomplished. Congratulations once again and all the best!!


    • Chrissy Ralston
    • April 29, 2017
    • Reply

    A big thank you to Kellie, Matt, Sarah , Sam and Mike (hope I have spelled names correctly ). It is just over a week since Angus returned home from this wonderful , life changing adventure. I feel certain that the information, experiences and knowledge that you have all given him, and facilitated, will continue to unfold in positive ways for years to come. A big thank you also for those not named who I am sure are behind the scenes, without whom the Outward Bound experience would not be what it is today. with Gratitude and appreciation. Travel well. Chrissy

    • Jessica Flanagan
    • April 20, 2017
    • Reply

    Congrats to you all on completing your 12 day adventure! Fin, can’t wait to hear all about it & see how this experience shapes you. Here’s to lasting friendships & positive flow on effects from this special experience your whole lives long! Bring on tomorrow & all your happy faces. We just can’t wait to see you Finners!!! Dad & Fergus will catch you later in the day. Know this – we all love you & have missed you so much. Till tomorrow … enjoy your last night “Outward Bound” (for now)! ❤️ always, Mum, Freya & Bonnie xoxox

    • Sarandgrae
    • April 19, 2017
    • Reply

    Hi Joe! We’ve all been thinking of you heaps- especially during the frost! We can’t wait to see you and hear all your stories, especially Alex (who’s focusing on the skyscrapers of Melbourne as we speak). Proud. Love M & G xx

      • Grace
      • April 20, 2017

      Best of luck with the last couple of days Joey! Thinking of you often and zapping you with all the strength and good vibes xx

    • Terrie
    • April 17, 2017
    • Reply

    Hi Sani

    Hope you’re having a great time and enjoying the company of your fellow camp members. I’m confident you’ll be coping with the pyhsical challenges well given your past experiences and no volcanoes nearby to climb!!

    Hope to get some news and a photo of you soon.

    Love Mama and Rumi xox

    • Nichole
    • April 16, 2017
    • Reply

    Happy Easter to you all, hope the Easter Bunny found you. Great to see the weather is being kind to you all. Enjoy and thank you for the updates

    • Jessica Flanagan
    • April 16, 2017
    • Reply

    Woohoo – more news & photos – made my Easter & hope you all had a happy Easter too! Absolutely stunning but rather chilly looking scenery you’re all travelling through. Really wonderful to hear more news & see that you’re all looking in good form!!! Hoping the solo nights prove to be positive experiences all round & you enjoy being reignited with your teams. Thinking of you all especially Fin & Angus & can’t wait to hear/see more!!! Miss you, love you Finners! ❤️ xoxox

    • Heather Mannes
    • April 14, 2017
    • Reply

    Hi Ryan so proud of your climbing and navigating skills. Hope youre on your best behaviour! Go pies xoxoxo

    • chrissy Ralston
    • April 14, 2017
    • Reply

    Wonderful to hear more news of your expedition and activities. Great to hear you are helping each other though shared challenges. Excited to hear of the history you are also absorbing. Travel well. Much love to you all ?

    • Peta Couchman
    • April 14, 2017
    • Reply

    Happy Easter ! Pleased to see there is good weather for your adventure . Have a great time , look forward to seeing the photos and blog . Love you Gina xx

    • Jessica Flanagan
    • April 13, 2017
    • Reply

    Wow – sounds amazing! So wonderful to hear more news. We were waiting with bated breath for the next instalment & are really looking forward to seeing more photos!!! Great to read that everyone is going well & working happily together in their teams. Also really pleased to read that Fin is pitching in with his new mates & helping others – nice work mate! Miss you lots but rapt you’re having this incredible experience. Love from all of us ❤❤❤ xoxox

    • Janet Fingleton
    • April 13, 2017
    • Reply

    Great to hear all the news. There are some interesting Aboriginal sites in the Namadgi. Have a great time, especially Fin and Gus. Look forward to hearing all about it when you get back. ? Bb & Pa.

    • Anthea
    • April 12, 2017
    • Reply

    Looks like an awesome time. Hope the weather holds out for your adventure. Have fun all.

    • Chrissy Ralston
    • April 11, 2017
    • Reply

    Wow those ropes look very high. The adventure has started?. Hope you are warm enough. Great to have the blog and photos. Wishing you all a safe and fun 12 days ( well 10days now) of navigation & discovery.

    • Nichole
    • April 11, 2017
    • Reply

    love seeing the updates. Hope everyone safe and warm

    • Becca Ehlers
    • April 11, 2017
    • Reply

    Hope you are having a great time so far Madison! We miss you! Excited you get to have this amazing adventure! Love ❤️Mum, Dad, Berkeley & Greyson

    • Jessica Flanagan
    • April 10, 2017
    • Reply

    Great to see photos & blog! Have a great time everyone. ?

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