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Over the Easter holidays, 14 intrepid Gold Duke of Edinburgh students, headed out bush with Miss Richardson and Mrs Nathan for 10 days of hiking across Central Australia’s Larapinta Trail, riding camels in Alice Springs and experiencing Australia’s red heart, Uluru.
The untamed nature of the Australian outback, with its rocky ridges, sprawling plains and dry creek beds can be challenging for some hikers.
But our determined Gold Duke of Edinburgh students had trained hard for their trip across this harsh and rugged landscape. Here are some of their stories.
“In the April School Holidays, 14 girls, 2 teachers, and 2 instructors from Boomerang Adventures were fortunate enough to brave the heat and journey through Central Australia for our Gold Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Journey.
Initially, the thought of hiking for 10 days was quite daunting but through time, we all began to realise not only the support we could give to each other during the tough times, but the memories and experiences that we would be able to forge.
After arriving in Alice Springs, we began our hike through the Larapinta Trail, completing sections 2 and 3, beginning at Simpson’s Gap and finishing at Standley Chasm.
The terrain, proving challenging due to the immense heat, tested our physical and mental capacities, and allowed us to realise the importance of having an open, flexible mindset when attempting to tackle objectives which we immediately feel obliged just to ‘give up’.
The scenic nature of the track, being surrounded by the beautiful West MacDonnell Ranges, allowed us to gain a greater insight into the importance of attaining a sense of respect in regards to not only the land, but also those Indigenous Peoples who are the Traditional Custodians.
Gauging an understanding of such a fundamental pillar of our own identities allowed us to recognise the spiritual and cultural significance of the area, and the repercussions of our often ‘impulse’ actions.
For me, being able to explore Uluru and Kata-Tjuta National Park, for the second half of the trip, solidified these notions.
Coming home to my family, full of wonderful stories to tell and a myriad of new experiences, including being able to sleep under the stars on red dirt, I was able to reflect on my Duke of Edinburgh Journey, beginning at Bronze and now culminating with Gold.
Personally, Duke of Edinburgh has imparted on me a willingness to serve others, despite adversity, the importance of respect and support, and the value of resilience. It is through the hardship endured that people are able to forge their own identity and gain important life skills.”
Isabella (Year 11)
“In the April school holidays, myself and thirteen other girls endured the heat, the flies and the gorgeous diverse scenery that the North Territory had to offer. We spent the first week hiking the Larapinta Trail which was extraordinary but extremely tough.
After this, we hiked around the famous landmark, Uluru, where we learnt lots about Indigenous culture and the significance and their connection with the land. We also hiked through other sites of cultural significance such as Kings Canyon and the Olgas.
The trip was challenging to say the least, but it allowed me to reflect on myself. In times when the hiking became difficult and strenuous, it was easy to become cynical and negative, but this trip taught me the importance and value of mental strength and stamina, and how it can be the determining factor of you giving up or persevering on.
I now realised how important it is to maintain a positive mindset as it makes you a more resilient and determined person.
I was extremely fortunate to have participated in such a wonderful and life-changing trip and I do agree with our camp instructors, the outback truly does change you!”
Zara (Year 11)
“I was incredibly lucky to go on this Gold trip. Initially, I was very worried but I was with such an amazing group of girls and teachers that I had no reason to be! Even though the hike was hard, under the hot sun with many injuries and (apparently) hiking for more hours than we were sleeping, I had so much fun getting to know everyone better and experiencing the highs and lows of the trip with them.
Our instructor, Jesse, called our group our ‘ohana’, because ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind.
The trip extended our comfort zones, both physically and mentally with the hike, but also culturally. We were incredibly lucky to be able to learn and connect with much of the history around the sites we visited such as Uluru, Kata Tjuta and King’s Canyon.
It was so much fun, with so many amazing memories that we made together, like sleeping out under the stars almost every night, spending almost an hour trying to light a fire, and pushing on through the pain to get to the finish line together.
So to my ohana, thank you so much. You really made my trip. To anyone thinking about participating in Duke of Ed, or adventuring beyond their comfort zone in any other way, do yourself a favour! It may seem terrifying, but with great risk comes great reward.
Remember, as Peter McWilliams said, and Miss Richardson quoted, ‘Nothing adventured, nothing attained.’”
Elise (Year 11)