On Sunday 25 June, 42 very excited students (and 4 excited staff) embarked on the Oodnadatta Trek. Unfortunately, for the third year running, road conditions to Oodnadatta were impassable, so the itinerary was changed and we travelled via Coober Pedy.
After 3 days travelling and stopping in country towns including Renmark, Port Augusta, and witnessing the beautiful Lake Hart, we made it to the world famous town of Coober Pedy. The students learned about the opal mining history of the area in the local museum and stayed in underground accommodation. The students also went on a tour of the town which included visiting an underground church and an underground house.
We then drove to Alice Springs where we stayed for two nights. We visited the School of the Air headquarters and learned how hundreds of students on properties throughout the outback receive education. We discovered the vital role that the Royal Flying Doctors Service play in outback Australia in providing a huge range or medical support to remote communities, and enjoyed a memorable trip to the Reptile Centre. One of the evenings was spent at the local bowling alley, where some students showed to be particularly talented not only at bowling but at karaoke!
Additionally, one of the highlights of our Alice Springs stay was the opportunity to visit an indigenous community, at Wallace Rockhole. We were separated in two groups and were taken through the daily routine of the locals. The boys and girls were told about the importance of plants and how those can be used as medicine, how to read and analyse maps from rocks with a particular focus on finding water holes which are crucial for survival in the outback, as well as, how to grind rocks from the ochre pits to create body paint. After this, we all got back together and painted some dot paintings. Overall, Alice Springs was a very town different city to our own where the boys and girls learnt about cultural differences.
A highlight of the trip was visiting Uluru, including enjoying a sunset viewing. It was such a beautiful experience we went back for another one the next night!
Furthermore, this year’s trip had the opportunity to attend the Field of Lights festival at Uluru. The 2017 was a privileged group that did not just see the sight of the magnificent Uluru, but also witnessed this unique festival. It was an amazing opportunity to see a global phenomenon by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. This festival is only in Australia for 18 months and all students liked the beautiful sights.
The students enjoyed their experienced away and have grown from this cultural experience.