On Saturday 22 June, a group of very excited Year 9 students (and 3 very excited staff) embarked on the Central Australia Trek. The adventure began as the students boarded the plane from Melbourne to Darwin where they set up camp and spent two nights. They had the opportunity to visit Mindil Beach Market for dinner, indulge in a range of oriental foods that was available and finished off the day with the viewing of a sunset as per tradition of the local people. The second day involved the students having a tour of Darwin City, they went to the Museum and Art Gallery.
The journey continued from Darwin to Kakadu. We travelled to the Territory Wildlife Park, viewed native animals and explored the animal enclosures. Camp was set up at Jabiru for the next two nights. The first morning included a visit to the magnificent and breathtaking Ubirr Rock, a sacred area to the Aboriginal people. Activities also included the viewing of Rock Art that dates back before European settlement and experienced beautiful views along the Yellow Waters during the sunset cruise where students spotted multiple crocodiles.
We then drove to Gunlom, and from Gunlom to the famous Katherine Gorge – Mataranka. This day involved a cruise along Katherine Gorge. It is a deep gorge carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River. We discovered some fresh-water crocodiles all along the river and were informed that salt-water crocodiles can enter the river during the wet season. The day finished off with a relaxing swim in the thermo pools in Mataranka.
We then travelled to Wycliffe Wells and through to Alice Springs. Here 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. We explored West MacDonnell Ranges and visited Simpsons Gap. On our way to Yulara we stopped at Kings Canyon where we walked around the rim of the canyon, one of Central Australia’s momentous walks.
The highlight of our Yulara stay was the Uluru National Park guided tour of the cave sites and rock paintings around the base of Uluru. We learnt of historical ancestral stories that were passed on from generation to generation and viewed the changing colour of Uluru at sunset.
‘I am really grateful for this experience and having the opportunity to meet some truly amazing people. Getting to see your own Country was one of the best things you could ever do with the school and this group made the trip honestly indescribable! It was an unforgettable trip!’ – Brydie Mitchell.
‘The Central Australia trip was amazing; it was a lot warmer in Darwin than it was in Melbourne’ – William Nelson.
‘I really enjoyed the Uluru sunset viewing, as it is such a big part of Australia’s history and I finally got to witness it in real life. We got to learn about the history from Michael the tour guide and it was really insightful to hear a little about what Uluru is like to Aboriginal people’ – Alisha Cawsey.
‘The reptiles exhibit in Darwin was my favourite activity, we got to view and experience handling reptiles’ – Jet Marsham.
‘If I were to choose one part as my favourite, it would have to be Gunlom Falls. This was an area where we were able to swim in the water at the bottom of a waterfall, I also really seemed to enjoy the times when we would come together as a large group after dinner to play a few games or just debrief on the day’ – Chiara McConchie.
‘My favourite place was the waterfall and the opportunity to walk the track to the top’ – Danny Bush.
On behalf of Mrs Bright and Mr McConchie, I congratulate all the students who participated in the Trek for their excellent attitude and behaviour on the trip.
Ms Roxanne Liemareff