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12

the ruyton reporter

In the July holidays a group of Year 11 Ruyton students

and staff took the opportunity to visit Kakadu National

Park in the Northern Territory. Kakadu is a very special

place, listed as World Heritage for its natural and

cultural significance. The northern section of the park

is wetland and teaming with colour, tourist action and

iconic Northern Territory features, including crocodiles!

The southern section of the park is a part of the Arnhem

Land escarpment. The main event of the trip was a

seven-day bushwalk on the escarpment. A permit issued

by the traditional owners gave us access to one of the

most beautiful and remote sections of the Park, and,

being on the escarpment, it was free of saltwater

crocodiles! The walk was all off-track, with no signposts,

track markers or any established camping facilities.

To ensure our adventure unfolded pleasantly there was

a large amount of planning and preparation done by all

in Term 2. Preparation included a practice walk, which

incorporated an off-track section, gear information and

our menu planning, including dehydrated dinners.

Mornings involved an early start, but not too early

for a cup of tea from the billy on the fire. Walking

off-track involved greater physical and mental effort.

Map, compass and land features dictated the mornings.

The group walked efficiently and we reached our

daily destinations by lunch, leaving the afternoons to

be spent enjoying swimming holes, card games, songs,

dancing and some tall stories. Over the seven-day

walk we saw no other people and were completely

self-sufficient.

Aboriginal rock art also gave us a chance to ponder the

significance of the first Australians and the timeless

nature of the oldest living culture. To enjoy the

afternoon shade of a rock wall and swimming hole,

cooling in the same places that the traditional owners

of the land had done for over 50,000 years added

a realistic perspective to many discussions. The whole

experience has given the girls a foundation of

knowledge that will help as we all grapple with difficult

and complex issues for all Australians.

I would like to congratulate every girl on the positive

energy, co-operation and commitment that they

brought to the experience. The greatest efforts usually

involve the greatest rewards. This is definitely true of

this unique trip.

Mr Darren Saunder,

Director of Outdoor Education

New Horizons

The greatest efforts usually involve the greatest rewards –

Year 11 Kakadu Expedition

STUDENT REFLECTIONS

‘Before leaving for Kakadu, I was asked hundreds

of times why I wanted to sacrifice my showers,

toilet and warm bed for sweaty hikes and heavy

packs? And, I will admit, I began to wonder whether

the experience would prove worth it. But it was

only 30 minutes into our first hike that our group

of ten stumbled upon a gorgeous water hole,

filled with fresh, clear and clean water. It looked

like something out of a movie, something I never

thought I would get to see in person. However

I quickly found out that this first water hole was

just the beginning of the spectacular places that

we would see across our seven day journey. Every

campsite was accompanied by a swimming hole,

filled with some of the cleanest water in the world.

Every day the group spent hours in the water

cooling off after the days’ walking.’

Maddie C

‘Each day, we awoke to the sight of the final stars

beginning to fade, but more importantly, the

familiar sight of the billy on the fire. After a quick

pack up and breakfast, it was time to start the day’s

hike. The final step before leaving each campsite

was to take a group photo - somehow though, my

clothes seemed to get dirtier and dirtier in each one.

Our hiking was all off-track, meaning we ‘bush

battled’! Often animal tracks and burnt sections of

bush helped our progress considerably. We walked

through many different terrains such as rocks, creek

gullies, scrub, hills and sand - some of these were

easy and serene, whilst others proved quite

challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding.’

Kathleen H

‘Kakadu was an incredible experience and the

memories will stay with me forever. The campsites

were beyond anything I could have imagined,

with the luscious clear water and natural slides,

we were in the water seconds after we had dropped

our packs. Kakadu was an amazing journey, where

friendships were formed and the memories will

be kept forever.’

Florence K