Adventure Camps Provide Hands On Learning

This term the Year 9 students participated in their first-Year level activity since visiting Uluru in between lockdowns in Year 8 in 2021.  

The students travelled in groups to Far North Queensland and north-western Western Australia. The Adventure Camps were an opportunity for students to explore new environments, participate in a range of activities in the great outdoors, and to marvel at the nature and wonderment of the wide-open spaces of both Qld and WA. The girls connected with nature and reconnected with each other across the Year level.  

One group of students travelled to Cairns and onto the Atherton Tablelands. They stayed at a cattle station called Woodleigh. They joined the Mandingalbay Yidinji people where they learnt about their culture and their connection to Country, whilst immersing themselves in a range of bush activities. Following this the girls then travelled to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area. The students learnt about conservation programs in place in the Daintree Rainforest, with a particular focus on the loss of biodiversity and habitats. They travelled to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation National Park. The trip culminated in snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef before returning to Melbourne.  

Hexuan (Helena) Zhou: The food and accommodation we had was nice. We enjoyed the environment around us, Cairns was particularly beautiful. The corals were amazing as we snorkelled in the Great Barrier Reef. We also saw some tortoises and a blue sparkling fish. I cooked for myself for the first time on this Camp and had the privilege of cooking and supplying food to local homeless people in the area. 

Wanjia (Joy) Zhang: I really enjoyed the trip. The underwater diving gave me a different view of the world. 

Minqi (Angel) Zhou: This Camp let me see a lot of new things. We cooked for homeless people. Although this is not my first-time cooking, it is my most meaningful. My favourite activity was snorkelling, which I had never done before. It was wonderful to explore the many marine creatures and corals living in the Great Barrier Reef. It was beautiful.  

Xi (Selina) Yao: I enjoyed sitting around the fireplace and playing games with everyone while observing the starry night sky on the first night. I also enjoyed learning about corals and how they gain nutrients. I also enjoyed staying with my friends every night, chatting, and playing games together. The toasted marshmallows were delicious.  

Qiran (Susan) Zhang: This Camp was by far the best one I have been to. I loved the food and the weather! I enjoyed chatting with friends at the hotel each night. Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef was also fun. I saw a lot of coral out there and the food on the boat was delicious, so I ate a little too much! I was very seasick on the way back.  

Yichen (Lydia) Zhang: My favorite thing at this Camp was swimming. When I swam in the ocean, I felt like I was a fish. The freedom in the seawater around me was fantastic. Fish swam around me too. I feel so happy that I tried new things. I also went fishing. Even though I did not catch a fish, I did have a heavy fish bite on my hook which was an interesting experience as I could barely hold the line! Even though I had help from my teacher the fish got away, and with my hook! I guess it will live with my hook forever. Overall, it was still uplifting. 

To view a gallery of images from the Far North Queensland Adventure Camp click here.

Students who travelled to Western Australia had a very different experience to those in Queensland. The natural environment was unlike anything they had seen before. After flying into Perth, the students travelled north to Geraldton, visiting coastal sites along the way. They travelled onto Monkey Mia, and then onto Denham where they met their Indigenous guide with whom they would spend two exciting days in a remote part of the Francois Peron National Park. Here the students and staff learnt about the local indigenous culture and kayaked, whilst soaking up the beauty of the Big Lagoon. The camp continued north to Exmouth, where students spent time snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef before returning to Melbourne.  

Xiting (Christine) Chi: Having the opportunity to go to Western Australia is something I am grateful for. The dynamics are so different to what it is like in Melbourne. The highlights of my trip were kayaking in the Big Lagoon, going to the natural hot springs, and snorkelling. The waters were clear and blue, it was a sight to take in. The environment was refreshing, and I enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine. We saw dolphins, little sharks and, from far away, humpback whales. This experience has taught me to appreciate the land and nature more. My group’s positive energy made this Camp very memorable. 

Matilda Talbot-Gibson: Some of my highlights from the Camp were kayaking at the Francois Peron National Park, looking at the stars on the beach in Monkey Mia and snorkelling in the reef at Turquoise Bay. Although those were my highlights, I highly enjoyed cooking by the fire at Francois Peron National Park, walking along Shell Beach and looking at the dolphins and pelicans at Monkey Mia. This Camp was unique and unforgettable. 

Aeryn Lee and Chloe Barber: Over the course of the Camp, we explored many cultural and sacred sites as well as camping in tents with friends. A highlight of our time on Camp was the beach day with snorkelling and swimming in the sun. It was a great experience, especially for the girls who had not snorkelled before. It was such a fun activity, learning about the different fish and coral as we were snorkelling. The Reef and corals were so colourful and the water was a bright blue that glistened in the sun. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. After exploring the Reef, we had free time at the beach for the rest of the day. It was full of swimming, sunbathing, water fights, reading, and sleeping. This Camp helped us learn more about the culture and history of the land we stand on today. It was an intense but exciting experience that we genuinely enjoyed. 

Alison Prendergast: We are all grateful for the experiences we had at Camp. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, which we will be thankful for forever. I most enjoyed being with my friends and experiencing it with them. Some challenges I faced were being away from home and my dogs. I have learnt so much from this experience. Thank you to our teachers for making this Camp run as smoothly as possible even during challenging times.  

To view a gallery of images from the Monkey Mia-Ningaloo Reef Adventure Camp click here.

Both Adventure Camps provided many new and exciting experiences for the students. On behalf of the Year 9 students, I would like to thank all our St Catherine’s staff, Mrs Brady, Ms Zarifis, Mrs Reddish, Mr Marshall, St Catherine’s Old Girls, Miss Alexandra Hall (’19) and Miss Heidi Tokatlidis (’19), our School Nurses, Ms Sally Jack, and Ms Anne Quirk and our School Principal, Michelle Carroll for supporting the Camp Program and supervising and caring for our students.  

Miss Jenny Molloy, Head of Year 9