Forty-two Year 8 students from Kurnai College, Churchill Campus went to Karoonda Park for their school camp at the end of February. Holding the camp during term one maximised the camps experiences based on activity options available due to the warmer weather.
On the way to Karoonda Park, the students stopped off at Buchan Caves and went through the Royal Cave. The limestone cave consisted of many chambers, filled with calcite rimmed pools and stalactites crystals covering the cave’s roof. Jumping back on the bus the students travelled the last part of the journey before arriving at Karoonda Park. Excitedly the students exited the bus ready and wanting to explore the place they would call home for the next week. The students settled into their dorms and were treated with some free time, before a delicious three-course dinner. A night hike around the farm and neighbouring bushland entertained the students as they went searching for native wildlife. Possums, koalas, frogs and spiders were some of the many animals spotted.
On Tuesday the students cycled through a range of activities, enjoying the great weather throughout the day. Half of the students started with abseiling and zip lining while the other half went horse riding, played frisbee golf, battled the initiatives course and played Gaga Ball. Lunch was thoroughly enjoyed with sausage rolls and salad on the menu, before the groups swapped activities for the afternoon. Many students rode horses, abseiled, or went on a zip line for the first time. Some students were quite apprehensive with these activities but persisted with them, eventually enjoying the experiences. The day finished off with the option of some free time or a swim in the pool.
The fantastic weather continued into Wednesday. Everyone packed onto the bus and headed off to Willis campground in the Snowy River National Park, for the overnight camp and white water rafting on the Snowy River. On the bus ride to Willis, the bus stopped off at the ghost town Suggan Buggan, to explore the old 1865 preserved schoolhouse. The scenery was spectacular as the bus drove along mountainous roads with steep drops. Many students had not previously experienced the Victorian High Country, there was mixed reactions to the steep windy roads. On arrival at the campground and raft departure point, there was evidence of a canoe tree with 2 canoes cut from it!
After a rafting safety talk, students were divided into two groups for their activities. While one group rafted or kayaked down the river, the other group set up camp and had some free time at the river. Some very excited and some very nervous students paddled their way down the Snowy River, travelling through the rapids and paddling along the more placid parts of the rivers. Exhilarated, the students reached the exit point, hardly minding that they were soaked from head to toe, others jumping in to enjoy a swim at the end of the raft. The first group exchanged stories of their adventures, and waited for the second group to come down the river. Despite some student’s earlier reservations about rafting, their doubts were washed away once on the water, and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In the evening, a large campfire was made where cooked baked potatoes and a beef stew were enjoyed for dinner. The students trekked on a night walk to the New South Wales boarder before heading back to camp and sleeping under huge tarps hanging from the trees.
Waking up in the bush Thursday morning and having a lazy breakfast looking over the Snowy River, mountains and the bush was much enjoyed. After the long pack up the students were back on the bus for the trip home, making a detour stop past the Little River Gorge, which is the deepest gorge in Victoria. A short hike enabled the students to burn off some energy and explore the spectacular sights. After morning tea, it was back on the bus where many students slept, exhausted. Arriving back at Karoonda everyone devoured into lasagne for lunch. After unpacking and re-energised from lunch, the students ventured out to tackle a walk to the top of Dingo Hill. Hiking through cow and horse paddocks, and through the bush and up the mountain made an interesting trip. Afternoon tea was enjoyed at the top with a hot campfire milo and views across the mountains before making the decent down back to camp. After dinner the day was finished off with a game of spotto then a movie night.
Karoonda Park staff surprised the group on Friday morning by planting a tree for Kurnai College. school. The Omeo Gum will have a plaque dedicating it to the Churchill Campus. The Omeo Gum is a favourite koala feed tree. The Karoonda environment is still struggling after the fires and a tree planting program is in place to support them, for the long term.
Getting on the buses Friday morning and leaving Karoonda Park was an experience met with mixed feelings. The students were sad to be leaving camp but were excited to be heading home to see their families. The staff were very proud of how the students engaged and presented themselves throughout the entire camp experience.
Some student accounts of camp:
Lily Sykes (8A)
In week 5, Term 1, the Year 8 teachers and students travelled by bus to Karoonda Park Camp in Gelantipy. On the way to the camp, we stopped at Howard Park and Buchan Caves, and had lunch there. During camp the activities groups participated in Horse riding, Abseiling, Initiative courses, Night / Day walks, Zip Lining, camping and rafting at the Snowy River and a Movie Night.
During free time, we had dinner duties and played dodgeball, gaga ball and other activities. Overall Karoonda Park camp helped students and teachers. It encouraged people to try more things and to form more relationships.
Xaiden Hudson (8A)
Camp is very educational and a bit thrilling. We rode on horses, we did abseiling, went on a flying fox. We went water rafting on the Snowy River and camped by the Snowy River. Before we got to camp, we looked at things and listened to history in the Buchan Caves.
Lilly Holt (8D)
42 students were at Karoonda Park Camp. The year 8 camp was one of the most enjoyable and amazing camps! We slept at the Snowy River on Wednesday night after rafting in the Snowy River which was half a kilometre away from the state border to New South Wales. Some of the activities at camp were horse riding, abseiling , flying fox, hiking, night walks and swimming. The food was amazing and we did volleyball in free time or gaga ball.
Ali Sevenson (8D)
42 year 8 students from the Churchill Campus travelled up the mountains to Karoonda Park Camp for the week. We experienced different activities and challenges. Such as, horse riding, hiking, rafting, swimming, abseiling and even a flying fox. On Wednesday night, we went up to Snowy River and did an overnight camp which students really enjoyed. They experienced a fun and enjoyable time as well as learning a lot at camp.
Camp week program at school
Students remaining at school undertook inquiry projects looking at sustainability with the Snowy River Hydo Scheme and the issues relating to brumbies in the high country. They also enjyed extra food and wood technology classes and some social and team building time. Many students reported the capture the flag activity was the highlight!