Guides

Navigation on the Central Plateau

For the final three days before the Adventure Guiding students disappeared into their mid-semester break, they found themselves learning how to not get lost up in the Central Plateau.

Navigation is an essential skill for a guide and we learnt how to use a compass, get a bearing and figure out our direction of travel; how to read a map and identify features such as spurs, gullies, ridges, knolls, crests and other features and then identify these in the landscape (and vice versa).

We learnt that Naismith (a rule for estimating the length of time a distance can be walked in) is an optimist, especially when hiking/stumbling off-track.

This trip was a first for the students in many regards.  The Tombolo class were separated into three smaller groups for this trip and we did not see each other again until we reunited back at the bus on the last day to depart.  It was the first time that many of us had hiked ‘off-track’ which meant slogging through thick scrub, cold creeks and scrambling over boulders, depending on which path the “navigator” had set the group on.  Everyone took turns to lead their group using various navigational techniques to get to their destination, and no-one got lost … for very long.

Not following a track really gave us a new appreciation for the Tassie wilderness and by using natural features in the landscape such as waterways, ridgelines, the contouring of the hills as catching features and handrails (navigational terms) we were able to identify where we were and find our way.

Something that was quite special was getting up to the high plateau and seeing cider gums and cushion plants where wallabies wandered.  It was also our first real winter trip and we experienced some high winds and wet weather, but the first opportunity for some of us (mainlanders) to experience snow/sleet (it’s cold!).

After a particularly windy wet night of wild weather the groups converged almost simultaneously back at the bus.  All a little less dry but more confident and capable in their ability to navigate.  A big thank you to the staff; Gemma, Renee and Tom who spent 6 days out in the field between both classes of students to impart their knowledge and remind us constantly to orientate the map!

As the bus drove back into Hobart and we entered the semester break, we were well on track to becoming Adventure Guides.

 

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Maria Island

Two weeks ago, our Adventure Guiding students departed Drysdale Campus and drove up the Tasman Highway towards Triabunna, where we would catch the new and refurbished ‘Encounter Maria‘ ferry to Maria Island.

It was wonderful to have ex-student Daniel Fisher, who now works as a Guide for The Maria Island Walk join us on this trip, providing beneficial information regarding the industry and other Tasmanian knowledge.

Lucky enough for Dan, he was able to relive some of his own Guide training memories by  listening to the student Leaders’ bus commentaries on the way up – which provided an interesting insight into the surrounding area.

On the ferry, we were lucky to admire plenty of sea birds and after we arrived on the Island, we set up camp and got underway with the day’s activities!

Splitting into two separate groups – Nicholas Baudin and Bara-Ourou, we parted ways with one group heading on a half day walk up Bishop and Clerk, whilst the other group enjoyed a circuit walk to the Painted Cliffs and Oust House via The Maria Island Walk accommodation.

Returning to the campsite, it wasn’t long until our student Caterers dished up mouth-watering meals that were soon devoured.

The next morning, we enjoyed some ice breakers which was a nice way to start the day.  We split into small groups and practiced our Interpretive tours and presenting our information to our fellow students.  We received feedback and were then given a chance to amend the tours.  Everyone found this constructive feedback really helped us improve our tours the second time we delivered them.

After dinner we went for a night walk to see if we could find a Tasmanian Devil.  We saw a lot of different animals but no Devils – but it was a great way to finish the day.

For our last day, we left camp as a whole group and walked to the Fossil Cliffs where Bruce and Daniel gave us a real insight into the geological events that happened to create the Fossil Cliffs.  We then split into our two groups again, mimicking the first day’s events in reverse with Bara-Ourou summiting Bishop and Clerk and the Nicholas Baudin group completing the circuit walk with Dan.

Returning back to camp, the Certificate III in Guiding students were quick to pack up before departing Maria Island to get stuck into their weekend ahead!