Outdoor Classroom

Tasman Peninsula Walk

Two weeks ago, the ‘Nunatak’ Adventure Tour Guiding students were out and about for three days following the Tasman Peninsula Circuit along bush tracks, long stretches of board walks and steep, slippery wet eucalyptus banks.

This was our final bushwalking trip within the comfort of the Adventure Tour Guiding program before heading into the summer season as qualified guides. Some students had already been assessed on previous trips and could happily tag along as ‘customers’ while others were bearing the full load of guiding, catering and interpreting.  The scenery was spectacular, food was palatable and the weather was kind.

Managing the group whilst navigating unknown terrain proved a great challenge for the up-and-coming guides who all did their best to provide a great walking experience, whilst keeping everyone safe, happy, hydrated and fuelled across long days of walking.

After an easy first day heading inland from Fortescue Bay along the Cape Pillar Track we based ourselves at the Wughalee Falls campground for two nights.  We headed out on the 17 km return trip to Cape Pillar’s stunning cliffs overlooking Tasman Island on Day 2, and braved the steep ascent over Mount Fortescue on Day 3.  By this stage, the final track to Cape Hauy was just a hop, skip and jump.  By the end of it all everyone was relieved to have made it back to the bus at Fortescue Bay as the day was slipping away rapidly.

Highlights included a look-behind-the–scenes of Tas Walking Co.’s brand-new hut along the Cape Pillar Track, the enchanting rainforest around Mount Fortescue and, of course, the vast expanse of ocean crashing into Australia’s highest sea cliffs.  Other key learning points from the last trip of the year included:

  • As a guide, be caring and compassionate!  Check in with individual group members to make sure everyone is in good spirits!
  • $500 to walk the Three Capes Track is well worth the investment; and if you want to get pampered, spend some extra on the Tas Walking Co’s experience!
  • Just because it’s raining and freezing doesn’t mean you have to put on extra layers! (Look after yourself, Rhianna!)
  • Cooking on camp stoves always takes longer than estimated!
  • Snakes and spiders are much less frightening and dangerous than their reputation!
  • You can disguise fake-meat in a Bolognese and no one will notice!
  • Walking meditations are a great way to quieten the group and connect people to their surroundings. (Nicely done, Tristan!)

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Mountain Biking

Last month, the Certificate IV Outdoor Recreation students got kitted up and hit the Tassie Mountain Biking trails for the first time this year.

Four excellent days were spent learning the fundamentals of Mountain Biking in a guiding context, these skills were tested with some laps around Glenorchy and Clarence Mountain Bike park.  The trip ended on a high consolidating some of our new-found skills on the Clarence Mountain Bike Park PUMP TRACK!

Special thanks to Gemma Gooley and Richard Guy for a very well planned first week on the trails!

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.

 

White Water Kayaking

Last week, students of the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation course took to the Derwent River, followed by the Leven River in the north of Tasmania to tackle a week of whitewater kayaking.

Students spent the first two days developing their white water skills on the Derwent River such as reading whitewater, ferry gliding, exiting/entering eddies and much more.  Over the rest of the week, students were given the opportunity to execute their newly learnt skills and push their limits kayaking down the Leven River.

Highlights of the week included the satisfaction of improving throughout the week, group bonding and Ciara calmly waving and accepting her fate of being washed into a hole (a white water feature).  The students were lucky enough to be instructed by one of Tasmania’s most experienced and greatest instructors Nate Welch, special thanks also goes to Technical Assistant, Matt Smith.