Outdoor Training

Freycinet Circuit – Team Tombolo

Two weeks, Team Tombolo [Adventure Tour Guiding students] embarked on their second adventure to Freycinet National Park, the homeland of the Toorernomairremener clan.  The group was blessed with beautiful Spring weather and had an amazing time soaking up another beautiful part of Tasmania.

The two teams split off to walk the Freycinet Peninsula, and students were given the opportunity to guide their groups around sections of the 30km Circuit. It was awesome to see the students bring their own true personality into their ‘Guiding’.  The guides experimented with new group activities, supported individuals over difficult terrain, cooked up amazing meals on the MSR stoves, and really sunk into their position as group leaders.  It’s quite astounding to think about how far the class has come since the beginning of the course.  Many of us agreed that, for the first time, it really felt like we were guests on a guided tour.

Our wonderful teacher, Alex Hale, joined us for our trip to Freycinet.  Having spent some time working as a guide in the area, Alex was an endless source of knowledge of us all.  The group had a lot of fun identifying bird calls, spotting wildlife and combing the beach for washed up ocean creatures.  It was also really cool to spot some beautiful orchids poke up from the earth, and to see the vegetation shift from coastal, to dry woodland, to wet forest, to alpine species.

Students were also allocated topics on the area and shared stories and facts about some of the wonderful wildlife found on the East Coast.  We learnt about the fascinating history of the Thylacine and some amazing coastal birds, the Short-tailed Shearwater and the Little Penguin.  We also learnt about the snakes of Tasmania, the evolution of dragonflies and the story of the whales that visit our island.

For the group, some other highlights from the trip included a brisk dip in the waves at Wineglass Bay, reaching the summit of Mt Freycinet, soaking up the incredible views over the Peninsula, practicing midnight tarp maintenance and a friendly encounter with an Australian Fur Seal.

Returning somewhere for a second time can sometimes produce a very different experience.  You tend to tune into the particular subtleties about a place, and I think a vast majority of the group has left Freycinet National Park with a very special sense of connection.

All round, it was a great trip with some great friends.  Big thanks to the amazing teachers at TasTAFE and an incredible group of classmates.

Walls of Jerusalem Winter Trip

The ‘Nunatak’ Adventure Tour Guiding group spent three glorious days in the Walls of Jerusalem late last month.  After the long drive from Hobart, we headed up the hill and were delighted to see some small patches of snow at Trappers Hut.  The snow started to be more prominent once we reached the top of the plateau.

We got to our campsite at Wild Dog Creek just before dark and saw to our delight that the tent platforms were completely covered waist deep in snow.  We spent over an hour shovelling the platforms so we could get our tents up, while the caterers prepared our meals.  We had a scrumptious dinner, then hit the sack early.

The next day we started building a snow cave.  All hands were on deck for that mission and we had ‘shovelers and padders’ building it for hours before we decided it was tall enough.  We then walked up to Damascus Gate and into the central Walls area itself.  We were stunned by how scenic the area was with frozen lakes, snow-covered mountains and stands of ancient Pencil Pines.  We experienced some fantastic Interpretation about alpine vegetation, conifers, crayfish/mountain shrimp and lizards by student’s Kate, Tim, Maddie and Katri.

We got back to camp in the early afternoon so the excavation of the ice cave could begin.  A couple of students slept in the cave overnight and reported that it was very cosy, with no condensation at all.  We had a delicious breakfast the next morning, followed by a quick pack up.

In conclusion, our group had a truly epic trip with beautiful scenery, tough walking conditions with slippery ice and thick snow, a cool ice cave we built ourselves and the experience of everything freezing over.  Thank you to our Instructor’s Sue Beaumont and Ashley Kestle.

Images:  Katri Werner

River Crossings

On Tuesday the 11th of September the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students donned their instructor hats and took the ‘Nunatak’ Adventure Guiding Class for a day of River Crossing training.

The Derwent River (at the Plenty Railway Bridge) provided an excellent setting to practice a variety of solo and group crossing techniques, as well as whitewater swimming.  The infamous artificial strainer was set up in two locations, but it didn’t quite live up to its fearsome reputation as all the Adventure Guiding students negotiated it with ease.  The day ended with a convoluted “scenario” involving a broken femur, asthma, a daring white-water rescue and an impending job interview (which the leader thought was real!).

Off-Track Navigation

The Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students recently headed to the East Coast for two days of Off-track Navigation.

In the Wielangta State Forest, students honed their navigation skills in challenging (scrubby undergrowth) yet beautiful floristic structure with large eucalyptus towering above.  We had originally planned a four-day trip to the Central Plateau, however a gale warning prevented that.

Students and instructors also had to deal with the giant leeches.  Yeech!

Thanks to all students that attended and Renee and Sue for imparting their navigation knowledge.

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.

Flatwater Kayaking

The Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students recently finished their second week of training to be Flatwater Kayaking Instructors.  We paddled the waterfront from Sandy Bay, took a trip down the Derwent River and went kayak surfing at Clifton Beach.

Thanks to instructors Nate Welch and Ange Cunningham, we all had the opportunity to consolidate our techniques in a variety of conditions and practiced delivering briefings.

It was a great week in challenging weather – a highlight was watching Sam carve some waves at Clifton, and come out smiling after a huge backflip wipe out!

Adventure Tour Guiding : Mountain Biking

Both of our Adventure Tour Guiding groups are currently focusing on either our Sea Kayaking or Cycling skills clusters.  All students experience both activities for a day early in our course and then advise our preferred skills cluster.

Last month, the ‘Nunatak’ Adventure Tour Guiding students got to try out our chosen skill of mountain biking.  Over the course of the week we covered basic bike maintenance, skills on-and-off road, and practiced leading a group on the trails.  On the first day the students spent the morning in the classroom covering a basic introduction to bikes, gear, safety and maintenance.  That afternoon we had the chance to get hands on with the bikes, practicing skills such as; maintaining the group set, changing a tyre and fitting a bike to the rider.

Day two saw a much more practical lesson with students taking the bikes up to the Queens Domain.  The morning session covered basic riding skills such as braking, un-weighting both the front and rear tyres, track stands and body positions for uphill, flat and downhill tracks.  The afternoon saw the students able to practice their newly learnt skills on the recently completed trails up at the Domain, where we also had a chance to trial leading a group on the bikes.

With bad weather closing in, the plan for day three was revised, changing the itinerary from exploring the pipeline track on Mt Wellington (Kunanyi) to making the journey over to the Eastern Shore and trying our luck at the newly built Risdon Vale Pump Track and cross-country circuit.  Despite the rain, we had a great time practicing our skills in wet weather conditions and were able to experience how a guide keeps group morale high, even through such unfavourable conditions.

Unfortunately due to serious weather, the final day was cancelled as the previous night many of the major streets in town became raging torrents due to the Hobart rivulet bursting its banks.