Chisholm Junior Central Australia Trip 2015
12- 19 September 2015
Day 1: The Year 9 & 10 Chisholm students were up bright and early to leave by 6:00am on Saturday the 12th, a big day of bus travelling ahead of them. The journey towards the "Great Red Centre" had begun. We met our funny and friendly Bus driver: David, and our lovely Cook: Cheryl. We spent most of the day travelling, until in the evening we made it to Adelaide Big 4 Caravan Park. David gave us all a "Tent" demonstration, while Cheryl started to prepare our delicious dinner. After setting up the tents, Chisholm made their way down to the beach for a stroll. There was a gorgeous sunset across the sea and we entertained ourselves with lots of photos and a few soccer/ vortex games. Everyone then dusted the sand out of their shoes and headed back to the campsite with a mouth-watering meal for us. The theme was Mexican;
Entree was: Nachos with sour cream
Main was: Tacos (A bit messy in the dark)
And for dessert we had a lovely Chocolate Ripple Cake!
Of course everyone was tired, so after dinner we all went straight to bed!
Day 2: I'm sure that even the teachers were complaining at how early we had to wake up on day two. How does 4:30am sound? It was a bit of a long haul getting everyone up and ready in time, but we managed to pull through. Because it was such a long drive everyone had a bit of sleep on the bus, except Dave of course! Even the teachers managed to get some shut-eye. We had a few stops along the way, where we had some roadside sandwiches. To keep ourselves entertained, there was plenty of music, card games and David's corny jokes to keep us going. In the late afternoon we finally arrived at the Opal core of Australia; Coober Pedy. We drove through the small town to our underground Motel, only to drop off some gear. Then a lovely tour guide took us on a tour of the town and showed us all the unique sites. Including a really nice underground church. We then went through the Umoona underground mineshaft and saw all the ways miners dig for opals. After that we went back to the motel and set for our rooms and dinner. We all got the opportunity to actually sleep underground, which was really cool and a great experience. For dinner we had an Asian food themed night, with a stir fry and Dim Sims.
Day 3: Another semi-early start as we left Coober Pedy towards the great red centre. We stopped along the way, at the SA/NT border and a little emu farm. We had lunch there with fresh oranges and sandwiches again. We truly started to enter the vast outback of the Northern Territory. While travelling, students suddenly saw a familiar rock in the distance. Everyone jumped in their seats, getting their cameras ready excitedly. Only to find out that it wasn't Uluru, but good old Mt. Connor instead. Dave laughed out loud to think that so many of us got tricked by "Fool-Uru". After the letdown of Mt. Connor, we were all very excited to see our first glimpse at Australia's most iconic landmark. We arrived at Yulara to our campsite and set up our tents for finally a stay of longer than a single night. We could finally unwind, knowing that there wasn't going to be a crack of dawn wakeup call the next day. After setting up our tents we took a drive to the sunset viewing area at the base of Uluru. Heaps of group shots were taken in front of the bright orange glow of the Rock. Everyone could just sit and enjoy the serenity of Australia's natural environment without a care in the world. We, as students, could also understand just how sacred the site actually was to the native Aborigines of Australia. After the rock lost its bright red glow, Dave brought out some snacks and dips by the bus, which everyone got stuck into. Later we returned back to our campsite to some dinner. Which Cheryl had nicely prepared for us. This night was Italian themed night. With Pasta, Garlic bread and salad. After dinner some of us chose to go out and do some star gazing. It was amazing how much more of the sky you could actually see without all the light pollution from the city.
Day 4: Mr Martin offered to take a group of us out to view the sunrise over Uluru. It was pretty early, so some of us opted to sleep in instead. But getting up was worth it, the sunrise was breathtaking. We then had breakfast and headed off to the base of Uluru. We went to a little shop for some of us to buy some local aboriginal artworks. They were really pretty and very cultural. Dave then drove us to the very bottom of Uluru, just near the chain. We weren't allowed to climb Uluru, out of safety and respecting the native people. We started our walk around the base of Uluru though, which was just as great, seeing all the rock paintings and unique sites of cultural history. It was a pretty long walk, around 6k's. It was heating up and we had to make sure to drink enough water. After that, we drove over to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), which was also amazing. It was such a serene and untouched environment, and we also learnt that Kata Tjuta was where aboriginal boys would get initiated. We didn't go the whole way, because by the late afternoon everyone was exhausted. It was a long day of walking after all. We then returned and had soup and assorted vegetables for dinner.
Day 5: This day we left behind the "Red centre" and made our way towards Kings Canyon. We arrived and it was certainly starting to get very hot. Setting up our tents was very difficult with the rock hard ground, but luckily Dave had a drill. We stayed at the campsite only for a salad sandwich lunch, before we applied heaps of sunscreen and topped up our water bottles. Ready for another huge day of hiking. We arrived at Kings Canyon and it was very hot. Luckily Cheryl, Dave and our teachers made sure we had enough water and sunscreen. We started the walk which was up a very steep rocky hill. It was a very difficult climb, especially in the scorching conditions. We made our way around the canyon, which had an amazing view; you could see all the huge chasms of ancient rock. We continued on until we made it to The Garden of Eden, which was very shady and had a waterhole. We had a break here because everyone was exhausted. As the day passed by, we made it back to the start of the walk. Everyone's feet were aching and we were parched of thirst. The teachers and ourselves were all proud at the amazing walk we just accomplished. We went back to camp and some of us went in the pool. We also watched the sunset as Cheryl cooked dinner. For dinner we had soup, chicken and salads. It was delicious after the enormous walk we just went on. At night, there were also heaps of wild dingoes prowling around, it was pretty creepy.
Day 6 and 7: After Kings Canyon we went to Alice Springs. We stayed at the McDonnell ranges Big 4, which had a giant pool! It was awesome. After setting up, we went to the Alice Springs Desert Park. It was a really fun place; we got to see some more Dingoes and Emus, as well as a bunch of native reptiles. In the park we watched a bird show, which was very exciting, as a whole range of birds performed tricks to us. On day 7, we went to the Royal Flying doctor’s base, which was very interesting. We watched a few clips and saw all the old technology they used to use. It also showed us how important the RFDS is for the health of remote communities. Then Chisholm came to the "School of the Air" which was very intriguing. We saw how children from remote communities can actually do their schooling online. It was a real eye-opener. In the evening, we went up the top of Anzac Hill, which had an entire view of Alice Springs. It was a great way to finish up our amazing tour of Central Australia.
Overall, this trip was an amazing experience for the year Nine and Ten students of Chisholm. It was also great for our teachers too. We all got along and worked together, which was what made the tour such an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. For future Chisholm students, we highly recommended it!
Article by Emma Conley