SMGS Duke of Ed Larapinta Trail Adventurous Journey

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Snowy Mountains Grammar School continues to focus on fostering the lifelong skills of perseverance, resilience, teamwork and optimism through individual participation in a number of components. The Adventurous Journeys are undoubtedly the most rewarding and life-changing part of the program for our students.

“It was just so rewarding; after each hill climb, you get a truly stunning view, and there was such a beauty in it that the camera on our phones couldn’t quite capture. It just made me want to see the rest of the world with my own eyes.” – Harry Willsmer, Year 12

From Saturday 25 June to Monday 4 July, seventeen students from Years 9 to 12, along with four adults, embarked upon the most challenging Adventurous Journey ever undertaken by the school. The Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory is well known amongst hiking communities to have some of the most spectacular scenery, steepest gorges and rugged ridgelines and most challenging encounters with wildlife within Australia. The expedition party completed the first three sections of the Larapinta Trail over a six-day period, in which they experienced the sheer beauty and harsh climate of the arid landscape, which traversed through Euro Ridge, Simpson’s Gap, Bond Gap and Stanley Chasm, to name a few. The students carried five nights’ worth of provisions in a very heavy hiking pack, set up camp each night, prepared their own meals, navigated along the hiking trail and worked together in small groups to repair equipment and patch wounds, along with encouraging and supporting their team-mates. In addition to this, the students adapted exceptionally well to hanging their food bags and hiking packs in the shelters and trees each evening to prevent mice and dingoes from attacking their belongings. The mice and dingoes could certainly be heard each evening scurrying around camp but never threatened to dampen our spirits.

“It was a unique experience that brought us together as we explored the heart of Australia.”

“I loved watching the scenery change through the day as we made away across the track. Each day was filled with stunning sunrises and magnificent views of the Tjoritja National Park. Here we had the amazing opportunity to learn not only about the geographical processes that led to these magnificent features but what they mean to the Aṉangu and Arrente people.” – Lucy Cross, Year 12

After completing the Larapinta Trail, the expedition party was rewarded with hot showers and a few days of sightseeing. Exploring the spectacular domes of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), a Segway tour and indigenous cultural studies of Uluru, along with hiking around the impressive Watarkka (King’s Canyon), provided some breathtaking and deeply enriching experiences, as well as a magnificent finale to the trip.

The attending staff were both impressed and very proud of the resilience, perseverance, teamwork and determination demonstrated by our students, which was tested each and every step of the way. The expedition party certainly epitomised the school motto of challenge, belong and explore!

Mrs Melissa Bell
Head of Faculty Educational Support and Enrichment
Duke of Edinburgh Coorindator