Adventure School Treks was originally called Kokoda School Treks, given our flagship destination is the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.
We are passionate about Kokoda, its history and the culture of its people. We know first hand from many years of running treks in this region the power of this experience, particularly for people at an impressionable time in their lives.
Leading educators now appreciate that development of the whole person supersedes the benefits of an academic only approach. Students in progressive schools learn skills and values supporting their development as capable, world-ready young adults. We understand the value of providing a supportive environment in which students can develop resilience, grit, empathy and compassion. Where teamwork is encouraged, and kindness is valued.
At Isurava Battlefield, at the north end of the Kokoda Track, there is a memorial, stunning in its simplicity. It has four granite pillars, each etched with a single word:
Courage, Endurance, Mateship, Sacrifice
Our students learn the meaning of each word, as it pertains to the Kokoda Campaign, a battle where Australian soldiers had no right to win. Undermanned, undertrained and under resourced, they went up against the might of the Japanese forces that had not, at that time, suffered a land defeat. That they did ultimately defeat the Japanese is large part due to the strategic withdrawal our soldiers executed so brilliantly. Strategy alone will not ever achieve what they did, and we can never underestimate the power of those four words that defined their every day, their every action, and every loss.
We learn this in the most stunning setting. Yes, it’s challenging, as we work our way over the spine of the Owen Stanley Range, but it is also beautiful, with lush green jungle and gorgeous views. To us, it offers a serenity that is quite unexpected. Perhaps that relates to the spirits of those who perished there, or perhaps that’s just what nature, and escape from technology and the pace of life provides. I think this certainly contributes to the power of the experience for our students – no Facebook, Instagram or indeed anything electronic – just real conversations.
And as if that isn’t enough, we learn about a culture that is simple, raw and beautiful, and connect with people who are gentle, welcoming and caring. In fact, many report the friendships they make with our local team as the standout take away of their experience, relationships that highlight a simple set of values revolving around family and community. Growing up in a country of opportunity, we almost by birthright develop a sense of entitlement. This trip challenges that mindset.
The success of our Kokoda program led us to develop other opportunities for students and youth groups.
Of course, we are aware that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international excursions will be off the table for some time. We are delighted to present our Australian treks, purpose designed to meet your objectives, with both a personal development and curriculum perspective.
The West McDonnell Ranges in Northern Territory are the setting for the fabulous Larapinta Trail. Still flying a little under the radar, the 223km long trail is one of Australia’s most spectacular bushwalking and trekking experiences. Our school trek, of 7 nights / 8 days duration covers 6 highlighted sections of the trail, spanning dusty red desert, mountain ranges and gorges. An optional addendum is a visit to Ampilatwatja, an indigenous community famous for its artworks. Ampilatwatja is the cultural heartland of the Alyawarr nation with art an important expression of the Alyawarr people’s connection with the land.
Our Cape to Cape trek in WA is run through spectacular scenery, and was designed by outdoor education leaders. With a focus on inspiring leaders of tomorrow, this 135km hiking trail takes our students into a world that holds 50,000 years of indigenous culture. Our program is designed with a focus on learning and self-development, team engagement & outdoor immersion activities, experiencing the local culture, and environmental awareness.
Our Aussie Camino Pilgrimage is inspired by the life of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop and her mentor Father Julian Tenison Woods. Born in Victoria and raised in Melbourne, Mary’s dream was to dedicate her life to the service of God and the poor. At the age of 24, with the assistance of Father Julian Tenison Woods she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Penola, South Australia. Mary spent many months travelling the country towns of Victoria, visiting children in foster homes on her way to meetings in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.
Looking for something more remote? Our Packers Ghosts Trek visits five heritage North Queensland mining towns, of which three are now ghost towns, and two are shadows of their former industrial might. A team of pack donkeys will carry all the camping furniture, food and luggage, continuing the packing tradition of the North Queensland miners, pioneers and drovers.
Relive some of life at the turn of the century when horsepower meant Clydesdales, and pack teams of horses and mules carried everything from flour to stamper batteries.
Even more remote is our Kimberley Trek & Paddle, departing from Kununurra and trekking through the Carr Boyd Ranges of the East Kimberleys. After a 4 day trek along escarpments and through gorges, students will embark on a 3 day canoe trek down the Ord River. This is one of our more challenging treks in terms of both terrain and climate, however the scenery is breathtaking with an extraordinary array of vegetation and wildlife. From its scorched Desert fringes and vast Eucalypt forests, remnant rainforest, wild rivers and coastal mangrove communities, the Kimberley is one of the world’s last wild treks.
When international travel resumes, your school will have the opportunity to visit Nepal, a trekking mecca and a country with no shortage of need for social contribution. We trek in the Annapurna Ranges and work with the Sambhav Nepal Foundation, a not for profit now running for over 13 years, providing services in the health and education areas, predominantly within the Gorkha region.
Our Japan treks provide an opportunity for schools to select the activities most relevant to their objectives. Our partners in Hokkaido have a strong background in education and cultural enrichment and have a wide variety of options to provide students with an outstanding experience. Trekking, kayaking, canoeing, cycling, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, language lessons, community contributions – so much to choose from!
The Camino de Santiago is one of the world’s most famous long-distance walks and follows the footsteps of millions of pilgrims and over 1,000 years of history. Vehicle supported, this trek requires students to carry day packs only, freeing them to focus on the breathtaking scenery and historical Gothic cathedrals.
Visit www.adventureschooltreks.com.au for further information.