Last week class 2/3 went on a 4 day camp to Patonga Beach. After their first day Erica wrote “We had a great trip down. We arrived and ate lunch and pretty quickly went to the beach for a swim. The water is just the right temperature. Gilo made a great dinner of rice and veggies and the kids went back for fourths! After dinner walk along the beach and jetty! Hot chocolate and story and now they’re in bed almost asleep. Some are just doing a tiny bit of reading. All is well. So many sea eagles!” Erica
Honeymoon Bay Camp was simply the best… better than all the rest. The
fauna filled bush, the calm mostly clear water, the rock ledges and pools were
the perfect environment to snorkel, swim and meet our Orana Pen friends – there
was an inspired talent show and a fantastic birthday disco. Even the rain over
night did not dampen out spirits while it dampened our sleeping bags!
The integrated Science Geography unit “From the Mountains to the Sea” was very well enjoyed by the students, in particular the outside activities including the experiments and explorations. Their interest in the natural world is innate! The end of year camp at Patonga beach where the Hawkesbury river meets Broken Bay was the physical experiential culmination of this wonderful unit.
We drove out to Capertee and into ….. THE RAIN!
But it wasn’t a really big problem for us luckily because we had a great team of adults who just got stuck into setting up camp. Raincoats gave up on them, they were drenched and soaked… but they pushed on to make dry and happy tents and a camp kitchen for us all! Such a great little example to the children!
The children were either running about in the rain undeterred, having a pretty wonderful time as far as I could tell. Or were having an equally lovely time on the bus busying themselves with delicious stuff that kids do when they’re stuck in the rain, companionable little games and creative little imaginings. They were full of descriptions about misty clouds eating the mountains and how ghost like the escarpment was, fuel for their poetic souls.
At 5pm it eased and we wandered up to the creek and of course… having tried all day to keep some clothes a little bit dry… there was a bit of falling into the creek! We went back and set up our beds and changed into dry gear and ate our dinner of NACHOS ( such a favourite) under tarps and by the fire. The fire as toasty and the weather held off for a bit. Delicious dessert, some songs around the fire, walk with torches and we all retired to bed.
The next day, the dawn chorus was so special! A thousand birds sang us awake! The sun was shining! It was glorious!
We had THE BEST PORRIDGE EVER… sprinkled with blueberries and golden dust! Some children argued that the porridge was the best thing about camp. After the golden dust porridge we set off on a walk following the creek in the opposite direction. After a gargantuan morning tea we set off in the bus to find the haunted houses the children had spotted on our way in. We climbed to get a great view of the ruins of the oils shale factory set against, seriously the most spectacular backdrop of the Capertee valley. The children had a million ideas about what had happened to the ruins. It was all curiousity, finding, exploring and speculating. Such happiness to hear their musings and reflections about what they were observing.
Mailyn shared her culture of asking the tree for a branch to help the tree sing. She cut the wood and sliced the bark off and the children sanded them into THE MOST SPECIAL CLAPSTICKS ever. Jimmie showed the children how to whittle and smooth off the clapsticks. Super exciting for the children.
The afternoon was spent at the swimming hole. Frolicking and lazing in the sunshine like lizards. Building dams and floating away on pink donuts.
Night time walk but with the naked eye this time. Songs by the fire and bed… very tired children.
Last morning! More delicious porridge! Pack up clothes and sleeping bags. A walk along the Capertee River trail and munching on more delicious food.
Then it was time to leave. We shared in expressing our gratitude to mother earth and each other for the time we spent. It was fabulous.
We had a wonderful time on our snow trip. The students were determined and learnt VERY quickly. My heart was bursting with pride and joy throughout the week, not just at their skills but the genuine sense of friendship and helping out. They were polite and helpful to the public. They loved spending so much time with their classmates. We had a few performance nights after dinner which were really good and very funny ( they made me weep with laughter).
The zoo trip was an incredible experience that combined the observation of wild animals in a caged environment, the social aspect of camps and the physical practise of bike riding. The children had plenty of time to ride their way around the many enclosures, listening to talks, asking questions, chatting, listening to the siamang ape opera. I don’t believe we missed one animal. Quite a few children chose to ride a second lap of the zoo – such energy and joy of riding!
Our Camp in the Megalong Valley was to discover more about OUR PLACE and hence the activities centred around immersing ourselves in the bush and understanding its cultural, geological and historical significance. Included in the whole school camp at Megalong Valley, was an all day visit and story telling by David King. The Megalong is his family’s place. They have been camping and living there for tens of thousands of years. Some of the highlights of the whole school camp were, camaraderie between children of all classes – cooee-ing and hurrays as each class arrived at the camp site, whittling by the fire, scampering by the creek, a frosty sunrise walk, gathering around the fire.
Class 6/7 travelled with Uncle Pete out to his country and dreaming sites.
The class immersed themselves in the cultural and practical aspects that this
wonderful trip offers. Included on the journey:
Mt Grenfell (west of Cobar), Mt Monaro, Mt Drysdale, Mt
Gundabooka, Byrock, Mt Karolga Peak. Highlights will be the
Brewarrina fish traps (one of the oldest structures on earth!),
and some hot springs in Lightning Ridge, to wash away the
camp grime before returning home.
Students are responsible for so much of their journey, packing
and travelling daily, and preparing meals.
The class camp was full of challenges, obstacles, games, bush no 1. & 2’s. and wet clothes. We camped in the beautiful Wollemi National Park, surrounded by a meandering river, bushlands and cliffs.
On Tuesday we met the local character Newnes Hotel owner and walked to the ruins and paddled in the river, settled into camp lifestyle.
On Wednesday, awaking early to the dawn Kookaburra chorus, we splashed through the river, climbed up to an old railway track, traversed a steep and rocky route to the Glow Worm tunnel, entered the dark and dangerous tunnel and emerged safe and excited! The whole walk was 9km (WOW!!) and with lots of breaks and snacks took 6 hours – the children were incredible walkers and very supportive of each other. Best of all we were back with plenty to time to splash and bob in the river. Children were asleep VERY quickly and woke after the morning bird song!
Thursday we decided on just a little adventure; to follow the river upstream – and yes we did get a bit more wet. Back at camp – we celebrated Quidam’s birthday, packed up camp and set off back home, wildly weary, full of good tucker and very happy.