Thursday, April 20, 2017

Red Bell Black Snakes, Red Back spiders and Gale Force winds Myall Lakes

For the last few years I have wondered what the outdoor industry in Australia is like and this year I got the chance to find out. My good friend Josh Singleton put me in touch with the Outdoor Education Group and I quickly got signed up for some canoe instruction roles.

The Australian Outdoor Instructor Life

Australia is stunning and has so many different types of landscapes and areas to explore. Over the course of a month I spend almost everyday away as I taught canoeing to kids all over NSW. We did multi day expeditions in Kangeroo Valley, Duke of Edinburgh trips along the Hawksbury and an insanely stunning multi day expedition on Myall Lakes.

Myall Lakes, NSW

Myall Lakes is north of Sydney and is absolutely beautiful. We drove in convey from Moss Vale with a fleet of over 80 canoes. I was actually scheduled to work two Myall Lakes trip but the first one our drive up was on the same day as a huge bush fire and after holding out for over 5 hours in a service station on route waiting for the main highway to reopen we got re diverted back to Kangeroo Valley for the week.

Whilst I waited, Jez worked the bush fires and sent us photos of the main highway

So second time lucky, we arrived early at our staging site and got to spend some time chilling out by the lake. The next morning we were up early and went to meet the group again. Again we were set up early and I had time to go for a quick explore through the bush trails and found a trail through to the beach. The beach was pristine and empty the fresh white sand just went on for miles and miles and miles. The surf rolled in and the sun shone so bright scorching everything it touched. It was crazy to think this would be the site we would work for the week.

Deserted coastline

Bit of a change from the bustling city beaches

The kids soon arrived and we set about helping them pack there bags and barrels for a 5 day remote paddling expedition trip. Then we set off into the lakes in search of our first camp spot. A short 5km paddle saw us at our home for the night a stunning remote small sandy beach right on the side of the lake. The views from the campsite were out of this world. I set up my tent right on the shoreline and hammock in the trees on the beach.

Hammock Life
An Aussie Duck!!!

Stunning sunsets

All week we paddled and camped at some stunning spots. Every morning the lakes would be perfect calm and every afternoon the winds would pick up. The kids all knuckled down and got into the paddling well. For the first few days the wind helped push us along and then the last few days we had serious battles on as we fought into a strong head wind. But the kids never gave up. They worked in pairs and battled together to make it through the wind to each camp spot. It was really fun to be part of these kind of expeditions. Very typical of the traditions of the Australian school outdoor experiences. A lot of schools run annual expeditions for their kids increasing each year in difficulty and remoteness. Designed to challenge and push the kids and also introduce them to the wonders of their home country wilderness.

Not a bad view from bed

In that week alone I got truly introduced to the Australian wilderness and wildlife, In just 5 days I saw a red belly black snake, hundreds of huntsman spiders and ants, a red back spider, guanas, jelly fish, so many different types of birds and of course kangeroos, wallabys and on the very last day right where we all took out a massive tiger snake!

Guanas in a tree this guys 4-5ft
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Josh, OEG and Sheree for giving me the opportunity to experience and have a great introduction to the Australian Outdoor Industry and the opportunity to share an expedition with a bunch of super kids on Myall Lakes.

One of my other highlights of working for OEG was having to attend a driver training day where we got to drive big Utes loaded with trailers off road through the Australian bush. It gave me a real good insight into the real Australia outside of the city. I'm super excited to go drive off road some more soon.