Wild Mob and Silkwood School headed up to Lamington NP in mid-September for a three-day Duke of Edinburgh adventure. The program revolved around hiking, conservation work and learning about Lamington’s flora and fauna.
After setting up camp on a cool spring morning, the group headed out for an introductory stroll through the canopy on the Tree-top Walk (thankfully we were still at ground level when Isiah went plunging off the side of the boardwalk!). After lunch, we headed out for a 7 km walk around West Cliffs and Luke’s Farm.
The students took turns navigating, using the info available on a selection of local maps, and despite the odd misstep, managed to find their way past the spectacular lookouts and home again. They then set up a few infrared cameras around the camp to see if any feral cats or dogs were hanging around, and then it was time to prepare dinner on Trangias under Phil’s guidance. After dinner, it was off to see a glow worm display on the banks of Moran’s Creek, and then to bed to escape the chilly night air.
An early start the following morning allowed the group to take in some of Lamington’s famous birdlife, the highlight being several stunning male Regent Bowerbirds. After breakfast, it was time to get to work, and the group diligently filled bags full of the exotic Jerusalem Cherry from around the rainforest edge. Once they’d found all they could, it was time to pack up our gear into backpacks for another hike and a change of camp.
The thick undergrowth along the storm-damaged Lyrebird Lookout track provided physical challenges, but everyone persisted and through excellent communication, the group was able to remain together and emerge at Moonlight Crag in the late afternoon. After another camp setup and dinner, a campfire night with marshmallows, a sing-a-long and Lamington trivia quiz kept us warm and entertained until bedtime.
The final morning saw more hiking past Balancing Rock and Moran’s Falls before arriving at a 160-metre flying fox. This tested the nerve of those anxious about heights, but everyone had a go and some came back for several turns. This was followed by a final hike on the Wishing Tree track, before collecting the cameras and beginning the journey home towards Silkwood.
The busy program meant that the time flew by, but everyone got a taste of why Lamington is one of the country’s most famous national parks. The students did their little bit to help preserve its World Heritage values, and showed all the enthusiasm and teamwork that lies at the heart of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.