The Journey by Danielle Frost

“The Journey” - Year 13 Physical Education Backyard Adventure

In March this year, our Year 13 Physical Education class went on a “Backyard Journey.”   During the experience they had to demonstrate safety management skills outside the classroom. 

This opportunity was led by three second year Otago Polytech students completing the Outdoor Education Course alongside lecturer and adviser Andy Thompson. 

After a Mihi and tour of the Polytech facilities, students, leaders and staff set out on Tuesday morning from Polytech to Bethunes Gully on bikes. They cycled via the Botanical Gardens and Baldwin Street to appreciate nature and their local surroundings. The class stayed at Bethunes Gully in tents and were in for a cold night. 

The next day all of us awoke to the sounds of native birds. After an early rise, packing tents, eating breakfast and gear checks we all hiked from Bethunes Gully up Mount Cargill. Enjoying a lunch in the beautiful Dunedin sun, students participated in team challenges, shared knowledge of the Harbour and Dunedin coastline and enjoyed a rest after climbing the Mount. 

We then descended into Sawyers Bay with our final stop in Port Chalmers to stay at Pioneer Hall. After a yummy warm meal we all were tired but excited for the Harbour crossing the next day.

 Another early morning and beautiful sunshine we walked from Pioneer Hall around to back beach where we prepared our gear and kayaks for the next part of “The Journey” across the Harbour. After safety checks and teaching on the basics of kayaking we all started on the water. It was a still day with minimal current which made the experience that much better. We stopped at Quarantine Island for lunch and guided tour of the surrounding area and history of the Island. After a jetty jump or two we dried off and got back into the kayaks to continue across the Harbour to Harwood. 

That night after nachos and ice cream we all slept well and were refreshed for our final leg of the trip – getting back to Logan Park. Friday morning, we were on our bikes nice and early. We cycled along Portobello Road safely back to Logan Park. On our way we stopped at a map of Dunedin Harbour where we all could really appreciate what we had achieved in the 4 days! 

As the teacher of the Year 13 PE class I really enjoyed the challenge of the new experience and was proud of what each individual accomplished over the trip. 

Thanks to Mr Kain and Andy Thompson and his team at Otago Polytech for making the trip happen. 

Definitely a worthwhile experience for all involved! Bring on 2018!