Year 12 BMAC Camp 2021 by PNBHS

Year 12 Camp - Blue Mountain Adventure Centre

Thank you to Year 12 student Daniel Fox for providing this account of the recent Year 12 camp at Blue Mountain Adventure Centre.

This is my own point of view of my week at Blue Mountain Adventure Centre, known colloquially to the group of Year 12s that headed off to Ruapehu as BMAC (BEE-mack). We got on the bus to travel to the mountain on Sunday the 14th of February. After some quick admin, roll-taking, and photos, we boarded and headed off. I sat in the middle of the bus, laughing and joking with my friends the entire way. The bus was rowdy, the atmosphere filled with excitement and anticipation. After an hour and a half, we stopped at Taihape for a break, and then plowed onto Blue Mountain. We got out at the Adventure Centre late in the afternoon and unpacked the bus.

The building that we stayed in had a large common room area, which doubled as an eating space once the collapsible tables and chairs were brought out and assembled. Off the common room were two toilet areas, a kitchen space where we prepared meals, and two bedrooms. I slept downstairs. Upstairs were more bedrooms and two more toilet areas. Outside was another toilet, and a drying room. In front of the building was a large grass area, which was enjoyed in the evening, once the day had cooled down. Before we left, Mr. Lobb had the 40 of us divided into four groups of 10. The groups were named after the mountains in the Tararua area. They were Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, Tararua, and my group, Pihanga. The rooms were assigned to us depending on which group we were in, so we could get to know our team members a little better. I was in a room with six bunks and had five wonderful guys to share the room with, three or four of which snored.

Once we’d unpacked and had a quick meeting with one of the activity leaders who told us how things worked at BMAC, we had some downtime while one of the groups prepared dinner. We ate, stayed up some more, and were in bed by about 2200 hours.

Monday morning everyone was up by about 0700, and eating breakfast and making lunches for the day by about 0730 hours. After breakfast, we cleaned up. We were told to be very thorough in our cleaning, as the BMAC people didn’t want to attract rodents and other pests into the building. By 0830 hours everyone was sitting on the floor of the common room in our groups. This is when we were introduced to our instructors, the person who would take our group through all of the activities over the five days we were there. Our instructor was a chap called Phil. He was a really cool guy, and really bonded with our group, while still making sure he was in charge.

The first-morning Pihanga did a whole lot of team bonding activities around the cabin. It was a great way to start the week, getting comfortable with leaning on and trusting each other before we headed out for the main activities. After a morning filled with laughter and hilarity as we struggled our way through the activities, we then ate lunch and headed out in a van for caving.

Caving was amazing. We crawled through small spaces and in between rocks, even sliding down a large drop, supporting ourselves against the rocks around us, and with nothing underneath us. Phil guided us expertly through the caves, showing us coll features and explaining how the caves were made. At the very end, he had us turn off all our lights, and walk blind up a small corridor of stone, with a creek at the bottom. Once the lights were out, the glow worms appeared. It was like looking up at the night sky. It was so cool. We also had the chance to see cave weta when we exited the cave.

On Tuesday we were up at six to cook breakfast. At 0730 everyone was eating, and by 0830 we were packed and ready for the day. Pihangi was to go canyoning. This basically involved us getting into wetsuits, and then following a tributary through a cannon until it reached the Tararua river. Getting into the wetsuits was probably my least favorite part of the entire camp. We had to pull on the wetsuit, with a fleece underneath, then a windbreaker jacket over top, and a lifejacket to finish the whole thing off. And we had to wear a helmet too. We were walking like penguins the entire day. The canyoning itself was awesome. We had to jump over waterfalls, swim down the stream at points, even abseil twenty or so metres into a deep pool. At the end, we had to jump off a ledge that was next to a Grade five rapid, all the way down into the Tararua river. The drop was about 12 metres, and my favorite part of the canyoning trip. Once we’d swum to the bank we could get out of the wetsuits.

On Wednesday, day three, Pihanga went mountain biking. We went on a track that took us along a railroad and up the side of a large hill. There were about three or so hours of uphill, and maybe one of downhill. I reckon we were making speeds of about 50 km downhill. It was insane, as the farm track we were biking on was about 1.5 - 2 metres wide, and at the edge was a sheer drop. It was so cool. According to Phil, we completed the route in a very fast time, and we were back by about 1530-1600 hrs. After cleaning down the bikes and going for a swim, it was time for dinner.

On Thursday we had rafting. We had to get into the whole wetsuit complex again and took the rafts down to the river. There were two groups per rafting trip, so we were with another group. We went down some really cool rapids and even managed to get a raft stuck on one. The current pushed the raft into a wall of rock, and the side of the raft rode up the wall. The guys in the raft sat on the side of the raft, which was now above and perpendicular to the water, and sat there for a solid two minutes. We had pre-cooked hotdogs for lunch, some of the guys had a swim. Once we finished rafting there was a jump stop where everyone tried, and some succeeded, to do a backflip. And then we got the rafts out of the water to head back to BMAC and gave them a clean.

On the last day, Friday, we had a massive clean-up. We spent from 0730 hrs to 0830 hrs cleaning our room. We were told that unless the rooms were perfect, we would have to do 38 pushups. We cleaned the room to the max, and when it was checked, there was only one spot of dust, above the door. Once we had cleaned the room, we started on the kitchen. It was very hard to get everywhere. I spent about half an hour just cleaning out the ovens, but we got there. Once the cleaning was done at about 1030 hours one of the instructors told us that it was the cleanest he’d seen the place in fourteen or something years. The bus arrived at about this time, and we loaded it up. The entire camp went to thank the instructors, and we performed the school’s haka to them. They thanked us for being great students and for setting a new bar in terms of etiquette and effort in all the challenges they threw at us, from the activities and to the clean-up. We then departed back to Palmerston North."

Click here for the full album of photographs.

Hemi Pinfold Whanga Year 12 BMAC Camp Report PNBHS

Year 12 BMAC Camp Video 2021 PNBHS