Camping in Wathaurong Country

Outdoor & Environmental Studies Camp

Jacob Gough

After missing out on all of our camps last year, it was awesome to be finally going on our first camp for outdoor and environmental studies.

Student Setting up a tent at a camp ground

The 4-day camp was located in Torquay and the surrounding Bellarine Peninsula.

Coast & cliffs overlooking the ocean

We are a small class and as a result, able to do more activities and get around the coast easier. 

Students eating at a picnic table with their teacher

The camp was an amazing learning experience as we were able to experience what we had been learning in class first-hand.

The camp focused on relationships people have with outdoor environments and how we use them. As part of the area of study, we did multiple recreational activities that included surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and hiking.

Student standing up on a surfboard riding a wave
Instructor teaching students to surf by practicing standing on surfboards on the sand

Through these experiences, we discovered more about the tourism industry and how towns like Torquay and Anglesea heavily rely on tourism. A lady from EcoLogic gave some insight into how COVID-19 has impacted similar business along the coastline.

students at a lookout overlooking the ocean

The camp also focused on the Bellarine Peninsula pre-European settlement, post-European settlement and the effect settlement had on the traditional inhabitants of the land. We looked specifically at how the Wathaurong tribe interacted with the land.

Students cleaning up dead plants from the sand dunes
Students cleaning up dead plants from the sand dunes
Students cleaning up dead plants from the sand dunes

The Koorie Cultural Walk gave us examples of how native flora and fauna were used by the Wathaurong tribe in their everyday lives. On one of our hikes, we walked to the Alcoa Mine in Anglesea.

Kookaburra in a gum tree
Beach and shoreline below cliffs looking down the coast

It was a huge shock to be walking out of a fairly untouched environment and arriving at a chain-link fence bordering the mine. In the distance, we could see the chimney from the Anglesea Power Plant. The mine showed how severe the impacts of coal mining, industrialisation and our current lifestyles are on the environment. 

Students on some wooden steps over the beach completing work in their workbooks

Overall, the camp was a valuable learning experience and opened our eyes to current day issues and impacts. The camp was predominantly hands-on learning and was a refresher from the standard in-class experience. 

Students and their teacher posing with the surf instructor and a surfboard
Bird at night in the camp ground
Students in scuba gear
A possum at night trying to get into a backpack