Invictus Journey

Year 10’s Invictus Journey to Abel Tasman National Park 

Our five day Journey began with an early morning windy ferry ride across Cook Strait. We headed south, stopping at the beautiful Pelorus Bridge for lunch. We continued to travel, eventually arriving at our first campsite in Marahau. Tents up, bags sorted, and off for a swim. With the tide out, it meant a hefty walk across the sand to eventually get to the water. Then, back to camp for showers and the students’ first meal, cooked on their gas cookers. The evening involved students getting their bags sorted for the next three days, volleyball, journaling, and a bit of a sing-song. 

Day Two was the official start of the journey. Half of the year 10s began their journey with tramping packs loaded up and on their backs, walking the 12km to Anchorage Bay. The other half of the students were set in their kayaks to paddle their way to Anchorage Bay. These kayakers were very blessed to experience a dolphin encounter, and seal encounters, along the way. This was very much a first for both students and the guides. We were lucky the forecast winds did not arrive until later that night. This meant the kayakers were able to make it on the water all the way to Anchorage Bay. It was a beautiful afternoon so all students and teachers enjoyed a relaxing swim in the bay and sports on the beach. 

Day Three was certainly four seasons in one day. Again, our walkers continued their walk with a very early morning start as the group wanted to catch the low tide walk across Torrent Bay. However, this did mean they left the campsite at 7.10 am! It was impressive they were all up, fed and had their gear packed to make that low tide crossing (high tide track means an extra hour and a quarter walk).  The kayakers had a bit more of a sleep in before they paddled to Bark Bay. The kayaking group were again blessed to see amazing wildlife, including a couple of orcas cruising through the park. Walkers and kayakers arrived at the same time at Bark Bay for a delicious lunch. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was correct, and the rain then set in. The afternoon involved swapping over and the walkers were now on the water paddling back to Anchorage Bay while the others walked back. Everyone arrived back at camp very soggy but quickly warmed up after changing clothes and getting some warm food. Marlborough Girls’ High School was also camping at Anchorage, and they invited our group to have a Cultural Exchange. Our LAC students rose to the challenge. They did really well introducing themselves, and singing to the other group. This followed by a hongi line, and a time to mingle. Later that evening, students from both groups headed to the caves at the end of our beach to see the glow worms (and accidentally disturbed mating penguins. Oops).

Day Four was the final day of the Journey. It was time to leave Abel Tasman National Park. Our campsite was cleaned up and the walking group headed back to Marahau and the kayakers did the same. We met up for lunch at Apple Tree Bay and then it was a race to get back. The kayakers had a tailwind, which meant they could raft up and use their paddles as a mast and set sail. This meant a relaxing ride home for them. Finally, back on the road for the night in Picton, with fish and chips for dinner. Yum! 

Day Five was our ferry ride home, and a long drive North, arriving back College safe and sound by 4.30pm

A huge amount of learning went on over this Journey and a lifetime of memories were made. Being on this Journey means we need to be willing to accept, grow, and adapt, as we discover the world around us, and this camp certainly challenged our students to do this. The camp also showed the importance of planning, preparation, and flexibility. I am so proud of what the Year 10 students put into their week.  

A big thank you to the staff who came on their trip; without them, it would not be possible: Mr Wright,  Matua Dee, Miss Grayson and Mrs Bain. Thank you to Marahau Sea Kayaks, who hosted us on the water. We appreciate their skills, professionalism, and their passion to get kiwi kids in the park and paddling. 

Also thanks to the families who supported their Year 10 students, enabling them to attend this trip. 

Mrs Olivia Korte, Teacher in Charge of Invictus 

Student thoughts 

Camp was one of the best experiences of Year 10. We all got a lot closer over camp and learned how to support each other, even when it got tough. My favourite memory from camp was chilling out on the beach on Tuesday. We played a lot of games in the sand and also swam in the ocean. It was beautiful. Kayaking was very fun as well. I hadn’t ever done sea kayaking, so the experience was new and exciting. I enjoyed seeing the wildlife and spending time with my classmates. Walking was a long, but fun time, as there were beautiful views and generally good weather. If I could, I would definitely do camp again.

Angelina Cariga