This year we took three groups up to the East Kimberleys to experience what is truly the most beautiful, remote, wilderness that Western Australia has to offer.
The East Kimberleys is a favourite destination for our trekkers as it offers a variety of landscapes; from stunning mountain ranges and rivers to deep rocky gorges and cliffs. It is a truly remote region that offers an entirely new and adventurous way to experience Western Australia. It’s our favourite escape from the daily grind and its beauty continues to awe and inspire each and every visitor.
1st Trek: Westpac Quest Leadership Program (21st – 27th June)
We took our first group up to Doon Doon on a leadership trek. We have been running leadership treks for a variety of corporations since we were approached by the St. James Ethics Centre in 1997. Our leadership treks are a metaphor for business strategy. Just a business has to face uncertainty, solve problems, maintain efficiency and reach a positive outcome; our leaders have to plan their trek in an unfamiliar environment, navigate around possible dangers, avoid unnecessary physical strain and complete the trek successfully. Our latest trek was the initiative of Westpac Group who organised a select team of Regional General Managers, Executives and Directors to participate in, what turned out to be, one of our most successful leadership programs yet. From the moment they touched down, our keen leaders of leaders kicked off the trek with enthusiasm and drive. But, it wasn’t as easy as they had originally thought; by the end of the first night, they found themselves completely pooped after travelling through the hottest part of the day and orchestrating four complicated river crossings which was three more than they had to! Our ambitious leaders soon realised that the trek was not something they could just rush into- they needed to look at the finer details to figure out a better strategy and avoid unnecessary work. And they all realised that they needed to learn how to read a map quicksmart! Each day saw a new elected leader coming up with a better plan, which sparked greater efficiency and rapid improvements in teamwork. Our leaders reached the end our trek with a bright new outlook and leadership qualities far beyond those they had started with.
“For me, the ‘crux’ of the trip; our decision to take on a third attempt of the ridge, was a defining moment where in the context of a hostile environment for emphasis, decision making skills, making choices in life and keeping on moving was a grounding experience that will be with me forever.
In addition, the opportunity to be in the bush and learn from the life experience of Terry Hewitt was a huge part of the week. His guidance, whether it was subtle tips at how we could work more effectively together, or his knowledge and understanding of the people, the area and the outdoors all contributed to the success of the week and our own experiences. We all owe him and BT a big thank you for this much cherished opportunity”
2nd Trek: Glenn Sterle (26th July – 30th July)
Our second trek of the season was the ‘Senator Sterle Corporate Challenge.’ This trek was designed for a group of leaders in business to put their mental and physical capabilities to the test and to experience the beauty of the East Kimberley region. We have been running treks with Glenn Sterle for a number of years and this July we took Glenn Sterle and his associates up to Doon Doon for a 4 day trek experience. At the Doon Doon campground, the group were given a welcome to country by the local community and enjoyed a BBQ together for the first night. The group relaxed easily into their trek, and enjoyed feasting on freshly caught Barramundi every night!
However, throughout their trek, the group witnessed the destruction of the current cane toad migration into the Kimberleys. The harsh reality of the cane toad invasion to this pristine wilderness hit home as the group stumbled across several dead freshwater crocodiles! Despite being saddened by such findings, the group enjoyed their trek immensely and we look forward to future treks with them!
3rd Trek: Riggio (30th June – 7th August)
We were approached last year in December by a group of trek enthusiasts who were keen to complete their Final Trilogy Trek: Speewah to Chamberlain River. The group of friends undertook their first trek in the series way back in 2009. For many of them, it was their very first trekking experience and they loved it so much they came back to do their second trek in 2010. This year, they came back to complete the final 88 Km of the Trilogy Treks which totals a whopping 230 Km!
The friends were excited in attempting their final trek. They cruised into the open wilderness, spending their evenings admiring gorgeous sunsets and feasting on freshly caught 6-8 kg Barramundi. But this was only in the beginning and this trek was certainly not going to be as easy as the last two! The groups of friends were soon forced to confront the harsh realities of this remote wilderness and just as their trip was drawing to a close, had to prepare for an emergency evacuation.
During the trek the group members witnessed a young calf under attack from a pair of dingoes. The group looked on as a distressed mother tried to protect her calf while the older, stronger bulls stood back and let the calf fall prey to the dingoes. The group was torn- should they allow nature to run its course or did they have an opportunity to save the young calf from the dingoes? Our team leader, Terry Hewett, scared off the dingoes by firing a couple of rounds into the air but sadly the calf was too badly injured by that time to make a quick getaway to safety. The group was then faced with a painful decision- do they continue on and let the dingoes come back to finish the job or do they help end the calf’s life themselves as humanly as possible?
The group sat around the campfire that night, discussing the harsh realities of the wilderness and how completely difference life is out here compared to their comfortable urban environment. However, this confronting experience wasn’t the only thing to shake things up for our adventurous trekkers though!
The group had walked within close range of a blazing fire for almost three days when, on the second to last day of their trip, the winds suddenly picked up and evacuation became likely. The group spent the last afternoon working clearing an abandoned airstrip to prepare for an early morning evacuation. Our Adventure Out team got the exhausted trekkers out the next day and within 24 hours, a 26km fire front blazed through the region.
For our group of trekkers, their last trek certainly came with challenges and risks but- that’s all part of the adventure!