BSHS Year 9 Canberra Tour 2019 departed in Week 9 of Term 2, to the East coast and an early school holiday treat. Thanks to the Parliamentary and Civics Education Rebate, the cost of the tour is subsidised by $270 per student, enabling more students to attend this fantastic tour.
The infamous ‘red eye’ flight touched down in Sydney at 06.10 hours, and with little to no sleep at all, our last-minute stand-in leader Mr Heathcote, led 47 Busselton Senior High kids to breakfast in the picturesque Darling Harbour. From there, Circular Quay presented as a mysteriously foggy mid-winter morning cloaking Sydney Harbour Bridge before Captain Cook Cruises (who else?) guided us through the harbour, from Bennalong Point to Camp Cove, Port Jackson and Botany Bay. Then we explored The Taronga Zoo, where we lunched alongside baby elephants, baby gorillas, baby giraffes and a gigantic Cassowary! The bird show was extraordinary ……. We bused students back to the Sydney Harbour YHA, nestled under the Sydney Harbour Bridge for our first night in the city.
We took a tour of the remarkable Opera House in all its famed glory. Such a prominent and stunning building, inside and out, not to mention the views! We strolled across Sydney Harbour Bridge just because we could, walked over to Darling Harbour for the afternoon which included Madame Tussauds and finished the day with some delicious eats and retail therapy. Another fantastic day. Off to Canberra tomorrow.
It has been super chilly, with brilliant, clear and sunny skies framing our expedition. Wayne and his sturdy coach loaded us all up before hitting the highway to our nation’s capital. It became cooler and cooler as we travelled inland to the ACT, situated 580 metres above sea level. We lunched at the beautiful Bowral where Sir Don Bradman is renowned. Canberra is surrounded by plains of limestone with impressive granite boulders peppering the crisp, dry land. We spent the afternoon enjoying Questacon before a hearty home cooked pasta meal at the Canberra YHA, we then stormed the local Bowling Alley and bowled, danced, ate ice cream and played arcade games late into the night.
The next day encompassed the National Capital Exhibition Centre, and before touring Government House, and the High Court of Australia, we had the privilege of witnessing the 21-gun salute for the new Governor-General David Hurley at Parliament House, a rare treat. A trek back in time to the Cretaceous period at The Dinosaur Museum completed the day.
Another early start (and a frosty -8C) and the kids were up and about at 5 for a trip into the Snowy Mountains. There was ice on the windows of the bus on route to the mountain – past the Kosciusko Hydroelectric power plant - where we applied sunscreen and sunglasses to combat the glaring sun reflecting off fresh, powdery snow! A perfect day for chair-lift rides and carving up the slopes on skis and toboggans.
Day 6 showed students the Australian Institute of Sport for a glimpse into Australia’s sporting elite, CSIRO for a taste of Forensic Science. BSHS were then honoured to take part in and a laying of the wreath at the Australian War Memorial – Last Post ceremony. A solemn end to another amazing day.
Day 7 and finally, we were packing to leave! We commenced the day with a leisurely stroll down the amazing Mount Ainslie to The Australian War Memorial. This extraordinary tribute to Australia’s defence force is positioned graciously at the end of Anzac parade where we showed our respect to those who died in combat. We laid poppies at the names of our ancestors and had the opportunity to ask questions of returned Vietnam and Afghanistan veterans. All have been deeply touched by this momentous experience. We Shall Remember Them.
But wait! There’s more. Nola Merino, the Federal member for Forrest, invited us to her chambers at Parliament House. Nola spoke infectiously to us about following our dreams and standing up for the things we believe in. We then sat in the gallery to view the House of Representatives, and the Senate where we had the privilege of seeing a vote on a Bill.
It must be said: a voyage of discovery such as this is only made possible by the incredible hard work of our illustrious leader, Renay Down who planned the entire trip, and Chris Heathcote for filling in at such short notice. The comradery among the staff and students as a consequence of this trip is extra special. A notable mention to YHA Sydney and Canberra and Wayne and the giant bus for keeping us safe, dry and well fed throughout our tour.