Mittagundi: Providing Incredible Experiences for Young People

Mittagundi is an outdoor education centre and pioneer-style farm.

Year 10 DECV student, Cara, has written about her experience at Mittagundi, ‘a place for young people, built by young people’:

The environment at Mittagundi is indescribable, magical, freeing and happy. It was built by adults (leaders) and by young people over the years, who went on courses just like I did. Ian Stapleton has been the founder of Mittagundi since 1978 – going on 40 years this year.

There is nothing like Mittagundi but Mittagundi itself.

My course was from the 2nd to 11th of November. It consisted of me and eleven other girls (all strangers at first). “A small group compared to others,” so we were told.

Like all courses, mine started with meeting the group at Albury Station, along with Leader, Callum, and Director, Fliss (with the amazingly cute 13-week-old kelpie puppy, George). Into the troopies we all went, driving to Mitta Mitta for a pit stop before continuing to Big River Saddle, where we were staying the first night.

The night consisted of packing our camping/hiking packs, sending our town bags to the farm, playing games and setting up tents. It was a beautiful night despite the wind. The next day, a Saturday, consisted of an 8km hike downhill to our next camping spot. It was also the start of what would be mornings consisting of porridge, porridge and more porridge! Ha, it was good!

The hike was a struggle with the packs on our backs, but everyone was so supportive to each other and we all made it together. Again, setting up tents, games, dinner and bed. Waking up to the sun, birds and the sound of the river near us was wonderful. On we go again, this time having to cross the river before hiking the rest of the 7km to the farm. It was a bushy struggle but quite a beautiful one.

Arriving to Mittagundi – finally! – was such a successful feeling. All of us were pooped for the rest of the night. It was rewarding to settle into our cabin after a tour and some dinner.

Monday was abseiling day. Everyone had a go and we had an amazing time (even the terrified people). I’d never been abseiling before, but it was such a great experience. The view from the top, over the river, was spectacular. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before and there were no other people in sight. Surprisingly, we played a lot of games like Mafia, troopy karaoke, camouflage and a lot more.

Tuesday was farm day. In the early morning, one of the staff, Ferg, woke us up. This rainy day consisted of cooking, gardening and doing little things in the gear shed. We even got to milk, Booka, the cow. Despite the weather, everyone was in a cheery mood and such good spirits. At night, we had our ‘mid-way chat’ in front of the fire. It was so peaceful.

The next morning came around and it was time for some white-water rafting. Everyone had so much fun. There was splashing, a break for lunch and jumping off a big rock on the side into the river (I went first with a countdown). I don’t think I’ve seen so many smiles and heard so much laughter in my life. After a spectacular day, it was time to hit the hay.

Thursday was another farm day but this time we were going to go help a neighbour in the morning. Tessa and Grayum’s “Payne’s Hut” was beautiful, a dream home. Gardening, morning tea and cleaning up sticks and branches from fire danger was a great morning. We were back to the farm for lunch, and then more gardening, cooking (plus preparing food for the hike out) and more gear shed work.

Friday morning was an early start for breakfast before setting off for our hike out of Mittagundi. We did 10-15 kilometres. There were some steep uphill parts but not nearly as much as what was ahead for us the next day. We camped that night at the same place we stopped for lunch on the second day. Everyone was starting to feel the course coming to an end, we weren’t ready to say goodbye yet.

Saturday dawned on us. It was time for the last hike; the hardest 5km yet to come. It was a struggle but with everyone’s encouragement and support, it wasn’t too bad. Exhausted and sore, we arrived at Big River Saddle to camp for our final night. The fire was going and the stars were out as we had our final chat. Everyone was cuddled up, quiet but peaceful, around the crackling fire. It was the perfect night and I’ll never forget it.

Sunday morning arose on our final time together. We packed up, said goodbye to a few people, got in the troopies and started the journey back to Albury Station. It was difficult leaving them all. Even after only ten days together, the twelve of us became the best of friends. I’ll never forget those girls, and I hope to catch up with them in the future.

Mittagundi was full of rewarding challenges, beautiful views and great friendships. Overall, I had such an amazing time. I can’t wait to head back.

This is one thing that I think everyone should experience in their lifetime.

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