Kayla Doolan – NT Teachers Famil Trip

Last year I applied for a Teachers’ Famil Trip run through Northern Territory Tourism (NT Tourism). I was lucky enough to be selected with 9 other teachers to visit Darwin, Kakadu and Katherine for a week during the April 2017 break. The aim of the trip was to showcase educational tourism experiences in the NT, so that teachers and schools consider the NT as a destination for school excursions. The places we visited align to curriculum outcomes, are educationally beneficial and fun. The trip provided me with some wonderful experiences, direct contacts with Tourism NT and tour providers. Becky from NT Learning Adventures was our host, and Steve from Wayoutback Tours was our guide for the week. The below experiences were part of the week:

  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT). This Museum has collections related to the Bombing of Darwin, Cyclone Tracy and the region’s art and culture.
  • Royal Flying Doctors Darwin Tourist Facility
    A virtual reality experience and life size holograms of the drama of the bombing of Darwin in 1942.
  • Territory Wildlife Park in Berry Springs
    This is a great place for students to learn about wildlife native to the Top End in their natural habitats. The park covers a large area, providing camping for school groups and various presentations.
  • Mt Bundy Station
    Mt Bundy Station is a working cattle property that provides school groups with a unique experience, and also has a strong connection with our WWII History as many forces based themselves at Adelaide River.
  • Top Didj
    This gallery and property offer a fun and hands on cultural experience. Manuel taught us about his history, culture and the technique of Rarrk painting
  • Katherine Outback Experience
    Run by singer Tom Curtain and his wife Annabel. They offer educational experiences on what life is like in outback territory, live demonstrations of horse and dog training and the pastoral industry in Australia.
  • Nitmiluk National Park
    Our guide taught us the cultural significance of the first 2 gorges to the traditional owners, the Jawoyn people. After the cruise, we took part in the ‘Footsteps of our ancestors’ cultural experience; learning how to weave baskets from pandanus which are found on the riverbanks, and throw spears.
  • Kakadu National Park
    Here we went on a sunset cruise through Yellow Water River. Apart from the amazing birdlife, plants and sunset I spotted my first crocodile in the wild! We also learned about the culture of the area, particularly “Gamul”- Gagudju word for feeling country. We also travelled over a flooded road via a boat to be the only people at Ubirr- a very popular tourist destination in the dry season when it is open to the public. Here we quickly came to understand one of the reasons for Kakadu’s World Heritage listing- the amazing rock art depicting Aboriginal life over thousands of years. Some of the paintings we saw were up to 20,000 years old. Walking up to the Nadab Lookout gave a beautiful view of Kakadu’s wetlands and rock formations. The boat ride back over the road took us past huge Saltwater Crocodile nests floating in the river. Though hard to pick, Ubirr was my highlight of the week!
  • Nourlangie Rock
    An outlying formation of the Arnhem Land Escarpment. We walked to the lookout with our guide, visiting various rock art sites along the way to an amazing view.
  • Adventure Bound
    It offers a variety of camp based activities, walks and physical and mental challenges.
  • Crocosaurus Cove
    It showcases the world’s largest display of Australian reptiles, and allows an up-close and personal experience with Australian Saltwater and Freshwater crocodiles. We fed the baby crocodiles, and visited the aquarium and reptile enclosure.

In all, it was an amazing experience and I am so thankful to NT Learning Adventures, NT Tourism and Becky for her organisation and all of the guides’ expertise- they are very passionate about their beautiful area of Australia! I went home with lots of ideas, experiences and new ways of teaching. I hope to be able to share this beautiful part of Australia with SCAS students in the future. If you have any questions or enquiries about a future SCAS trip, or just recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact me- I’m a proud ambassador for the NT now!