Last week, 16 Year 8 and 9 students together with Mrs. Spanos and Mr. Gridley headed to sunny North Queensland for 5 days. Students had the opportunity to experience school life at Blackheath and Thornburg College, meeting local student and making lots of new friends. Sightseeing was also on the agenda, visiting different tourist attractions in Charters Towers, spending a few days in Townsville and exploring Magnetic Island.
Sunday 17th of June – Students and staff met at Oakleigh Grammar at 1:45pm in the rain and freezing cold to say goodbye to their loved ones, and headed to Melbourne airport. After a three hour flight, student arrived safely in Townsville where the weather was considerably warmer and drier. The BTC bus was waiting for the students and staff to take them to the boarding school. On the way student enjoyed a quick stop for a delicious pizza dinner, later arriving at Charters Towers for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
Monday 18th of June – The new week brought and early start to the day, with the boys having breakfast at 7.00am, followed by the girls at 7.30am. The first visit was at the Leahton Park which is 10km out of Charters Tower. Students experienced a Texas Longhorn Safari, having an up close perspective viewing and interacting with the Texas Longhorn herd, as well as Water Buffalo, American Bison, African Watusi, Scottish Highlanders, kangaroos and other Australian wildlife. In the afternoon the students went down to the Burdekin River for a swim and a picnic lunch. The weather was sunny and beautiful, nothing like the blistering cold being experienced back in Melbourne! On the way back to school we stopped at Tower Hill Lookout where you could see all of Charters Towers. The students were very impressed with the view! The day finished off with dinner back at Blackheath and Thornburgh College, with a boarders and Indigenous experience for the girls, who learnt some new dances.
Tuesday 19th of June – Students had the opportunity to learn about the most important thing about Charters Tower, gold! Gold put Charters Towers on the map in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was nearly Queensland’s capital instead of Brisbane, but now has a much smaller population of 8,000. The students walked down to town and went to the miner’s cottage to pan for gold. They also visited the Old Stock Exchange and they had a picnic lunch at Burdekin River Pumping Station. That afternoon students and staff jumped in the pool, much to the locals dismay, as 25 degrees was considered a cold day. Students finished up that night with a spook-tacular event, joining a 90 minute guided Ghost Tour through historic Charters Towers.
Wednesday 20th of June – Oakleigh Grammar students said their final goodbyes to their new BTC friends, they exchanged contact details, and they hoped to see them soon for their Melbourne trip in September. Students and staff quickly jumped on the bus for the next destination of Townsville. They had a quick stop at a ghost town called Ravenswood. There is one pub, with one employee, an unmanned veggie stall with an honesty box, and a good view of the local gold mine. The bus arrived at Townsville around 2:00pm and the students were very excited to be in such a nice city. They had a lazy day spent eating plenty food, and walking around the main roads close to the beach.
Thursday 21th of June – Students could not resist the attraction of Magnetic Island, so after breakfast they caught the ferry to the beautiful island in the Great Barrier Reef. There were three cool areas and they visited them all! First was Arcadia, where they snorkeled with huge fish and swam through beautiful bright coloured coral! After a nice lunch they headed off to Bungalow Bay and they visited the Koala Sanctuary, where students held lizards, snakes, koala and turtles. Their last stop was at Picnic Bay where they found a pier where they were allowed to jump off into the beautiful water. Students and staff returned back to Townsville around 7:00pm and after having dinner at a Thai restaurant, they had a relaxing night watching the Socceroos playing against Demark.
Friday 22nd of June – The last day! Students had an easy morning packing up their luggage, while facing the cruel reality that they were about to head home from beautiful 29 degree heat, to a freezing Melbourne! They headed to the Reef HQ Aquarium and Turtle Hospital, which was full of hands-on activities. Down to their last couple of hours, students had the opportunity to do some shopping and chill out. After an early dinner they headed to the airport, arriving safely in chilly Melbourne later that night.
For students of Year 8 and 9 this was an excellent experience! They learnt so much, became even closer friends with fellow students and made the most of every day. Well done to all students who participated in this brilliant trip!
Congratulations to Mrs Spanos for coordinating the trip this year and to Mr Gridley for assisting.