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School Excursions at Riverlife

February 15, 2023

School Excursions at Riverlife

Student essay

When I would visit the city, I only recall having fun at the Queen St Mall. There were times I would think about visiting the city to do something else, but not know what or where to go. What would be fun? The jump from primary school to high school meant no more hanging around our local shopping centres. Being a high school student would mean exploring, catching public transport and finding your own fun. It felt strange that a school excursion to Riverlife Adventure Centre could combine the three in a new outdoor context.

Over the two days at Riverlife, we went abseiling, rock climbing, rollerblading and kayaking. They were all pretty much characteristic school camp activities. Yet, with each new adventure, I saw a new view of Brisbane. The two collided in an unexpected and exciting urban adventure. I was surprised the city had outdoor spaces!

On the first day, we began with rollerblading between the infamous Southbank monuments. I learnt how to balance on blades and find the confidence to my clumsy displays of amateurism. Everyone was learning together which made participation less scary. I couldn’t imagine having this much fun anywhere else or really with anyone else but my schoolmates. It was difficult to stay upright for long periods, so the distraction of communal vege gardens, big auditoriums and artificial beaches was great!

The afternoon activity concluded of abseiling, which is the act of descending down a high platform via rope. We had a much-needed brief to help explain what needed to happen and why this had to happen – why me!? The teachers put big words out there, including resilience, perseverance, leadership, and courage. I wasn’t feeling very optimistic and believed maybe this wasn’t a challenge that I could overcome. Yet, all these amazing words allowed me to get suited up and walk up those dreadful stairs to the top of the cliffs.

I think the anticipation did it for me. Everyone else noisily recounted their abseil and the sense of achievement they felt. Whereas I stayed silent at the back of the “who wants to go next?” line. I eventually made it to the front, and with the group’s painful encouragement, before I knew it, I was enjoying myself! With that said, I felt like I didn’t have much left in the tank for day two’s adventure: rock climbing

This Brisbane school excursion was my first time seeing the Kangaroo Point Cliffs in person. I wondered, do other cities have cliffs? Or is it just Brisbane? Against the twisting river, disjointed parklands and reflective skyscrapers, make for an insanely pretty landscape. They also make for an insanely difficult outdoor adventure.

Rock climbing was good exercise and put both my physical strength and mental problem-solving to the test. Although what I really enjoyed most about it, was being surrounded by my friends and feeling a part of the city’s active lifestyle.

The last adventure of the trip was kayaking. Or should I say, an unconventional tour guide of Brisbane. I never thought this activity would take place anywhere other than a lake or somewhere nestled amid mountains. On the river, we watched as the blue and yellow CityCats cut in front of our imaginary water lanes. We played kayak games underneath the rowdy bridge which felt urbex and adolescent. It was much more than an outdoor school camp activity, it felt like a creative way to get to experience Brisbane.

Once back in my city of Logan, I will try to look for creative ways to explore my city. Along the familiar roads and unkept pathways, I will try to embrace my surroundings and create my own fun – two important lessons I will take away from Riverlife.

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