Leading the way in outdoor education
St Andrew’s is recognised as one of Sydney’s and indeed Australia’s top schools for outdoor educational pursuits. Our Kirrikee Outdoor Education program starts in Year 3 and builds sequentially up to Year 10, with optional Year 11 and 12 programs. Our programs teach students skills that can’t be learnt in the classroom as we aim to help them mature into well rounded and mature young adults. Students experience activities such as camping, abseiling, canoeing, high ropes, caving, sea kayaking, back country skiing, trekking, mountain biking and white water rafting.
Managed internally and tailored for our students
Unlike other private schools, St Andrew’s Outdoor Education programme is developed, managed and run by SACS staff, therefore enabling a better relationship between staff and students. Kirrikee, our 90-hectare property in the Southern Highlands, is the base for many of our outdoor activities. Kirrikee is an Aboriginal name for the Flying Kite bird of prey, signifying our students’ opportunity to soar to the height of their potential.
Year programs and optional secondary programs
All St Andrew’s students, from Year 3 to Year 10, attend at least one Outdoor Education programme per year, usually sited at Kirrikee, the school’s Outdoor Education Centre in the NSW Southern Highlands.
Junior School Programmes (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6)
YEAR 3 – INTRODUCTION TO KIRRIKEE
The Year 3 programme is the first overnight camp offered to students at the school. It includes milk crate climbing, billy carting, a short hike to Tooth’s lookout in Bundanoon and night games.
YEAR 4 – CREATIVITY AT KIRRIKEE
The Year 4 camp offers students a chance to get creative in the outdoors, with a kite making session, a short hike to the Billabong at the back of Kirrikee, playing on ‘Jungle Vines’ in the long house and a scavenger hunt.
YEAR 5 – TEAM BUILDING
The Year 5 camp teaches students about trust - trusting themselves and their friends, and working together in the outdoors. The programme includes two nights at Kirrikee, and activities such as abseiling, log rolling, raft building and swimming. A night hike to Glow Worm Glen in Bundanoon is also included.
YEAR 6 – FAITH JOURNEY
The Year 6 camp is the final outdoor education programme in the Junior School. It is designed around Bible studies which explore what faith means and how it can be put into action. In conjunction with the studies, students complete a challenging abseil, encounter the flying fox, paddle canoes, enjoy a scavenger hunt and participate in a short hike in Mittagong.
Senior School Programmes (Years 7 – 12)
YEAR 7 – INTRODUCTION TO THE OUTDOORS
Since many students begin their St Andrew’s journey in Year 7, this first high school programme is designed to allow students to get to know one another, and to try many new and different outdoor pursuits. The camp runs for five days and is based at Kirrikee, Bungonia and Bundanoon. The students go caving, abseiling, hiking and canoeing, as well as camping out for a night, learning bush cooking, playing initiative games and on the last day, participating in an Amazing Race.
YEAR 8 – PACK AND PADDLE
The Year 8 programme is run in Kangaroo Valley and at Kirrikee. The students get to take on the High Ropes course and Mountain Biking track at Kirrikee. They also go on a four-day canoe and hike expedition in Kangaroo Valley, camping out in tents and cooking their own meals!
YEAR 9 – RITE JOURNEY
In Year 9, students are offered a choice of programmes for the first time. The majority of students take to the snow for a week of backcountry skiing and camping, building snow structures and the occasional snowball fight! Some students choose instead to canoe for a week down the Murray River. The Year 9 programme is designed to support the principles and key messages of The Rite Journey, a pastoral programme undertaken by all Year 9 students at the school, which is designed to encourage students to develop into self-aware, responsible and resilient adults. The Rite Journey is integrated into school life and contains personal and group challenges and personal reflection. Year 9 students also experience a solo night at Kirrikee which is an integral part of the Rite Journey.
YEAR 10 – THE PINNACLE
The Year 10 programme is the pinnacle of the Outdoor Education progression at St Andrew’s. Students choose from nine different options, ranging from seven days to 20 days! These include:
Hiking the Overland Track in Tasmania
Sea kayaking on Myall Lakes
Hiking from Katoomba to the historic mining town of Yerranderie
Horse-riding in the Victorian High Country
A cycle tour and mountain biking the South Island of New Zealand
Hiking the Main Range in Kosciusko National Park
Backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Kosciuszko National Park
Hiking the Fraser Island Great Walk in Queensland
Hiking and white water paddling from Mt Kosciusko to Bass Strait over 20 days – Summit to Sea!
Students on the Kosi to Coast programme also have the option of completing a Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation through our partnership with TAFE Western at Lithgow
Year 11 Leadership programme
An optional Year 11 camp, which has an outdoor leadership focus, is offered at St Andrew’s. The programme is for students who enjoy the outdoors and want to develop their outdoor skills and leadership potential. It focuses on group skills, self-awareness, outdoor skills and teamwork and is based at Kirrikee and Bungonia.
Parent/child programmes and parent only programmes
We have previously run hiking and travel programmes to the Larapinta Trail in NT, Overland Track in Tas, trekking in Nepal and to various ‘tramping’ tracks in NZ.
Holiday snow sports camps
Alpine skiing and boarding trips to Perisher: These week long holiday camps are offered for Year 5 to 12 students. They are aimed both at the recreational skier and those interested in racing in each of the disciplines. SACS has a growing snow sports team and some of our students have represented the school at a state and national level in the interschool’s competition
For senior school students, an international trip is offered every two years. In the past we have travelled to Kenya, India, Nepal, Borneo, Peru, Japan and Costa Rica. Trips always include a cultural component as well as an outdoor education pursuit. In 2016, a group of students went to Vietnam and Laos to immerse themselves in a new culture and to do some hiking and community service.
International skiing and boarding trips
Trips are occasionally organised to North America, Japan and Europe in January for students who want to ski challenging resorts overseas.
Duke of Edinburgh
St Andrew’s also runs the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, with students able to work towards achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Each award has a number of physical recreation, skill, adventure and service requirements that need to be reached over a period of three to 12 months in order to attain the level required for that award. The award is open to students from 14 years of age. If you are interested in the award please contact the school at dukeofed@sacs,nsw,edu.au
To find out more about our Kirrikee Outdoor Centre, visit the Kirrikee Outdoor Centre webpage.