Stage One: Meeting the Mountains



Wollangarra’s introductory program, “Meeting the Mountains”, offers young people from 14 –17 years the chance to discover the heart of Victoria’s high country in small, well organised and supervised hiking groups. The major aim of these expeditions is to encourage an awareness of our environment.

“Meeting the Mountains” expeditions are normally a five-day course with a two night, three-day hike and time to also experience the pioneer lifestyle of Wollangarra. The first day is spent doing activities around the property and preparing for the hike. This may include baking bread in the wood fired oven, planting in the veggie patch, or fixing up fences and timber work using pioneer skills, as well as packing their packs (all hiking equipment is supplied). During term time these courses are filled by school groups, however in holidays there are a number of opportunities for other young people to experience this introduction to Wollangarra.

These special holiday “Meeting the Mountains” expeditions are challenging, rewarding and lots of fun, and also provide a chance for enthusiastic young people to meet others interested in Wollangarra’s philosophy of active, practical and positive conservation.

They then go hiking in small groups with two Wollangarra hike staff members. The hikes take place, in either the Alpine National Park or locally in the mountains surrounding Wollangarra.

The hike is designed to be an enjoyable experience for the young people, as we are looking to establish a positive connection between them and the mountains. The hikers return on the Thursday evening to a hot shower and a lamb roast waiting for them. After which we all sit around open living room fire and swap stories of the week. Friday is clean up and leave day. Everyone finishes the Wollangarra Stage One by walking without bags out the telephone track, from Wollangarra to Cheynes Bridge.

Who can come on a Wollangarra Stage One?

Young people from 14-17 years of age are welcomed to participate in Stage Ones at Wollangarra. During the school terms we cater for school groups. The holiday programs are open for those who are interested and their school does not attend. They are generally the first week of the Victorian school holidays. For dates please check out our calendar.

What is the cost of a program?

The cost for a holiday program is $200 per person, all inclusive (excepting public transport to Heyfield). We also offer sponsorship (the full program free of charge) to those who need it, for holiday and school groups. If you feel you would like to come on a Stage I program, but can’t afford it, please call and chat to one of our, as we hold fund raisers specifically for this purpose.

How do I book in?

To book in for a holiday program head over to our Bookings page. Go through the online booking and payment process. You will receive an email inviting you to fill out your online medical form. It is vital that the medical forms are filled in at least one week before the program, so we can prepare for different dietary requirements and make any necessary enquiries regarding medical issues. You will receive a letter in the mail with more information, train times etc.  School groups please see the ‘Schools’ page for booking information and forms.

How do I get there?

If you are travelling from Melbourne, a staff member will meet you at Southern Cross Station for the public transport journey by train to Traralgon, then by bus to Heyfield, where you will be picked up and driven to Wollangarra. Wollangarra will have a staff member on the bus and train to travel with participants on the way to Wollangarra, although participants will travel on their own back to Melbourne. Alternatively parents may choose to transport their son/daughter to and from Heyfield directly.

What do I need to bring?

Please see the ‘What to bring’ list and remember to leave your phones, computers, iPods and other personal music devices, cigarettes, alcohol, knives and lollies at home.

How is Wollangarra prepared for bushfire?

Wollangarra has an extensive Emergency Management Plan. This plan covers a wide range of scenarios, not the least being how we manage fire.

Fire is a risk that needs to be considered in all manner of environments, including urban situations. Obviously, the remote setting of Wollangarra necessitates specific consideration of a number of factors, including the use of equipment and facilities at Wollangarra.

The Fire Management Plan developed for Wollangarra includes consideration of:

  • Code Red Days
  • Fire season preparation
  • Equipment preparation, including PPE
  • Student scenarios – on the flat, on hike, in a vehicle
  • Stay or go
  • Yearly training
  • Homestead defence
  • Communication

How does Wollangarra respond to Code Red Days?

Wollangarra has specific procedures to manage Code Red Days. These procedures have been developed sourcing reference information from the Department of Education and other outdoor education providers.

Code Red Days are declared by 5 pm on the previous day by the DSE. This information is communicated to the Directors by the Wollangarra Council and other community members.

On Code Red Days no students will be at Wollangarra – they will leave the flat prior to the day and remain off the property for that day. Additionally, young people will be removed from hike on the day before and travel on such days will only occur in consultation with DSE. It is possible that the young people may be sent home.

Parents will be informed of such movement of young people on or before Code Red Days and communication maintained.

If you have any other questions please write us a letter or give us a call (unfortunately we can not correspond by email).

In the event that it is necessary for Wollangarra to cancel a course due to any unforeseen risks or issues, the following steps will be taken:

  1. We will make contact with you to alert you of the cancellation
  2. We will  work with you to try and find a time to reschedule the course which suits all parties
  3. If rescheduling is not possible, we will fully refund any course payments that have been made

 What To Bring