What is Wollangarra

Wollangarra Outdoor Education Centre (video)

Wollangarra is a small outdoor education centre situated beside the Macalister River in Gippsland. We pride ourselves on the high quality outdoor education programs we have run for young people aged 14-22 since 1989. Through outdoor education, Wollangarra provides a small step to a healthier environment, stronger communities, and happier young people.

Wollangarra runs approximately thirty programs throughout the year, as well as several working bees and community events. When young people come on the property there are no timetables, bells, watches, or mobile phones. The living is simple and these young people get the chance to discover Victoria’s mountains in small, well-supervised hiking groups. They are then given the opportunity to return on follow-up programs and become involved in a vibrant community and with our ongoing conservation programs. We strongly believe that our programs help young people see environmental issues as exciting and demanding challenges to the way we live, rather than as depressing and negative threats to our future.

Wollangarra’s programs are available to schools and community groups. We offer both fully and partially sponsored places to any young person who needs financial assistance. We run many programs at or below cost-price, and have worked with many different groups, from some of Melbourne’s most renowned private schools to groups of young refugees only recently arrived in the country. This commitment to engaging a diverse community reflects the strong set of values by which we chose to operate our organisation.

Wollangarra is a unique and simple place. There is no electricity and access is via flying fox across the river. Everything is in the old style, including wood-fired stoves and boilers, open fire places and old gas lights.

All of the materials used to build Wollangarra came in over the flying fox, were hauled through the river or were cut from the surrounding bush and shaped using traditional bush tools and skills. 1256 sleepers from the old Ghan Railway were used in the construction of the drop slab style homestead and the various outbuildings, as well as a mountain of other materials salvaged from 14 old houses that were demolished around Victoria. Hundreds of volunteers came from all over the state to take on the task of helping a project they believed in.

The pioneer-style homestead accommodates up to 24 young people in a simple but comfortable way. There are no timetables or bells, watches or mobile phones. Wollangarra offers young people the chance get away from all that and discover the heart of Victoria’s high country in small, well-supervised hiking groups. They are then given the opportunity to return on follow-up programs and become part of an ongoing program of practical conservation in the nearby mountains.

The Three Stages

Wollangarra operates a three stage program. While each stage is completely independent of the others, Stage I is the initial contact for young people. From here, Stages II and III are accessible, however an individual school is not required to commit to the whole program. Attending only Stage I is fine.

Previous hiking experience is not required. A degree of fitness will help, but our Stage I program is designed as an introduction to the mountains, not as a once-in-a-lifetime challenge. We provide all the necessary gear, including backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, rain jackets and even boots!

Visit our Program pages for more information.