Base camp

Nature calls? We hear it too.

At Base Camp on the banks of the mighty and meandering Shoalhaven River, we help students learn about the natural world - with custom programs designed to suit your school group, always tied to the K-12 scope and sequence, always safe, always guided by our expert outdoor education facilitators.

Outdoor experiences, in our backyard

Program design

01
Define
To deliver a program that meets your school’s specific requirements, we begin with a consultation to understand your expectations and goals, as well as your students and teachers. We’ll uncover the challenges and opportunities unique to your organisation.
02
Design
We scope what’s needed to ensure a safe, engaging environment. We assess potential locations and risks, plan contingencies and create a personalised curriculum. Each program is unique, with bespoke learning that aligns with your vision.
03
Deliver
Our experienced facilitators implement our programs, ensuring each participant is engaged, inspired and empowered. Drawing on their wealth of expertise, they guide and mentor students to foster a safe, challenging and supportive learning environment.
04
Demonstrate
The ultimate value of our outdoor education programs lies in how students can apply what they’ve learned to their everyday lives. We lead debriefing and reflection sessions to help students and teachers recognise personal insights and transfer their learnings.

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FAQs

Are Base Camp programs for business groups as well?
You bet. All our programs are designed to suit the needs of your group, whether you’re from a school, business, community organisation, sports team or something else entirely.

Will we be roasting marshmallows?
Naturally - as long as conditions are safe for a fire. In general, we might have small campfires for groups, as well as a bigger bonfire in our Amphitheatre. If the conditions aren’t suitable for a fire, we get creative with our camp kitchen.

How do I book?
First, get in touch with Optimum Experiences so we can design a program just for you. We’ll then set you up with a profile on VenueLife, where you can register and provide important information like group allocations, dietary requirements, emergency contacts and medical plans.

Do I need my own sleeping bag?
Yes, and please also bring a pillow. If you’re in a tent, you’ll need a sleeping mat too (but not if you’re in a cabin based program). You’ll find a full list of what you need to bring under our Resources section below.

What are the bathroom facilities like?
Learning how to take care of business in the bush is an important life skill! Toilets and bathrooms are part of the facilities at the Optimum Experiences Centre at Fitzroy Falls. On Expedition, participants will have the full outdoor bathroom experience - privately, safely, hygienically and in a way that protects our environment.

What should I bring to an Optimum Experiences program?
Great question! You’ll find a list of what to bring under the Resources section of this page. After we’ve designed a bespoke program just for your group, we’ll also provide a handy packing list.

What’s the food like?
We think the food is great! Optimum Experiences provides three meals a day, as well as morning and afternoon tea. Thanks to our incredible Logistics Coordinators, meals are cooked fresh at the campground, using our commercial kitchen or on the BBQ or campfire. As we design the program for your group, we’ll collect information about dietary requirements and allergies, via our easy-to-use booking system, VenueLife.

Do all staff members have Working With Children Checks?
Absolutely. Our qualified, experienced outdoor educators are our greatest asset. Meet the team.

Will I need to carry my own pack?
With help, yes. However, each Optimum Experiences program is custom designed, especially for your group. Get in touch to learn how we cater to groups of all ages, numbers and abilities.

How challenging will it be?
Every individual has their own challenges. We take great pride in tailoring our experiences to suit each group so that our programs exceed expectations. Our experienced, professional outdoor educators ensure participants feel safe and secure, while also helping to build a non-judgemental, supportive community of peers.

Will you come to us?
Absolutely! Optimum Experiences is a fully mobile company. We can bring our gear and our team members to your premises for an adventure day, a mini camping experience or an Expedition to a nearby natural wonder.

Does Optimum Experiences run the Duke of Edinburgh program?
We facilitate the Duke of Edinburgh program at Bronze, Silver, Gold and International levels. Check out our Adventures for some awesome photos.

What other types of programs do you run?
As well as our Base Camp program, Optimum Experiences runs a range of customised outdoor education programs for school groups and more: Centre Based, Coastal, Expeditions, Leadership. On our Adventure programs, we take participants abseiling, canyoning, mountain biking, skiing and more.

Accommodation
Accommodation on Base Camp programs is in 2-person dome tents, which include plenty of room for equipment. Tents are waterproof and double-walled for ventilation. Participants will stay close to their tribes.
Catering
Students prepare meals for themselves and their groups, with help and supervision from our expert campfire cooks. They’ll learn how to use a small fuel stove - a skill they’ll have for life.
Risk management

At Optimum Experiences, ensuring your safety is paramount. From navigating towering high ropes to leisurely strolls in the bush, rest assured that our capable hands have you covered. Our guides possess full qualifications, including first aid and providing emergency medical care in remote locations.

We partner with Emergency Australia to offer our team members nationally recognised courses for training and professional development. Our top-quality gear comes from our preferred supplier, Equipped Outdoors.

High ropes

High ropes adventures include the Flying Fox, Dangle Duo and Battle Royal. See students change their perspectives as they abseil down cliff faces and complete rock climbing adventures. We safely tailor challenges to individuals.
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Canoe and kayak

Getting out on the water is a wonderful way for students to learn the importance of communication, teamwork, resilience and safety - as well as being a lot of fun. (We also take the opportunity to talk about water as it relates to their Geography units.)
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Bushwalk

A walk in the bush is transformed into a learning experience, where students open their eyes to humans’ connection with nature. Join them as they develop their ecological literacy and learn about sustainability and conservation.
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Orienteering

As students enjoy connecting with nature and exploring place, they also develop all-important navigation skills. Orienteering fosters team-building, problem-solving abilities and self-confidence - and our friendly, expert team members are always there for support.
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Overnight

Bush discovery is combined with survival skills in our overnight expeditions, where students cook for themselves on a small fuel stove. They’ll also learn how to transport, set up and pack their tent.
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Mountain bike

Outdoor education equips students’ toolboxes by allowing access to adventures that are fun, challenging and safe. Optimum Experiences encourages new types of exploration, but even experienced mountain bikers will love our purpose-built trails.
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Base Camp: Coolendel

On the banks of the Shoalhaven River, about 3 hours south of Sydney, our Base Camp at Coolendel is surrounded by Morton National Park with its spectacular gorges and pockets of rainforest. Taking in Mount Grady and the river, our trails for bushwalking, mountain biking and high-rope activities are truly spectacular.

Accommodation is in two-person, double-walled, waterproof tents. Students work together to cook on fuel stoves and manage the camping ground, supported by an Optimum Experiences team member and a teacher.

Culture and environment

Coolendel is a wide, open space home to grassland and wildlife - you may spot wombats, kangaroos and goannas. Easily navigated paths lead to camping areas, shelters and exciting spots like Jump Rock, Sandy Beach and Coolendel Rapids. We partner with Gadhungal Marring to provide rich learning experiences, fostering connection to country and culture. Students might take part in a smoking ceremony or sessions on Indigenous dance, language or art.

With our sequential learning design for outdoor education, we tailor our school camps to your group.

What our clients say

"Optimum's staff are second to none. Their consistency and quality have developed strong relationships and trust. Students always look forward to seeing familiar faces."
Shannon Cameron, Head of PDHPE, Northholm Grammar
“The expeditions pushed our students out of their comfort zones in a challenging yet safe and rewarding environment.”
Jackson Zhou, North Sydney Boys High School
“The leaders create a safe and inclusive environment for all participants. The leaders go above and beyond to accommodate different needs.”
Trent Brown, Head Teacher Welfare, Kellyville High School