We understand your concerns when your child is undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh’s award hike outside of school. Will they:

  • be safe?
  • be the only one without a ‘school buddy’?
  • make new friends?
  • enjoy themselves?
  • be physically able to complete the hike?
  • have the right gear and be warm enough?
  • qualify if they complete the program’s requirements?

For all of these the answer is a resounding yes, as detailed below in these words from past participants and parents.

“A huge thank you for all your support to all the MLC girls, especially Felicity, in completing their Duke Of Ed Gold Trek. Felicity has told us that it’s the best Trek that she has completed. Thanks again for organising such a wonderful Trek for our girls – an experience they will never forget!” Peter and Kyrranne, parents of Gold practice and qualifier participant.

“Our supervisors were wonderful mentors and encouraged us to take up our own initiative and utilise our map-reading, navigation skills and leadership qualities, which was altogether highly important for developing our independence and an intrinsic part of the Duke of the Edinburgh scheme.” Jacinta, Sydney Girls High, Gold practice and qualifier participant.

“Matt was really impressed with the amount of independence you gave to them on the hike. Thinking for themselves rather than being told what to do!” Vicki, parent of Silver practice participant.

Safety

We conduct thorough Risk Assessments of all routes prior to a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award adventurous journey. All our supervisors have your child’s welfare as their primary concern. Hand picked for their empathy and compassion as much as their outdoor skills, our supervisors all have Working With Children Clearance, Outdoor Recreation skills and First Aid qualifications.

At least one supervisor on every Adventurous Journey will have thorough, recent knowledge of the route. They will have a satellite phone and Spot tracker (so you can follow their journey online via GPS and we can track it from HQ). If there are two supervisors they will be in constant two-way radio contact with each other to instantly communicate any issues on the track. Your children are in safe hands.

“Ian was the best supervisor for a Duke of Ed camp I have ever had and truly allowed us to make it our own journey, learn from our mistakes and have an enjoyable hike in extremely tough (hot) conditions.” Georgia, PLC, Gold practice and qualifier participant.

Making Friends

We create and monitor a closed Facebook group for every open Duke of Ed hike (ie available for anyone to join, not for a specific school). You and your child can join this group and ‘meet’ fellow participants (and sometimes the supervisors) prior to the hike. Our hikes regularly see 20 participants from ten different schools. There might be a group of four or five from one or two schools and the remainder will be made up of one or two kids from a variety of schools across NSW.

“Friendships are always easily made on these hikes and everyone was so encouraging and supportive of each other, it was truly awesome to see and be a part of!” Victor, Girraween High, Silver practice and qualifier participant

Physical Challenge

Your child might surprise you, and themselves how strong they are. They grow on DoE journeys and relish the challenge. Over 99% of participants we’ve had on Duke of Ed hikes complete the journey. The tiny percentage who didn’t was due to pre-existing injuries or due to grossly underestimating the challenge of hiking with a backpack.

Our Duke of Edinburgh’s award hike routes are challenging but not extreme, they are designed that way. We are bound by campsite locations so some days are longer than others, however, longer days are usually flatter. Anyone with a basic level of fitness and the right attitude can complete a Duke of Ed hike with Sydney Coast Walks. Our goal is for all participants to complete the adventurous journey and achieve their goals.

“Despite my aches I really enjoyed the walk. I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment at the end and have to admit, learned a lot on the way. I felt a little embarrassed that our supervisors (both at least 40 years older than me) were able to do the hike without even breaking a sweat. I mean, that’s ridiculous! I was almost dying at the end, and they were just strolling it out as if it were every day occurrence!” Sascha, Uni of Western Sydney, Gold practice participant

“I thought that the trip was challenging but everyone had a positive outlook and worked well together. It was a highly enriching experience for me, both in terms of challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone. Thank you for making this trip the best Duke of Ed journey that I have completed to date.” Courtney, Santa Sabina, Silver qualifier participant

Gear

If you aren’t sure whether your child has the right equipment for their Duke of Ed award hike, call us. We are always happy to talk you through your requirements.

We’ve created an easy Duke of Ed kit list for you to tick off as you pack too.

If you need any gear, view it in your browser and click on the type of gear that you need. It will take you to Wild Earth. They are an online retailer that ships great quality hiking gear Australia-wide in a couple of days. They stock all the major brands and they’re our go-to for everything hiking and camping. We earn a small commission for every purchase made on their site at no cost to you, but we have complete faith recommending them. They stock everything from novice to professional and they’re so easy to deal with.

Qualifying

All our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award journeys meet the minimum average hours of effort per day, as required by The Award. Our preferred routes provide the right level of team challenge for the participants and are mostly defined tracks that still require some navigation skills, to satisfy the Duke of Ed criteria.

We do not ‘fail’ people as we find all participants are keen to get involved and make the most of their experience. If a participant was seriously disrupting the hike, to the detriment of all other participants, we would give them a warning before calling their parents to come and collect them.

My child missed the school’s Duke of Edinburgh’s award hike/camp. Can they do one with you in the holidays to catch up?
Yes. They are welcome to join us on one ‘catch up’ hike or complete all their journeys with us. Whatever is suitable for you.

My child is a bit shy, can I come on this hike with them?
No. Adults, whether intentionally or otherwise, are always seen as authority figures. This interferes with the decision making process of the group.

My youngest child would like to come on this hike in the school holidays, can they come? or We have an exchange student staying with us, can they come on the hike?
If they are between 14 and 25 years of age they are welcome to come on the hike. They don’t need to be doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s award to participate but this is not a childminding service. They will be expected to participate and contribute with the main group.

Parent and Participant Testimonials

It was a really fun hike. It was challenging, but we were with a really nice bunch of people, and it was awesome to get to know them all and to work together with them to get through the hike as a team.” Ben, Rose Bay College. Gold qualifier.