Partnering with the experts at The Blue Mountains Adventure Company (BMAC) we’ve created a custom Two Day Wilderness Navigation Weekend after the success of our one-dayers in 2017! This weekend is perfect for those with little or no navigation experience and is a great way to get out of the city for the weekend and learn some invaluable Explorer skills.
Two Day Navigation Course // June 30 – July 1*
*with optional Weekender Extender, see details below
On the first day, you’ll cover the basics of navigation; you will learn all the skills needed to feel confident in the wild, including how to use a map and a compass, how to estimate distance and basic feature recognition.
We’ll meet at a secret camp location in the upper Blue Mountains at around 8:30am (exact time to be sent upon sign up), and begin the course.
Some of the content covered will include:
- How to use a map (e.g. features of a map, map orientation, grid references, land features etc)
- How to use a compass (e.g. magnetic variation, bearings, measuring distance, etc)
- How to estimate distance (bearings and timing)
- Basic feature recognition
- Navigation in tracked and basic untracked areas
- What to look for when buying a compass
- More advanced reading of topographic maps
- How to stay unlost
- How to figure out where you are when “geographically embarrassed”
- How to give your position to emergency services when things don’t go to plan.
- Bonus tips for navigation at night or in poor weather
You’ll receive exclusive video course materials prior to the weekend, to study up and all equipment for the Saturday workshop will be included.
Once the course is completed everyone has the option to carry on the Explorer party back at the campsite.
Day 1 – Evening
With your new crew, head back to the campsite and set up camp, cook up a feed, crack a few bevvies and let the stars twinkle at you while you make some new friends around the campfire (fire bans allowing).
Please note, camping is self-catered; you must be able to bring and set up all your own gear, cook your own food and be responsible for your own safety. We will provide you heaps of info on the location and gear hire recommendations beforehand, but once you’re up there, you and your crew will be responsible for yourselves.
Day 2 – BMAC Nav Challenge!
On Sunday after camping, there will be a self-led navigation challenge. Your instructors will give you a kit, with maps, instructions and planning tools.
The Blue Mountains Adventure Company team will set up a course so that you can practice your newfound navigation skills #IRL (dad, that means “in real life”). Practice makes perfect!
- Instruction from Australian experts at BMAC
- Full insurances and permits (excluding camping)
- Equipment and maps provided for Saturday workshop and Sunday Nav Challenge
- Lunch and snacks on Saturday
- Emergency and first aid equipment and other miscellaneous group gear
- If you’re stuck, we can provide a pack, beanie, raincoat (an average one!), fleece, thermal top, water bottle, and a mug (for hot brew at lunch).
Gear You’ll Need To Bring
Clothing & Footwear
- Long sleeves and pants for sun and scratch protection
- Wool, synthetic and fleece fabrics (no cotton or denim)
- Comfortable, enclosed shoes that you wear regularly. Your feet may get wet and muddy. Heavy hiking boots aren’t necessary.
- Rain jacket
- Sun hat, sunscreen and beanie
- Hair tie for those with long hair
- Water bottle – at least 1.5 litres
- Personal medication (Ventolin/EpiPen etc)
- Notepad and pen
- Camera – there are some excellent photo opportunities along the way
- The area you’ll be camping isn’t too remote (you’ll be able to drive to it) so you won’t need everything on this Packing List for an Overnight Hike, but it is a great one to check out so you know you’ve got the basics of overnight camping.
- Please remember that all camping is fully self-catered, so you need to remember everything for yourself.
- In the info pack a couple of weeks prior to departure, we will provide you with location info, maps, water availability, what to pack (and anything else that’s relevant), but there will be no WAE or BMAC staff present for the Saturday evening camping and Sunday Nav Challenge.
- We may send a WAE community member along to experience the weekend, take photos and hang out, but they won’t be responsible for the coordination of the event.
If you’re interested in a catered experience, email [email protected] to indicate your interest. We do run fully catered weekends, but this is not one of them!
Make it a Weekender Extender!
Here at WAE, we love our Weekender Extenders (not least because that sounds like a great dad phrase). We strongly encourage you to think about heading up to the mountains on Friday evening (maybe even swing an early mark?!) so that Saturday morning is as mellow as a baby sloth’s temperament. You’ll be happy you did when you wake up in your tent on a crisp Saturday morning in the mountains amongst the bird calls.
We will set up a Facebook group for you and your crew so that you can get to know each other before the event and make plans for the weekend; carpooling, meal plans, gear sharing, Sunday evening pub meal… these things can all be organised in the group.
When you sign up, you’ll be sent the link to the Facebook group.
Climate and Weather
The climate of the Upper Blue Mountains is somewhat cooler than the lower Sydney region. With Katoomba being 1030 metres (3380 feet) above Sea Level, temperatures are often up to 10°C lower than Sydney. During the winter months the average temperature in the Upper Mountains is around 5°C (41°F).
The Blue Mountains has a similar rainfall to Sydney, with the Upper Blue Mountains receiving an average of around 1050mm (41 inches) per year. Winter rainfall is more persistent drizzle, but can bring large downpours. The upper Blue Mountains also occasionally experiences snowfall, but despite the cool temperatures there are rarely more than 5 snow days per year.
Please be aware that our weather patterns all year around can be unpredictable and may change suddenly.
- 10.2°C Average Maximum Temperature
- 3.2°C Average Minimum Temperature
- 21mm Average Rainfall per week
- 7- Average number of Rainy Days per month
We generally run our experiences in all but the most extreme weather conditions. Moderate wind, drizzle, rain and mist do not impact on the safety of our operations and your adventure will depart as normal.
Of course, if we have concerns about the weather we’ll try to let you know as far in advance as possible, and if you’re concerned then please feel free to give the BMAC office a call on 02 4782 1271; they are always happy to chat.
We’re really pleased to be able to offer this weekend for $300 per person, for the whole weekend. With expert instruction on Saturday and a custom-made Nav Challenge on Sunday, you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth!
If you need to cancel, that’s ok… shit happens! To provide you with a refund however, we will need a minimum of two weeks notice. If you contact us later than that to cancel, we’re sorry but we wont be able to help you.
We do run these events a few times a year though, so in some cases we may allow you to use your ticket at one of the other events. We reserve the right to allow or deny this however (if you’re outside of the two weeks notice period), as we would need to be confident we could fill your space.
If you’re stuck, get in touch with Ellie as soon as you can at [email protected]
All photos are by Luke Mallinson (@lankyman) unless credited otherwise.