Refugees enjoy first camping trip

Camping at Brisbane Ranges National Park

Anne Parisianne

A group of refugees from Dallas, Roxburgh, Craigieburn and Broadmeadows experienced their first camping trip last month, learning essential camping skills and discovering the beauty of the Australian bush.

Organised by refugee settlement agency AMES Australia in collaboration with the volunteer-led organisation First Hike Project, the trip took place at Brisbane Ranges National Park.

Nine refugees from Syria and Afghanistan participated in the overnight camping trip.

For some, it was their first encounter with the Australian outdoors.

AMES Australia team leader Ami Nakatani said the participants had a great time getting to know each other and other volunteers, learning about camping skills and ways to responsibly enjoy interacting with nature.

“They also learned about Aboriginal history and its deep roots in the country,” she said.

“The clients shared food and chatted around the campfire.

“We were lucky enough to be greeted by some koalas on the second day. We set up ourselves at Fridays Campground and did an eight kilometre walk on the first day and a three kilometre hike on the second day around the camping ground.

“The participants asked what it meant when the land we stayed was introduced as Wadawurrung Country. They were unaware that there are many different Aboriginal clans and nations existing in Australia and they were interested in hearing about it.”

A camping participant, Kamber said he enjoyed the beauty of Australia’s nature and the friendliness of the people.

Though not quite the same, the view in the park somehow reminded Kamber of home, the village where he grew up.

Kamber said he would like to revisit the place sometime in the future.

Due to the success of this trip plans are already underway for more hikes, with the next one scheduled for spring.