The School Trip: Tallebudgera Beach Outdoor Education School

It all started about five or six weeks ago. A very excited Elizabeth came home from school to announce…

Daddy, the school are having an outing to Tallebudgera for four days, can I go? Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please……..

Four days away from home without her mum and dad? Crikey, she’s only 10 years old! Whilst I was thinking of ways to interrupt Elizabeth’s repetition of the word ‘please’ to break it to her that she couldn’t go, Mrs Bob looked at me and said…

Well tell her yes then!” And with that, somehow or other, the word ‘yes’ fell from my mouth and $265 later it came to this…

Boarding the busYes, at around 7:30 AM this morning Elizabeth along with lots of other children from her school year boarded a bus to head 112 kilometres south into the Gold Coast, past Mermaid Beach, Surfers Paradise and Palm Beach to arrive at Tallebudgera Beach Outdoor Education School.

Tallebudgera Beach Outdoor Education School

According to their website over 8000 students from all over Queensland attend this beach school each year. Throughout the week students participate in a variety of water based activities like body boarding and surf awareness as well as some land based activities which involve teamwork and adventure based challenges.

Sounds like a bunch of fun for the kids, but what about the parents?

‘Camp provides a unique opportunity for the personal growth of students on camp. The camp experience encourages students to grow toward increased independence and self confidence. Home sickness is handled in a sensitive and supportive manner by camp and visiting staff with a focus on the enjoyable aspects and growth goals of the camp experience.

In other words, no contact!

But what if it’s your child’s birthday during the four days?


Birthday messages by fax or email will be passed on to students as soon as possible once received.

Well, it’s not Elizabeth’s birthday during the four days, but it’s still tough having no contact for four whole days and nights. Mrs Bob has never been away from Elizabeth for such a long period of time, me just once when my wife and daughter went back to England for a holiday. But at least we spoke on the telephone each of those days.

Elizabeth will be ‘doing it tough’ a bit, the rules for her are “No food, lollies, watches, torches, jewellery, music devices, computer games or mobile phones are permitted.

Just to be clear, Elizabeth will be fed, she is just not allowed to take any additional food in any of her bags.

The biggest shock for Elizabeth came when she found out that she needs to be up and out of bed, ready to roll by 6:30 AM latest!

Here’s the itinerary:

ItineraryAs Elizabeth is not allowed to take a camera, she won’t be coming back with any photographs. So the only glimpses I’ll be getting of Tallebudgera Beach Outdoor Education School are from the photographs posted on their own website.

They have 10 pictures on their home page, given the circumstances I hope they don’t mind that I’ve borrowed four to show you here; you can see the others by visiting their website direct at

Tallebudgera Air View Burleigh Toboganning

RaftingIt looks exciting, doesn’t it? I truly hope Elizabeth and all of the year five students have a fantastic time. You would not believe how excited Elizabeth was to be getting on that bus this morning. Mrs Bob spoke to Elizabeth’s teacher last week about the trip, the school goes every year and apparently the facilities are excellent and the staff are caring and extremely well-trained.

It has all the makings of a wonderful experience for the children.

From a parent’s point of view though, it’s going to be a long and slow four days.

Does your child’s school have an annual outing? And how old were your children when they first went away on a school trip? Let me know in the comments below.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Amy October 4, 2016, 7:08 pm |

    My daughter left for this Tallebudgera Beach camp this morning. And I must say I didn’t like it one bit. I didn’t want her to go. She really only been away from us for a night ata a time. And we got to speak to her! She was excited to go, but like you said they have said no contact with her for 4 days while she’s there. I think that is absolutely ridiculous. Who are they to say I can’t talk to my child for 4 days! I’m struggling with this. I didn’t let her know I didn’t want her to go but I did tell her i think it’s crap I can’t talk to her. I believe they should be allowed to call home if they wish too. Not denied it. If you go to jail you are allowed 1 phone call a day! They always say “don’t make your kids grow up to fast” well… what are they doing! Making 10yr olds do all this stuff that they shouldn’t have to do at 10! Make their own beds, do their own hair, etc etc.. yes my daughter is 10 & yes I still make her bed & do her hair, because she’s a kid! She’s only 10!
    Anyway.. not happy. Don’t like it. But as long as she’s having a good time that’s all that matters.. clearly the people that made this rule of no contact has no kids, because they would know how hard it is to not only trust someone else with your child for 4 days but how hard it is to not talk to them for 4 days. 🙁

    • BobinOz October 5, 2016, 11:33 pm |

      I feel your pain, I really do, I didn’t like it either. But my daughter was so excited to go, just like your daughter, so neither myself or Mrs Bob were going to admit to her that we also hated the idea of no contact.

      Whilst it does seem strict, and I love your comparison to the 1 phone call you get a day from jail :-), I think they do it for good reason. I think it would a logistical nightmare to receive and connect phone calls unless, of course, they let the kids take their mobile phones with them. But then quite a few 10-year-olds don’t have those, our daughter certainly didn’t back then.

      She has now that she is nearly 13, and she can’t put the darn thing down, which is irritating but also another story.

      Anyway, what I can tell you is that if there is a problem the school will be on to you immediately. There was one girl in my daughter’s group who grew home sick, so the mother was contacted by phone and she drove down to the camp and picked her up to bring her back home.

      They do truly care about the kids and they won’t make them stay if they’re not happy. But I reckon your daughter will have a great time, just as my little girl did, and she will come home with a big smile on her face and tell you all about it. My guess is that you are fretting more than she is 🙂

      Two more days to go, then you’ll be good. Please do come back and tell us how the trip went for your daughter, we’d love to hear it. Good luck, Bob

  • layla July 12, 2015, 11:23 am |

    im going to a school camp this year but have no clue what its like and my big brother is no help either but i guess ill have to wait to find out.

    • BobinOz July 12, 2015, 9:16 pm |

      I’m sure you will have a great time Layla, my daughter has been on two school trips now, she loved both of them and had an absolutely awesome time. Have fun, Bob

  • Hilary September 11, 2014, 7:45 am |

    Ah yes, brought back memories of those camping trips. First as a Brownie in a fairly sheltered barn sort of arrangement (though it did involve sleeping on hay bales after a thunder storm) and then in the Guides. We had an inspirational but fierce Guide Captain, I think she originally came from Switzerland, who appeared for swimming in a knitted swimsuit, yes really. You can imagine the effect after emerging from the river! I seem to recall that she spent a lot of time patrolling the boundaries of our camping field in an effort to shoo off the assortment of local lads who’d come to entice us away from the campfire. Staggering down to the pits to empty the overfull latrine buckets. So much fun in those days… no Health & Safety to bother us then.

    Then there was the ‘school cruise’ which was a sort of history trip by ship around the Med. I still remember visiting Damascus (no chance of that now) and Athens. Vivid memories of exotic places in the days before cheap summer holidays in the sun.

    • BobinOz September 11, 2014, 7:08 pm |

      Yes, well, in those days you could knit anything, my mum actually knitted me my first teddy bear when I was a small child. If she could have afforded the wool, I’m sure she would have knitted me a treehouse and a bicycle as well.

      That said, a knitted swimsuit, I would have liked to have seen that.

      Sounds like you have fond memories of your school trips, the school cruise sounds incredible, your parents must have been well pleased when you came home from school clutching that note and the accompanying bill.

      Happy days 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

  • Kamma September 2, 2014, 5:07 pm |

    Hi Bob. 🙂 Good for Elizabeth, getting to go on fun trip like that. My school had an annual skiing trip (then the recession hit), which I remember fondly.

    • BobinOz September 2, 2014, 8:09 pm |

      Well I’m glad I didn’t go to your school, they would have been bringing me back with a broken leg for sure 🙂

      Skiing is not my thing.

      • Kamma September 4, 2014, 8:03 pm |

        Oh, poor Bob. I didn’t actually see any broken legs on my trips, but I did see a broken arm and a sprained ankle. I don’t think it’s actually all that easy to get injured on skis. I once went off slope and into some trees, suddenly finding myself lying flat on my back, down one ski (which had somehow climbed a tree), and only a scattering of bruises to show for it.

        • BobinOz September 5, 2014, 12:32 am |

          I’m sure I would find it extraordinarily easy to get injured on skis. But I don’t intend to test that theory, ever. 🙂

  • djmcbell September 1, 2014, 7:35 pm |

    It’s a cult!!!


    School trips – only ones I remember as a kid here in the UK were to a few museums. Nothing overnight unless you did a foreign exchange.

    • BobinOz September 2, 2014, 3:21 pm |

      That thought did cross my mind as well, but then I realised if they really were a cult, they’d be keeping my daughter for four years not for days 🙂

      Seriously though, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this beach school, they are good guys, so I’m hoping my daughter is having a great time.

      Like yourself, I don’t much remember going away on any kind of school trip for this length of time, although I vaguely remember going camping with the Cubs/Scouts at some point in my childhood when I may well have been as young as 10 or 11 myself.

      • djmcbell September 2, 2014, 5:42 pm |

        Yeah, we went away camping with cubs/scouts for a couple of nights. Six boys to a tent and only a tiny chemical “portaloo” tent where we’d empty the bucket after each visit into the nearby stream… not fun.

        • BobinOz September 2, 2014, 9:20 pm |

          Not sure I had much fun on my camping trips either, I think I would have swapped it for a cabin by the beach (in Australia) any day. I hope my daughter knows how good she has got it 🙂

  • Richard Huckle September 1, 2014, 5:43 pm |

    I should have moved to Australia some years back.
    Perhaps the Lotto will smile on me favourably in the weeks to come?

    • BobinOz September 2, 2014, 3:18 pm |

      As they say, ‘….if you don’t buy a ticket…’

      Good luck, Bob

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