Yarra Valley, Victoria
As part of my role, I have the privilege of visiting and advising on our services, to literally hundreds of camps around Australia. Hopefully, when visiting camps we are able to leave behind some thoughts for improvements, changes or enhancements. We know this to be the case, thankfully, post visit when we hear back from you that some of our suggestions have been implemented already. Something that tends to always strike me though is that nearly all camps are generally positioned in the most amazing locations.
What has also been most evident is that generally a camp has some edge to it, something that sets it apart, or at least something unique to offer. Some months ago now, we put out the challenge to our member camps to come up with whom has the longest flying fox amongst us. We got some interesting nominations, 200 metres, then 250 and finally 300 metres.
Candlebark Farm’s unique offering is a flying fox that comes in at a whopping 500 metres! That’s half-a-kilometre! Almost 50% longer than the previous longest I’d seen. Aptly named the Super Swooper. As you stand ready for take off, you literally need to squint to be able to see the finish. Large flags are used as part of the safety ‘go and stop’ procedures as well as a number of other controls in place as safety measures.
Installed in 1999, the activity has really earned its place as a ‘must’ do for camp attendees; a right of passage, almost. They also have a ‘junior’ sized flying fox for those not up for the challenge! Candlebark Farm has taken full advantage of the mountainous landscape by starting the fox way up high and as you ride the half kilometre you literally sweep the valley floor, passing over a canoeing dam before rising again to finish. It was great to hear the shouts of joy echoing throughout the valley as the campers eagerly took the challenge of the Super Swooper.
The 100 acre camp, built 1979, sleeps 110 and is positioned just out of Healesville in the Yarra Valley. Those that know this area well know just how incredibly scenic this region is. A long driveway leads past a residence with a sign out front stating ‘Bakery’ which does in fact supply the camp amongst other businesses in the area. The camp is nestled in behind some hills and feels very private and secluded.
Michael Hill has built a (one of the best I’ve seen to date) indoor bouldering gym which would be on a par with any commercial bouldering gym out there. Indoor volley ball court, swimming pool, low-ropes course as well of a range of other initiative activities are on offer. Accommodation is in bunk rooms with en suite facilities. Separate dining hall and conference hall make up the rest of the camp.