The rewards of perseverance on the REEF program

Our Stories

For our 2nd-year Reefies, the Great Otway National Park adventure can be a real test of physical and mental fortitude. The Reefies are set the task of hiking along the Great Ocean Walk from Aire River to Johanna Beach, covering roughly 15 kilometres. They have to work together as a team to get everyone over the line. They took turns in being the leader at the front and the whip at the back to make sure everyone was sticking together.

It is a gorgeous hike through the Great Otway National Park and there is always something different to look around each bend. The group were particularly lucky that the weather was nice and the ocean looked amazing each time we came across it. For most of our Reefies, this area of Victoria is familiar as they all live in nearby Colac. It was great to be able to share stories with the Reefies about camping trips, snorkelling or fishing they had done in the area.

With everyone at the start of Johanna Beach ready to trek the last kilometre together, there was a real sense of determination and mutual respect among the group for the hard work they had already put in together. As the group headed along the beach, there was plenty of encouragement for one another and when they all finished, a big sigh of relief. Once we all gathered together at the top of the stairs, the true scale of what they had achieved started to sink in. This is an adventure that will stay with the group for some time and will be something they can draw on when faced with difficult times in the future.

The biggest reward, other than the satisfaction of finishing such a difficult hike, was the extra dessert on offer that night – the Reefies more than deserved it!