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Making the most of a winter school camp

Think camps are only for summer? Think again. Planning a winter school camp brings another dimension to exploring the great outdoors. Here’s how to make the most of heading to camp during the cooler months of the year.

Embrace the weather

With cooler temperatures, there’s less likelihood of sunburn, dehydration and creepy crawlies. As long as the students are well prepared with the appropriate clothing, the majority of camp activities can be adjusted to suit the cooler days.

Here’s a few camp favourites that we think are even better in winter:

  • Commando course – more mud equals more fun.
  • Rainforest Trek – moisture and overcast skies make rainforests mystical.
  • Man vs Wild – survival in the bush takes on a different focus.

Whale Watching

From their feeding areas in Antarctica to breeding waters in Queensland and back again, humpback whales migrate up and down the length of the east coast of Australia between June and October. Coffs Harbour is lucky enough to have excellent whale watching vantage points, particularly when the mothers travel with young calves who love to play in shallow waters.

Planning a winter school camp around the whale watching season opens up a whole unit of study based on these gentle giants of the sea. Ideas such as:

  • Map the migration of the whales.
  • Study the life cycle, habitat, feeding pattern, behaviour of humpbacks.
  • Keep a tally of the number of whales spotted.
  • Investigate the identification of individual whales through the pattern on the underside of their flukes.

Campfire fun

Whether it’s the smell of leaves burning, the sound of logs crackling or simply the feeling of warmth, there’s nothing quite like gathering around a campfire. Day or night, campfire activities are a powerful way for students to make connections, build trust and create lasting memories.

Campfire ideas include:

  • Listen to Aboriginal dreamtime stories from the local Gumbaynggir elders.
  • Have a sing along with our local bush balladeer.
  • Toast marshmallows and make damper.
  • Sing camp songs – the students could even write their own.
  • Tell ghost stories – use a torch underneath the speaker’s chin for a scarier impact.
  • Create a group camp story – one student starts with a sentence and go around the circle with each student adding to the story.

Night moves

A total bonus of a winter camp is that it gets dark EARLY. Students (and staff) can be tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour after a full day of activities AND a great night activity.

Here are some great ideas for night time fun:

  • Play capture the flag using head torches – darkness adds another element to this game of teamwork and strategy.
  • Stargaze – winter is the perfect time to look up and marvel at the night sky because stars are usually brighter.
  • Head off on a twilight hike – stop and listen to the sounds of the night.
  • Play torch light tag – always a favourite with students.

The big day (or night) in

Camp doesn’t have to all be about the outdoors, sometimes it’s nice for students to kick back for some good ‘ol fashioned indoor fun.

Suggestions to consider:

  • Snuggle up in front of our big screen for a movie complete with popcorn.
  • Run an indoor game extravaganza – from board games to tabloid sports, there’s plenty of space.
  • Head off site for an afternoon of tenpin bowling.
  • Clown around with a circus skills session arranged on site.
  • Organise a table tennis or foosball competition.
  • Set up the auditorium for basketball, volleyball or even soccer matches.
    For more indoor ideas check out our blog post Five ideas to make rainy days shine

We’re here to help you design the perfect winter school camp. Please contact Molly, our Camp Concierge for ideas and assistance.


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226 Bonville Station Rd, Bonville NSW
02 6653 5311

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We had the most amazing time and your helpful and friendly staff made it so memorable


Great staff, great variety of activities. They were well run and organised. Great food.

The instructors were great – clear and enthusiastic and on top of behaviour.

Rachel Davies – Pacific Valley Christian School

The booking process was easy and the online portal was very handy! Made my life much easier to allocate rooms and groups.

Emma S. – Lismore South Public School

I recently had the pleasure to attend the Coffs Adventure Centre with my school for a few days.  I came as an assistant but personally had the most rewarding few days.  I tried things I never would have, stepped out of my comfort zone and achieved things I didn’t think were possible.  By doing this it encouraged the children to push themselves that little bit further and I got the privilege to witness the children I didn’t think would involve themselves in activities just shine. To see them so happy and working as a team was also very rewarding.  The staff were all so fantastic and enthusiastic which also made our stay that much more enjoyable.  Thank you for the experience.


We appreciated the initial discussion where outcomes were addressed as well as listening to other objectives for our cohort.

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