The Blue Planet Snowy Mountains Trip

This information is correct for the Semester 1, 2023 trip. It is expected that some changes may be made for 2024: please check back later or contact the course convenor for more information.
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Michael Ellwood

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The Blue Planet has a one night trip to the Snowy Mountains region. We will be showing you a variety of landforms, discovering exposures of bedrock, discussing the processes that have formed and modified the landscape and vegetation. Emphasis will be on the nature of environmental change, and the power of combining field observation with critical analysis.

Interested in participating? Read on.

Participating in trips can be a highlight of your university experience; however, it is also important to think carefully about whether it is the right decision for you at this point in time. This page is to help you understand what the trip involves, so that you can make an informed decision. The information is accurate to the best of our ability; however, please be aware that trip plans can change at the last minute. If this may cause issues for you or you need additional information, please talk to the course convenor.

How we can help you participate

For most of our trips, there are lots of options for flexibility that may make it easier for you to take part. This page will tell you about some of them.  Keep in mind, it is not possible for us to anticipate every individual circumstance, so please contact the course convenor if you have other ideas for how we could help you participate. If you would like support discussing your needs with the course convenor or if your discussion didn't go as you expected, please contact the school accessibility contact.

How to participate?

Any ANU student who meets the pre-requisities can enrol in one of the relevant courses and participate in the trip.

If you can't participate

Students who cannot participate in the trips can complete the course by negotiating alternative assessment and participation requirements with the course convenor.


Activity sites: Alpine region with 10km hike on day 1

We will be visiting a range of alpine locations in the Snowy Mountains. Daytime temperatures at these sites typically range from cool - cold (maximums in range 15°C - 25 °C) which can feel a lot colder when there is wind or rain. We will be without access to toilets for up to about 5 hours at a time. You will need to carry your own provisions if you cannot manage this. Students should also bring a ziplock plastic bag so they can dispose of their toilet paper or tissue in an environmentally friendly manner after the day in the field.

To fully participate in the activities, students must also be able to safely traverse the distance from the nearest vehicle access to the location of the field activities.  Based on the current plans for the trips, this includes:

  • Snowy Mountains day 1: ~10 km at a moderate pace (breaks every 30 minutes) along even paths, with a river crossing over stepping-stones. There are relatively steep sections in the first half of the walk. After half-way it is predominately downhill. This walk is in an Alpine area, therefore it can feel more strenuous than you may be used to. It is recommended that you wear clothing to keep you warm and protected from the wind. For students that cannot walk 10 km, please discuss your options with the course convenor at the beginning of the semester. In the past, students in wheelchairs have completed this part of the trip by being carried across the river crossing - if you may need assistance with the crossing, please discuss this with the convenor prior to the trip.
  • Snowy Mountains day 2: Visits to multiple field sites a short distance from the bus, including one distance of ~100m over very uneven ground with no path.

Students who have difficulty with mobility in the field should discuss this with the course convener prior to the trip, even if they can cover the distance described above. The convener will take the students' needs into account if the trip plans change (e.g. due to weather) and in emergency situations. Students with sensory impairments that impact their ability to identify hazards or follow emergency instructions must discuss this with the course convenor at the beginning of semester so we can investigate possible ways for you to safely participate.

Accommodation: bunk house

The university organises accommodation in a bunkhouse, where students will be in shared rooms that sleep 6 people. Students choose their own cabins and therefore can arrange to be in either same-sex or mixed-sex cabins. 

There are a small number of smaller group rooms (2-4 people) which are typically allocated to staff, but could be used by students in special circumstances. There is a cabin available that has wheelchair access as well, please talk to the convenor at the beginning of semester so we can investigate if it is available.

Linen and towels are provided through the accommodation.

Travel: bus 

We will travel to the field locations by bus (up to 3 hours travel). If you need accessible transport, please talk to the convenor at the beginning of semester and we can organise this.

Food: catered but bring your own snacks 

Food is catered for through The Station (the accommodation we will be staying at). Students will be asked to provide their dietary requirements prior to the field trip so that they can be catered for. If you have a very restrictive diet or allergies to the food other people eat, please discuss this with the convenor at the beginning of semester, so we can investigate the food options available.

It is recommended that students also bring along their own snacks, as sometimes lunch can be later than students might be used to. 

Students should provide themselves with adequate water for a full day of activity (such as walking).

Cost: $250 

2022 cost: $250


  • Transport
  • Friday & Saturday Dinner
  • Saturday & Sunday Breakfast and Lunch
  • Accommodation

Health & wellbeing

Look after yourself: 1 night away from home

For some students, one night is a long time to be away from support networks and students are strongly encouraged to think about how they will manage their physical and mental health while on the trip. First aid officers can assist by arranging storage for medical equipment/medicine and arranging transport to medical facilities if needed. Students should be aware that the university's insurance policy does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Field trips typically involve extended periods of work and leisure time spent with other people, resulting in limited time alone or privacy. Students who feel they would benefit from time alone or in quiet locations should discuss the options with the course convener.

If you need to miss part of the trip due to health or other reasons, we can discuss alternative assessment arrangements.

Look out for each other: respecting other students' needs

During the trips you will work alongside other students for extended periods of time, including during non-academic time. It is essential that you understand and respect the varying needs of other members of the group during the trip.  If this might be an issue for you, please talk to the course convener at the beginning of the semester.  We can talk through the issues, suggest strategies to improve the situation and facilitate discussions with other group members.

Workload: Long days in the field, five hours of walking on day 1

To fully participate, students must have the mental and physical endurance to manage long days mostly spent outdoors and possibly in adverse weather (temperatures around 0 degrees and wind/rain).  On a typical day, formal activities will begin around 8am and end at 5pm, with a break for lunch during the day.  There are some options for students to take rest breaks instead of participating in particular activities (students must then submit alternative work later).  Students should approach the course convener at the beginning of the semester for more information about these options.

Day 1 of the field trip will be altogether 5 hours of walking (with breaks along the way for discussions/food/drink). Students should have the physical ability to walk for this combined amount of time without too much difficulty.

Clothes: hiking boots and clothes for all weather

Strongly recommended;

  • Boots that provide ankle support (hiking boots) - Runners are adequate but do not provide you with ankle support for the long walk
  • Rain Jacket 
  • Long Pants
  • Warm jumper/jacket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen

Tasks & activities

Interpreting the visual features of the environment

During the field trip, students will apply the knowledge learnt in class to observe and interpret visual features in the environment.  Students can use magnifying equipment to enhance their ability to make visual observations.  If students require visual features to be described to them by someone else, they must discuss this with the course convener at the beginning of the semester

Making measurements in the field

Students typically work in groups to perform simple measurements in the field.  Students who cannot perform these tasks themselves can use measurements taken by other group members while contributing to the planning and interpretation - please discuss this with the course convenor prior to the trip.

Field presentations and discussions

Students will be listening to content delivered by staff whilst in the field (outside). While collecting field data, students will have to listen, discuss and coordinate with each other as small group. If you think that you may have difficulty doing this, please discuss this with the course convener at the beginning of the semester.

Contribute to group presentations

Part of the assessment surrounding this field trip is a group presentation. Students will be required to record either a podcast or video presentation (as part of a group) and submit several weeks after the field trip (see Field Trip folder on Wattle for more details).

Students who feel they are unable to present can discuss the possibility of alternative arrangements with the course convenor at the beginning of the semester.

Flexible field notes

Students typically make field notes and sketches of their observations which they then refer to in their submitted work.  Students can take notes in a range of formats (e.g. typing into an electronic device, recording verbal observations).  If students require assistance to take notes (e.g. working with another student who will be the scribe), they should discuss this with the course convener at the beginning of the semester.