An Introduction to Field Geology

This information is correct for the semester 2, 2023 trip. We do not anticipate changes for 2024, but please check back closer to the time.
school Course code
Course codes
schedule Publication date
contact_support Contact
Contact name
Andrew Berry
Contact email

Content navigation


Students will spend each of the five days of this trip at a different locality making measurements and observations about the geology of the New South Wales south coast around Batemans Bay. Students will learn valuable field skills such as how to use a compass clinometer for measuring dip and dip direction, how to produce a geological map, how to construct a geological cross-section, how to put together a stratigraphic column, and how to take detailed field notes.

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

If you can't participate

Students who cannot participate in the trip may be able to negotiate alternative participation and assessment requirements with the course convenor. If you may require this, please discuss with the course convenor at the beginning of semester.


Activity sites: rocky outcrops and geological features

We will be visiting a range of rocky outcrops and geological formations throughout the trip. Weather conditions during the trip may vary: potentially hot (>30 °C) and sunny to cool (5 - 10 °C)/windy/rainy. 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 participate in the trip, students must participate in all field activities. This requires students to be able to:

  • Travel up to 4km over rough paths at a moderate pace;
  • Travel up to 200m at a time through grassy vegetation or over rocky outcrops; and
  • Stand for long periods of time (up to an hour) to take geological measurements.

If you may be unable to do this, please talk to the convenor at the beginning of semester you may need to complete alternative assessment instead of participating in the trip.

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 rooms

Bunk rooms at a caravan park (sleeping between 4 and 6 students per room). Single-sex rooms available upon request.

Travel: bus or mini-bus 

We will travel by coach or minibus organised by the university. Students will be picked up from RSES on the Monday morning (~9 am and returned on the Friday afternoon ~6:00pm). 

Food: catered but bring your own lunch for day 1 

Students will be required to pack their own lunch and snacks for the Monday, all other days breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided. Students will be asked to provide their dietary requirements so that they will 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. 

Cost: approximately $350 

The student contribution is approximately $350 (as at 2019 field trip) to cover the transport, accommodation, and food. Students will be advised of the exact amount at the beginning of semester.

Health & wellbeing

Look after yourself: 4 nights away from home

Four nights can be 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.

Students should complete the entire trip unless unexpected situations arise. If you are unable to manage your health away from Canberra, please talk to the convenor at the beginning of semester about alternative assignments instead of participating in the field trip.

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.  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 followed by compulsory evening homework

As an indication, on a typical day, breakfast is available between 7.30 to 8.30 am and the bus departs for the field at 9 am with a break for lunch. We return to the accommodation by 6 pm and students have a short break before dinner at  7 pm. In the evening students must complete compulsory homework, which may involve working until 10pm.

Students who attend the trip must participate in all activities and complete the homework each night. If you are unable to manage this workload, please talk to the convenor at the beginning of semester about alternative assignments instead of participating in the field trip.

Clothes: options for all weather

Sunsafe clothes required (long-sleeve shirts, hat, sunglasses).

Rain jacket strongly recommended. 

Weather can be either cold or warm during this time of year. It is suggested you bring adequate warm clothes with options for if the weather warms up.

Sensible closed in shoes required to be let into the field. Hiking books recommended but not compulsory. 

Tasks & activities

Interpreting the environment through sight and touch

During the field trip, students will identify rocks and interpret the environment based on visual features and their sense of touch.  Students can use magnifying equipment to enhance their ability to make visual observations - please discuss this with the course convenor. If you are unable to do this, you will not be able to participate in the trip - please talk to the course convenor at the beginning of semester about alternative assessment.

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.

Handwritten field notes

Students are required to take handwritten field notes and/or record data while working in the field. In the evening, students complete further tasks including writing, drawing, and colouring. If you think that you may be unable to do this, please talk to the course convenor about alternative assessment to the field trip at the beginning of semester.