A Venture into Cape Otway
Updated: Jan 16
Beyond Melbourne Ambassadors Project: A Venture into Cape Otway
Author: Linh Ngo, Divyam Gandhakwala
In December 2019, BMAP team undertook the second cultural exploration to Cape Otway following the first trip to the Grampians. In this article, contributors Linh Ngo and Divyam Gandhakwala will tell you about their cultural exploration trip to Cape Otway and the key takeaways that they got from the second ‘Stand out from the Crowd’ workshop. Additionally, they will share how undertaking this trip enabled them to broaden their international network and go out of their comfort zone by doing things they have never done before! This is BMAP’s second article, following our first article on https://bit.ly/35UlVig
BMAP Cape Otway team at the Twelve Apostles
As part of the customary session a week before the trip starts, BMAP organised a “stand out from the crowd” employability workshop for students undertaking the Cape Otway trip. The workshop consisted of two experienced speakers coming up with their own ideas of helping international students build their confidence by providing tips on how to improve their employability skills. Apart from that, before the commencement of workshop, the interns of the project also organised a few ice breaker games for the participants to get to know each other before joining them on the Cape Otway trip. Coming into the workshop, I did not expect much since I had been to a number of workshops like that, but I did get a lot out of it after all. Both the speakers were really engaging and helped us see some important self development ideas for ourselves and finding what works for us while making ourselves stand out for a competitive position in the job market.
BMAP participants at the “Stand out from the crowd” employability workshop
The first speaker was Mahima Chaudhary, an MBA advisory board member at La Trobe Business school with an extensive experience in Global Media corporate sector. Mahima imparted her knowledge about the workings of the corporate world owing to her significant experience of 10 years, which she credited majorly to networking. She provided insights on the importance of networking, while helping the students find out their strengths and weaknesses. One part that was particularly interesting to me was how she described the process of applying a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis with a view to evaluating herself and finding out what she could do for her career growth at that moment. More than that, she asked us simple questions that truly made us think about who we were and what other simple questions we could ask ourselves to make the best of our abilities, situations and circumstances.
Mahima Chaudhary during her engaging workshop
The second speaker was Remy Ma, a full time marketer and an upcoming entrepreneur. She explained the importance of having a sub-project in our career while at the same time not falling into the trap of monotonous 9-5 routine. This ideas and discussions at this workshop turned out to be impressive because it is something that not only represents who we are but also add meaning to our lives and fuels our soul to keep going. We truly learned a lot from our guest speakers, and we also had a wonderful time getting to know one another under a different light before setting off on our adventures.
Remy Ma describing importance of sub-project at the workshop
After all the experience we got at the interview, throughout the preparation process and the employability workshop, it was finally time to pack our bags and head to Cape Otway with excitement for what was to come. The group headed towards Apollo Bay on the first day while enjoying the aesthetic views Great Ocean Road had to offer on the way. Michael Mumford, our travel facilitator also provided information on the history of Great Ocean Road which was extremely captivating.
BMAP ambassadors enjoying the views which Twelve Apostles had to offer
The group stopped at Kennett River for spotting koalas and some really beautiful birds. We had some really good laughs while doing these activities since some enjoy having birds perch on them more than others.
Sleeping Koala spotted at Kennett river
After arriving at Apollo Bay in the afternoon, we undertook the most exciting and most awaited activity, which was surfing. A lot of us got to hold a surfboard and learn to use one for the first time ever. The instructors provided us with every necessary guidance to make our surfing experience as smooth and safe as possible. It was such a fun activity that we did not want to leave, and all we wanted to do was keep going until we could stand up on the surfboard and reach the shore gracefully, but eventually we had to.
The ambassadors enjoying surfing activity
The ambassadors attempting to stand on the surfboard after receiving guidance from the instructors
After arriving at Apollo Bay YHA, we made dinner and had a self-reflection activity where everybody in the group confronted the joys they experienced and the challenges they faced throughout the day. Magically, we had the conversation of the decade that night, sharing all about who we are, what we wanted to gain during the trip in an absolutely honest way. It was so sweet, and spoiler alert: we did laugh, cry and hug one another very tight before getting to bed.
Dinner preparation at Apollo Bay YHA by BMAP participants
On the second day, we woke up, made breakfast and cleaned up like a family somehow with the bonds we had created the night before. Afterwards, as a part of our conservation activity of giving something back to the community, we undertook a beach cleaning activity at Apollo Bay and then headed off towards our second destination, Cape Otway.
BMAP participants undertaking beach cleaning activity at Apollo Bay beach
On arriving at Cape Otway, we were warmly greeted by the local guides at Cape Otway lighthouse station who provided us a tour of the grounds while providing historical information about the lighthouse and its importance in the past.
BMAP Cape Otway team at the Cape Otway Lighthouse
We camped on the lighthouse grounds for the night, made dinner and had some amazing conversations at the bonfire. Knowing that it was our last night together, we stayed up late talking to each other, getting to know each other more and have as much “camp fun” as possible, like screaming the words to our favourite tracks at 1 in the morning! On the last day, we visited Bimbi park where we undertook Mountain biking activity and conversed with Nathan who provided details about the flora and fauna of bimbi park while explaining the declining number of koalas in the neighbourhood.
BMAP ambassador at the Mountain biking activity
Even after visiting the place for just 3 days, we felt that we were a lot closer to nature than ever before. As sad as we were having to say goodbye, we all felt the warmth of knowing that we learned so much more about ourselves and others than we had expected, and this experience truly unlocked something magical in us. We are so grateful for this experience on the whole, and we would like to extend our gratitude to OutBeyond, Study Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism for helping us have such a wonderful time. We all learned so much more about Regional Victoria and felt more connected to Australia, to the land and the people here and to our new friends from other cultures. This camp was definitely one of its kind.
Thank you for the memories, and see you again Cape Otway!