IH Sydney Training Services began the 40,000km challenge earlier in October. They have been encouraging their network of students, teachers, and staff to help them tick off a series of Australian landmarks using the hashtag #IHSydneyProtectOurPlanet.
Australia is a big place, and even with seven IH campuses dotted around the country, there are numerous landmarks far enough from anywhere to present a significant challenge.
While the country waits to be able to physically travel to these destinations, what better way to prepare for some actual globe-trotting than by doing some virtually, with carbon neutrality guaranteed! And with Australian summer kicking in, not to mention that fact that most people are all a bit out of shape after extensive lockdowns, it is probably safer doing these hikes in short bursts and closer to home.
Their first challenge was to collectively walk, run or cycle the 1400km from the IH Gold Coast campus to the Great Barrier Reef. If you actually walked this distance northwards from Southport, where the IH Gold Coast campus is located, you’d arrive in Townsville, the unofficial capital of North Queensland, and a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef, being the world’s largest coral reef system and a major tourist draw, is a poignant reminder of everyone's responsibility to the environment and to future generations.
From IH Bondi, an alternative challenge was to virtually walk to the Jenolan Caves, in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. At 204km this represents a more modest, but no less significant destination. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are another major tourist attraction, and the importance of the caves themselves was recognised in 1866 when the NSW Government took control of them, making them only the second area in the world reserved for the purpose of conservation. The caves have been important to local indigenous people for thousands of years, playing a part in Dreamtime creation stories. Subterranean waters deep within the caves were used to treat sick people. Nowadays, the caves provide interesting sights for casual tourists, and adventure for experienced cavers.
The whole team is looking forward to seeing where the 40,000km challenge will take them next!
See some great videos on their Instagram channel: