From being surrounded by wildlife to being a stone’s throw away from an empty beach, Ultimate Oz’s trip to Base Camp in the picturesque Port Stephens gives the group their first taste of the real Australia.

Day One:

It’s time to leave the buzz of Sydney’s city life and escape to Ultimate’s hidden gem. Surrounded by an abundance of wildlife, the Ultimate Oz group arrive at Base Camp and are welcomed by birds echoing through the trees as the group make our way across camp to quaint wooden cabins. Hostel owners, Mick and Michelle, provide a hospitable welcome and introduce us to the creatures that we might spot along the way.

By the time darkness falls, the pizza is stuffed and the drinks are flowing. It isn’t long until the wild brush-tailed possums will make an appearance, hoping to get a slice of the action. But be on your toes, otherwise your dinner might just become theirs!

Later, as the starry sky is at its brightest, the group strolls down to the beach, greeted by a sky so clear that the moon and the stars set alight to the waves. It’s the perfect opportunity to kick back on the sand with a cold beer and great company.

Day Two:

Could there be a greater way to start the day than witnessing a spectacular sunrise over the ocean? It’s true, there ain’t no rest for the wicked and the early start is a rewarding one. There’s something humbling about the beauty of a sunrise, watching in silence as the array of colours emerge. Now it’s time for an adventure. An exhilarating ride up mountains of fast-moving sand at Stockton Sand Dunes in monstrous 4WD army trucks is simply unforgettable. Grab a board and learn how to surf down the steep dunes, picking up speed and racing down the slopes against friends. And don’t forget to smile for the camera!

Mount Tomaree is next on the agenda for this morning’s activities. Prepare to get a little sweaty on a hike to the viewpoint for a glimpse of the striking landscapes below. The views look out onto untouched islands, stunning coastlines, national parks and mountain ranges in the distance. The area steeped in history surrounding the indigenous tribes and WWII sites, so listen intently for the stories that unfold.

There’s plenty of free time in the afternoon to hit the beach and work on that Australian tan. Keep your eyes peeled, as you may even have the opportunity to take a selfie with Base Camp’s two adorable resident kangaroos, Tilly and Lottie.

A mouth-watering BBQ is well-deserved after a jam-packed day and is set to spiral everyone into a satisfied food coma. As we wind down for the night, the group experience an interactive reptile show hosted by a local wildlife enthusiast. This is the perfect moment to get up close and personal with a wide variety of Australia’s amphibians, lizards and snakes, including a three-meter python.

Day Three:

It’s departure morning and the group say their goodbyes to Ultimate’s beloved Base Camp, but there is one last stop before heading back to Sydney. The bay is home to numerous pods of bottlenose dolphins, so we set sail on a scenic cruise to spot these playful marine animals. Lounge around in the sunshine on the boat deck or for a more refreshing experience jump into the net attached to the boat for a closer look at the dolphins and sea turtles passing by.

Yes, it’s not difficult to see why Base Camp is such a special place for Ultimate Oz. You arrive with a backpack and leave with far more than you could have imagined.

‘It was something completely new, completely off the track. Being in a location that’s completely cut off from the rest of the world really allows you to bond with the group and fully enjoy the experience.’ – Emily Innes

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