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Camps and outdoor recreation

Sport and Recreation Victoria operates 5 residential campsites across Victoria.

Our 5 residential camps are located on Crown land and are situated at:

The day to day operation of each of the 5 campsites is currently contracted under lease agreement to the Victorian YMCA. In 2016, 65,000 Victorians visited the camps and participated in a wide range of healthy and active outdoor programs.

For more information on accessing these camps, please visit the YMCA camps website.

The Camps' primary service delivery role is the provision of residential recreation experiences for a variety of community based groups. The service provision includes the supply of accommodation, catering, sport and recreation facilities and equipment and facilitated programs and activities. The Camps' primary clients are educational, sporting, family and community groups.

A legacy from the long term leasing of the camps is the reallocation of resources to build outdoor sector and organisational capacity; and increase participation by individuals through initiatives that target motivation, means and opportunity. This is achieved through an annual Outdoor Sector Development Plan.

Outdoor sector plan research initiatives

Findings from research will enhance the capacity of government and the outdoor sector to make decisions about the future allocation of resources, influence future policy, improve current practice and develop pathways to more participation in outdoor activity. An example current research initiatives include:

Outdoor youth programs research alliance

The goal of the Alliance is to develop a long-term program of high quality, fundable research that evaluates the potential benefits of outdoor, camping and nature-based programs on the resilience, learning and wellbeing of young Australians. The Alliance is being co-ordinated by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and the University of Melbourne and includes a range of industry partners.

UPLOADS reporting system

Detailed information on injuries and injury-causation is required to understand the risks involved in facilitated or instructed “led” outdoor activities (LOA). However, in Australia, there is a paucity of information available on the epidemiology and causation of incidents in this sector.

To address this problem, Sport and Recreation Victoria has been engaged in a major program of research to develop a national approach to incident reporting, known as UPLOADS (Understanding and Preventing Led Outdoor Accidents Data System).

The UPLOADS project has been endorsed by both the Australian Research Council (ARC) as well as LOA organisations from across Australia, and demonstrates the strength and benefits of bridging the gap between research and practice.

Over the last 5 years, a prototype reporting system was developed and trialled in 50 organisations across Australia. The results of this trial presented the first ever national incident rates for LOA. To view the results visit the Uploads project website.

Outdoor sector plan development projects

Universal design and outdoor activity

Camp Manyung has been pioneering the adoption of the universal design philosophy into adventure activities at camps. One of the key outcomes of this work is a universally designed High Challenge Ropes Course, an international first for the camping and outdoor sector. The project was a Gold Award winner in the Tourism/Inclusive Culture/Mobility Gold at the 2017 International Association for Universal Design Awards.

The ropes course project is a partnership between Sport and Recreation Victoria and the Victorian YMCA as part of a shared commitment to a universal design philosophy, providing equal opportunity for everyone to participate in outdoor activity.

Traditionally high ropes adventure courses are designed for use by the able bodied. However Camp Manyung’s High Challenge Ropes Course enables people of all ages and abilities to participate equally in the activity. It is a unique and exhilarating outdoor adventure activity, designed using the application of Universal Design principles.

Prior to the adoption of the universal design philosophy, adventure activities at camps like Camp Manyung did not cater for everyone. People with disabilities were often unable to participate in activities due to poor design, lack of specialized equipment and inflexible teaching methods.

The project asked campers of all abilities and backgrounds what they thought about how we could design and construct the ropes course to ensure that all people can be independent and participate fully and inclusively without being segregated.

The high challenge ropes course aligns to the principles of Universal Design, in particular:

  • Principle 1 - equitable use
  • Principle 2 - flexibility in use.

It enables a diverse population of camp visitors to have the choice to participate equally and experience the health benefits of social inclusion and being physically active outdoors.

Today Camp Manyung’s outdoor adventure activity programs offer an inclusive environment, where everyone attending, regardless of their age, capability or background, has the choice to share the same adventurous experience, without barriers or segregation.

You can watch the High Challenge Ropes Course in action at https://youtu.be/n3WsncYbdiM.

Age friendly outdoor activities

Sport and Recreation has been working in partnership with Outdoors Victoria and the Australian Camps Association to provide participation opportunities and showcase age friendly outdoor activity.

For more information visit:

Howmans Gap accessible alpine accommodation project

Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA) received bipartisan government support to construct Australia’s first fully accessible alpine accommodation facility at Howmans Gap Alpine Centre (Falls Creek) and use the opportunity to showcase the principles of universal design in alpine environments.

The 36-bed facility will provide purpose built, fully accessible accommodation and facilities for people with disabilities to participate in alpine winter sport and green season activities; and a training facility to support disabled athlete development.

Howmans Gap is located in a challenging alpine environment. The construction design used in support of this project provides an opportunity for this government owned facility to become a template for future public and private investment in nature-based tourism accommodation facilities located in alpine regions.

Page last updated: 28 May 2024
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