This year’s Cruise-for-a-Cause (formerly Real Journeys Cruise-for-a-Cause) has raised much-needed funds for the Deep Cove Outdoor Education Trust. The trust needs to complete urgent maintenance work to continue to offer its increasingly popular school camp at its Deep Cove Hostel in the heart of Fiordland.
With no road access, over 2500 (mostly) Year 8-9 students from schools throughout Southland and Otago travel by boat (across Lake Manapouri) and then by coach (across the Wilmot Pass) to stay at the hostel each year. Established in 1971 by the Department of Conservation, the trust offers an immersive educational experience in one of the most remote places in New Zealand, without the distraction of phones or the internet. Activities include bush walking, a cruise of Doubtful Sound, boating, and marine study - as well as learning to interact and work as a team.
Deep Cove Outdoor Education Trust Chairman Mike MacManus says with more and more schools wanting students to take part, the 40-year-old hostel was desperately in need of attention. “Having just completed remedial works on the lounge wing of the hostel, we discovered the entire building needed to be secured for future generations to enjoy,” says Mike.
RealNZ Chief Conservation Officer Paul Norris says RealNZ works closely with the trust in Deep Cove and was pleased the fundraiser was such a success. “Our nature guides assist with the education programme, and our coach drivers and maritime crew see first-hand how much impact these wilderness camps have on the students when they travel back to Manapouri with us,” says Paul.
Generations of Southlanders have lasting memories of their Deep Cove school camps, and there was no shortage of supporters keen to take part in the Doubtful Sound Cruise-for-a-Cause, held over the last weekend of September, with 100% of the ticket price going directly to the trust. The alert level (2) restricted numbers to just forty, but a silent auction on board saw an additional $4191 raised.
On their way to board their vessel for the overnight cruise at Deep Cove, guests went on a tour of the nearby hostel. For Leanne Cooper and her husband Peter, it was a trip down memory lane, as both had attended the Deep Cove Camp as students, and so had their own children. “We saw this as a great opportunity to give back and support the camp,” says Leanne. ‘
The Deep Cove Education Trust thanked all its cruise guests and RealNZ for donating the overnight cruise, including the vessels, crew, meals, and water activities. The trust also thanked Gore and Southland Master Builders, EzyClean and Gore Host Lions for their support and contributions to the project.
Cruise-for-a-Cause has raised almost $300,000 for conservation and community causes since it began in 2015.