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Students learn about real world on Kakadu trip

By Patrick Nelson

Lance Poulton (wearing hat) and his hospitality students at the entrance to Kakadu Lance Poulton (wearing hat) and his hospitality students at the entrance to Kakadu

A group of Charles Darwin University students was treated to some of the Territory’s most spectacular scenery when their hospitality and tourism course took them to Kakadu recently.

Tourism, hospitality and recreation lecturer Lance Poulton said the field trip had been the highlight of the year for many of the students, most of whom were from overseas and hadn’t been to the Top End’s most renowned national park.

“The purpose was to let them see and experience some of the idiosyncrasies and requirements particular to managing a hospitality facility in an isolated environment,” Mr Poulton said.

“We saw crocodiles in the East Alligator River, ancient Aboriginal rock art as well as local flora and fauna, all of which was a bit of a bonus.

“An Indigenous guide showed us how to use a woomera to gain extra distance when throwing a spear, which he said was made from the wood of a native hibiscus.”

 Mr Poulton said the managers of the South Alligator Resort and the Kakadu Crocodile Hotel gave the group a guided tour of their properties.

“Both spoke of the difficulty in attracting and retaining good quality staff who could cope with the rigours of living remotely.”

There are extra complications at the South Alligator, a resort that Mr Poulton managed in the 1990s.

“They don’t have mains power so in order to have electricity 24 hours a day, they run a series of diesel engine generators, which costs them about $900 a day in fuel.

“They rely on rain water tanks and a series of bores for their water supply.”

Mr Poulton said it was vital for vocational education and training students to experience the real world as part of their studies.

“An excursion such as this provides them with a richness that is not possible in the classroom.”