Snaffle Your Challenge in Tasmania

June 14, 2021

A journey into the wonders of the natural world on foot and by boat, and into our own wild landscapes within by breath and mindful movement

An opportunity for our challengers to embrace new experiences to expand their comfort zones and explore their unique hidden potential…

What will they discover about themselves along this journey?

Day 1: Orientation to Place and Self

The inaugural ‘Snaffle Your Challenge’ was off to an eventful start as our intrepid challengers made a spontaneous early departure from Adelaide, keeping things lively and the ladies on their toes! In the spirit of surprise, the first unofficial challenge unfolded at the Hobart airport, as we collaborated our ‘Tetris’ skills to fit all the luggage in the car. Thankfully everyone passed the test, so off we went for the Tasman Peninsula! Driving time allowed us all to become well acquainted and hear of the fascinating backgrounds and life experiences that have shaped each of these lovely ladies, Michelle, Carolina, and Kirsty.

Our first experience was a visit to Port Arthur, a World Heritage listed convict site, and one of the best maintained sites of its kind in Australia. Here we were oriented to the place from which the colonised society we know today was built, a history of harsh convict labour and hardship. It was a confronting reality to envisage the torturous treatment of fellow humans, and what these troubled souls had to endure; arduous physical labour exposed to the chilling winds, wallowing in icy cold waters, hundreds of lashings from a cat of nine tails on their bare backs, or trudging for hours on a Ferris wheel with iron balls and chains bucked to their ankles. However, none of these physical demands compared to the psychological torture of being left alone in silence with one’s own thoughts, no light, minimal movement and no one to talk to.

The detriment of this internal punishment created a point of reference, as we all struggle with inner demons and critical thought patterns that can heighten the challenges of everyday life if they are left unattended to. Such insight created a foundation for the next activity, a moment of reflection for the ladies to orient themselves to their strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, and needs. This practice was emotionally triggering for some, as it was possibly the first time, they had been given the chance to acknowledge and consider their personal goals and needs. Carolina imparted thoughtful emotional guidance to help people outline practical solutions to their concerns. To further support this practise of managing the mind and creating positive change, everyone created an empowering affirmation they could personally recite and lean in to as needed. The beautiful gardens glistening in the afternoon light, made for a peaceful setting in which to reflect, a seemingly stark contrast to times before.

After a delicious dinner at the restaurant on site, we did however, get to experience the darker side of Port Arthur, participating in the evening Ghost Tour. The guide was fantastic, regaling us with impressive stories of ghost sightings as we meandered through atmospheric darkness under the light of lanterns and mystical rain. In all honesty, I was probably the most scared, and felt as though I had snaffled a challenge simply by surviving the tour, vocalising just a few blood curdling shrieks along the way. Fortunately, we had a short drive to calm ourselves down before calling it a frighteningly full, yet delightful day… Time to rest up for the following challenges to come!

Day 2: Mindful Movement

This was a day of new experiences right from the start! Eagerly, the ladies were up before the sun for morning stretches to limber up for the big day of physical activity. The walk to Cape Huay is certainly not for the faint hearted, as the trail demands a climb of 400m in elevation, encompassing 4500 steps along the arduous 10km.

Naturally, there was much apprehension amongst the ladies about whether they could complete the challenge, given they did not have any prior bush walking experience covering such distances or on such terrain. Doubts aside, the ladies were ready and raring to go, excited to see how their bodies and minds would manage over the 5-6 hours out on trail. We were completely self-sufficient for the day, with food, water, and emergency equipment, given there were no cafes, road access or toilets along the way. The ladies were even brave enough to embrace the hiking tradition of a ‘bush wee’, tucked in behind the shrubbery!

Tasmania’s unpredictable weather was true to sorts, threatening us with rain, but mostly providing blue skies, sunshine, and a refreshing westerly wind to make the hill climbs slightly more bearable. It was heart-warming to witness the supportive and encouraging nature of each of the participants, as they cheered and reassured each other every step of the way. Their positive attitude was remarkable as they managed to laugh and smile their way through every tough or trying moment that presented itself. Kirsty displayed incredible determination as she was particularly deep in the pain cave. Her legs started hurting rather early on, however, despite the consistent pain and discomfort, she persevered the whole way! It was incredibly rewarding to see everyone’s faces of triumph as we stood on the summit of the sea cliffs, knowing how much hard work it had been to get there! Along the way we took moments to pause and witness the symphony of natural sounds around us, that we do not often get the privilege to hear and experience how calming that can be.

The final challenge of the day awaited the ladies upon their successful return from the walk… a swim in the refreshingly freezing waters of the Tasman Sea!

After an entertaining costume change in the car, the ladies were ready, and the ocean was calling. Michelle was not looking forward to this at all, so encouragingly she grabbed the ladies by the hands and pulled them into the water as quickly as possible! Grimacing gleefully, they all went in, shrieking and splashing as they again embraced fears and discomfort. Fortunately, they were all pleasantly surprised how great they felt afterwards, exhilarated by the cold cleansing waters and a nice relief for the sore muscles too! After such a big day out snaffling challenges it was time to retreat to the home fires and wind down with some reading, laughing and light stretching.

Day 3: Harmony on the High Seas

Today called for a slow start, enjoying a well-deserved sleep in to encourage our muscle recovery! After exploring the highest sea cliffs in Australia on foot yesterday, it was time to embrace the exhilarating experience of witnessing their full grandeur from the waters below, this time fortunately from a seated position.

We embarked on a 3hr open air boat cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys to explore this dramatic coastline of the Tasman Peninsula National Park. There were a few nerves concerning sea sickness, but nothing would stop the ladies from yet again snaffling another challenge. It was refreshing to be out on the water witnessing a different perspective than usual of the land and seascape. Our skipper and guide were incredibly knowledgeable, sighting lots of wildlife such as migratory Mutton-birds en route for Russia, Albatross with an impressive 2.5m wingspan, and both Australian and New Zealand Fur Seals. They described the open water conditions today as ‘washing machine weather’ so thankfully ginger tablets had been prescribed along with the full-length waterproof jackets! It was amazing to see and hear everyone marvelling in awe at the natural wonders towering above, splashing below, or soaring in the distance. The guides also imparted inspiring human stories of the families who once lived on Tasman Island, and the precarious escapades involved with getting on and off such a remote and rugged location.

We left the cruise feeling energised, infused with fresh air and salty goodness, after being wind and wave swept out on the high seas! Lunch was enjoyed in the warm afternoon sun at a family-owned homestead, with animals all around. We finally got to experience a Tasmanian squall, as it down poured with rain for about half an hour, thankfully from the safety of the vehicle. By the time we reached our next destination, the skies had cleared, and the sun returned, inviting us to enjoy a relaxing afternoon amble along the beach. This allowed time to harmonise with the peaceful landscape around us; waves lapping at the shore, birds chattering from the trees, fractal patterns in clouds above, all helping instil a sense of harmony within ourselves. From this place of peace, we returned for an evening snuggled by the fire, celebrating, and reminiscing the success of the past few days of mental, physical, and spiritual challenges. Carolina also graciously provided massages to our various sore muscles!

Day 4: Returning Rejuvenated and Revived

It was rather fitting for our final day to fall on Mother’s Day. A time to celebrate the ladies’ extraordinary achievements snaffling their challenges over the past few days, as well as a time to appreciate and acknowledge the extraordinariness of their day to day lives, being of whole-hearted service to others; be it their families, friends, or colleagues! It was an honour to allow them a relaxed morning to gently greet the day, relishing in the natural beauty of the surroundings with the rising sun streaming right in through the bedroom windows, whilst listening to the melody of forest birds nearby.

All endings naturally create new beginnings, so time was gifted to reflect on what changes could be made upon returning home, from the learnings and personal discoveries that had been made during this short period away. What parts of themselves could be left behind realising they no longer served them, such as negative thoughts, unhelpful identities, or destructive habits? What positive resolve have they replaced them with? Then, a final offering of reassurance that their newly found physical and mental strength that has been unleashed throughout the journey will always be there to support them as they keep moving forward! We made a final farewell to the picturesque peninsula, with a fresh local cuppa in hand, expressing gratitude to the place and each other for fostering this transformational experience. It was incredibly rewarding to see and hear these wonderful women returning home with a great sense of achievement, feeling physically and mentally stronger (albeit slightly sore!), and rejuvenated to continue snaffling the challenges of life!

Here are some inspiring reflections from our first successful participants

“My biggest challenge was the Cape Huay walk I wasn’t sure I would make it all the way especially due to the 4500 stairs! I feel very proud of myself for achieving this goal. I was also very proud of myself for running into the freezing sea as I am not a big fan of water, especially freezing cold water!…” - Michelle Adley

“My legs started hurting about half an hour in and I thought I don’t think I can continue this walk for another 5 hours while pushing through the pain of my legs… Continuing with the walk was a constant battle with myself, I wanted to finish, but I was struggling with the pain… Making it to the top felt fantastic and I was and am still very proud of myself!” – Kirsty Perkins

“I surprised myself by actually enjoying some of the challenges I was initially not looking forward to, like the icy cold Tasman water dip. ‘The days you are most uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself’ Life lessons were learnt & I am very grateful to have shared this experience with 3 amazing women. Mental & Physical Challenges Snaffled! – Carolina Matteo

An enormous thank you to Snaffle for valuing the importance of holistic health and well-being and providing this opportunity to facilitate life enhancing experiences for people. A further heart-filled thankyou and a big congratulations to our inaugural participants Michelle, Carolina and Kirsty for their positive outlooks, open mindedness and inspiring comradery as they supported each other to snaffle their challenges!

Would you like to put your limits to the test and discover new versions of yourself? Keep updated about upcoming experiences on offer for your chance to ‘Snaffle Your Challenge’ too!