Sumatra Jungle Challenge

Greenpeace Sumatra Jungle Challenge Inspired Adventures

Inspired Adventures & Greenpeace: Fundraising Adventure to Sumatra

Thu 17 Oct: Welcome home!

Welcome home Team Greenpeace. What an amazing adventure! As a team you have raised over $23,000 for Greenpeace Australia. This will go a long way to protecting endangered animals, such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger, and help to safeguard their habitat and future!

View more images of Team Greenpeace in action

Wed 16 Oct: Farewell and depart

Today Team Greenpeace farewelled each other, Sumatra and their amazing adventure.

“What we had all seen and experienced in the jungle was something we’ll never forget. Despite any adversity, when immersed in such pure nature, it becomes evident why it’s so important for organisations like Greenpeace, and the amazing people that share their vision and values, to attempt to conserve our natural environment for future generations. A truly inspiring adventure.

– Joel, Tour Leader

Greenpeace Australia Inspired Adventures Sumatra Jungle Challenge Team Greenpeace

Tue 15 Oct: Lake Toba to Medan

Today Team Greenpeace rested their legs with a long drive back to Medan. They stopped for a coffee in a hotel on the outskirts of Medan, where they were treated to a piano concert by George, a local Batak singer.

“There was a little flooding on the way, but that didn’t seem to deter the traffic. We were glad to have arrived at the hotel and were soon ready for dinner. After dinner in a restaurant not far from the hotel, we were dropped downtown to walk through the livelier parts of Medan. With a lot of obviously wealthy people out, the contrast from where we had just come from was stark and left a piercing impression of the separation of class.”

– Joel, Tour Leader

Mon 14 Oct: Samosil Island local community

“Today we went on a tour of the local Batak community village. It was amazing to see how they live day-to-day. We walked through coffee farms, and plantations of fruit, lemongrass, chilli and other local produce. At some points, the vegetation was quite thick and a good deal of crouching and ploughing through was needed. Local children seemed to take a great interested in us and proceeded to yell across fields whatever English they knew.

It was a humbling experience to see the simplicity and hardship of their lives in comparison to what we’re used to, and doubly so to notice them smiling more than other people we had seen in the larger cities.”

– Joel, Tour Leader

Greenpeace Australia Inspired Adventures Sumatra Jungle Challenge Children in Samosil village

Sun 13 Oct: Lake Toba – Sumatran highlands

Greenpeace Australia_Inspired Adventures_Sumatra Jungle Challenge_Waterfall with plateau

Greenpeace Australia_Inspired Adventures_Sumatra Jungle Challenge_Waterfall

Sat 12 Oct: Trekking to the summit of Sibayak Volcano

Fri 11 Oct: Bukit Lawang to Brastagi

We were up early today as we had some driving to do. Not altogether that far, but on Indonesian roads everything takes time. Most of the roads are dilapidated and the traffic is pure chaos; you never seem much more than a foot away from an accident. In spite of this, our driver is great and we feel quite safe. We stopped to walk to a waterfall in a lush valley before carrying on to the markets.

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There was an array of fruit – some unknown, some we had sampled since arriving and plenty of clothing and souvenir stalls. We checked into the hotel in the early evening, enjoyed a group dinner and went to bed as we again had an early start to climb Mt Sibayak in the morning.

131011_Greenpeace Sumatra_Brastagi markets_Inspired Adventures

Thu 10 Oct: Tubing back to Bukit Lawang

We will be watching the live map closely today as Team Greenpeace embark on their final day in this incredible jungle. Greenpeace Australia Pacific have posted the group image of the team on Facebook and the number of comments cheering them on has been overwhelming! Be sure to check out the comments and cheer them on for yourself here!

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We woke today a little later to a huge breakfast, largely due to our ground crew wanting to get rid of all the food at the end of the trip. Our tubing rafts were constructed last night and we set about packing all of our gear, 10 support team staff and the 7 of us into 3 rafts. Our ground crew made us jungle hats again and painted our faces with charcoal. The rapids were extremely fun and there was a chorus of cheering from everyone when we went over some more exciting parts of the river. At one point two guides fell out of our raft and left George and I just holding on. When they resurfaced there was laughing and cheering all around. The porters were amazing at controlling the inner tube rafts and were sincerely enjoying the ride. We floated past some of the most amazing scenery – sheer ridges rising up from the rocky river beds on both sides that were thickly carpeted in fauna, resembling a multi-shaded sheet of green. It was hard to think that we had climbed up and down those ridges over the last few days. We made it back to the hotel unscathed except for universal leg sunburns. I gathered the group and incited a bit of a thank you ceremony for Udin and his team. We were all sad in a way to be parting as we had eaten, slept, hiked, climbed and pulled off leeches together for the past few days and become a secondary jungle family. After farewell and pics the team went to have some well earned beers and eventually some dinner before falling into our beds – clean sheeted mattresses seemed a forgotten luxury and we all slept well.

Wed 9 Oct: Trekking from river to river – Landak to Bohorak

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A slightly later start this morning as we were re-routed from our planned track to one that had just opened after 2 years. The slopes up and over the ridges between rivers weren’t of the ladder-like quality from 2 days ago, but they were sustained and steep enough to give us a workout. It was nice to have dry and supported feet with our boots back on. We managed to glimpse hornbills in flight and passed huge elephant tracks not far from our camp. The campsite was amazing.

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There was a deep pool and a rocky platform that I started to jump from whilst trying to catch a tennis ball. A couple of the porters and Fiona joined in. Great fun. Our guides set up a plastic bottle tied to bamboo for a rock throwing competition. For once it didn’t rain and we were treated to an amazing firefly display and our first camp fire. Our last forest dinner was amazing and after we sat around the fire, listened to a story and played the ‘Orang-utan game’ that left those playing in crying fits of laughter. It was a great last night in the jungle and for the most part no one wanted to leave. We’re now used to the leeches, the humidity, the constant dampness the hard ground and the challenges of making it from camp to camp without injury.

Tue 8 Oct: Trekking up the river – the most challenging day of trekking!

Team Greenpeace are now even deeper in the jungles of Sumatra. We have lost mobile phone contact with them but we can see their movements on the live GPS map at the top of this blog. Here’s an update from the team:

Today was to be a day of stones and currents. It was quite difficult walking against the current for such a sustained period of time and with most of us only having flips flops it’s seemed quite treacherous. The group did amazingly well with no one sustaining any serious injuries. The scenery along the river was awe inspiring. This is how nature should be. We saw multitudes of ‘Kupa Kupa’ (butterflies) today and witnessed a mass conglomeration feeding on salty rocks. The rocks underfoot and the river’s current took their toll over the day and more than a few of us were happy to see the the smoke of camp in the distance as the rain had started to fall heavily early in the afternoon. Couple with the river trekking, we were soaked most of the day from head to toe. Upon arrival in camp, were treated to a true forest dinner with a curry using the inner stem of wild banana plants and a fern dish similar to beans and spices amount other things. These boys can really cook up a storm. We all fell onto our sleeping mats a little early with tender feet…

Greenpeace Australia Pacific_Sumatra Jungle Challenge_fundraising adventure_inspired adventures

Mon 7 Oct: Deeper into the jungle we go…

Today Team Greenpeace awoke to a chorus of wildlife. Gibbons and hornbills are abundant in this area and their noises can easily replace the traditional ‘alarm clock’ when camping within their habitat. Here’s an update from Joel:

Steepness begins. Today’s trek saw us go through some of the toughest jungle we would encounter. We climbed upwards at Berta of 70 degrees, sometimes more like ladders than forest and walked along ridges only  a few feet wide in places giving way to sheer falls on either side. The decent was just as exciting and had to be taken carefully, utilising walking sticks made by our guides and every bit of fauna we could grab. It was serene and amazing to look back at what we had traversed. We had lunch and a swim at an amazing pool where we made a ‘Free the Arctic 30‘ sign from surrounding fallen leaves and pineapple skins from lunch and trekked on up the river until camp. We did some fishing, caught an eel, and we’re treated to some cards tricks by the porters. After a few games of ‘Bullcrap’ we were tuckered out and in our communal sleeping tent.

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Crouching in Solidarity with the Arctic 30

Sun 6 Oct: Orangutans, gibbons, and monkeys in the wild!

Today is the day the real adventure begins! We leave behind Bukit Lawang and head deeper into Gunung Leuser National Park. The comforts of civilisation will fade as we make our way up steep and muddy tracks. We are rewarded with incredible views and incredible encounters with animals in the wild!

Orangutans on the Greenpeace Sumatra Jungle Challenge 2013 Inspired Adventures“Amazing first day. Witnessed orang-utans and monkeys leaping through the trees, trekked up, along and down some steep sheer ridges, and made it to camp in time for a swim in the pristine river. After a rest we walked up the shallow river (more of a fast flowing creek) where we saw some cool little waterfalls and managed to score our first bruises, with almost everyone having slipped over at some point. No major injuries except for a couple of bruised shins and egos. :-) It started to pour on our way back but it was welcome and an amazing thing to experience in the middle of a tropical rainforest. We eventually dried and had an amazing dinner cooked for us by our local guide and porter team. Terima kase all around! Salamat tida. We will sleep well to the sounds of the flowing river at our tent door. :-) ” Joel

Greenpeace Sumatra Jungle Challenge 2013 Inspired Adventures

Tonight’s is their first night camping in the jungle at Adi Black. Tomorrow, more adventures await!

Sat 5 Oct: Bound for Bukit Lawang, Northern Sumatra

After many months of fundraising and training for the Greenpeace Sumatra Jungle Challenge, finally the team are off on their adventure. Upon arriving in Medan, the team were met at the airport and transferred to the village of Bukit Lawang to check into the lodges. There was just enough time to throw down the luggage before heading off on a warm-up trek to watch the orangutans feed in their natural habitat. Here’s an update we received from Joel, the Tour Leader:

“Great first day considering our exhaustion from flights. Great walk from the hotel to orangutan sanctuary. Amazing riverside village. Made it (just) to see a mother and baby orangutan duo eating at the feeding station. Leisurely walk back and stopped for a beer in a little home style cafe with wooden deck overlooking the river. Relaxed there before a short walk in the dark back for dinner and briefing and questions about the trek beginning tomorrow.  It started pouring rain though and hasn’t stopped. The track may be muddy and difficult tomorrow. “



The Greenpeace Sumatra Jungle Challenge 2013 will see a team of passionate Greenpeace supporters trek through one of the world’s last remaining ancient forests and commune with endangered orangutans on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They’ll be directly supporting the work of Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s forest campaigns to stop illegal and destructive logging, end the clearing of ancient forests and help protect our climate.


Read more Sumatra adventures or visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar and find a Charity Challenge perfect for you.

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