China Trip 2016

China 2016
Follow all the updates as Marcus, Ella, Dom, Eliza, Mathilda, Jackson, Shaun, Jye and Christy along with staff members Janine, Prue, Jenny, Graeme, Callen & Russell (plus volunteer Brian) explore the amazing lands of China – Beijing or Bust 2016!

Daily Updates

Day 10: Home, at Last!

Friday, 25th March 2016

The crew is home safe and sound following nine days (plus an extra night in Hong Kong due to delayed flights) exploring the magnificent country of China. You’ll no doubt be hearing all the stories in the coming weeks, months and years! In the meantime, relive their adventures by scrolling to the bottom of this page to read the daily updates one-by-one.


Hong Kong. Next Stop – Melbourne!

Thursday, 24th March 2016

UPDATE 4am AEST – An initial delayed flight from Beijing (therefore subsequently missing the following flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne) means the team have scored an extra day in Hong Kong and will instead be arriving home Friday. Parents have been contacted and we’ll update you with official times once the airline confirms the new flights. All are coping really well to the last-minute change and are excited to see families tomorrow.

EARLIER: Now for the 7 hrs haul to Melbourne.  Arrived at Hong Kong after 3 hrs flight from Beijing.  Thanks to the parents of our tourists for the loan of them for he past nine days.  We bring them home in great shape a little older with an experience they will treasure for life. It has been our absolute pleasure to take this group away to China. See you all tomorrow.  Graeme, Gramps, Grandpa & Hey you ( that’s Chinese) signing off from the Beijing or bust tour 2016.






The Final “What have I learnt about Beijing & what was been funny today?”

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016

After dinner at the dumplings restaurant it was time for our final evening get together. For a change we all met in Russell and Jackson’s room. The main reason for this was that it made them tidy it up a bit. A very funny and rewarding discussion followed. This has been the largest number of students taken to Beijing by VRS and we are extremely proud of our group and what they have achieved both individually and as a group.  Tomorrow we shop at a huge market, have lunch then back to the hotel for late check out bound for the airport at 2.30pm Beijing time.

Some of you smarties have worked out that the MONKEY is in all group photos and became our theme or pattern (Chinese year of the monkey). So now you need to guess the name of our mascot. Get thinking!

Thanks for your amazing responses to the updates on our Facebook page & website on behalf of our travelling students.    -Graeme






The Last Supper

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016

The last evening and therefore the last supper.  Who would have believed that the last supper could occur in the building next door to our hotel on floor 8. As you can see we ALL enjoyed dumplings, made and cooked in front of our eyes.  Please take particular note of the culinary skills being shown by our tourists with the chop sticks. Fantastic job. We were also made welcome by the owner and the cooks. A great way to end our evening meals. Not a grain of rice anywhere to be seen.







Day 7: Jingshan Park Beijing

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016

After two very tiring days we all got to have a sleep and got together after breakfast at 10.00am.

Studying the map very earnestly Prue and Janine plotted our path to Jingshan Park, a short stroll half an hour away.  Well, it would have been if we had looked at the signs! We only missed one corner and had a delightful sight-seeing walk for about half an hour.  The young male adults (?) took Jye, Marcus, Jackson and Eliza up the thousand steep hill to the temple on top. This hill was made from the soil hand dug from the moat around the Forbidden City. The rest of us walked sedately around the grounds to the west gate and waited the Warrior’s return.

Out the Gate to find the suggested dumpling restaurant proved to be a difficult task. Wonders will never cease.  We found a western cafe instead and we all had a pizza or spaghetti accompanied by orange juice, hot chocolate or a caffe latte.  Yum yum said our tourist. It was nice not to have rice.  Back at the hotel we had an hour or so of relax time. As we walked all day this was a pleasant relief time.
Two people have discovered our theme or pattern to our group photos thus far. Keep on looking as it is there today as well.

See all of our families on Thursday.






Day 6: The Acrobatics Show

Monday, 21st March 2016

This has been a busy day.  Before dinner we went to see 14 acts performed by acrobats and gymnasts which quite frankly left most of a little breathless.  Gymnasts vaulting over each other, ten girls riding the one bicycle , strong men balancing on each other’s shoulders and six motor bikes speeding around in the one cage made for a stunning performance. We had front row seats so saw everything.  This was followed by dinner and then back to our hotel.  After our usual “what have I learnt today and what was funny” session we all went out to our favourite yoghurt shop for a treat.  These sessions are held each night where everyone must answer the two questions.  We get to sleep in tomorrow.  Yippee.  All are very well and happy.






Chinese Silk Factory

Monday, 21st March 2016

After lunch we visited the silk factory where we saw how the silk is extracted from the silk cocoon by a single thread that is continuous for approximately 1098 meters. We also saw how a doona is made and how it is reduced to a flat pack for taking home. Many of us bought some silk items. Please sound surprised when your son or daughter presents it to you. If you don’t get anything, then don’t mention this text!







Temple of Heaven

Monday, 21st March 2016

Some of the travellers enjoyed a dance in the grounds of the Temple of Heaven.  We all went into see where Ming Dynasty prayed for good harvests. Many couples were here having their photos taken before they get actually married – a tradition in this part of the world. Apparently they get married up to three months after the photos are taken. A most enjoyable hour.

Click on photos to enlarge.

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Beijing Dongcheng Special Education School

Monday, 21st March 2016

This morning we spent a wonderful 2 hours either participating in a cooking class or a craft class. It was a very rewarding experience. The cooking people either learnt new cutting styles or made some biscuits. The craft group cut out patterns to make a scene on a piece of paper.  You can also see a picture of Shaun presenting our especially made book about Verney Road School. Shaun worked on this book incorporating photos taken by our all of our China students.  Our group photo includes our theme?







The Olympics of 2008

Sunday, 20th March 2016

Second instalment for today. We were very fortunate to be able to see both the Bird Nest and the Cube at the Olympic site in Beijing. At the Cube we most of us went for a swim. This was a very controlled one in the warm up pool of the Olympics. Controlled in  that we were not allowed to do much except swim. Our younger staff members did get away with much more however. We think this may have been because the lifesavers or guards were scared of these two big Aussies . We all had fun and relaxed before heading out for yet another lovely meal with rice!

Click on photos to enlarge.









Summer Palace

Sunday, 20th March 2016

A very busy day. A bus trip to the Summer Palace saw a few of our group do some water printing and then take a walk along the 700 meter walk built for the empress so she could walk in the shade. I hope all of you who are taking an interest in our tour can see a pattern emerging in our group photos. These are taken at the beginning of each adventure. A small prize to the person who picks our pattern?  Those of you who have been on group tours like ours will know that each guide has a special flag for the group to follow so we don’t get lost. Take a look at our Verney Road Flag.

Click on photos to enlarge.







The Great Wall of Experience

Saturday, 19th March 2016

Who would have imagined that Jye, Dom, Marcus, Jackson, Eliza accompanied by Brian, Cal and Russell would go the entire distance up and back. Similarly Shaun, Christy and Graeme walked for seven of the towers. Prue, Jenny, Janine went to three towers whilst Ella did 2.5 .  Mathilda did extremely well also making it to our base station number 2.  The group who walked the wall in its entirety were at it for many hours and like the rest of us are now enjoying a massage. Congratulations on the entire group who did a GREAT job. We are very PROUD of all of them.

These pictures only half tell the story. You will no doubt hear more about this day later!

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Day 3: Tiananmen Square

Friday, 18th March 2016

Our first breakfast. Yum yum. A brisk walk to Tiananmen Square where we took that great group shot after the group shot out side the barracks. We the wandered through the forbidden city where we learn lots about ancient Beijing. Lunch in a locals house. The owner a well respected chef gave us some different dishes to those of the past day. They were once again delicious. After a necessary pit stop at a 8.5 WC we boarded rickshaws for a tour of the Hotongs. Very exciting and interesting. We are now resting in preparation for being picked up by our bus and taken for dinner.  All is well.

Click on photos to enlarge.














Late Start To Day Two

Thursday, 17th March 2016

The team made it to bed at 4am local time (7am AEST) and we all slept very well. Graeme woke his boys at 9.30am. Jet lagged and being a bit weary saw us have a very nice brunch just around the corner then spot of sight seeing around our hotel, a chocolate at Starbucks and then a rest before returning to our restaurant for our Dinner. You can see what we ate and how happy we are! Relatively early night for a BIG day tomorrow. Weather is very pleasant – around 20°C all day.

Click on photos to enlarge








Long Day In The Air

Thursday, 17th March 2016

After a 7 hour flight (we made up half an hour  on route) we are now in Hong Kong with another 4 hours to go to Beijing. Very big airport Hong Kong. We are leaving in half an hour from gate 502.  All are well. A couple of travel motion sicknesses but nothing dramatic. We were extremely well fed on this flight. Looking forward to getting to bed tonight at around 3 am Beijing time (6am AEST).

 Click on Photos to enlargeIMG_0072

Up, Up & Away!

Wednesday, 16th March 2016

The day is here at last and the students have waved goodbye to some teary-eyed parents until they return safely in nine nights’ time. Wendy Mc drove an excited busload down to the Melbourne International Airport where they await their 9 hour flight to Hong Kong, before swapping over to arrive at their destination of Beijing at 2am local time.


MEL - waiting for plane


Senior Students Farewell Their Peers

Tuesday, 15th March 2016

Its the day before and the Senior Years students have gathered at Peking City Restaurant in Wyndham Street to indulge in the Chinese cuisine and farewell their fellow peers and staff members attending the China 2016 expedition.

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Suitcases Are Packed!

Tuesday, 15th March 2016

With one day to go excitement is building in anticipation for tomorrow’s flight to China! Staff members Janine, Prue, Jenny, Graeme, Callen & Russell (plus volunteer Brian) will take care of Marcus, Ella, Dom, Eliza, Mathilda, Jackson, Shaun, Jye and Christy, who have each been busily fundraising in the lead up to the trip. The students and staff will travel down to Melbourne International Airport by school bus before flying out around 3pm.

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Suitcases are packed

Students to visit China

Friday, June 12th 2015
Story by Sionnie Kelly, Shepparton News

Verney Road School students are getting excited about an upcoming trip to China next year.Although the China Experience trip is not until March next year, the school has started to make plans to fundraise for the trip.

School vice-principal Prue Dobson said nine senior students were selected to go on the trip and it was likely to cost each student about $3500. Ms Dobson said students and staff paid for half the cost of the trip and then the other half was paid for through fundraising. ‘‘It’s around $25000 fundraising that we have to do,’’ she said.

‘‘We go to China because it’s so different. ‘‘But also Beijing, which is where we stay for the whole time for the week (because it) has got things that people know about like the Great Wall, like Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace — all those things are things they see on TV so it’s actually familiar to them.’’ Ms Dobson said another positive about China was its proximity to Australia and affordability over somewhere like Europe.

Senior years co-ordinator Janine Thorne said the trip was a great way for students to grow in confidence and independence. Both Ms Dobson and Ms Thorne are two of the seven teachers who will accompany the students on the trip and said they were excited.’‘It’s just an experience for the kids as well — they have to be part of getting passports and visas and they get to do all this,’’ Ms Dobson said.

Students Eliza Brodie, 16, and Marcus McCubbin, 15, said they were excited to travel to China. ‘‘I’d actually really like to go there because I haven’t been there,’’ Marcus said.  Marcus and Eliza said they were not sure what it would be like in China but were looking forward to seeing sights such as the Great Wall of China and eating local cuisine.

‘‘I don’t know how the temperature is there but I’ll pack a jacket just in case,’’ Marcus said.

Students going to China 2016

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