Highlights from the Cuboree 2023 Explorer's Journal

Published Fri 06 Oct 2023

Words and photos by the Cuboree 2023 volunteer media team – Cecilia Jackson, Henry Wong, Sen McNamara, Oliver Pritchard, Pete Clifton-Smith, Nacey Meehan, Imogen Fulton and Joshua Bond
Almost 1600 Cub Scouts jumped, slid, ran and laughed their way through Cuboree 2023 at Cataract Activity Centre from 29 September to 3 October.

Check out some of the highlights from across the event, captured by the Cuboree 2023 volunteer media team and published daily in The Explorers Journal, the camp newspaper.
To read all four editions of The Explorers Journal, click here.

Market Day Madness
A staple of any major Scouting event or Jamboree, Cuboree started with Market Day and was an opportunity for Cub Scout Units to create their own stall to trade and sell items (using “Explorer Dollars”) and meet other Cub Scouts from all corners of the state.

Group R703 from the Central West ran a number of suitably rural activities, including horseshoe tossing and whip cracking! Yeeha!

It became clear early that E431 were onto a very good/bad thing with their mini-whistles. Group Leader Gillian is to thank/blame for the idea to make 900 whistles and release them on the market at $5 a pop! Cub Scouts Vincent and Chase found it hard to keep up with the demand. One aspiring customer offered $10 if he could jump the line! Congrats E431 on creating Cuboree 2023’s answer to the vuvuzela...

Taking the silver medal for annoying sounds were the kazoos being produced by E441. Happy customer Oscar bought four... “just because!”
Iju and Neil (E433) lured in their fellow Cub Scouts to stick their hands in putrid goo and count snakes – surely, they should be paying us?!
Casey (R723) was very happy with sales of their “prank pencils” – small sticks sharpened convincingly to fool the unsuspecting...
We ran into Jackson from R706 who had racked up 19 paracord keyrings from various groups. Why? “I just like them!” 
Lucas (E702) roamed Market Day playing some sweet tunes on his sax, while his manager Joshua busily counted the money. “I reckon he’s brought in $300-400 already...”
Earning a grand total of $8365, congratulations to Unit 431 who won the day and most importantly, bragging rights! Well done all Units on a high energy and super fun Market Day!

Seen it all
These two women (above) have a truly impressive brag. Jessie-Lee and Kellie have both attended all NSW Cuborees ever held! Jessie-Lee (right) is also the only person in all of NSW to have attended Cuboree across all sections, as a Cub Scout, Scout, Venturer Scout, Rover Scout and now an adult!


Beating the heat
The weekend was forecast to get warm, and so it did! Saturday reached the high 20s, while the mercury hit 35 on Sunday, meaning Cub Scouts, Junior Service Leaders and adults welcomed any opportunity to keep cool! Those visiting the Ocean ecosystem loved the waterslide, surfing and bucket-dunking; Savannah offered a splash area; and snow cones were hot property at Polar base. Water trucks roved Cataract keeping the dust down – with Cub Scouts all too happy to enjoy a cool off too!

Cooling off at Ocean
Group R711 enjoyed an early crack of the waterslide, which was undoubtedly a Cub Scout favourite at Cuboree. Leader Chill got the whole group cheering her down, while Bella, Liana and Elsie shared their slide techniques – push with your hands and wiggle your bum for maximum speed!

Cub Scout Pippa was a bit nervous to give it a try, but with support from leaders Squiggle and Captain Energy, she plucked up the courage and ended up loving it!
Bruce the Shark roamed the Ocean ecosystem, giving out hugs and high-fives (a friendly species)! 


Desert Discoveries
Cub Scouts took on some of the world’s most iconic events, Cuboree style, in the Desert ecosystem, including the Dakar Rally (remote control cars) and Henley-on-Cataract (making and racing boats... on land!). There was also incredible engineering on display with the Irrigation station, where Cub Scouts were challenged to pump water over a slope without spillage.

Their competitiveness amped up to F1 levels at the Road Runner activity – five teams pulling chariots fashioned from 44-gallon drums to the chequered flag.

The Desert ecosystem also offered games and activities that encouraged understanding and inclusivity of disabilities. Cub Scouts learned how to write their names in braille, play wheelchair sports and tried sensory activities.

“Cub Scouts played Jenga with special glasses to modify their vision and give them an impression of the challenges vision-impaired people face every day,” JSL Christopher (D204 said).


Gateways dressed to impress
The Competition for best Gateway is always a fierce one and this year was no exception. Shoutout to those Units that lost their gate in the wind on the Sunday – the weather is a strong adversary. Our letterboxes were an exciting new addition to Unit Life and allowed our Cub Scouts to show off some more creativity. Congratulations to R706 and E426 who won Best Gateway and Best Letterbox respectively.


Savannah at Symbio
We caught up with four Cubs as they hopped off the bus from their excursion to Symbio Wildlife Park.

What did you like most about the Savannah ecosystem?
Jack (E442): Getting a chance to touch the lizards and snakes was awesome! Especially the black-headed python (that’s not venomous), which people get confused with the inland taipan (which has the world’s most toxic venom!)
Xavier (E442): I really liked feeding and touching the wallabies. And the water park was super fun.
Phillippa (R712): Yeah, I loved the wallabies too – we were feeding one with a tiny joey! Also, I loved the red pandas.
Madeleine (R712): Touching the alligator was cool. And the big bucket in the waterpark took a while to tip... so it caught some people by surprise!


Space Blasts Off
Sunday’s high winds at Cataract gusted up to 60kph, causing damage to tents, gateways and gazebos across Cuboree. A sea of broken poles scattered across the JSL camp, whilst numerous gateways came tumbling down at the Ruby and Emerald villages. Many ecosystems, including Polar and Desert, were forced to relocate into permanent buildings, while Space was particularly heavily hit. Space was closed for the afternoon, with Cubs instead being treated to a spray by the water truck.

But it takes a lot more than an asteroid shower to keep the astronauts of Hunter and Coastal Region down! Early Friday morning, the base was up and running again, fully reconstructed.

A rogue army of Cubs fought against a malicious gang of aliens with the newest tech in backyard weaponry. The force was strong with these ones: Cubs 1, Martians 0.

Another popular activity saw Cubs making intergalactic-sized bubbles! “Our biggest bubble was at least a metre long!” Daisy from E330 said. 


Exploring adventure
The Mountain and Forest ecosystems offered some of Cuboree’s most adventurous challenges. Obstacle courses, rock climbing, flying foxes – they all required determination, courage and teamwork.
But Cataract Activity Centre’s caving activity took things up a notch. Cub Scouts worked their way through a maze of natural and manmade caves with tight squeezes and crawl-throughs. All comfort levels were catered for thanks to the varying levels of difficulty within the cave system.


Polar gets frosty
The Polar ecosystem offered Cub Scouts the opportunity to try their hand at archery; design and program their own robots; race each other in the Reindeer Run and sled race; and chill out to some cool tunes in Elsa’s Palace disco!

The snow cone activity was also a hit with Cubs Scouts, with JSLs showing typical Scout adaptability when the icer went on the blink, switching to pre-made blocks of ice. The show must go on!
Such an amazing time was had at Cuboree 2023! It was so exciting to welcome all 2701 people, including 1586 Cub Scouts; 248 Scouts and 77 Venturer Scouts acting as our Junior Service Leaders; and 790 adult members, including Leaders, Adult Helpers, Rover Scouts and Fellowship Members.

If you want to share some of your photos from Cuboree, please pop them in our Dropbox here.

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