Back from the Great Wall

Great Wall of China Challenge – Just brilliant! (or scroll down for 2008 adventures)

The Charity Challenge Great Wall of China challenge was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever. The scenery, culture, and food were exceptional. The trek was challenging but I am no athlete and I got through it with just a few sore calf muscles, but the pain was well worth it. I have made some beautiful friends, had a wonderful trip and have supported a fabulous charity.”

Thanks a million to adventure challengers Annabelle Aland, Sharyn Bunt, Daniele Pandolfo, David Prickett, Natasha Williams, Justine Curtis (Charity Challenge tour leader) and tour guide, Peter for their marvellous support of ACRF’s vital research projects. What a great way to support cancer research!

The group, who left Sydney on May 18, travelled across some of the most remote and breathtaking sections of the Great Wall, returning to Sydney on May 27. To be eligible for the trip, all the challengers had raised a minimum of $5500, with Daniele topping the challenge raising close over $11,000. Read about Challengers’ fundraising initiatives here.

Read what the ACRF Challengers had to say about their wonderful experiences…

Overall, how do you rate the ‘Great Wall of China Trek’?

Excellent – I had an amazing time. Everything was so well organised and coordinated, and flexible enough to have an occasional extra hour sleep in if we gave the beers a nudge the night before!

How do you rate the quality of service provided by DH Travel, the Chinese tour company?

Excellent – The whole trip ran so smoothly. The additional tours we did on our free day were fabulous.

And our Chinese Tour Guide?

Again, excellent – Pete was a superstar! He was very informative and patient with us. He was flexible when we wanted to change anything, and went out of his way to accommodate our needs (eg extra water, massages etc). He had a great personality, and I would recommend his services to anyone heading to China.

Tour Leader extraordinare, Justine with Mongolian farmer’s wife.

Tell us about Charity Challenge Tour Leader, Justine?

I couldn’t think of anyone who would be more suited to this position. She was always cheerful, organised, motivating, and a very experienced traveller. I loved listening to her wonderful travel stories over a few beers at the end of the day. She has the best attitude and really admire what she does for a living and the difference she is making to the world.

How do you rate the quality of the hotels during the trip?

Excellent – I was definitely not expecting to be staying in hotels as nice as we did. But I really appreciated returning to a little bit of luxury at the end of a big day of hiking. The Simitai Hotel was a bit rough, but that was only for 1 night, and we had been a bit spoilt so it probably seemed worse than it really was.

Natasha and Daniele – almost there The challenge team.

What about transport?

The bus was fine, it never broke down and was always on time.

And the food and drinks.

The food was fabulous and there was always lots of it.

How do you rate the trek, particularly the duration and level of difficulty?

I thought everything was perfect! The weather was great for trekking. There were definitely challenging sections, but that is why it is called a challenge, and we stopped for breaks frequently. I though we saw a nice combination of crowded tourist areas, section’s a little more remote, restored and non-restored areas.

How do you rate the support you received from Charity Challenge whilst fundraising?

Excellent – I will definitely be calling on Justine’s fundraising expertise for future challenges. I tried to do most of it myself and worked out some good and bad ways to fundraise along the way, but in hindsight I should have used the knowledge and experience that she offered to me, and I probably would have raised more money.

Will you consider participating in another charity challenge for ACRF?

Yes Definitely! Thanks for the experience!