24 Hour Challenge

The 24 Hour Challenge is an adventure survival race against the clock.  You will learn fundamental skills of survival whilst trying to beat your time limit of 24 hours.

This pre-assessment is designed to test your foundational knowledge for the 24 Hour Challenge.  

Survival Essentials

You are lost in the wild, what is your first priority?

Those around you are becoming increasingly anxious.

Recognising Stress

We all experience stress, and stress can be constructive or deconstructive:

Constructive stress

  • Provides us with a challenge

  • It gives us a chance to learn about our values and strengths

  • It can demonstrate how we handle pressure

  • It tests our flexibility and adaptability 

  • It can stimulate us to do our best

Deconstructive stress

  • Makes decisions difficult

  • Causes angry outbursts

  • Forgetfulness

  • Low energy levels

  • Constant worrying

  • Propensity for mistakes

Darkness is closing in and you need to make camp

Survival First Aid

I suspect that my team mate has hypothermia

Hypothermia is the loss of heat from the body, often due to exposure.  

  • Prevent further heat loss, place patient in a warm environment, remove wet clothing and cover the body with a blanket.  

  • Give patient warm, sweet drinks

  • Suggest patient curls in a ball

  • Body warmth from a companion will assist until help arrives

  • Do not rub or massage limbs

  • Place the patient in the recovery position
  • Raise the patients legs, but keep their head level with their heart
  • Commence CPR
  • Prevent further heat loss, place patient in a warm environment, remove wet clothing and cover the body with a blanket

What are the steps of First Aid?

As of 2015, the current standard of First Aid is DRSABCD.  

D – Danger  Assess for any further danger to yourself or bystanders (falling rocks, cliff edges, venomous snakes).  Walk around the casualty and assess their injuries.  

R – Response – Check in with the patient, calm them.  If they are seemingly unconscious, take their hand and ask them to squeeze, or gently shake their shoulder. 

S – SendSend for help - this should happen as early as possible, if it is clear that there is a casualty.  Call 000 or UHF Channel 16 using the Emergency Procedure.  

A – Airway  If the casualty is unresponsive, check their airway.

B – Breathing  Are they breathing?  If they are breathing, place the casualty in the recovery position and once again check that their airway is clear.  If the casualty is not breathing...

C – Compressions  30 chest compressions : 2 breaths.  

D – Defibrillation  this requires a piece of machinery called a defibrillator. 

  • Are they breathing?
  • Response - check in with the patient, are they conscious
  • Check the airways for blockages
  • Defibrillation
  • Compressions
  • Send for help
  • Danger - assess for danger

Finding Food

How can you tell if a plant is poisonous?

Edible Plants

You can survive for three weeks without food and therefore it is not recommended that you eat unknown plants unless you are in a situation where there is no other option for survival.  This is intended as a guide and WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT YOU EAT WILD PLANTS.  If you are in any doubt about the identity of the plant: do not touch it.  Plants are difficult to identify and many are toxic and possibly deadly.  Common things to avoid in the plant world:

  • Three leaves – a common sign of poison (see the Castor Oil Plant)

  • Any plant that has an almond scent or aroma in the bark, wood or leaf

  • Any plant with milky or discoloured sap

  • Pods that contain beans or seeds

  • Bitter taste

  • Hairy plants

  • Thorny or spiny plants

The Universal Edibility Test

The following test is provided for use in an absolute survival situation.  

  1. Test one part of a plant at a time (seeds, leaves, roots, tuber or starch)

  2. Smell the potential food for strong, acidic oddurs

  3. Select a small portion of one part of the plant

  4. Gently touch this portion to a lip – if no burning or itching after 5 minutes move to step 5

  5. Place the portion on the tongue and retain there for 15 minutes.

  6. If you suffer no reaction, chew without swallowing and wait for 15 minutes (this may bleed any toxins from the plant). 

  7. If, after 15 minutes, you don’t suffer any irritation (stinging, itching, burning, numbing), swallow.

  8. Wait 8 hours – if you become ill, drink plenty of water and induce a vomit.  

  9. If no ill effects occur, eat a small handful of the same part of the plant, prepared in the same way as before.  Wait for 8 hours.  If no ill effects, this part of the plant is edible.  

  • Eat a bit and find out
  • Three leaves are a common sign of poison
  • Purple flowers
  • Hairy plants
  • Milky sap
  • Almond scent
  • Green plants are poisonous
  • Yellow flowers
  • Red berries or flowers

Can you eat insects?

Edible Insects

Insects contain high levels of protein and fat which are both essential to survival.  In an emergency, you need to know some key insects that could save your life....YUK!

Insect edibility

  1. Never eat any insect that is highly coloured, has spikes, hairs or thorns

  2. Avoid insects that feed on other animals

  3. Avoid insects that are bold and make themselves visible 

  4. Seek insects that feed on vegetation (logs, plants, grain, bark)

  5. Plain coloured insects are a good start but


  • Yes
  • No
  • Sometimes

Common bush food plants in Australia

Bush Food Plants

The following list is a guide of useful and edible plants you will find in Australia:

Common Lilly Pilly (Acmena Smithil)

  • Fruits are white, pink, purple.

  • Eaten by Aborigines

Banksia (Banksia)

  • Bushy blossoms coloured red, yellow, orange, purple, pink

  • Blossoms contain sweet nectar taken directly or left to soak in water

Bull Rush (Typha)

  • Found near waterways

  • Common food of the Aborigines

  • Look for underground stem, peel outer rind and roast

  • Young shoots can be eaten raw

  • Fibres make great twine, string and can be woven

Wattles (Acacia sp.)

  • Small trees with fluffy yellow flowers

  • Green seeds – roasted in casing

  • Ripe seeds – roasted and ground

  • The pale gum (sap) of a Wattle can be eaten

Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea Resinosa)

  • Wooded trunk topped with outflowing stiff grass

  • Flowers – yellow or cream and contain a sweet nectar. Soak in water

  • The truck can be split and the starch eaten raw (although this kills the plant)

  • Dead trunks sometimes contain edible grubs

  • Dead trunks are also excellent fire wood


It is morning and the moon is still up. Which side is lit?

The Moon is lit by the sun rising in the East...

And therefore the Western side of the moon is lit. This provides a clear direction.  

  • North
  • West
  • East
  • South

You have a compass and are taking rough estimates, is this ok?

Navigating from start to finish is easy on warm sunny day.  When faced with fog, rain, snow or dense forest, the challenge becomes much harder and the opportunity for error is significantly greater.  Over a 3km journey, even a 5° error on the compass could place you in a zone 8 times the size of the MCG.  

  • Yes
  • No

What are the environmental signals to your direction?

There are many natural signs that help us find our direction.


In Australia, when the wind is cool or fresh, it is typically a Southern wind.  The trade winds in Australia come from a South Easterly direction.  A warmer, dryer wind is a Northerly wind.  

PLEASE NOTE:  Wind is referred to by the direction it is coming from, rather than the direction it is heading.  


Trees tend to bear away from the wind, understanding wind patterns will help you determine direction.


Clouds are natural reflectors of light.  City’s and even small towns often produce enough light to make an impression on the sky.  Equally, understanding cloud formations that are typical for fresh, cooler air of the Southern wind and typical cloud formations for Northerly wind can validate.  

The Sun

The sun is one of the key navigational resources at our disposal.  In Australia, the Sun rises and sets in the Northern section of the sky – this means that it rise’s slightly North of East and sets slightly North of West. On any given day you can determine the Cardinal Points of the compass using the sun.  

  • Noise
  • Wind
  • Clouds
  • Rivers and creeks
  • Stars
  • The Sun
  • The Moon
  • Gut feel
  • Whatever anyone else thinks

Can you find north using an analogue watch?

Watch Technique – Southern Hemisphere

Lay an analogue watch flat on your palm.  Turn so that 12 O’clock is in line with the sun.  Half way between the hour hand and 12 O’clock, bisect with an imaginary line.  This will be north.   

  • Yes
  • No