Kids from Central Australia see ocean, try surfing for first time

Charlie Maher, Steve Moneghetti, Rob de Castella, Nova Peris and Adrian Dodson helped promote the Bush to Beach program in Port Macquarie. Photo provided by Bush to Beach.

An ongoing festival in Port Macquarie has just wrapped up, ending the first visit to the ocean for a group of Central Australian kids.

Children from the Ntaria Hermannsburg community had their first taste of the ocean in the Northern NSW town as part of the Bush to Beach exchange program this month.

The festival marked the end of the first of two visits for the kids, who will be back in September for a second taste of coastal life.

Bush to Beach founder Charlie Maher lead the coordination of the trip, which included a fundraising dinner at the end of the festival.

More than 150 people helped to raise over $6,000 for the program and Maher says he was overwhelmed by the support.

Athletics royalty Nova Peris, Rob de Castella and Steve Moneghetti all showed their support for the program by attending the fundraiser.

Mr Maher said the kids from Port Macquarie had a chance to realise some valuable life lessons.

“Our kids realised how much they had,” Mr Maher said.

“We are trying to teach them to always be grateful, humble and appreciate what you have.”

The visiting children also had a chance to try surfing for the first time.

“Some kids had never seen the ocean, let alone gone surfing,” Maher said.

The exchange means the participants from Port Macquarie will get to visit the Ntaria Hermannsburg community, around 130 kilometres from Alice Springs, in April.

By Keiran Deck

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