Join NBCF and take Steps Towards Research
Winding its way across the north of China, from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert, the Great Wall of China is one of mankind’s most impressive architectural accomplishments.
As part of this adventure, you’ll travel through history to the very heart of China’s ancient culture. Over five days, you’ll trek between mist-covered mountains, into local villages, across rolling farmlands and through dense forest.
With the support of expert guides, you’ll explore the many facets of the Great Wall, deciphering the ancient stories and poems etched into its watchtowers—every brick seeming to tell a story of war and adventure.
Swapping the majesty of the Great Wall for the hustle and bustle of Beijing, you are immediately immersed in China’s confounding and contrasting culture. Discover the ancient history of the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, experience the poignancy of Tiananmen Square and marvel at the modernity of the 798 Art District.
Best of all, with every step you take on the Great Wall, you will be supporting NBCF towards their goal of zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030.
Join NBCF and take Steps Towards Research
With every step you take along the Great Wall, we are one step closer to our aspirational goal of zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030.
By fundraising for NBCF, you are making a difference to the one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. The funds you raise will help:
• Discover new genes that cause breast cancer – to identify women at higher risk
• Identify how breast cancer cells grow – and work out how to stop them
• Develop more targeted treatments for breast cancer – to reduce the number of women dying
• Earlier and more accurate detection of breast cancer – so treatments are more effective
The team has officially touched down late in the evening into the bustling Beijing Airport to begin their China adventure! We met our head guide Jessie and ready for a sleep, we made our way to China’s best named hotel: the Beijing King Wing Hot Spring Hotel to get some rest.
After an easy start to the day and tucking into a buffet breakfast we made our way to Jing Shan Park to explore some temples overlooking the forbidden city and the rest of Beijing to get a feel for our surroundings.
To help loosen up after our long flight we learnt some “Jessie style” Tai Chi using moves that she named including: “pat the horse” and “release the magpie” (much to the amusement of onlookers I might add!) to help recharge our chi and prepare us for the adventure ahead.
We then made our way to the Hutong to explore the traditional narrow streets where many of Beijing’s residents still reside. We passed the drum temple then had lunch next to the city’s bell tower at a restaurant that served delicious authentic Chinese food.
With perfect sunny weather, we then made our way to the lake nearby and explored some more Hutongs and admired the boats passing by in what Rose and Rita termed “Chinese Venice”.
We then headed back to the hotel for some free time before rejoining for our first full team dinner at a nearby restaurant where we tucked into more dumplings and fried rice than we could handle! Many exchanged stories later, the team headed to bed feeling inspired by one another and why each person had come on the adventure, whether it was in honour of a loved one, or in memory of someone who had passed – we all knew we were here for a reason to help advocate for breast cancer research and help make breast cancer history!
Today it was time to visit the famous Tiananmen Square, an area rich in history that holds a lot of significance for the Chinese people. We then walked our way from the south all the way to the northern end of the forbidden city passing through each of the intricately decorated gates along the way.
Jessie explained the meaning behind the colours, shapes, styles and designs of each building and door to us to explain how each one had a role within the forbidden city for he emperor who used to reside their in the last dynasty.
We stopped for a group lunch sharing many different dishes over around the lazy Susan until we could eat no more!
Ready to get walking again we coloured the temple of Heaven and admired the intricate Chinese architecture. The temple is located in a park and we save many elderly people playing cards and mahjong along a long corridor through the park.
We then stopped in for a tea ceremony to sample some of Chinese most famous teas or ‘cha’. We learned how to hold a tea cup with the Phoenix tail and dragon power finger holds which took our tea party etiquette to the next level. Reinvigorated after the jasmine and fruity tea we sampled we made our way to one of the highlights of the day which was a huge exercise park which had everything from monkey bars to leg and back massagers which the team made quick use of. Nick was even challenged by an old man to demonstrate his acrobatics and much to the teams amusement he showed Nick some perfectly executed moves which would have used a lot of core strength!
After an eventful day of exploring the team made our way to the hotel to get prepared for dinner before tucking into another delicious shared meal nearby our hotel. To prepare for the Great Wall tomorrow and our departure from inner city Beijing the team headed back early to back our bags ready for the real adventure to begin!
Today we left the city behind and traded high rises for the countryside as we made our way towards the Great Wall!
We had a quick stop at the tombs on the way to see how the emporers and concubines were buried in previous dynasty’s. Nick purchased a huge pink hat in true NBCF spirit which he wore proudly which attracted a lot of attention from the locals who insisted they get a photo with him. After exploring the underground tombs we made our way onwards to our guest house which was tucked into the side of the Great Wall with its very own courtyard.
It was then time to take our first steps along the Great Wall of China! The first 20m was very well documented with photos, selfies, videos and calls back home helping to capture the excitement of the moment. We then headed up hill to the first watch tower before undulating up steep inclines and declines offering amazing views of the mountains cape and winding wall of China to the horizon beyond.
We finished our first section feeling accomplished and ready for more! Day 1 wasn’t over yet however as our head guide Jessie had a surprise in store. We made our way down for a quick stretching session and then walked into a huge maze which we navigated through to get to the centre. It was backdropped by huge yellow cliffs and watch towers of the wall on the mountain tops making for a great end to the first day. Tired after our first day of trekking we tucked into dinner and headed to bed eager for more adventure tomorrow!
It was time for our second day on the wall so we set off from our hotel to the next section, called crouching tiger, hidden dragon. We started with a steep climb up with views of the crouching tiger section. It was all worth it to see the hidden dragon, once we got to the top of the first big hill, winding its way into the horizon. We trekked along the wall, winding our way through many watch towers. It was incredible to see just how ancient the wall was as we walked along the unrestored sections.
We stopped on top of one of the watch towers with incredible views of the mountains and valleys below. Julie and Kim, also known as “Thelma and Louise”, used this opportunity for a photo shoot which had the team in stitches!
The group enjoyed having an entire section of the Great Wall to ourselves for the days walk and we returned to our accomodation with everyone feeling very accomplished after our first full day of trekking. The team was particularly proud of Rachel for overcoming her fears on some of the steeper and narrower sections and completing the entire days walk without fail.
Once we’d all showered we felt refreshed and we went downstairs at our guest house with a local family to learn how to write Chinese calligraphy and the meanings behind the characters. We had many laughs trying to guess the meanings and ended the class with the knowledge to recognise some of the characters on signs and menus for the days to come.
Tired from a day of trekking we ate our dinner and played a group game around the dinner table before heading to bed to renew our energy for the next day.
Now in the rhythm of our daily walk on the wall, the team was up and ready to go! We said goodbye to the local village and guest house we stayed in and made our way to the next section.
The day of trekking began walking up very manicured steps with Chinese music echoing through the forest along the path. This gently faded out as we got to the Great Wall.
Today had some steep inclines and steep declines so the team took their time and supported each other along the way. It seemed as if every minute had new and amazing views of the Great Wall along the way. We were reminded that you should only look back if it’s to see how far you’ve come!
For many, today was very challenging and we are all very proud of Rach for completing every step of the way. Hear Rachel’s thoughts on the day when we came across a local family along the way: “I met this little boy today on The Great Wall, he is the coolest little guy, even had the “Kato” sunnies on. He told me I am crazy, and I have to admit I kind of agree after the climbing up and scrambling down I did today battling that bloody fear. Some sections with no wall and almost vertical steps. Completely different to yesterday but equally as challenging. I kept telling myself “this could save a life”. And that got me there combined with the encouragement of my team. When I left my little friend, he politely said in his best English “pleased to meet you”. I was very pleased to meet him too. ”
The team set off to complete the next section of the wall, to complete the challenging sky ladder or stairway to heaven section. The day began with a cable car ride for half the group and a chairlift ride for the rest up to begin the trek on the top of the mountains.
Today’s trek was really beautiful and different to the other days and it was great being able to easily see exactly where we would trek to as it was very visible on the mountainside.
We trekked along and regrouped at the steep stairway to heaven section which every one on the team completed! The team were ecstatic to make it up to the top and it was a pivotal moment for many who had tears for what they’d overcome in their past and for the challenge they completed that day. We took a group photo to provide evidence that we actually made it (in case our families didn’t believe we did it!) and made our way down. We all trekked closely together supporting one another each step of the way. At the very end of the day we bumped into another group of Australians and sang the anthem and took a photo with their flag. In high spirits the group ended the day with a toboggan down the mountain!
Tonight’s dinner celebrated four team members’ May birthdays with a delicious cake. We also celebrated that after much hard work and fundraising efforts, the team hit over $50,000 raised for breast cancer research! It was such a big day and there were many reasons to celebrate. The team felt really proud of what they had achieved knowing that the funds they have raised will help to fund life changing research to help make breast cancer history!
Today was our last day of trekking! It was a bittersweet feeling knowing that we were nearly finished and that we would soon be leaving the wall behind.
We arrived at one of the main gates which provided a barrier to invaders. The wall made its way steeply up the mountains along the ridge and then steeply back down again. One watchtower at a time, the team made their way up our last ascent. At the top we were rewarded with views of the gate below and the wall disappearing on the mountains into the horizon. It was an emotional moment at the top where we reflected on our inspiration for coming on the adventure and shared our highlights of the adventure so far. We then made our way down the final set of stairs together as a team and each step bought us closer to the end of the wall.
We stopped in front of the gate to take in the moment and to sing the National anthem which was promised if we got to $50,000! We then made our way off the final step. We all knew in our hearts that although the trekking of #stepstowardsresearch was complete that we would all go on to continue being ambassadors for this great cause until their are 0 deaths from breast cancer.
We ended the day with an incredible Chinese acrobatics show. Performers did flips across the stage through hoops twice their height, balanced bowls on their heads whilst rolling on a plank on a cylinder, and juggled whilst rotating on a giant wheel spinning across the stage. Finally we saw not 4 or 5 but 6 motorbikes ride through a giant cage upside down, we were all on the edge of our seats and some had to cover their eyes – it was an incredible show!
The day had come to an end so we tucked into a delicious group dinner, with many dumplings, and then made our way back to the hotel to rest before our last day together.
Today was our final full day in China as a team. We started off by visiting Beijing’s art district to see a huge variation of items from around the globe as well as locally made art. From giant, red dinosaurs statues to upside down staircases, there was a lot to take in, not to mention all the shopping!
We then made our way to our much anticipated Peking Duck restaurant for lunch to try Beijing’s finest dish. We all sat around the lazy Susan and watched as the chef came in to prepare the duck in front of us. Much to Kim’s excitement it was time for her to try a duck pancake! The team loved it! As always, the dish was completed with many sides including dumplings. We then shared our highlights and favourite moments of the adventure and thanked Jessie for her incredible guidance and endless happiness.
After lunch, we made a quick stop to the food markets to see what was on offer. Fortunately our bellies were very full from a delicious lunch so we just observed the scorpions, crickets, squid, and even cuttlefish being served up!
The afternoon was our final time to purchase last minute gifts along the Hutong streets. Some of us took to a rickshaw and explored the Hutongs the old fashion way and visited a local family to see how they live.
The evening was spent for a final team meal to share our final memories and some hilarious ‘lost in translation’ photos we had noticed during the day. It was then off to bed for the final night at our second home, the Beijing King Wing Hot Spring Hotel.
The next day, we officially said goodbye to China and made our way home. Some of us were off to explore other parts of Asia and the rest of the team returned home to Darwin, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. We knew it wasn’t a goodbye but a see you later!