Last week Minister John Gardner announced that from 29 June a number of restrictions will be lifted on school activities, including camps and excursions. This news is certainly welcomed and will allow many of our outdoor education providers, such as Woodhouse Activity Centre, to bounce back

We recently caught up with James Sellers, General Manager of Woodhouse Activity Centre to learn more about the business.

Owned and operated by Scouts SA for more than 60 years, the 54-hectare property specialises in rustic, experience-based group accommodation, ideal for school camps, conferences and special events.

Open seven days a week, Woodhouse offers a range of adventurous activities that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. As a guest or day visitor, you will have unlimited access to climb, crawl, swing and splash your way through more than 30 obstacles on Challenge Hill, tackle a giant split-level maze, whiz down two epic tube slides, negotiate one of seven orienteering courses or have a round of disc golf – and heaps more!

James says the last three-plus years have been somewhat of an epic evolution for the property.

“We have been able to invest approximately one million dollars’ worth of new and upgraded infrastructure, and the equivalent of around ten full-time employees,” he said.

“This amount of growth has given us over double the amount of visitation previously experienced, countless promotional opportunities and positioned Woodhouse as one of the most cherished school camp and family destinations in South Australia.

“Our key learning throughout this exciting time has been around recruiting and fostering the best possible people.

“Our staff LOVE the site and have a clear understanding of our mission and goals. Through this, they have become ambassadors for not only Woodhouse but simply for connecting people with the outdoors.”

On top of understanding the mission and goals for the business, it has been vital for the Woodhouse staff to be aware of their customers’ needs and expectations.

“Woodhouse has such a varied client base, so our focus can be distracted or misdirected,” said James.

“Keeping a clear and persistent understanding of our core business and customers’ needs has been integral to achieving a healthy mix.

“At its core, there has been a constant focus on delivering the very best customer service possible to every client irrespective of their duration of stay, dollar spend or prerequisites.

“This approach has been essential to staying on track – along with clearly outlining to staff who our customers are and what they expect.”

Like many tourism businesses, Woodhouse has recently endured its more challenging period to date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time, the business has focussed its attention to their bookings and staff, ensuring the best and safest service is provided.

Now that Woodhouse has survived the emergency stage of the pandemic and is navigating its way through the recovery phase, James sees exciting times ahead.

“I couldn’t imagine a more important time to encourage getting people outdoors and active,” he said.

“Plans are in the works to eventually undergo more redevelopments at Woodhouse, all aimed at getting more people engaged with our beautiful grounds and developing a love for outdoor activity.”