Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT)

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Australia, Canberra – Birrigai Outdoor School 2024

May 4 - May 8


Guide Training Immersion 4 days

Australia, Canberra – Birrigai Outdoor School 2024
October 4, 2024 to October 8, 2024 | Fully Registered – Accepting Wait List

An opportunity to connect with other guides from other cohorts and learn from the shared experiences.

If you have completed at least module 4 and submitted the corresponding assignments, of the six-month remote Forest Therapy Guide Training you’re eligible to apply. Completion of this immersion and the six-month training fulfills the requirements for full Certification. When space is available, ANFT-trained guides who have completed training in any past cohort can also participate. Please note that priority goes to students who need to take the immersion to get fully certified. Therefore, when you apply, you’ll be put on a waitlist until three weeks before the start of the immersion.

4 day in-person gathering, with 1 or 2 trainers, and people from different cohorts where you will have the opportunity to apply what you learned, experience in-person forest therapy walks and simply connect and share experiences and stories with other guides.

In this immersion, you will:

  • Get a hands on experience of what you learned
  • Get to know trainers personally
  • Get to know other guides and connect
  • Learn from shared experiences with other guides
  • Deepen into the practice
  • Get the opportunity to ask specific questions that might come up

Once you complete this four-day immersion, your certification will be moved from provisional to permanent. You have  two years after you complete the six month core training course to complete an immersion. It will help to give you a sense of the community of guides that has grown and is active throughout the world.

About the Venue

Birrigai Outdoor School 2024
164 Tidbinbilla Road, (Canberra)
Tharwa ACT 2620

Nestled amidst mountain peaks, native woodlands, tranquil streams and teeming with abundant wildlife, Birrigai sprawls across 570 acres of stunning Ngunnawal Country, adjacent to the Tidbinbilla Range and Namadgi National Park.

Embrace the Australian spring during your stay, marked by warming weather and kangaroo joeys (baby kangaroos). The native bush comes to life with the vibrant hues and fragrant aromas of wildflowers, including native orchids and the bulbine lily. Discover the beauty of Birrigai through its myriad private walking trails, inviting you to explore the captivating natural wonders of this more-than-human world.

Experience quintessential Australia where the land echoes stories spanning eons. Wander along ancient Songline trails, well-trodden for 25,000 years by the indigenous Ngunnawal people. Discover Birrigai’s granite tors, rock formations, and culturally modified trees, encapsulating the essence of the land’s rich history. Immerse yourself in the spiritual significance of the Birrigai Rock Shelter, the most significant Aboriginal sacred site in the Australian alpine region. We will be welcomed by the local indigenous people of this land and the staff at Birrigai.

Explore more before or after the immersion Directly behind Birrigai lies the spectacular Gibraltar Peak, featuring an acclaimed 8km hike to the peak that ranks among the top 10 day hikes in Australia. Adjoining Birrigai is Canberra’s premier Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, a haven for diverse wildlife. It is home to kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, platypus, potoroos, bandicoots, wallaroos, echidnas, emus, lyrebirds and many other birds and reptiles. The immersion coincides with Canberra’s internationally renowned Floriade festival – a celebration of spring, and the largest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere.


Prices are listed in Australian dollars, and the estimated equivalent in USD (based on conversion rates at the time of publishing).

Visit for the latest conversion rates.

Fees listed below are in addition to the tuition paid to ANFT. A booking platform fee will be applicable.

We’ll enjoy exclusive access to Birrigai’s expansive 570 acres for an immersive experience. The land sings a morning chorus made up of over 60 bird species, and 5 species of frogs. Kangaroos with joeys graze right outside your windows.

All participants are required to stay on-site; off-site options are not available. 

Prices are per person for the entire 4-night immersion, and include accommodation as noted, all lunches and dinners (catering for all diets), venue hire and fees, cleaning and use of facilities.

Birrigai offers 18 rooms, including 4 twin-share rooms (2 single beds), and 14 simple, comfortable dormitory-style rooms (bunk beds). The first 10 participants will have their own room, after which the remaining rooms may be shared with 1 other, if needed. Allocation of twin-share and ‘Hatcliff’ rooms (which will all be allocated as singles) is on a first-come, first-served basis, as outlined below:

● Twin-share room, en-suite bathroom – AUD 542 (USD 359).
● Hatcliff room, en-suite bathroom – AUD 542 (USD 359).
● Honyong or Green room, shared bathroom – AUD 542 (USD 359).
● Camping with your own gear, shared bathroom – AUD 337 (USD 223).

On-site charge – AUD 445 (USD 295) per person additional charge for the entire duration, payable in cash at the venue to cover on-site costs. Upon confirmation of your registration, additional details on reserving accommodation will be provided.

If you have a preferred roommate, you can indicate this during the booking process. Bedding is provided for rooms. You will need to bring your own towel/s and toiletries.

Please refer to the cancellation policies of this immersion below.

All lunches and dinners, from dinner on October 4th to lunch on October 8th, are provided.

**Breakfast is not included; however, a simple group kitchen equipped with fridge, stove, oven, microwave, cutlery, and crockery is available for self-catering.
**Snacks between meals are not part of the inclusive package.

Birrigai’s team includes two fully qualified chefs who will skillfully prepare our lunches and dinners. Dietary preferences such as vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore options can be accommodated; please specify your requirements during the booking process. Birrigai is a nut-free site. For additional supplies, the nearest grocery store is a 20-minute drive away at Lanyon Market Place, offering a petrol station, newsagent, chemist, and some restaurants. Please be aware that there is no public transport available.


Nearest airport: Canberra Airport 40 mins’ drive.

Getting to Birrigai:

Coordinated ride sharing amongst the immersion participants will facilitate airport transfers. Birrigai will provide assistance with limited daytime transfers on arrival and departure days.

By car
Birrigai is situated on Tidbinbilla Road, approximately a 40-45 minute drive from Canberra’s CBD. Access is via Cotter Road or Point Hut Crossing. For accurate GPS directions, simply enter ‘Birrigai’. Keep in mind that mobile reception may be limited during the drive. From Sydney, Birrigai is a 4-5 hour drive. The nearest petrol station is at Lanyon Market Place, a 20 minute drive away. Watch out for wildlife. Native wildlife is abundant and many species are most active at dawn and dusk. Exercise extra care when driving during these times.

If opting for rideshare from Canberra airport, anticipate a cost of approximately AUD 80-100 (USD52-65) per ride. Parking On-site parking is available. Follow the signs to the public car parking area along the Birrigai driveway. Additional details on ride-sharing and shuttles, along with a map of the area, will be provided upon confirmation of your registration.

Schedule Details

Arrival and registration: 4 October 2024, between 2-4pm Welcome circle: 4 October 2024, begins at 4pm
Closing and check out: 8 October 2023, by 2.30 pm.

If you are booking flights, please make sure your domestic departing flight leaves no earlier than 5pm to give yourself enough time to commute to the airport without leaving the program early.

General Notes

Payment and Cancellation Policies

Payment Terms:
● A 15% deposit is required upon booking.
● The remaining balance is due 60 days before the start of the immersion.

Cancellation terms:
● Up to 60 days before start: Full refund, less booking fees.
● 59 to 30 days before start: 50% refund, less booking fees.
● 29 days or less before the start: No refund. We highly recommend you obtain travel insurance.

WIFI and Connectivity
Free and fast WiFi internet in and around the buildings. Mobile network is not available as at the date of publication

Venue Policies
No smoking.
No pets allowed.
Fire is permitted on designated campfire and BBQ sites.

COVID Policy
Participants will not need to have a negative COVID test, unless they are experiencing symptoms. Please be in touch directly with the trainers for this immersion if you have any additional questions.

Additional costs to consider
● Breakfast is not included; however, a simple group kitchen equipped with fridge, stove, oven, microwave, cutlery, and crockery is available for self-catering.
● On-site charge – AUD 445 (USD 295) per person additional charge for the entire duration, payable in cash at the venue to cover on-site costs.
● Car rental if you want to go off-site during the immersion.
● Travel insurance (highly recommended).

Ride-sharing and accommodation sharing options
If you’re interested in ride-sharing or accommodation sharing, you’ll have the opportunity to share your travel details and contact information to connect with fellow participants registered for the immersion.

Payments are made by credit card to Birrigai directly. A booking platform fee will apply.

Application for Immersion


The tuition for the four-day immersion is $495. Wait to pay until you are ready to register for a specific immersion. You will have two years from the completion of your core guide training to do the immersion.

Immersion tuition does not include transportation, lodging or camping fees and food. These expenses are separate from the program costs for the four-day immersion and are the responsibility of the trainee.

IMPORTANT: Please wait until you receive enrollment confirmation before booking travel and lodging.

Tuition figures are current as of January 1 2021 and are subject to change.


Bansi Shah’s journey began exploring the wilds of Kenya, and later the Australian outback. Over the years, she has intuitively gone to the Wilderness to heal, to re-calibrate, to rest.
She has witnessed the transformative power of nature on people, which lead her to become a certified Forest Therapy Guide. Bansi co-founded Shades of Nature to help people bring nature & nature-based practices into their everyday lives. She offers Forest Therapy experiences, movement in nature, and nature-based retreats & safaris in Australia, Africa and Asia.
Bansi holds a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Sydney. She is also a trained and qualified Pilates instructor, Yoga teacher, and a PADI Scuba Divemaster. Her deep interest in grief, sorrow, and loss, and the role of the more-than-human world in these experiences led her to complete the Grief Ritual Leadership training with Francis Weller, psychotherapist and author of ‘The Wild Edge of Sorrow.’
Bansi’s happy place is in the Wilderness, and she has a particular passion for reptiles, scuba diving, slow hiking and stand-up paddle boarding.


Vicky Kyan is the first ANFT Certified Guide, Mentor and Trainer in the Southern Hemisphere. She is a strong advocate for the practice of Nature and Forest Therapy, and for the promotion of trainings in the South Pacific. She is largely inspired by her local ocean beach, seashore and estuary ecosystems, where she has pioneered this work since her Guide Training with ANFT in North California in May 2015.

Vicky operates a small Homestay holiday retreat, where she offers ‘Wellbeing Wanders’ Nature and Forest Therapy guided experiences. When she is not travelling she uses her Pacific Island home as a base for mentoring ANFT trainee guides and building network with nature connection contacts both nationally and around the world. She is also an active member of the ANFT International Training Team and travels to trainings around the world.


Certification Pathway

6-month remote training
You will start with a 6-month remote training, covering the content on live calls with the support of your trainers, fellow students, a very user friendly learning platform, many self exploration and nature connection activities that are done outside. After completing this training you get a provisional certification as a Certified Forest Therapy Guide. To view the available trainings scroll down.

4-day in-person immersion
After completing module 4 you can apply to attend a 4-day in-person immersion, for hands on forest therapy guiding experience with trainers and fellow students. You have two years time to complete this step. To view the available immersions click here.

Get your certification
After completing the 6-month remote training and the 4-day in- person immersion, you will receive your permanent certification as an ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guide and be part of the largest Forest Therapy Guide Community Worldwide. Click here to see the guide’s map.


Application for Immersion

Additional Questions?  Check our FAQ section

Get Started


May 4
May 8
Event Category:


Birrigai Outdoor School 2024
164 Tidbinbilla Road
Tharwa ACT 2620, Canberra Australia
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