September in North Queensland. The second week of the school holidays. Four teenage boys: Graham, Peter, Stephen and Roger set off from Cairns on an expedition to explore an old mining area. They are all keen model builders and their current project is to build a model layout based on the old mining railways in the dry hills of the Stannary Hills area.
The four friends, who call themselves 'The Hiking Team', are all experienced bushwalkers. They have been Scouts for years and are also army cadets and have just spent the first week of the holidays on a 9 day cadet camp.
The trip to Herberton is enjoyable and filled with memories of previous expeditions but within minutes of arriving they encounter problems. After lunch they set off by bicycle and quickly discover that the hills are bigger than they thought. As a result they do not reach Stannary Hills that night. They camp at Hales Siding, now deserted bush with the earthworks of the old railway and only a few scattered items to indicate a settlement once existed there.
On the second day they travel to Stannary Hills and explore the area, camping on the second night beside Eureka Creek at the old railway station site. The third morning is spent exploring on foot down the line of the dismantled light railway. During this time they encounter a number of challenges, dangers and minor adventures.
Then, on the afternoon of the third day, the boys find themselves in a situation that places all their lives in peril. Surviving requires all their skills, determination and courage. For 14 year old Roger, the youngest, chubbiest, and least fit, the whole expedition is a real test of his character and courage and he is forced to confront and overcome some of his darkest fears.
Suitable for Primary School children and teenagers.