Adventure Guide Intern Update - Technical Training & Road Trips!

The latest update from Kaylee Pickett, one of our adventure guide interns based in Queenstown:

October brought loads of training and hands-on learning.

We started with what remains one of the most fun days of the course, river crossing! Dressed in full-body wetsuits with waterproofed packs strapped to our backs, we learned how to cross fast moving water as pairs and as a full team, as well as how to swim on our stomachs and backs using our packs for floatation. The skills we gained helped us several times later in the course each time a river blocked our path, although there was one cheeky incident with a pack thrown directly into the water (whoops).

 To continue practicing the navigation techniques we learned in the classroom in the first weeks, we popped over to Arrowtown to do some on and off track trekking on Big Hill. This marked the start of our first Trekking Module. Starting with shorter navigation legs on track focused on timing and pacing, we honed our map reading skills and pushed off track along formidable ridgelines to the summit high above the Wakatipu Basin. Thighs and glutes burning with each step up steep spur lines, we gained excellent awareness of contour line reading, safety with groups along difficult terrain, and further developed our abilities to identify features around us.

The next two days included much of the same, with a hike in Skippers Canyon that developed into injury management with groups in off-track settings due to a sore ankle and a day spent in the rainy but stunning Mount Aspiring National Park up to the Rob Roy Glacier. 

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After a day’s rest and lots of packing, the crew set off for an epic roadie around the South Island for some serious climbing, a bit of trekking, lots of stunning views, and unforgettable times as a team.

Avoiding some nasty weather up North, we started in Dunedin at Long Beach, the perfect beach bum climbing area. Barefoot belays in the sand assisted some awesome climbs with views of crashing waves and hippies meandering to a cave party happening later that evening. It was the perfect start to what would be our favorite two weeks of the program.

Our main destination was the sunny and beautiful Golden Bay, near Nelson on the north part of the South Island, but we took our time getting up there. We stopped along the way at the Moeraki Boulders for a bit of a geek out on bizarre geology and for some climbing at Elephant Rocks. 413 km north to Hamner Springs after lots of singing and sleeping in our beloved van, Buppy, we stopped for a delicious dinner of our lead instructor’s favorite meal, Dal Bhat, a quick half day hike, and the best chill out at the local hot springs. 


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Finally arriving in Nelson after seeing some of the greatest parts of the East coast, we spent an incredible day waka paddling on the coast of the Abel Tasman. Guided by the power couple of the century and their two young daughters, we got to experience true waka paddling and Maori culture in the most beautiful environment. This special day remains as many of the crew’s favorite.

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We spent the majority of our time up north in Golden Bay, a climber’s absolute paradise. Perfect sunny weather, some of the best climbs in New Zealand, and a chilled out hippie vibe…what more can you ask for?

We trained and climbed almost every day, building upon the skills we developed in Wanaka and gaining new ones, from single pitch top rope rescue to commercial abseil set ups and lots and lots of lead climbing. After long days on the rock, the crew ran down to the beach for a quick swim in the chilly water before relaxing at an amazing beach bach. It was over this week together at the beach that the team really came together, learning to balance lots of fun with some studying and a touch of group management and cooking.

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We had one day off in the middle of the week, and after a planning session at a Department of Conservation office checking out the mountains in the area, we headed to the famous Mussel Inn for a couple of pints and then to Wharariki Beach. Covered in thousands of tiny blue jellyfish and pumping with wind, the beach felt like another planet.

 blog oct 6

Remembering the course includes trekking, we packed up our backpacks and headed up to the Cobb Valley for a big overnight. 30 km and nearly 2000 m of elevation over two days brought us from jungle to sub-alpine and to our first night in a hut. We got quite lucky and saw a kaka on the first day, one of New Zealand’s native endangered parrots. The second day brought winds over 100 kph on an exposed ridgeline (it’s more fun than it sounds) and lots of cheesy jokes on the final push to the finish.

Stops along the way to the pancake rocks in Punakaiki, the Fox Glacier, and the Haast Pass brought us nearly 900 km back down to Queenstown, hearts happy, feet sore, and fingers callused. 

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If you are keen to learn more about our Adventure Guide Internship, pop in your details below and we will fire you through the full itinerary!

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18th March 2018

Another new location for us, and one hell of a program that will be launching this month. Anyone know where this is??

15th March 2018

Let's check in again with Ethan and our Adventure Guide Interns in Queenstown, as they wrap up their first week with Pure Ex!

14th March 2018

We've got some suuuuper exciting news to announce in the next week. New courses, new locations, new countries even! Keep following to find out more. In the meantime, we're just gonna go ahead and leave this pic here.....

11th March 2018

Such an awesome pic of our final group for 2017. On top of a mountain, with their instructor Ivor Levin. Grins all round, all passed their exams, loving their time in NZ. Life is good!

9th March 2018

The first overnight trip did not disappointed! On top of the Remarkables, not a soul or track in sight, clear skies above and an evening hike up a nearby mountain for the sunset. Time for a few rest days before getting into some rock climbing next week!

8th March 2018

Last week we welcomed the next bunch of legends joining us in Queenstown for the Adventure Guide Internship. Ethan Kaandorp is going to be keeping us all up to date with what the crew are up to. Check out his Vlog of his time in NZ so far!

7th March 2018

Discussing the plan for today's hike - assessing the terrain and weather outlook with the team

7th March 2018

Learning to navigate with map and compass in Skippers Canyon. Tomorrow we head for the hills!

5th March 2018

Absolutely stunning pic of our hometown from up Ben Lomond Peak by the talented @oliverward. Magic. #repost@queenstownnz

4th March 2018

Nailing down those climbing skills in stunning Wanaka, some exciting river crossing adventures, a couple of epic hiking trips... it's all kicking off in Michel's 3rd VLOG! Check it out here

1st March 2018

The new Adventure Guide crew are here! Looking forward to getting to know you all! Ethan and Ethan yet to come...

28th February 2018

How are your fire lighting skills? Andrew showing us how it's done.

25th February 2018

Awww team. Such legends. Check out this wee overview video from Michel who took part in the September 2017 Adventure Guide Internship. We miss you guys already! If you want to learn more about this course, click here to check out an itinerary

24th February 2018

It's your turn to cook. You're camping out this week, and with the team you budgeted your money wisely to make sure you have good nutritious and tasty meals to keep you going. What would be your go-to meal?

22nd February 2018

22 February, 50 cm of snow. Queenstown never ceases to amaze! 😻 #summersnow

21st February 2018

For Queen and Country, Ivor summits 6,000-meter peaks, dangles from ropes, and conquers white water. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ivor Levin - Pure Exploration's impressive lead guide, chief technician and all round legend. Click here to learn more about Pure Ex's main man:

20th February 2018

When what's on your back is your home...

19th February 2018

Hard to beat scenery like this.. unless of course you grab a body board, some fins, and rip down the K river's class 3 rapids! #seriousfun #riverboarding

18th February 2018

It's time to catch up with Michel again for his second Vlog - VLOG #2 - as he talks us through his first week in New Zealand, all about the intern house and what they've been up to!

17th February 2018

It's been a summer to remember here in New Zealand. Hot days, blue skies for months on end, long warm nights, campfires, road trips, beers by the ocean, BBQ's with friends, swims in remote alpine lakes. If you're sitting on your couch with a blanket keeping warm from a bitter Northern Hemisphere winter, just let that sink in.... 😉

15th February 2018

What's it like to live and train with people from around the world in a foreign country? Awesome is what it is. And hilarious. Get an insight into what life is life living with a new crew on other side of the world for three months from Kaylee, 2017's chief Adventure Guide Intern blogger.

14th February 2018

Wildflowers, much better than a bunch from the florist. Happy Valentine's Day folks!

13th February 2018

Looks like New Zealand is delivering on its promises for these grinning folk!

10th February 2018

"To my parents, First off, thanks for your support - I could not have done this without you. Second, don't worry I've been safe the whole time in NZ. I know you worry about me dangling off the sides of cliffs and riverboarding down rapids, but I've been surrounded by experienced guides the whole time that focused a lot of their energy into teaching me personal safety out in the elements. Finally, I want you to know that this investment has been worth it. I haven't been wasting my time - and there is a plethora of advice I can take into real-world applications. And New Zealand was amazing!"

8th February 2018

Meanwhile, down the road from our interns in Queenstown, this guy trains up for his next #missionimpossible ....