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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17th December 2018

This is Richard, he is our Program and Operations Manager. As well as being a slick operator who will ensure your time on program is amazing, he also is an extremely experienced Bungy jumper and yorkshire pudding expert 💪

11th December 2018

Ken's back! It's time for the Adventure Guide Program crew to get their boots on and experience the New Zealand back country. An unseasonal Spring snowfall added some drama to the week, but certainly made for some scenic hikes! Read more here https://bit.ly/2UyEkML

7th December 2018

Wondering if the Adventure Guide Program is for you? Let's ask someone who has been on the program, the Watford wanderer, London's finest son and newly found fan of NZ, Ethan.

5th December 2018

Nelson, on the northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand, has crystal clear water, golden sand beaches, beautiful native bush and epic rock to climb. It's home to our June intakes of the Adventure Guide Program here. It's a dreamy as adventurers holiday destination, no matter the season!

2nd December 2018

On Saturday we said farewell to the two groups who have just completed their Adventure Guide Program assessments in NZ. Its been a big last few weeks and everyone has done so well getting through client days and assessment! We are so proud of you all and can't wait to hear what you all get up to next. Its been a busy but amazing 3 months having 30+ people in NZ travelling with us, we are looking forward to our own team debrief and discussing how to nail 2019! First, some Christmas bubbles to celebrate 🍾🥂

29th November 2018

We've loved having the amazing Keri Wingnut as one of our inspiring guides for this intake of Adventure Guides in New Zealand. Here are some of her top picks of the last three months out in the wilderness with the team.

24th November 2018

The night sky in New Zealand is 🥇

18th November 2018

Springtime in New Zealand...?

18th November 2018

Rob Roy Glacier trek with some awesome clients. As the program comes to an end our teams are heading up half and full day treks and climbs with real clients from the Queenstown area. Putting all their guiding skills to the test.

17th November 2018

Over the last two weeks, our Adventure Guide groups have been learning all about swift water safety. How cold water affects your ability to move and react, how to understand moving rivers, identify safe zones and areas to avoid. And how to rescue people in dangerous situations. All great stuff to make you a more useful and confident outdoor hiker/swimmer/kayaker/friend!

15th November 2018

Guiding is easy when you have awesome clients!!

15th November 2018

A good crew, a roaring campfire and a few good stories to tell. When was the last time you had an awesome outdoor adventure?

14th November 2018

When the students become the teachers. Here's Rosie keeping a watchful eye on her clients as they belay each other up hero wall. Well done guys! As part of the Adventure Guide Program, students spend some of their final weeks practising what they've learned with real clients. It's a fantastic point of realisation to be able to see really how much has been learned along the way, and how much confidence they've gained in the outdoors. Whether they go on into outdoor careers or not, this confidence in themselves and in the outdoors is the biggest thing they can take away.

13th November 2018

Throwing back to a beautiful walk along a windy ridge on the Kepler track. Epic views!

12th November 2018

Putting all their training into practice, the mountain goats up at Rob Roy Glacier in Wanaka today leading real clients on a day hike. Love your work!

11th November 2018

Team three visits Wanaka Search and Rescue with Paul Rogers. Getting a run down on how a rescue is planned and operated.

9th November 2018

Catching the alpineglow on Aoraki Mt Cook

9th November 2018

Catching the alpineglow on Aoraki Mt. Cook.

8th November 2018

The adventures never end. Throwing back to the teams first multi-pitch climbs together in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park. The views never disappoint, and something about being strapped to a mountain 120 meters off the ground gets your blood flowing. All other distractions fade, and nothing else matters but the moment you're in right then.

7th November 2018

Scanning the wall for their next climb, gear in hand.

6th November 2018

Rob Roy Glacier Track with the team. Beautiful day with a buncha goof balls.

5th November 2018

Taking a little walk on the west coast to break up a busy week of guiding.

2nd November 2018

Hey Mom! Just messaging from the middle of a 100ft cliff face in New Zealand....

1st November 2018

Little Rosie and sloth man Sam cruise up the corner arette on lower Kai wall in Wanaka yesterday. These guys are total crushers!

31st October 2018

Having a play at Castle Hill.