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. 

blog oct 7

 

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. 

 

blog oct 8   

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.

 blog oct 9 

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.

 blog oct 5

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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18th January 2018

Good buddies and lots of stoke on the trail! #optoutside

18th January 2018

Kaylee is better than any tour guide! Learning some top tips about Lake Wakatipu on Orientation week

17th January 2018

Start making steps towards your dream life in New Zealand today. Every cent counts ✌️ https://www.backpackerguide.nz/15-ways-cut-expenses-can-afford-travel/

16th January 2018

Road trippin' with my two favorite allies Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies It's time to leave this town it's time to steal away Let's go get lost anywhere (outside) the U.S.A. Let's go get lost, let's go get lost....

13th January 2018

Would you be confident enough to set up your own kit and wander over the edge of a cliff like Kaylee does here? Our course will give you the skills and confidence, no matter the height!

12th January 2018

Annnnd paddle! A uniquely kiwi experience with the inspiring Waka Abel Tasman team.

11th January 2018

Endless good times in NZ!

8th January 2018

Emergency medical care, rescue, and managing critical incidents are fundamental to guiding. Our Critical Incident Management module is a practical and experiential week focused on helping you gain the skills and confidence needed to deal with any scenario.

7th January 2018

Before you come to New Zealand, this is probably the type of thing you'd expect to see. You're right!

5th January 2018

Our New Year resolution is to spend more nights under skies like this! What's yours?

31st December 2017

2018.... Let's go! Be bold this year... make it one to remember!!

30th December 2017

Where will you be exploring in 2018? Have you taken some time to think about what you'd like to achieve in the next 12 months? No-one but you has the power or motivation to change your course in life. Don't be afraid to take a chance!

30th December 2017

Not a bad spot to call home for the evening, in the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park. Not another person for miles around!

26th December 2017

Kaylee leading a team to beautiful Rob Roy Glacier on one of our training days. Living the dream!

24th December 2017

It's been a big year for us at Pure Exploration - and its so nice to sit back at Christmas and be grateful for it all. Merry Christmas to all our interns and their families, to friends and loved ones and to everyone who follows us! Here's to a relaxing holiday season and an action-packed life-changing revitalising 2018! 🍾🍷🍹🎇🎄🎈🎉

24th December 2017

Just another scenic lunch spot

23rd December 2017

Practising river rescues in the Shotover river. Save him Cyril!

21st December 2017

Travelling is all about making new friends!

20th December 2017

Another day, another unreal climbing spot.

19th December 2017

Oh mannn this video makes me want to go to New Zealand!! Wait.. I live here.. ha! What's your excuse? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6Pvo2x_F64

18th December 2017

Have you experienced winter in the Southern Hemisphere? Our Winter Academy is perfect for those looking to explore some of NZ's finest shredding spots, fine tune their riding and nab their back country avalanche and safety qualifications. Get the full itinerary here https://goo.gl/rq5Pfb

17th December 2017

Whether you are a #lotr fan or not, the home of #Eisengard is actually an unreal place called Paradise near Glenorchy. You gotta get here!

13th December 2017

And just like that, 3 months of training is over and the crew has passed their NZOIA Rock, Abseil, and Bush Leader awards! #adventureguideinternship #worktravelnz

11th December 2017

Current adventure guide intern Cyril talks us through his experience so far! Learn more about this program here http://bit.ly/2Acu2HW