6 things to know about the Program in Queenstown


Are you interested in the Adventure Guide Program but feel like you need to know more information? You’re in the right place! We have put together 6 things which will help you get a better idea of what this program looks like, and what you can expect!

We appreciate that it’s a real investment to embark on a three month program overseas, and therefore we want to make sure we equip you with as much information as you need to make an informed decision as to whether or not this is what you’re looking for. So, what should you know about the Adventure Guide Program?


1. Places you will go

As you may already know, whilst in New Zealand you will be nestled in between the mountains and lakes, living in the beautiful beating heart of Queenstown. The weather can be unpredictable during certain times of the year and therefore can impact on both the itinerary and locations you visit. However, in general, you can also expect to spend time in Wanaka, Dunedin, Fox Glacier, Milford Sound and Mount Cook. These are all magical places which are also located on the South Island of New Zealand. They have been mindfully chosen due to the hiking and rock climbing available, plus their stunning scenery and renowned reputation! 


2. Where you will stay

Over the three months you will stay in a myriad of different accommodations, however for most of your program you will stay in one of our lodges located in Queenstown. Your new housemates will be the other program participants and you should expect to share bathroom and kitchen facilities. You’ll get the opportunity to live, eat and play as part of the Pure Exploration family! Whilst exploring other places on the South Island you can expect more lodge accommodation, Department of Conservation (DOC) huts and camping. Of course, all tents and camping gear is provided, so there’s no need to panic about fitting that in your luggage to ship over! If you’ve never camped before, then lucky you, you’re in for a treat. In our humble opinion there’s no better or more rewarding way to explore the outdoors.


3. Hard skills you’ll learn

The program is comprised of four, five-day training modules for both rock (climbing) and bush (hiking). You will rotate between the two modules week by week, with the first half spent learning the necessities. The second half will be focused on practicing and consolidating these skills. For rock you will get the opportunity to research the location and crags as well as history of climbing in the area, routes, hazards, geology and weather forecast. In addition to growing into a confident climber yourself you will also be able to demonstrate effective safety management. You will also lead and manage a group for an introductory rock-climbing session. We cater to mixed abilities on the Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown but there are opportunities to climb up to a grade 23 at the places we tend to visit, for those of you who are looking for a bit more of a challenge. Your learning outcomes for bush will vary from orientating maps and understanding and describing scales, to understanding both the natural and cultural history of the area as well as the local flora and fauna. Further along the program you will spend time focusing on river crossings, fire lighting and building shelters. Hikes you undertake will vary from day walks to a couple of five-day walks, one of which you and the group will lead yourselves (in order to use your newfound, amazing leadership skills)!


4.Qualifications you’ll gain

The Adventure Guide Program is designed to give participants the opportunity to obtain outdoor guiding certifications. If you’re looking to pursue a career in outdoors guiding then it’s important to get yourself certs that are going to be both well recognised and well known, as well as highly respected. Fret not, for these reasons Pure Exploration work with NZOIA (New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association) for the bush and rock strands of our Adventure Guide Program. NZOIA certs are particularly great qualifications to have as New Zealand has an outstanding reputation in both outdoor and adventure pursuits. These quals look sweet on your resume, especially in North America and Europe where they’re highly regarded by employers. In addition to NZOIA Rock Leader and NZOIA Bush Leader quals, participants can also expect to walk away with their PHEC first aid and Swift Water Rescue certs. PHEC stands for Pre-Hospital Emergency Care and it’s something we take seriously here at Pure Exploration. In fact, we fly a company down from Taupo for the five-day course - that’s how much we value the quality of this training. Swift Water Rescue is a two-day course and it’s been designed with the aim of extending on hiking leader river safety. After an intense two days you will have confidence and a thorough understanding of how to deal with any water emergencies that might present themselves whilst guiding or exploring in the wild outdoors.


5.What other activities you’re likely to take part in

We know what you’re thinking, what else is there to do when you’re not climbing, hiking or erecting tents? Great question. Queenstown isn’t notorious for being ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ for just any old reason, it is basically a huge, dramatic playground for adults. Pack your big boy (or girl) pants as you can expect to be swinging, jumping and running off all sorts of things! Queenstown is home to a vast assortment of adventure activities and although they’re not usually included in the cost of program, we do have some local deals we can hook you up with. Think skydiving, jet boating, river boarding, helicopters and rope swings – that’s everyday life in Queenstown. Previous groups have enjoyed visiting famous sites, eating from equally famous burger joints (Fergburger anyone?), mooching around farmers markets, drinking in breweries, visiting penguin colonies and swimming in every water source available to them. Oh yes, anything goes. Pure Ex Alumni, Inger-Lise, created this inspiring video from her AGP earlier this year. It’s packed with “behind the scenes” footage and is oozing with the feel-good factor – check it out if you’re prepared to jump on a flight to NZ straight away! (Don’t say we didn’t warn you…)

6. What personal development and leadership skills you can expect to gain

One of our key roles at Pure Exploration is to facilitate participant’s personal development journeys. The nature of the Adventure Guide Program is to create positive change within each individual. The program consists of a core syllabus of personal development and leadership skills, with participants learning relevant models and theories. You should expect weekly workshops and discussions surrounding the subjects. Month one focuses on personal development, resilience, team bonding and building. You will be introduced to various action-based learning activities, be comfortable giving and receiving feedback and take part in a goal setting workshop. This is a valuable experience where you can plan and lay down the foundations needed to achieve both your short-term and long-term goals. Month two will focus on group dynamic and outdoor theory, by the end you will have the chance to run a group reflection/debrief and have a thorough understanding of what makes an effective team. Your final month will be based around leadership, and you will all take turns in leading the group day by day. This includes managing timings, logistics and teaching sessions. Regardless of whatever reasons there were for signing up to the program initially, the focus on personal growth and leadership is always a big hit with program participants!

Where to from here? If you’d like some more information about our Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, our Adventure Guide Program in Patagonia or our Expedition Leader Program, our team would love to hear from you! What are you waiting for?


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