6 things you should know about the Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, NZ


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! We still have a single spaces left for our Queenstown September 2019 program (at 2019 pricing!) or alternatively we have several dates for 2020 departures already. What are you waiting for?


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Living in Queenstown and keen to experience some of the best climbing and hiking that New Zealand has to offer? Do you have a spare day over the next couple of weeks and want to come join us on an epic day mission? Flick us through a message to instructors@pureexploration.com! See info attached 😆🤙


We love that our program participants join us from all different walks of life (no punn intended), and really enjoy hearing about the experiences that have been had - both mental and physical - on program! It's our pleasure to share Liz's story with you all, her journey from a "complete beginner" at climbing, to the end goal of being an NZOIA qualified climbing guide! Thank you for the inspiration, Liz Lucas Coaching!


"I heard the captain announce our approach into Queenstown, into this place I had only dreamt of. I looked out the window and there she was, the glorious island that is New Zealand, at the opposite end of the world to where I am from and I just thought to myself "Bring it on baby"" Hear more about Cathal's journey as he participates on the Adventure Guide Program via the link below. It's absolutely worth a read, every word is dripping in his Irish charm and you can't help but smile as you digest his story!


EXCITING NEWS! Are you interested in our Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, NZ but you've not been able to commit for financial or timing reasons? What if we told you that we now have a 6 WEEK ADVENTURE GUIDE PROGRAM AVAILABLE? This 6 week program offers rock and hiking adventures, plus participants will still get the opportunity to undertake their pre hospital emergency care (PHEC) and SWIFT water rescue training and qualifications! We're so happy to be able to offer this awesome condensed program to you all from January 2020, if you're interested in finding out more, flick us a message!


If you're interested in our Adventure Guide Program (AGP) in Queenstown, let us introduce you to "PHEC". Pre Hospital Emergency Care (PHEC) is an intense five day, crucial part of the AGP which trains participants to deal with a myriad of emergency situations. Please note the photos are not real life and are the result of great acting skills in order to recreate real life scenarios. If you'd like more information about the Adventure Guide Program or PHEC, feel free to reach out. Thank you to Peak Safety Ltd for your ongoing support!


Check out the video below to hear Program Leader Keri share her experiences from the Expedition Leader Program with us. The three month immersive program wrapped at the end of August and we were lucky enough to steal 4 minutes of Keri's time to get a sweet snapshot of what the 90 days in Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, China, Laos, Thailand and Nepal was really like!


We loved having our Adventure Guide Program participants volunteer with the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust last week on some important projects in Arrowtown! Thank you for having us, and we're looking to joining you again next time 😀


Goodbyes have been said, reunions have been made, photos have been uploaded and time has been spent reflecting. We are thrilled to hear how much our Expedition Leader Program crew enjoyed their 12 week experience and we're so proud of what each individual achieved! We wanted to share with you one last blog from program participant Chloe, summarising the key things she has taken away from the Expedition Leader Program. Whatever you're doing in your life, we feel as though it's an important and powerful read. Enjoy, and feel free to check out the teams awesome photos in our recent album we've uploaded. We're warning you now - every photo is envy worthy!


EXCITING NEWS!!!! Pure Exploration are SO excited to share our latest offering for our 2020 Adventure Guide Programs - CANYONING! Keen to sign up for one of our 12 week programs, but don't think that rock climbing is really for you? No drama! The canyoning option is now available for you to do instead of the rock climbing strand, enabling you to spend time in the water (splashing around, slipping and sliding between canyons) as well as your hiking, pre hospital emergency care and swift water rescue training. We are offering the NZOIA Canyon Leader qualification alongside the NZOIA Bush you'll also undertake over the 12 weeks. Panicking that we've dropped rock climbing? Don't be, we're still offering the rock module (which proves to be increasingly popular), we're just introducing canyoning as a further option! If you're keen to hear more just flick us a message!


What is this PHEC you might hear us mentioning from time to time? PHEC stands for Pre Hospital Emergency Care, and there's a reason we keep banging on about it - if you're heading out to the back country it's vital knowledge to have. You could save a life. Regardless of whether you're heading out bush, there's actually never a bad time to undertake Pre Hospital Emergency Care and that's why we incorporate it in each of our Queenstown Adventure Guide programs. Our Patagonia Adventure Guide Program and Expedition Leader Program also feature a wilderness first aid qualification. Check out this article to find out more about PHEC and how it teaches you the skills needed to become an asset in an emergency.


For those of you who are interested in our Adventure Guide Program as you'd like to get your foot in the tourism industry, look no further. Dana, an alumni from our Adventure Guide Program in 2017, was kind enough to give us a life update at the end of last year. Since graduating from the AGP the wonderful Dana has been a Director of Operations, Lead Guide and a Naturalist in the US. We'll be checking in with her shortly for another life update. Until then, have a read and join us in celebrating the successes of Dana!


The Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown was always a tough one to name. The word adventure summons up thoughts of gripping journeys discovering untouched lands, undertaking challenges that your dreams haven’t even dared explore and of course, an envy worthy Instagram feed. But of course, it's so much more than that! So, in reality, what is the Adventure Guide Program? What should participants expect from it? Check out our latest blog on our website for the "6 things you should know about the Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, NZ".


Is #throwbackthursday still a thing? We're not sure, but if not, we're bringing it back! As our Adventure Guide Programs are kicking off for Spring and Summer 2019 it seemed an appropriate time to share Deni Zawalski's awesome Queenstown AGP video with you all. What's more, talk about a success story, Deni now works for Southern Lakes Heliski right here in Queenstown. Yup, she's living the sweet life long after graduating from the program! For those of you who are wondering what life could look like after the three months on program, flick us a message. We have heaps of awesome stories about alumni who have gone on to work in the industry here in Queenstown, and we would take pleasure sharing their successes with you. Thanks for letting us share Deni!


We were curious to find out why some of our participants chose to join us on our Expedition Leader Program earlier this year. Chloe shares her reasons with us, maybe they're something that you can relate to as well!


A huge welcome to our 11 incredible participants who have joined us from all around the world for our Adventure Guide Program here in Queenstown NZ! We're excited to show you our home, watch you grow and share in your successes over the next 12 weeks! Oh, and they're eager too - check out the evidence captured of their lake swim in the depths of winter ❄🏊‍♀️ we love the enthusiasm - brr!


Things you learn when you travel the world 101. "Outgrowing people, jobs, places and situations is okay. You should not feel any shame or guilt for leaving toxicity, old patterns, or boredom behind to pursue your own journey to happiness." Check out the blog below to hear more Ah Ha! moments our Expedition Leader Program participants have identified on their travels so far.


Interested in our 12 week Adventure Guide Program in Patagonia but feel a little freaked out at the thought of reaching out for more information? We get it. That's why we teamed up with the guys at GoAbroad.com to write an article all about Patagonia, hoping that it gives you an idea as to what you can expect from this sparsely populated, jaw-droppingly beautiful region which is home to some of the world's best hiking trails and rock to climb! Keen to hear more? No drama, flick us a message and we'll sort you out with some more enticing information about the program. Just don't blame us when you've canned the job and booked your flights for our November intake! 😆👌


"Growth, vulnerability, pushing limits, authenticity, connections. These all come with being on the ELP team. When I signed up for this trip, I knew it would be a life changing experience in a ton of ways, but somehow, after only 1 month, we have all changed beyond expectations in more than one way." Please check out another one of Chloe's incredible, gripping blogs to find out more about how travel and adventure, plus everything that comes along with it, furthers ourselves in our own personal development journey.