The Summer break you hadn’t thought of...yet!

Sure, university summer breaks in Spain and Thailand are fun! Endless selfies of you and your friends drinking cocktails at sunset and partying in’s an ideal holiday for plenty of students...but maybe not for YOU...


Maybe YOU are craving a meaningful adventure, you want to BE someone different and DO something special. Something that makes you feel like you’ve reinvented yourself. You want to come back from your break with more self-confidence and maybe even a bit of swagger.


If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone, but you are part of a growing trend of independent uni students using summer break to advance themselves by going further afield, MUCH further!


You probably know one of these people, they’re constantly uploading footage of themselves hiking beside volcanoes, skiing off-piste, snowboarding, bungy jumping, caving, penguin and sea lion spotting!


But where are they? Surely they’re travelling through heaps of different countries to get those sort of experiences, and surely it must be expensive? Actually, it’s not...and actually, they’re only in one country...New Zealand!


Check out the NZ Winter Explorer Program 2017 timetable here.


New Zealand is a major player in life changing jaw dropping mind blowing adventures. The landscape is so varied it’s like someone took all their favourite places in the world and combined them into one mini-world. Happily they left out all the scary beasts so you can even wander around it in peace (apparently if you stay the night in the bush the only thing natural thing that could harm you is the cold!). No wonder it is known as ‘Godzone’.


A surge of interest in New Zealand winter adventure holidays has been trending for a while. Popstar Ed Sheeran spent a GAP year in New Zealand, posting lots of instagram pictures including one of the canyon swing he did in Queenstown. Ed’s love for New Zealand is big, he felt inspired to write new material there, and now wears a greenstone necklace sourced in Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand...just ask the way everyone in NZ knows each other hence we all have him on speed dial).


So if you haven’t heard much about New Zealand in a broad sense, you’ve probably already heard of Queenstown? It has been dubbed the Adventure Capital of the World, and it’s fair to say its nightlife has also become legendary, so combining words like SUMMER BREAK - QUEENSTOWN and KIWI’s might give your parents visions of you in a bar burning cash (theirs) while falling in love with an R-rolling southerner, drinking yourself into a stupor and waking up in the gutter spooning a sheep...whoa! Settle Mum, that’s Australia ;-)


No Ma we’re talking about a REAL New Zealand experience, where GAP means Get Amongst People, Get A (new) Perspective and Grow A Person. We’re talking the kind of pioneering, ‘puts hairs on your chest’ personal growth that only the University of Life can offer.


Yes, it’s on the other side of the planet from what are you waiting for?!


There’s nothing like a bit of Kiwi can-do to push you gracefully out of your comfort zone and into the best version of yourself you ever met (do I hear the dulcet tones of someone falling in love with their life?).

Forget the sales pitch to your parents.


YOU need to come to New Zealand, YOU need to make this happen. Because it really WILL change your life. In 75 days time, you won’t recognise yourself.


75 days? Yes, that just happens to be the precise length of the incredible, all-inclusive: NZ Winter Explorer Program.


NEW ZEALAND WINTER EXPLORER PROGRAM                                

 12th June- 25th August 2017


The NZ Winter Explorer program has been unashamedly designed to fit in perfectly with your university summer break (how convenient). We - Pure Exploration New Zealand - have deliberately assembled a jam packed adventure itinerary of things in both the North and South islands that we know you’ll love. These are activities we personally enjoy ourselves, and ones that will push your life into a happy place.


You’ve been studying your butt off. You’re oxygen deprived and generally confused (we just made that up about you, but anyway what DO you want to do with your life?!) So, after having your mind focused for so long on all that theory, we reckon you need to blow it out with some fresh alpine air, volcanic landscapes, sensational hikes, caving, skiing, culture and fun!


Turn your world into a VERB x 3 : Doing, Doing, Doing!.


Come to New Zealand this June to begin a journey through the best adventure activities EVER with qualified, experienced and enthusiastic local adventure tourism guides at your side (us).


The New Zealand Winter Explorer Program includes all your food (except for free days when you’re off doing your own thing) all your accommodation, your transport, your adventure activities and adventure equipment, the cost of your amazing guides; it also includes the Outdoor First Aid and Avalanche Awareness certificates you’ll be earning ;-)


Here’s a quick taste of what you’ll DO with the team at Pure Exploration on the NZ Winter Explorer Program:

  • Skiing/snowboarding on New Zealand’s best ski fields (all levels welcome, lessons included)

  • Camping and caving in natural alpine environments

  • Learning back-country travel and avalanche safety

  • Taking part in an environmental sustainability project

  • Experiencing local Maori iwi, learn about their culture and history

  • Discovering a variety of adventure activities - mountain biking, climbing/abseiling, snowshoeing, ice climbing and more…

  • Climbing at least one of New Zealand’s amazing ‘alpine summits’

  • Living in the thriving alpine resort community of Queenstown

BASE CAMP - Queenstown

Your basecamp will be in Queenstown, in the stunning southern alps of New Zealand.


Queenstown will smack you awake with its vibrant pulse, and Middle Earth/Lord of The Rings setting. Think party-town-meets-Narnia, or visualise Hobbits skiing off-piste, and you’re halfway there ;-)


In winter Queenstown is more than just a ski resort, it is a nature-lover’s paradise. As an aside, less than an hour up the road, just past Glenorchy, there really is a settlement called Paradise! You are going to sample it all.


Queenstown is where you will get to live and socialise whenever we are not out on tour. This special town exists in a crazy bubble, bursting with nightlife, scenery, food, and adventure tourism activities – it’s the home of bungy jumping, canyoning, jet boating, luging, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, skydiving, horse’s safe to say no one has ever been bored in Queenstown. Its lifestyle has attracted people from all over the world - there are a lot of awesome locals who once came for a holiday, and never left!


Coming out to New Zealand in winter means you will get a chance to ski and snowboard on the pick of the best ski fields  – Otago, Queenstown, Canterbury, Wanaka, and Ruapehu in the north. You’re going to cover a lot of piste while you’re here because our philosophy is you’ve come all this way, so why only see one ski area...let’s do them all!


Don’t worry if you’re not a great skier (maybe you’re actually a terrible skier, or maybe you’ve never tried it in your life and severely doubt your ability to stand up, let alone do Olympic style runs wearing goggles). Hey, we promised you you’d grow on this trip, and you will. We will be right there beside you, and you’ll be given lessons and encouragement, we believe you can do this, and we’ll prove it to you.


If you’re a sensational skier or snowboarder and you want to bring your own gear over, go for it. Rental equipment is all here too, so just whatever suits you.


The NZ Winter Explorer program is multi-dimensional, so the fluffy white stuff is only one part of your overall experience.


We’re also going to take you up to the Central Plateau in the North Island to see amazing geothermal activity up close - actually you’ll be right in it, sitting in some nice warm mud baths if you’re willing (aw come on it washes off!).


While we’re up that way, you’ll get a chance to explore New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Wellington is a really cool town beside the ocean, and famous for its café culture. It is also the home of WETA studios where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed and edited.  


Down in the mainland (that’s what we call the South Island because it’s the biggest island - wow) we’re going to introduce you to the rugged and wild west coast, where you’ll get to do some caving and hiking.

We’ll also take you to the spectacular Abel Tasman national park with its crystal clear waters, and we’ll all go hiking along the famous Queen Charlotte Sound track (Google it - it’s awesome).


Not many people make it to the stunning and remote Stewart Island and the very bottom of New Zealand, in fact many Kiwis have never been – but you will go there by boat, landing at the south coast, and here you will be able to get your footage of local penguins, sea lions, native kiwi (which are rare and endangered) and the happiest deer population in New Zealand (since hardly anyone goes there).


Education and Confidence

Pure Exploration puts a strong focus throughout all of our outdoor adventure programs on providing learning opportunities. It is our aim to help you gain skill and confidence in the great outdoors, but also within yourself as an individual and as a part of a team (your group).


We cover themes like leadership, resilience, safety, performance and understanding groups – and we incorporate these topics throughout our outdoor and activity sessions.


You’ll leave this life-changing tour with lifelong friends who you’ll have shared incredible experiences with, and you’ll have a good understanding of independent travel and the adventure tourism industry.


New Zealand is truly beautiful, and we’re keen to help protect its wildlife and forests for the next generation. Hopefully after spending some time here, you’ll feel the same way. Towards the end of the program you’ll join us in an environmental sustainability project in the Fiordland National Park. This experience alone is worth coming for. We’ll camp out together and do some inspiring hiking expeditions, before heading back to Queenstown for a huge FAREWELL PARTY. Warning, there could be hugging, and beer (and sheep?).

Keen to join us this ‘summer’? - CONTACT US NOW


If you want to step out into the world this summer and export yourself into a winter paradise to pick up new life skills, make new friends, ski your heart out, walk beside waterfalls and sup on a hot mulled wine, go to Pure Exploration’s Contact Us page, and we will be in touch with asap to discuss your suitability for the program!

We can’t wait to see you in New Zealand:-)


The Pure Exploration Approach

Our philosophy runs deep throughout all of our programs. Action packed adventure travel in New Zealand have itineraries that encompass all of our developmental and educational ideas. We aim to provide an immense array of experiences, activities and environments within an adventure travel context that focuses on building social and community relationships and an ever expanding level of independence and responsibility for yourself and others.

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We're excited to announce that our Outdoor Essentials online program is now underway! Thanks for all of the support so far, we're pretty pumped to get back in the classroom even if that means indoors! If you're interested in one of our courses, talk to us today! We'd love to hear from you.


Start preparing for the good times ahead with our Online Adventure Training Programs! Study in your own time with one of our 4 - 8 week programs taught by NZOIA qualified Hiking and Rock Climbing Instructors. Program Topics; 1. Outdoor Essentials 2. Global Citizenship 3. Mindset & Resilience 4. Jungle & Altitude #stayhome but #staylearning and lock in your core skills today! Visit our website for more details:


2021 ASPIRING OUTDOOR LEADER SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS HAVE NOW CLOSED!⠀ Our team is going to have a hard time choosing a winner among all the amazing applicants!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But if you missed the deadline no need to worry because we’ve got you covered with some sweet early bird deals for our 2021 programs! Or if you are craving adventure right now, sign up for one of our BRAND NEW ONLINE PROGRAMS. See our website for details.


Caroline McQuistan has touched down in New Zealand for the Adventure Guide Progam based in Queenstown. Over the next few weeks we will follow the crew with Caroline's updates as they begin their technical climbing and hiking modules and explore our beautiful corner of the world! Learn more about this program here


It's officially the end of an era as we say goodbye to our Sales Account Manager and original member of the Pure Exploration team, Kerie Stewart. Kerie has been a part of the Pure Ex fam since day one, joining the team in the pursuit of setting up a company which was committed to teaching eager participants the skills required to become successful Adventure Guide's here in Queenstown, NZ whilst undertaking some epic missions along the way! Kerie, we'll all miss you immensely but we're looking forward to catching you up the mountain or by the lake for a drink. We're sure our pool of graduates will join us in wishing you the best of luck with your future ventures and thank you for everything you've done to make Pure Exploration the place it is today!


We are proud to work alongside the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust and are thrilled that our students get to work alongside, and learn from, their deeply passionate and driven team! This excellent charity is committed to helping grow and plant native species within the Wakatipu Basin and would hugely benefit from receiving funding from 2020 Crux/The Hills Charity Gold Day. If you have a spare few minutes please take the time to click on the below and place your vote. 🌲🌲🌲


We think the biggest benefit of travel is the feeling of reinvigoration and inspiration you feel from surrounding yourself with new things. Shake away the dust, move those limbs, challenge the mind. Our Adventure Guide Programs are an epic way for people to get a foot in the door to a hiking or climbing guiding career, or the perfect option for those looking for a comprehensive course that helps them gain 100% confidence to navigate, hike, climb, guide and survive in the outdoors. This year our scholarships will offer deserving people the chance to join us on one of our Adventure Guide Program intakes in 2021, based in New Zealand and Patagonia. With more than NZ$200,000 in financial aid available, we are super excited to get some motivated and deserving individuals on our programs that are keen to grab this chance to challenge themselves and grow their leadership skills. We are offering one full scholarship worth NZ$13,975 to a deserving individual who embodies the enthusiasm we have for exploring the outdoors, who demonstrates leadership among their peers, and someone understands the importance of looking after our environment as we enter a new decade with heightened ecological challenges. We will also be offering several Partial Scholarships to people who are keen followers of our story. They will be outdoor lovers who are keen to use hiking and climbing as a way to challenge themselves, who understand the impact experiential travel can have in positive change. Applications close 31st March 2020, so don’t miss out! Learn more here:


6 weeks climbing in Thailand? Sign me up! Spend this June and July gaining epic new skills, getting qualified as a climbing guide, keeping fit and exploring paradise... does it get any better?


Following on from the success of the Expedition Leader Program we asked one of our keen and incredible alumni, Chloe, to share her stories and give you guys some further insight into what this three month program (which explores Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, China, Thailand, Laos and Nepal) is like in reality! It's a windy day in Canada, so apologies for the background noise, but every word Chloe spoke came across so authentically that we thought it didn't need redoing, it was perfect as it was! Thank you for your ongoing support Chloe, we love following your adventures - you guys can follow her too on Instagram; 📷 @chloslife2go


Welcome to our January Adventure Guide Program team! Hailing from all around the world we have an awesome bunch joining us from the UK, France, America, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Chile, Ireland and Canada as they hike, climb and canyon around some of the most dramatic and beautiful terrain the South Island has to offer! Keep checking back here and make sure you're following our Instagram account @pureexplorationnz to hear about their latest adventures live from Queenstown, NZ!! 🤙


Did you know we have an Adventure Guide Program in Patagonia, in the deep south of Argentina? Our first ever program in this region kicked off in November last year, with another one scheduled to embark on their journey of adventure in only a few weeks. Andrea, from Canada, took some time out to share a blog she's written on what every day life is like on program based out of El Chalten, the expectations she had, discoveries they've made and the skills she's learnt and sharpened along the way. If you're curious as to what the heck you actually do on a Pure Exploration Adventure Guide Program in Patagonia, this could very well be what you're looking for.


The new year (and new decade!) symbolises new beginnings. As our Queenstown programs wrapped up at the end of last year and our graduates are now contemplating their 'next steps', whilst still processing their journey of development, we thought it would be the perfect time to share the below. Liz, who graduated from our Adventure Guide Program in December, reflects on her 12 weeks spent on the program and the learning's that have unfolded, the memories she's made and the lessons that will remain. And what's next for Liz? She's landed herself a job working for our sister company, Pacific Discovery, as a Program Instructor for 10 weeks. Liz will be joining the pool of Pure Exploration Graduates who have gone on to lead overseas programs and we couldn't be any more thrilled for her!


Australia is in a state of emergency as they are currently experiencing one of the worst natural disasters in Australian history, as rampant bush fires spread fiercely throughout parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. We are truly in awe of the strength our Australian neighbours have shown over the last few months as they have demonstrated true resilience and perseverance as they battle the flames. The Australian Fire Service and those voluntarily joining the firefighting efforts have shown bravery in its purest form, they are truly inspiring and deserve tremendous recognition for their efforts. Amongst the news of devastation, losses and heartbreak there are powerful and positive stories of love, community, generosity and hope, which are touching the hearts of many all around the world. We aren’t discounting the sadness of the bush-fires that Australia is experiencing, but we thought we’d use our social platforms to share some of the positive news stories that are being shared that are sometimes overlooked in the media. - Australia has received support from all around the world as firefighters, military support and even teams of wildlife specialists have flocked to assist with the crisis. New Zealand sent firefighters, military and helicopters to support the Australian Defence Force. The US deployed a team of 100 firefighters, with a further 200 volunteer firefighters joining the efforts from the US and Canada. Singapore, Papua New Guinea and Fiji have also offered military support, with Vanuatu pledging $250,000AUD to assist the Rural Fire Service. - Members of the public have been donating money from all around the world to help the Australian bush-fire crisis. Comedian Celeste Barber set up a fundraiser that to date has raised $47 million AUD for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades. Phenomenal amounts of money have been donated by the masses all around the world. - Animal Rescue Collective has been inundated with offers to make bat wraps, koala mittens and animal beds from keen crafters for wildlife rescue centres. - Emergency accommodation has been provided by residents all around Australia, with strangers opening their homes to families who have found themselves homeless in the wake of fires. New organisation Find A Bed Australia received offers of accommodation from more than 3000 people in only four days. - There has also been a remarkable amount of financial donations from Australian businesses, and celebrities from all around the world. This list could go on and on with heart warming stories that we've heard, and no doubt there are many, many more. Australia, our thoughts and prayers are with you, and it would seem the whole world are behind you too. 🌍💕🙏 If you'd like to donate and provide financial support during this crisis here are some organisations and fundraisers that may help. Australian Red Cross, GIVIT - Goods For Good Causes, The Salvation Army Australia, NSW Rural Fire Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services - QFES, CFA (Country Fire Authority)


And just like that... it was Christmas 2019! To all our Pure Exploration family, friends, followers, supporters and everyone else - we wish you an awesome festive break full of adventure, exploration and good times! 🎅🤶🎄⭐✈


A massive congratulations to "Team Kevin", who were our final Adventure Guide Program intake for 2020. We're so incredibly proud of you guys; you tackled everything we threw at you, smashed through your assessments and had some pretty incredible banter 😆 We loved watching you grow into a close, loving family over the 12 weeks. Good luck with everything, we're looking forward to following your future adventures!


As you may already know, our first ever Patagonia Adventure Guide Program is in month two of three, with ten awesome humans on the ground in Argentina as they hike and climb the incredible terrain the region has to offer. It's always a nail biting time as we want to make sure the team is having the best experience possible in this new Pure Ex territory. Therefore we were truly stoked to have the below feedback in our inbox this morning 😍 "I can genuinely say that the program has exceeded my expectations so far! El Chalten is an amazing village where hiking and climbing is easily accessible. The group setting is pretty sweet too... i definitely enjoy cooking and sharing meals with the gang every night! I am excited to celebrate christmas with this new family :) Rosey is an amazing instructor... She is very laid back but still so organized and efficient!!! I really enjoy that she takes her role to heart... she is always around and available for any questions we might have. She also has so much valuable insight for the development of both hard and soft skills... I see her as a inspiring role model and mentor for this great new career change! I am very grateful that i get the chance to live this adventure abroad with Pure Exploration. I really feel like I am living an authentic Patagonian experience and getting the most i can from the area. I am excited to use this program as a launch pad for travelling and working abroad!" We get the warm and fuzzies whenever we get feedback about the program, and especially when it's about our awesome instructors who are out in the field leading. Thanks Andrea, we're pumped to hear you're having a great time and we're super grateful for the update! 🙏😊🗻🧗‍♀️ P.s This is Andrea jumping off an iceberg by the Huemul Trek. Pretty sweet eh 🤙


New program announcement! Introducing our brand new 33 day Service Learning Leadership Program, kicking off in Cambodia this July! Are you interested in learning how you can maximise the impact you have when volunteering in developing countries? Would you like to become a valuable contributor and not just a volunteer tourist? Do you want to genuinely learn about communities and then apply best practices so you can most effectively create positive change? This program will introduce you to the tools needed to succeed in the service learning space. We're excited to share this program with you, as it's something we're deeply passionate about. If you'd like further information please visit the website link below, or flick us a message!


Did you know we have a 6 week Adventure Guide Program for those of you who are unable to sign up for a full 12 week program? Kicking off on 17th January 2020, we still have a few spaces left for those looking to immerse themselves in hiking, climbing, exploring and frankly, solid good times 👌 Plus you'll walk away with your Pre Hospital Emergency Care and SWIFT water rescue training and certification! Check out the link below for more info 😆


We'd love to share another great blog from our AGP participant, Liz! Hiking can be hard, something mother nature doesn't provide pristine weather conditions and sometimes we feel our motivation levels drop abruptly as a result. Do these challenges mean you can't or shouldn't continue? Absolutely not. Are you the first person ever to feel these frustrations and feelings of defeat? We guarantee you aren't. Are the feelings of accomplishment, perseverance and adaptability heightened once you succeed? You know it. We are true believers of "the view is always worth the climb". Liz speaks to this as she eloquently tells her story, hiking through the 'wet and soggy' in New Zealand, whilst on our Adventure Guide Program. Enjoy!