Adventure Guide Program - New Zealand

Outdoor Guide Training, Experience & Work


90 Days


New Zealand


On every adventure traveller’s bucket list, New Zealand’s awe-inspiring mountains, beaches and vast landscapes won’t disappoint.

From technical skills to emergency safety and group dynamics, this comprehensive course includes actual industry work experience. It will prep you with all the skills needed to pass your guiding qualifications and feel confident to guide groups. Work experience and adventure tourism industry networking round off this awesome three month adventure based in adventure paradise, Queenstown!


18 Jan - 17 Apr


8 Feb - 8 May


1 Mar - 29 May


3 Jun - 31 Aug


12 Aug - 9 Nov


2 Sep - 30 Nov


23 Sep - 21 Dec

12 weeks intensive practical and theoretical training, world-recognised guiding qualifications, plus work placements in the adventure tourism industry in New Zealand to gain you the best entry into the adventure travel industry possible. Ongoing job placements available with some programs.

This Queenstown-based program specialises in the following guiding disciplines:

  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Riverboarding
  • Canyoning



You’ll love arriving into Queenstown – it’s a great place for hiking mountains, swimming in lakes and rivers, pub crawls, live music, locals food and drink specials, frisbee golf and fireside chats. Queenstown is filled with an exciting mix of backpackers, ski seasonnaires, outdoor enthusiasts and local legends.


While this is an Adventure Guide Program, it's not all about the outdoors and outdoor pursuits. There will be cultural activities and exchange; sightseeing and touring; personal development; community and social events; free time and plenty of opportunity for exploration.  


Whether you are looking for a stepping stone into the adventure tourism career pathway as a guide, or just an awesome educational opportunity to live and work in the most amazing places on earth, the Pure Exploration Adventure Guide Program is an epic, constructive, and rewarding way to spend 3 months based in awesome Queenstown! 



  • 12 week adventure tourism training and qualification program based in Queenstown, New Zealand
  • 12 weeks accommodation and 8 weeks meals (the last 4 weeks self-catered)
  • Employer networking opportunities and paid work placements available
  • All technical equipment, program related transport & travel
  • Qualified & experienced technical instructors
  • Pure Exploration Certificate of Adventure Guiding
  • 2 x NZ Outdoor instructor association leader qualifications (hiking + rock climbing or canyoning or kayaking or riverboarding)
  • Pre-hospital emergency care qualification
  • Swift Water River Rescue Level 1 Certificate
  • Modules on guiding and leadership skills, critical incident management & technical skills
  • Live, learn, socialise and join the thriving resort community of Queenstown


  • English Language Fluency
  • Be 18 years or older at time of commencement
  • Moderate fitness is recommended. All professional development and training is provided
  • Have a passion for travel, adventure, & tourism
  • A desire to accept challenges, a thirst for knowledge, a love of outdoor activities or for our natural environment
  • Be a social team player that enjoys helping others discover adventure!

Note spaces on this program are extremely limited, as work placements are held with tourism operators for limited staff numbers. 




Becoming an adventure guide in NZ

Cyril Delteil, France

Coming from France I was worried about my English, but being here everyday and speaking with native speakers means my English has improved so much, alongside my outdoor skills.
20171013NZAGP0704 Dana

Exciting & Adventurous Times!

Dana Ester - Florida, USA

"If you're considering this program, just go for it! I've always wanted to come to NZ, this course was the perfect opportunity to come here but also further my adventure career goals. If you push yourself, this course will help you get where you want to go."
20170925NZAGP0144 1000w

Climbing, exploring, loving NZ

Michel Affkerback, Germany

The highlight of the course so far for me is learning to climb multi-pitch by myself, or with a friend, and knowing what to do. If you are into the outdoors and thinking of becoming a guide, do this course! It's based in beautiful New Zealand and you'll learn a lot.


A diverse and exciting program designed to keep everyone interested and busy throughout their stay, balancing plenty of action, learning, social and free time.




Time for an introduction to the disciplines that will become your bread and butter for the next eight weeks. You’ll get an in-depth briefing and training on hiking and guiding, giving you the core skills needed for the training ahead. Not to mention exploring some stunning local sights along the way!

You’ll begin developing technical skills in navigation and bush walking. We’ll build on your existing knowledge of equipment, weather, and nutrition, then introduce you to essential training in group management, risk analysis, and leadership.

Rock Climbing - Wanaka/Mt Cook
Trekking - Glenorchy/Milford Sound
Guiding core skills - Queenstown



At this point of the program, we take it up a notch. It’s time to test your limits and push those new skills. We take you to a few more challenging locations where you’ll have to pull together as a team to get through, and where you’ll really start to see the value in ensuring processes are followed and back-up plans are in place!

t the end of this module, you will have received training to satisfy NZOIA leader qualifications in two disciplines in total. Note some disciplines are weather/season dependant.

Advanced guiding skills
Hiking core skills
Outdoor survival techniques
River boarding experience
Canyoning experience




The final month of your program 

Complete your training with two safety certificates

  • Pre-hospital emergency certificate
  • Swift White Water Rescue Level 1

Then jump right into guiding!
You’ll be placed with various employers over these final weeks for some real-world work experience, to satisfy log book requirements, giving each of you a minimum of 5 client days as lead or assistant hiking or climbing guides. This experience will also look awesome on your CV.

Finally, crunch time! Buckle down and consolidate your learning in preparation for your NZOIA assessments. 


Pure Exploration Certificate in Adventure Guiding
NZOIA Leader Guide Qualifications - Hiking
NZOIA Leader Guide Qualifications - Climbing
Swift White Water Rescue Level 1
Pre-hospital emergency certificate
Crucial work experience
Work experience references for your CV



Each week will include*

  • 4 days of Technical Training
  • 1 day of Self-Directed Learning
  • 1 day for Classroom Learning
  • 1 day for Admin or as Free Day

*The order of days will change each week and as your training progresses. This is simply a general outline.


If you're keen to maximise your time with us, you might want to consider the following paid add-ons...

Guaranteed* work placement position - NZD$1,500
If you pass your assessments, and have demonstrated a great attitude and potential for guiding, this is when we support your preparation and assist you in being placed into your paid work!

Self Led Expedition - NZD$1,875 - Choose a location, plan and lead your own expedition! Put all your new outdoor guiding skills to use for a self led 2 week adventure including transport, equipment, meals and accommodation. Chat to us for more details. 

Other Pure Ex Programs
We have a number of exciting programs in a range of countries that you may be keen to experience. These include:

Expedition Leader Program - For those keen to push their skills in high alpine regions, and begin to specialise in altitude and advanced technical hiking. A global course that finishes in the Himalayas.

International Educator Program - Perfect for those looking
to become valuable contributors rather than just volunteer tourists. Learn how to make an impact and run your own global community, service and conservation projects.



This is a sample itinerary. Modules may occur in a different order due to weather conditions or scheduling requirements

*Guaranteed work placement positions are available as a paid add-on to your course fee, paid in full along with your course fee. We will assist you wherever possible in obtaining employment post course, on the conditions that you have passed your relevant assessments, hold a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand, and have demonstrated a good attitude. You will be placed with one of our partner companies.