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Outdoor Instructor Program

Outdoor Instructor Training & Industry experience


46 Weeks


New Zealand and Nepal, Iceland, Thailand or India


This is an accelerated, practical immersion program, which offers a unique pathway from training to employment in the outdoor industry. It offers an unparalleled combination of training, qualifications and mentored transition from practitioner, to leader, and then to instructor, with quality industry experience.

The true zero to hero program, for those with the determination, drive and aptitude to explore, grow and succeed.

Highly competitive, limited spaces, change your path now.


17 Sep 21 - 15 Sep 22 *

* Dates subject to change.



This 39 week program is designed to make you industry-ready.



This program is for high school leavers, university graduates who are seeking a rewarding developmental break year that will provide skills and experience that will transfer powerfully into their future study or career success.  

Alternatively, those seeking unparalleled preparation and entry into the Outdoor Education, Adventure Guiding, Advanced Qualifications such as Mountain Guiding or Tourism have hit the holy grail of academic, practical and experience primed training.


Career break? Career change? Then you are one of the large proportion of students we see every year, and promise this will be a great fit for you, and offers a fantastic way to take that time out, reset, rediscover self, and develop in ways you hoped you would, but didn't know how.

Pure Exploration programs have in the past been about utilising the outdoor classroom to teach people about becoming their best self. Among those who join us, we have recognised that many are specifically looking for the key skills and experience to hit the ground running and land a dream job. This program has been in the works for a number of years, and now seems like an important and useful time for us to help people gain career building quals and experience. 



To be ready for Industry, specifically industry ready for a broad range of quality work, that is rewarding and diverse, individuals need to have training and qualifications relative in level to the type of work they wish to be employed in. They also normally would need demonstrable work experience, with the quality of the work experience being an important factor, and a logbook that demonstrates a high degree of ongoing professional and personal development and training.


This program is designed to offer accelerated, immersion in the industry, to produce a high-quality employment candidate, at a level of experience and proficiency that makes a genuine range of quality outdoor technical work available to them.


This NZ program gains participants the following guiding qualifications:

  • NZOIA Bush Leader
  • NZOIA Rock Leader OR/ 
  • NZOIA Bush Instructor (Level 1)
  • NZOIA Rock Climbing Instructor (Level 1)

You'll also get:

  • Pre-hospital Emergency Care Qualification (PHEC)
  • Swift Water Rescue Safety Level 1
  • Pure Exploration Certificate of Outdoor Education & Instruction 



The Outdoor Instructor Program is delivered over an average of 46 weeks, in 3 semesters of 13 weeks.

This 39 weeks of learning and development, which will see you transition through:

  • Personal skills, knowledge and attitudes
  • Leader Awards
  • On the Job Training & experience
  • Facilitated personal logbook development
  • High quality Instructional and educational work experience
  • And, finally Instructor Level 1 qualifications


By the time each semester ends, you will be craving some downtime with friends, family and loved ones. But the skills and incredible locations you visit on the program will have you itching to get back into the hills in no time, back to hanging with your new crew, stretching your comfort zone, and frothing to learn more!



You can complete this program entirely in New Zealand, or opt to take your first and third semesters in Nepal, Patagonia, Iceland or India/Thailand! *

This means, you could use this program as a way to not only get qualified, but explore the mountains on a round the world adventure!


  • Personal Technical Skills & Leadership Training (12 Weeks)
  • Mentored Industry Internship (12 weeks)
  • Quality Industry Work Experience (12 Weeks)
  • 2 x NZ Outdoor Instructor Association (Rock Climbing & Bush) Leader Qualifications
  • 2 x NZ Outdoor Instructor Association (Rock Climbing & Bush) Instructor (L1) Qualifications
  • Pre-hospital emergency care qualification
  • Swift Water River Rescue Level 1 Certificate
  • Qualified & experienced technical instructors
  • All technical equipment, program related transport & travel
  • Employer networking opportunities
  • Live, learn, socialise and join the thriving resort community of Queenstown
  • Food & Accomodation Package additional ($3000USD per Semester)


  • English Language Fluency
  • Be 18+ years old at time of commencement
  • Moderate fitness is required.
    • You should be able to carry 15kg+ over moderate undulating terrain, for 7-8 hours
    • You should be able to swim 100m in casual clothing, with sneakers, unassisted
    • You should be able to climb an indoor grade 16 route
  • Have a passion for outdoors and adventure
  • 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! Most of our candidates apply 8-12 months in advance of start date. 



Complete our globally renown Adventure Guide Program, gaining you the ultimate foundation skills for guiding
Based in New Zealand, Nepal, Iceland, Patagonia, or India/Thailand.


Time to immerse yourself in the outdoor industry! You'll be working behind the scenes as a crucial part of a global adventure tourism organisation; shadowing instructors, helping develop programs, learning about the operational and office-based requirements.
You'll join our HQ team in Queenstown, New Zealand, for your intern semester


Time to put it all into action as you work as a guide assistant. You'll be planning, executing and assessing gaining crucial real-world experience that is not only unbeatable on your CV, but builds confidence in your skills that is unmeasurable. At the end of this semester, you'll be ready to sign on to a well-paying industry role, as a qualifed and more importantly experienced outdoor guide. Bring on that dream job!
Based in New Zealand, Nepal, Iceland, Patagonia, or India/Thailand.



Katherine's reflection of the Adventure Guide Program

Katherine, Colorado USA

"I walked away with some really good friends, and some great skills that I anticipated learning, and some that I didn't anticipate learning!"

Curtis summarises his Adventure Guide Program experience


I found Pure Ex, through a facebook ad. I took a shot at signing up and 100% do not regret. I was apart of the Sept 2018 Adventure guide program. Where i met 12 new friends and tackle the beauty of New Zealand, South Island. Recommend to anyone whose looking for something new and exciting. If you're a nature lover any of these programs are calling your name!
Michel AGP

Michel's update 2 years after AGP!

Michel, from Germany

I had no idea what I want to do in my life, but I wanted to get more into Rock Climbing & Outdoor Sports. NZ was on my bucket list, so I cancelled the job I had lined up at a husky farm in Norway and booked my place at Pure Ex. And man, I can tell it was a good decision. I would recommend this program to anybody who is interested in rock climbing, hiking, or generally the outdoors. No matter if it is to enhance your personal skills or learn, how to deal with clients, groups and instruct other people.


A diverse and exciting program. An intensive but rewarding year of challenging physical, mental, and leadership experiences. This program is high tempo and largely field based, however is designed around adventure travel, outdoor adventure, peer community and diverse experiences, that fit with our international adventure brand.

This is unlike any other academic, workplace internship, or other institutional training program.

Semester 1 (OIP) - Personal & Leadership Skills

Semester 1 is full-on and fun. You will complete our globally renowned Adventure Guide Program. Drawing people from around the globe, this program is developed in all the adventure meccas of the world. You will get the opportunity to develop your personal outdoor skills, attitudes, mindset, and knowledge, while honing yourself as an adventure leader, within the tourism industry. You will be based in New Zealand in either Nelson or Queenstown.

Semester 2 (OIP) - Industry Internship & Development

Consolidating semester 1, and continuing learning & development as an Outdoor Instructor. You will also develop a wider understanding of outdoor and adventure operations and industry:

  • Internship AGP
  • Observe, fulfil roles such as Lodge Manager/Equipment Manager
  • Leadership & Instructional opportunities provided by Program Instructors
  • An internship teaching & learning plan
  • Deicated Mentorship, Coaching and Supervision

After this Semester you will have a 2-4 week program break.

Semester 3 (OIP) - Work Experience & Exams

Transition from Leader to Instructor. Students will practically apply instruction and leadership learning in preparation for the Level 1 qualifications Assessment, and Pure Exploration Outdoor Education & Instruction Exam. This semester also comprises high quality industry work experience.

  • Program Assistant Responsibility
  • Assistant to a Program Leader, focus on junior role in a Co-Instructor team.
  • Significant leadership of group administration and management in non-technical aspects of program


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