Outdoor Instructor Training Program
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Outdoor Instructor Program

Outdoor Instructor Training Course & Industry Experience


36 Weeks


New Zealand and Nepal, Iceland, Slovenia/Italy or Patagonia


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

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


16 Sep 2022 - 8 Sep 2023


13 Sep 2023 - 10 Sep 2024


To be ready for the outdoor pursuits industry, you need to have training and qualifications, like hiking qualifications and rock climbing certifications. You will also 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.


The 36 week Outdoor Instructor Training Program is designed to make you industry-ready. If offers 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.


The Outdoor Instructor Training Course gains participants the following qualifications:

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



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


Alternatively, those seeking 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 based training.


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




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


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!



Complete our globally renown Adventure Guide Program, gaining you the ultimate foundation skills for guiding.

Based in New Zealand, Nepal, Iceland, Italy/Slovenia or Patagonia.


Time to immerse yourself in the outdoor industry! You'll be working behind the scenes as a crucial part of a global adventure tourism organization; 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 qualified and more importantly experienced outdoor guide. Bring on that dream job!

Based in New Zealand, Nepal, Iceland, Italy/Slovenia or Patagonia.


  • 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 20+ 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!



Do you want to know more?

We have answered the most frequently asked questions in the FAQ SectionIf you still have any other questions, feel free to fill in this form or to schedule a call with one of our program advisors for more information.


Book a call


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 part of the Sept 2018 Adventure Guide Program, where I met 12 new friends and explored the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. I totally recommend Pure Ex to anyone whose looking for something new and exciting. If you're a nature lover, Pure Ex is calling your name!

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 outdoor activity instructor course. 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 - Personal & Leadership Skills

Semester 1 is full-on and fun. You will complete a 12 week Adventure Guide Program - our Pure Ex most popular program. Drawing people from around the globe, this program is developed in all the adventure meccas of the world. It's the ultimate program for building foundation outdoor skills. 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.


Start your journey into the vertical world with an introduction to rock climbing & abseiling equipment, techniques and get hooked! Your days will be spent lakeside camping with loads of climbing day trips, swimming, socialising and games.


Hiking, camping, geology, flora & fauna, history and natural interpretation skills all start with a walk and a tent! So you will too. An exciting local discovery process set amongst famous great walks and national parks.


Professional outdoor guiding is a little different to what most hobby outdoors people think - a lot more involved than just the skills required for the sport! You’ll learn about risk assessment, leadership theory, nutrition, weather analysis and group dynamics among much, much more. This module includes some classroom elements to introduce theoretical components of professional instructing & guiding. This short stage is followed by full-on practical tasks, challenges and field assignments.... Intensely practical, fun and learning by discovery.


Towards the end of the Adventure Guide 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! At the end of this module, you will have received training to satisfy NZOIA leader qualifications in two disciplines in total.

Semester 2 - Industry Internship & Development

At this point of the program we consolidate everything that you’ve learned in Semester 1 and continue to build on your learning and development as an outdoor instructor. During this semester you’ll develop a wider understanding of outdoor and adventure operations and the industry through an internship for Pure Exploration, helping run an Adventure Guide Program.

You’ll become a key team member to help deliver a program for a global adventure tourism organization, including:

  • Shadowing instructors
  • Helping develop programs 
  • Learning about the operational and office-based requirements
  • Taking on leadership roles and instructional opportunities provided by experienced program instructors
  • Having dedicated mentorship, coaching and supervision
  • Working to achieve goals as part of an internship teaching & learning plan

The contrast to the first semester will be fascinating, as you get the unique chance to see both organizational and client view of a program. There is no better way to understand the importance of systems and processes than seeing this duality.

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

Semester 3 - Work Experience & Exams


After a nice break, you’ll rejoin the team for a chance to put it all into action on the front line - as a Program Assistant. What does this mean? You will work alongside our experienced Program Instructors to deliver an epic adventure travel program. There will be more responsibility than in Semester Two and more client-facing work. You’ll utilize everything you’ve learned, applying instruction and leadership learning in preparation for your Level 1 Qualifications Assessment.

This is the best part of our program - putting all the learning into play, in a role that shows you the day-to-day application of your skills. It will also give you a good feel for what it is like to be an outdoor instructor. Planning safely, assessing risks, working with a variety of clients and weekly meetings with HQ.


  • Program Assistant Role
  • Leadership and Group Administration
  • Program Management of non-technical aspects
  • Assessments for your 2 x NZOIA Level 1 qualifications - Rock and Bush


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



Enrollment is open, so the next step would be to check current availability here and then apply.