Instructor Program

Advanced Outdoor Training

What Is The Outdoor Instructor Program?

The Outdoor Instructor Program is an immersive, comprehensive and advanced 28-week outdoor course designed to launch your career in outdoor instruction. Based in Queenstown, New Zealand, this program offers a blend of technical outdoor training and a guiding internship.

You'll progress from learning technical outdoor skills to becoming the lead instructor of an outdoor group. Gain industry-recognised qualifications, complete an extensive logbook and develop leadership skills under the guidance of seasoned outdoor professionals.

Comprehensive Outdoor Training

28 Weeks

Gain Industry Qualifications

Outdoor Guiding Internship

Instructor training on the ropes at a local rock climbing crag in New Zealand
Pure Exploration Adventure Travel New Zealand
Learning map navigation skills on the Routeburn Track in Fiordland National Park

Program Components

Comprehensive Outdoor training

Gain comprehensive outdoor training, technical skills and advanced guiding skills to kickstart your outdoor career. The skills you will learn paired with the extensive logbook hours gained will set you up for exciting career opportunities. This program is capped at four students maximum, allowing you to gain personalised instruction.

More Than Mainstream Travel

Embrace the extraordinary with off-the-beaten-path expeditions. In small groups, experience unique activities like camping, climbing, hiking, packrafting, mountaineering, bushcraft and bungy jumping. This isn't mainstream travel, it's about truly living in each destination and making every moment unforgettable.

Slow Travel

Experience slow, immersive travel over 28 weeks. Our extended programs let you fully embrace each moment, progressing from learner to leader. Discover cultural norms, language, food, festivals and local legends, truly living each destination not just visiting it.

Intentionally Responsible

Engage in intentionally responsible travel. Every expedition has a purpose, linked to personal goals and feelings, seeking continuous growth and development. Our outcome-oriented approach helps you learn transferable skills and leadership qualities, ensuring meaningful progress on your journey.

Transformative Experiences

From learning the fundamentals in week one to leading multi-day expeditions by the final week, you'll achieve epic milestones and gain the confidence to become a true outdoor adventurer. Who you are when you start, is not who you'll be by the end of the journey.

Globally Recognised

The skills you will gain, qualifications you earn and logbook days recorded are recognised globally. You will gain your Pure Exploration Certificate of Guiding, NZOIA Bush 1, NZOIA Rock 1, Advanced Outdoor First Aid Certificate, Swift Water Rescue 3; these qualifications will be recognised globally.

More Details

New Zealand

Start your journey in the stunning landscapes of New Zealand, where you'll hike through lush beech forests, understand Māori stories & legends and immerse yourself in the local culture. Queenstown is famous for its vibrant atmosphere and outdoor lifestyle, it will become your home base.

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Your Program Instructor

We use various outdoor instructors to train you throughout this program so that you can learn from different mentors and instructional techniques. You will learn from those who have lived the journey before and have extensive outdoor experience in both guiding and instructing.

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Who is it for?

Our Outdoor Instructor Program is ideal for those seeking an advanced outdoor course in New Zealand. Designed to kickstart your career in outdoor instruction and guiding, this comprehensive and technical program equips you with globally recognised qualifications.

Enhance your resume and become a top choice for employers by gaining essential skills and expertise. If you are eager to work in the outdoors and develop your instructing career, this program is perfect for you.

Our Alumni

"This program is fantastic for so many reasons. Whether you are trying to get a foothold in the outdoor industry, or just need a break in your life, come out and explore New Zealand!"

Grayson R. United States.

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Program Overview

Our Outdoor Instructor Program in New Zealand is designed for those aspiring to become expert guides or instructors through a comprehensive and advanced outdoor course. This program immerses you in small group expeditions, exploring stunning landscapes from snow-capped mountains to native beech forests. Engage in intesive outdoor training in hiking and rock climbing, while also experiencing cultural immersion.

Progress through advanced outdoor skills, building confidence and achieving a sense of accomplishment as you work through your logbook days, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care (PHEC) First Aid Qualification, NZOIA Bush 1 and NZOIA Rock 1 Qualifications. Guided by passionate outdoor professionals, each day presents new challenges and provides opportunities for personal growth.

Who we work with, NZOIA logo | Pure Exploration
Who we work with, Department of Conservation logo | Pure Exploration

Program Testimonials


The Adventure Guide Program is an amazing program! Learnt so much and had so much fun! Already been offered employment in adventure guiding!

Gabriel F.

The adventure guide program not only equipped me with the technical skills for rock climbing and hiking, it also greatly helped me in my personal development and growth, my confidence in these activities, as well as working with others and as a team with my course-mates and instructors.

Rachel T.

This program is fantastic for so many reasons. Whether you are trying to get a foothold in the adventure tourism industry, or just need a reset/break in your life, come out and explore New Zealand!

Grayson R.

Staying in New Zealand for these 3 months has been the best choice of my life. I've had a complete career change. Spending all of this time in the outdoors has made me very appreciative of the nature around us especially in these trying times of the world.

Chace C.

The experience was everything I could've hoped for. Learned a ton, had a blast, did awesome things in incredible places and made lifelong friends.

Max S.

Program Itinerary

  • Program kicks off in Queenstown! Spend the first few weeks getting to know your program instructors, fellow travellers, gaining your bearings in Queenstown and then getting into the outdoors.
  • You will be taken to local spots in Queenstown and Wānaka to rock climb and hike and show off the skills you already have.
  • After gaining an understanding of what your current skills are, completing orientation and safety skills you will complete your first classroom based module.
  • Complete your first multiday hike in the remote backcountry of Queenstown.
  • Begin brushing up on your climbing skills as you learn emergency procedures, anchor building, traditional climbing, and lead climbing.
  • Complete a packrafting course where you will gain your Swift Water Rescue 3 Certificate.
  • Spend these weeks learning how to become an outdoor instructor. You will be paired up with our Adventure Guide Program Instructors and learn from them as they guide, instruct and mentor you and the group.
  • You will be given the chance to lead the group and practise your instructing skills while an instructor watches you and offers advice, guidance and mentoring.
  • The goal of these weeks is for you to gain technical instructor skills while travelling with another group of students across the South Island and visiting places like Long Beach in Dunedin, West Coast trails and climbing and the famous Gillespie Pass hike.
  • Complete a comprehensive and advance PHEC (pre-hospital emergency course) First Aid Course.
  • You will learn everything from building leg splints to carrying someone through technical terrain on a spinal board and how to deal with serious incidents in the remote backcountry.
  • With your confidence building and technical skills increasing you will complete a technical off trail multiday hike.
  • Based in the Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park Region you will put your skills to the test as you multi-pitch the Sebastopol Bluff, traditional climb and lead climb on different rock types.
  • Hit the road up to Nelson hitting famous climbing and hiking trails enroute.
  • Christmas Break up! Enjoy a couple of well deserved weeks off.
  • Back from Christmas Break you will jump straight into the classroom and plan and prepare for your upcoming guiding internship.
  • You'll brush up on your guiding and instructing skills while spending a week with another outdoor program and finalising the skills and techniques required to be a successful instructor.
  • You'll be given a list of locations, trails, crags and destinations to explore on your own. You are required to complete a certain amount of self directed learning expeditions for you NZOIA assessments and logbook and this is your chance to get them done.
  • These three weeks are your final opportunity to plan and prepare for you upcoming NZOIA assessments.
  • You will spend time on the rock, on the trail and in the classroom with the instructor finalising everything you need to pass your upcoming assessments.
  • It's all come down to this week! 24 weeks of training, mentorship and instruction has led you to this moment.
  • Time to undergo your NZOIA Bush 1 and NZOIA Rock 1 assessments out in the field.
  • With your assessments completed, it's your time to shine. You will spend the last few weeks on program as a co-instructor on one of our other Adventure Guide Programs - you'll plan, prepare and lead the students in the outdoors and really dial in your instructor techniques


The Outdoor Instructor Program is based off the NZOIA (New Zealand Outdoor Instructor Association) syllabus. You will be trained, mentored and instructed according to their Rock 1 and Bush 1 syllabus and learning outcomes.

The qualifications you gain along with the logbook experience you will gain will be recognised throughout New Zealand the outdoor industry.

  • Pure Exploration Certificate of Instructing
  • NZOIA Rock 1
  • NZOIA Bush 1
  • PHEC (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care) First Aid Certificate
  • Swift Water Rescue 3

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