Gain guiding qualifications in this awesome three-month adventure in the stunning South Island of New Zealand!

Our New Zealand Adventure Leadership Program offers you an epic 12 weeks in some of the most impressive landscapes in the world. You will hike and climb your way through Mt Cook National Park, Mt Aspiring National Park and even the Fjordlands! But while this is an Adventure Leadership 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.  

We think this is the perfect Program for a student to gain world recognized qualifications while also focusing on improving leadership skills. 

What is an Adventure Leadership Program?

From technical skills to emergency safety and group dynamics, our comprehensive 3-month Adventure Leadership Program will prep you with all the skills needed to pass your guiding qualifications and feel confident to guide groups. And you get to live in New Zealand for 3 months!

This 3-month program is broken down into different key areas that focus on building your repertoire of skills and experience. Your time in New Zealand will be split between practical and theoretical training, gaining sought-after guiding qualifications. 

This New Zealand based program specializes in the following disciplines:

  • Hiking 
  • Rock Climbing
  • Leadership
  • Pre Hospital First Aid
  • Swift Water Rescue
  • 12 week adventure tourism training and qualification program based in Queenstown, New Zealand
  • 12 weeks accommodation and meals
  • All technical equipment, program-related transport & travel
  • Qualified & experienced technical instructors
  • 2 x NZ Outdoor instructor association leader qualifications (hiking plus rock climbing or canyoning)
  • Pre-hospital Emergency Care Qualification
  • Swift Water Level 1 Rescue Certificate
  • Modules on guiding and leadership skills, critical incident management & technical skills
  • Live, learn and socialise in the safe environment of NZ
  • Very personalized small group experience, maximum of 12 participants
  • Experienced Pacific Discovery and technical program leaders supported by local guides.

**This is a guide to what you can expect to do on Program. The order in which the activities occur might vary**


Time for an introduction to the disciplines that will become your bread and butter for the next twelve 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 bushwalking. We’ll start from the beginning and introduce you to information on equipment, weather, and nutrition, then also 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, socializing, 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 guiding is a little different from 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.


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 backup plans are in place! 
At the end of this module, you will have received training to satisfy NZOIA leader qualifications in two disciplines in

Time in the saddle can’t be beaten in regards to preparation, and you’ll experience a range of weather conditions, situational scenarios, and group simulations to prep you for anything. This is the true nuts and bolts of the course where you’ll emerge a true leader, skilled practitioner and confident and enthusiastic outdoor expert!



Time to complete logbook requirements to enable you to sit your upcoming Bush and Rock Leader assessments.

We will set you up with leadership days to run hiking and climbing excursions, from trip planning, safety, pickups, equipment, working with leading groups! 

Get some real experience with what it takes to plan, risk assess and successfully lead a day expedition.

Assessments take place in the final week of the program, a 2 day Bush Assessment and a 2 day Rock Assessment. We have an amazing 98% pass rate, so if you have put in the time and energy - by the end of the program you will be a certified Rock and Bush Leader.

To top off your 12 weeks with us we host an epic graduation dinner. 

*Each week there will be some designated free time so that you can catch up on email, laundry, rest, and explore independently with others in the group.
**Pacific Discovery reserves the right to alter and/or change the order of the itinerary, the focus of the projects or the activities themselves due to dates, availability, and safety precautions.

For full program details, please request the information booklet


Open to students, graduates and non-students, ideally 17-22 years. This program is suitable for anyone of average/high fitness with an enthusiasm for the outdoors and new experiences. As a guideline, you should aim to be comfortable hiking 6-8 hours with a backpack. You don’t need to have had previous experience with any of the activities offered.

The program is a shared group experience. We expect you to join the program with an open mind and a willingness to work together with your group mates to make the program an amazing experience for the whole group. Additionally, the program will be as much about the inner journey of personal growth and learning about yourself as it is about what you will experience in the outer physical journey. We expect you to be open to learning and challenging your ideas and assumptions.


Our accommodation will be a mixture of camping (tents supplied) and comfortable and clean hostels and lodges. Laundry and WiFi facilities will be available some days, except during the weeks in the field on expeditions. Accommodation is diverse, comfortable and carefully chosen to fit our needs.


Meals are fresh, tasty, healthy and varied. Special dietary requirements and vegetarians are catered for. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are included in the program cost. Any snacks are at an additional cost, which we recommend budgeting around $10 per day for.

Food preparation responsibilities are shared by all students. It’s fun, social and often a highlight. An average day on program would consist of the following:

  • Breakfast: cereals, porridge (oatmeal), toast, spreads, eggs, yoghurt, fruit, tea and coffee
  • Lunch: wraps, sandwiches, salads, dinner leftovers
  • Dinner: BBQ meat, vegetables and salads, potato salad, pasta, chili, wraps, fish and chips, burgers

Camping meals will be adjusted to the cooking equipment at hand

Program Tuition Includes

  • All program-related travel and transport included 
  • All accommodation
  • 3 meals a day (excluding snacks)
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, entry fees, and adventure travel as described in the itinerary
  • An experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves - working towards a deeper understanding of their values, identity, passions, and purpose
  • Individual mentorship from program instructors, supporting you in your personal goals for the program
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Pre-departure web-page with all information you need in one place to prepare for the program
  • 24/7 emergency contact number for students and parents
  • Instructors have 24/7 access to a physician and a psychologist, for advice and support
  • Pacific Discovery T-shirt
  • Online image library for your program
Fall Dates 1 Sep - 23 Nov, 2022
Duration 84 days
Program Tuition $13,500 USD Estimated Flight Cost $1,600 USD
Availability Open
Group Size 12 Students & 2 Instructors Ages 17 - 22 ideal
Optional College Credit Yes Start/Finish Queenstown, New Zealand