Information for Parents

What you need to know…

We understand that you want to be kept fully informed when it comes to what your kids are likely to get up to when they are at a Hillary Outdoors Centre and what they can expect from the experience. And, as a parent, you are likely to have several questions that may or may not have been covered off by the teacher in charge…most of the questions parents ask us are ones we’ve answered before, so for your convenience we have created a section for parents on our FAQ page. But if there is anything else you’d like to know, either ask the teacher in charge or contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

Activity Programmes
In advance of every course our Programme Managers (PM) draft out the activity programme. They try to ensure that there is a sequence of activities that provides a progression throughout the course, however all these are weather dependent.

Hillary Outdoors has an effective system of deciding alternative activities each day. We start with highly skilled instructors, the learning outcomes specified by the school, and the context of Hillary Outdoors’ own educational philosophy.

At the beginning of each day we have a staff meeting and the Duty Manager (DM) runs through the weather from the MET service website and the other associated web pages. Staff then discuss and agree on the plan for the day based on the weather information and other local conditions, e.g. icy roads, flooded rivers, fallen trees, blocked tracks, along with the requirements of the group.

Responsibility for students’ care whilst at Hillary Outdoors
Accompanying Teachers/adults supervise the students between 5pm and 8.45am each day with support from our instructors who run evening activities. Overnight expeditions are run by Hillary Outdoors instructors – accompanying Teachers/adults are welcome to join in if they choose. During the daytime 8:45am – 5:00pm, Hillary Outdoors staff take full responsibility for the students. In the event of a student being ill, we ask accompanying Teachers/adults take responsibility for them. At Hillary Outdoors we welcome any accompanying Teachers/adults to join in with the daytime activities, however this is not a requirement.

Food and eating
We encourage participants to bring their own snacks.

If your child has any specific dietary needs, please ensure this is entered onto their Hillary Outdoors medical/consent form. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your requirements.

In rare cases, we might request that families assist with unusual dietary requirements.


Your child’s safety is a top priority for us. We work hard to manage their safety during their visit. It is important to remember that the outdoors presents risk that cannot be completely eliminated. We have created and maintain a safety system to assist in providing the safest possible experience for your child. We are accredited to the AdventureMark safety audit standard. Click here for more information on our safety management system.

Accidents and injuries
If your child has any pre-existing injuries, it is essential you let us know so that we can discuss whether it is appropriate for them to attend their Hillary Outdoors course, and whether we can work around their needs.

If your child is injured during an Hillary Outdoors course and requires outside medical attention, we will inform you as soon as practicable. If they are unable to continue with the course, they may be required to go home.

The most common injury that children get at Hillary Outdoors are blisters caused by not wearing the right socks.  Ankle socks are the worst culprit.

My child is recovering from an injury – is it ok for them to still come? Please get sign-off from your doctor to say that they are now fully fit.

Can my child come if they are in a plaster or fibreglass cast?  Unfortunately an injury of this extent would make it difficult to join in with our programmes. It may be worth discussing with the teacher in charge and Hillary Outdoors what would be possible in this case, but a single student’s inability to participate will have major effects on the experience of the other 9 students in their activity group.

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We strive to maintain a clean and healthy environment at Hillary Outdoors. If your child has recently been ill, they must have been clear of any symptoms for at least 24 hours prior to attending the course.

If you child becomes ill when they are here, we will seek any appropriate medical attention and we will inform you as soon as practicable. If they are unable to continue with the course, they may be required to go home.

Tampons and pads are available to buy at the shop. There are females on the instructional staff team at both Centres, so if your daughter has any personal issues while at camp there will always be someone to help her.

Can I contact my child during their course?  Their course at Hillary Outdoors is a fabulous opportunity to live for a short time without the trappings of modern technology. When they arrive they will be required to hand in their cell phones and any other devices such as iPods. These will be safely locked away until the end of the course. Additionally, it is not practical to manage contact between all our students and their parents each week! However, in an emergency please do contact us.

Mobile phone reception at both Centres is very limited.

Start and finish time
Please speak to your Teacher in Charge.

What to bring – please see student booklet on this page.

What if I don’t have everything? Please try and borrow gear from friends or family.  If there are things you still don’t have, items that you can borrow from Hillary Outdoors are at the bottom of the gear list in the student booklet. Please note Hillary Outdoors Tongariro does not supply or have socks or 1st layer thermal wear.

Do I need to book gear? Other than sleeping bags we do not need to know in advance what gear your students will need from us (please let the Teacher in Charge know if you need to borrow a sleeping bag).  On arrival night the Instructor in charge (IC) will issue gear hire forms to the activity groups and the students tick what they need. They will collect their gear from the stores the following morning.

What if my child loses or wilfully damages Hillary Outdoors gear? They will be charged for the replacement cost of the item.

Sleeping arrangements
Please speak to the Teacher in Charge for clarification of the sleeping arrangements for your child’s course.

There is a small shop at Hillary Outdoors which stocks essentials e.g. toiletries, munchies, and Hillary Outdoors items, e.g. hoodies, T-shirts, waterbottles, socks.  Students can pay by cash, EFTPOS, Visa or Mastercard.  The shop does not stock thermal baselayer.

Hillary Outdoors wants to know in what areas their programmes are helpful and in what areas they need to improve to make better outdoor education programmes for students. Please view our student survey participation information.

How will they get to Hillary Outdoors? Speak to teacher in charge.

As a parent, you are likely to have several questions and a good place to get answers will be the Teacher in Charge.  You can also look at our FAQ page and if you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.