Our Activities

Here is a list of the activities that are possible at both of our centres, depending on a range of considerations, including weather conditions. You can also download these information sheets about sample activities at both of our Centres:

Activity Options at Tongariro Centre

Activity Options at Great Barrier Island Centre

Experience the thrill of abseiling, or being lowered at one of many manmade, rock, or bush sites. The abseil line is backed up with a safety ensuring you can ‘let go’ without being at risk.
Alpine Tramping (Tongariro only)

WHAT IS IT? A seasonal and weather dependent activity where participants get to experience the stunning winter wonderland of the National Park. We will teach students some basic alpine skills such as walking on snow and using an ice axe before embarking on a journey through the winter terrain. Winter alpine walking can be hard work and the environment harsh, but this is rewarded with amazing views and a huge sense of achievement and is often the highlight of a student’s visit to Tongariro.

WHY DO IT? Many students haven’t experienced the snow, or if they have, they haven’t had the opportunity to travel away from the ski field to the quieter areas further afield. It is also a perfect environment for pushing personal boundaries, having leadership opportunities, and looking at self-management and risk management in a real environment.

Boogie boarding (Great Barrier only)
Experience surfing lying on a half length board. Easy to pick up for complete beginners.
Bush skills
The New Zealand bush is a magical environment which surrounds both of our Centres and is used for a wide range of learning activities including wilderness survival and nature awareness.
Bush walking
Explore beautiful natural environments and learn to navigate. Adventures may include bush bashing through thick scrub.
Explore beautiful natural environments and learn to navigate. Adventures may include bush bashing through thick scrub.
Canoeing (Tongariro only)
Day or overnight journeys using open canoes: A great way to get around one of our local lakes and a great team work challenge to control!
Caving (Tongariro only)
Explore the Okupata caves local to Hillary Outdoors Tongariro. This may involve scrambling over rocks, crawling through small, tight holes and getting wet in the small stream which flows through the cave system.
Coasteering (Great Barrier only)
A journey around rocky shorelines involving scrambling over rocks, swimming and jumping into water.
Flying Fox (Tongariro only)
A great team activity to go flying out in a harness on a fixed cable and over the Mangatepopo River! The ride is about 30 metres long and your group will pull you back to the start for the next rider.
High Ropes
Students harness up and attach to a rope to climb a challenging element in the high ropes course either solo or as part of a team. Students also learn to belay (manage the ground end of the rope their partner is climbing on) with safety back up.
Journeys provide a wide range of learning opportunities and are an ideal setting for developing transferable skills in students. Journeys are a key part of most OPC programmes and often involve camping in the wilderness under canvas.
Raft building
A great team activity which can have a competition element to it with other groups. A variety of resources appropriate to the group and conditions are provided for the group to build their raft from. The raft is then put to the test on the water as part of a journey, or challenge.
Rock climbing
Rock climbing on natural rock sites or one of our man-made walls. Climbs are always undertaken with a top rope, meaning any fall will be caught immediately by the rope. You will also learn to belay (manage the ground end of the rope their partner is climbing on) with safety back up.
Sailing (Great Barrier only)
Learn to sail a self-bailing two person dinghy. Usually sailed with a partner for beginners accompanied by an outboard powered support vessel.
Sea kayaking
Day or overnight journeys using stable double sea kayaks, with three built-in buoyancy chambers. Occasionally singles may be used by students who can demonstrate sufficient competence. If spray skirts are used you will practice removing your spray skirt and exiting the boat before going onto the water.
Sit on top, or sit in kayaks may be used for students to learn kayak skills and put these to use with a journey, or a series of games and challenges. In non-specialist programmes kayaking is on flat, or slow moving water.
Snorkelling (Great Barrier only)
A wide range of sites are used, normally involving rocky shorelines near beaches where kayaks can be landed. Water is normally over head depth, but steep drop-offs and tidal currents are avoided for all but experienced snorkellers.
Snow caving (Tongariro winter only)
After a hard afternoon of digging, students spend the night in a snow cave of their own creation! Snow caving is only available when the conditions are favourable
Steep Creeking / Stream walking
An exciting journey along a stream way. Where the stream drops off very steeply, students are lowered using the same safety system as for an abseil. The banks of the streams we use can all be climbed out of so there is not a risk of a group becoming trapped in a flood.
Surf kayaking (Great Barrier only)
Sit on top kayaks are used for this activity and within a short time complete beginners can be feeling the rush of surfing in on the break water.
There are a few good swim holes in the snow melt waters near Hillary Outdoors Tongariro for a brave group! At Hillary Outdoors Great Barrier there are many opportunities for swimming including in the big salty swimming pool (the sea) right in front of the Centre. As for all activities, swimming is supervised.
Team Initiatives
Games, problems to solve and short physical challenges are used as part of a sequence to build teams and challenge people. Both Centres have a range of fixed and mobile initiatives.
Tyrolean Traverse
This refers to a rope or cable that stretches across a gap, and is crossed like a flying fox. Due to low gradient high speeds are not reached. We have a permanent Tyrolean Traverse cable at Great Barrier Island, and we rig improvised Tyrolean Traverses between trees at low heights at other sites using trees for anchors and static ropes to suspend people from.
Via Ferrata (Great Barrier only)
Students move together with their group attached to a cable or rope along a rock crag. Each individual has a set of double lanyards (lengths of rope) with a karabiner on each that they use to clip to the cable or rope and transfer across anchor points. The climbing is usually easier than in rock climbing.
White-Water Rafting (Tongariro only)
Hillary Outdoors works in partnership with a local rafting company to provide a discounted rafting option for groups as part of their Hillary Outdoors programme. This must be booked in advance and carries an extra cost.