Information for Teachers

Leading programmes for schools

Hillary Outdoors Tongariro and Great Barrier Island Centres both run a variety of programmes for youth, ranging from adventure to leadership. Students will learn plenty of outdoor skills while challenging themselves and working together in a team; exploring rivers, lakes, mountains, bush and sea (take a look at our Activities). Our core programmes are 4 or 5 days long, however we also have immersion programmes for 2 to 5 weeks. Visit our Event Series page for an overview of events we run for school age students. Options for school courses are outlined opposite, however you may also be interested in checking out this information sheet about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award and our pages about Scholarships, Fundraising and Holiday Programmes. Please also take a look at the Schools section of our FAQ page

2014 Hillary Outdoors School Fees*

  • 5 day programme 10 students + 1 accompanying adult $ 5,800.00
  • 4 day programme 10 students + 1 accompanying adult $ 5,220.00

Receive a free place for one accompanying adult per ten students. Programme prices are GST inclusive and the cost of gear hire is included. *For the year ended 2015. Prices for 2016 will be published on 1 August 2015

Hillary Outdoors School Programmes

  • Hillary Step (1, 2 & 3) programmes – our core outdoor education programmes for intermediate aged through to senior students
  • Immersion programmes – typically 5 weeks, but can be tailor made for stays over 2 weeks, allowing students to be immersed in outdoor education
  • Custom-made programmes – specific requirements for programme content, duration and other considerations can be accomodated with help from our Programme Manager
  • Sports Team/Code Leader programmes – customised programmes aimed at building team work. Ideal for top sports teams such as first fifteen rugby, entire sports codes such as all netball or basketball teams in your school. Also suitable for specialist PE and Outdoor Education groups
  • School Leader programmes – customised programmes for prefects to develop leadership skills for the year ahead
  • International student experience – a 5-day programme at either of the Hillary Outdoors centres, will provide international students with experiences that will stay with them much longer than their stay in New Zealand. International students from your school can come either individually though the one of our regular Holiday Action Challenge programmes, or as a school group.

For further details about these programmes, see below or download the programme for schools brochure.  And remember, if you have visited one Centre, why not visit the other for a totally different outdoor education experience? Contact us to discuss today

Download Programmes for Schools booklet

Hillary Outdoors’ core programmes for school students, catering for year 7 through to year 13. Take a look at the Hillary Step programme tabs (below right) for information about each year group

The Hillary Step Programme is the name of Hillary Outdoors’ core programme for school-age students from year 7 through to 13 and is named after the rockface that Sir Ed Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing faced in their final stage of conquering Mt Everest. It took sheer determination and perseverance to go beyond that barrier and reach the ultimate prize of the summit beyond. It is this courage in our convictions and unshakeable belief in our ability to achieve that we aim to draw out and encourage in each other during the outdoor education programme.

Scholarships for the Hillary Step Programme are available upon application for low decile schools in the North Island, please visit our Scholarship page for further details.

The programme is broken into 3 different types (Hillary Step 1, 2 & 3) according to which school year students belong to (and to a lesser extent, level of experience). Each Hillary Step has a slightly different focus as well as level of challenge, taking into account both age and likely skill level of students. All three Hillary Steps are designed to support your teaching programme by being built around the key competencies and four strands of learning of the National Curriculum.

As a registered educational establishment, Hillary Outdoors can also help deliver Unit Standards and Achievement Standards during the week students in years 11 to 13 spend at an Hillary Outdoors Centre. Hillary Outdoors has a range of dedicated resources (e.g. power point presentations, classroom and practical activities, assessment activities and sheets, exemplars and schedules) that can be used in your teaching programme prior to your visit to an Hillary Outdoors Centre.

Hillary Step 1 (years 7 & 8)
Ideal for intermediate aged students or older students experiencing the New Zealand outdoors for the first time (e.g. International student groups).

The Hillary Step 1 programme has been specifically developed for younger student groups in years 7 & 8. This programme is about learning and connecting through exploration, adventure, sensory learning, storytelling and experiencing together.

Students work with the same instructor for the whole week. They will form a strong bond with their instructor which builds trust and confidence. The Hillary Step 1 programme includes a wide range of activities, ensuring that students remain engaged. Games and practical activities are used as core tools for learning and reflection. An overnight camping experience is optional, but recommended.

Activities, experiences and tasks are designed to enable students to develop the basics of the New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies in new wilderness environments. A great deal of the learning happens through discovery and first-hand experience.

Each programme in which a school participates is unique because the challenges and learning opportunities are dependent on a number of variables, of which weather is the most significant. However, to see an example programme, download this information sheet

Enquire or book now. Contact Tony or call 09 446 2052

Hillary Step 2 (years 9, 10 & 11)
A multi-activity programme appropriate for a range of age groups that focuses on resilience, self-management, working with others, ecological literacy, problem solving and outdoor recreation skills.

Hillary Outdoors’ award winning personal development programme has students spending five days with their instructor and their team of ten peers. The emphasis is on developing personal and social skills which can be applied back in the students’ community to increase positive participation and confidence. This programme is tailored to meet the specific needs of each group as identified by our staff and your school at the time of booking.

The New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies are developed through sequenced challenges and activities which build towards an overnight journey. The overnight is an opportunity for groups to experience real consequences to their decisions and actions.

Many of the activities on offer involve a journey to access the activity itself. Often the real learning comes though these journeys and the activities themselves act as a great motivator for the team.

Each programme in which a school participates is unique because the challenges and learning opportunities are dependent on a number of variables, of which weather is the most significant. However, to see an example programme, download this information sheet

Enquire or book now. Contact Tony or call 09 446 2052

Hillary Step 3 (years 12 & 13)
Ideal for senior secondary students, the ultimate learning experience for New Zealand’s future leaders. Students train towards, plan and run their own journey, allowing them to develop transferable leadership skills.

 In the vision of Sir Edmund Hillary, the Everest Challenge is the ultimate learning experience for New Zealand’s future leaders. The Programme promotes students taking on leadership roles and provides authentic and meaningful opportunities to experience autonomy. This programme involves an overnight outdoor experience with leadership as its primary focus.

The instructor supports and facilitates the development of technical and leadership skills and ensures the welfare of the group. Students are challenged to put the Key Competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum into action at a high level with real consequences.

Each programme in which a school participates is unique because the challenges and learning opportunities are dependent on a number of variable, of which weather is the most significant. However, to see an example programme, download this information sheet

Enquire or book now. Contact Tony or call 09 446 2052

Give your school the competitive edge with Hillary Outdoors outdoor education immersion programmes.

Hillcrest High School female students

Schools are increasingly competing against progressive schools that have their own outdoor education centres. It is possible to have a superior outdoor education immersion programme even without your own specialist centre.  By tapping into Hillary Outdoors’ fantastic facilities, learning resources and experience available at our two centres, now you can offer your own long programme in outdoor education by utilising either our Tongariro or Great Barrier Island Centre. A five week programme can enhance your school’s positioning as an innovative educational community that provides students life experiences that foster understanding of self, others and place, as well as develop some fantastic practical outdoor recreation skills (see typical activities).

The curriculum can be developed to align with your school’s mission in valuing all students, enhancing self esteem, academic potential, social development and sense of responsibility. Spending significant time in the great outdoors where instruments of modern living such as mobiles phones and social networking are replaced by meaningful interpersonal connections creates an environment where incredible personal development can take place.  Hillary Outdoors has over 40 years experience of teaching outdoor skills and personal development and we work closely with schools to develop a unique programme that is tailored to your individual requirements and aligned to the specific values of your school.

922777_577724495583521_686628429_nHillary Outdoors are specialists in Outdoor Education and train instructors in this industry, so why wouldn’t parents want their kids to learn in an environment that focuses on providing top quality experiences?…we believe that education is as much about quality as it is quantity. Hillary Outdoors’ learning objectives are directly aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies. Our learning environment and outdoor activities are rich in opportunities to deliver objectives from a range of Learning Areas, in particular Outdoor, Health and Physical Education. A number of Unit Standards and/or Achievement Standards can be implemented into a programme at Hillary Outdoors.

Enquire or book now. Contact Tony or call 09 446 2052

Read what Hillcrest High School had to say about running a long programme through Hillary Outdoors’ Great Barrier Island Centre in 2013 



In addition to offering our programmes outlined above, we work with a number of schools that have special requirements. This often entails going beyond tailoring one of our existing courses by completely custom-designing a programme that will ensure it meets your unique set of objectives and gets the best out of your students and circumstances.

Here are a couple of examples of programmes that were specifically designed for the requirements of these schools;

Rosehill College. This school has a year 13 PE class that visit both our centres each year with specialist objectives, including full assessment.

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu. Every year Hillary Outdoors help deliver a specialised programme for this correspondence school including unit standards. These students come to school as individuals who may not have met before the course.

For a chat about your particular requirements Contact Tony or call 09 446 2052

Hillary ChallengeTop sports teams and sports codes benefit from coming together as a specialised group to develop team unity and focus on the skills required to function well as a team. Hillary Outdoors has worked with many sports teams, including the Junior All Blacks, to develop short programmes that meet their individual needs. You could kick the season off to a good start for all your rugby teams by getting them together at Hillary Outdoors for a week early in the year. Or you could just focus on your first fifteen, first eleven etc and even bring all of your top teams across all your main school sports to Hillary Outdoors to get your school geared up for inter-school competitions.

For a chat about your particular requirements Contact Tony or call 09 446 2052

2013-OPC-Group-Briefing-Hillary-StepHillary Outdoors centres are the ideal place to get your school prefects together ahead of their year of new responsibilities. A customised programme can be used to hone leadership skills as well as develop comradeship amongst  prefects. The best time for these students to attend an Hillary Outdoors programme is at the end of year 12 or beginning of year 13 as they get equipped with leadership skills for the year ahead

For a chat about your particular requirements Contact Tony or call 09 446 2052