Below is our list of Frequently Asked Questions – if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, feel free to contact us.

For school students and parents

Can I hire gear and clothing from Hillary Outdoors?

Yes, there is some equipment and clothing available for student use at no additional charge. Most gear is identified by unique number and issued to individual students, or to an activity group of 10 students. If a student or a group loses a piece of gear or breaks it through unreasonable carelessness then Hillary Outdoors will invoice the school or individual for the cost of replacement. If you have any of your own gear please bring it with you. A list of required clothing/equipment and a list of what Hillary Outdoors can provide at each centre can be found in the Tongariro Student Booklet or Great Barrier Island Student Booklet.

How can I reclaim lost property?

Contact us as soon as possible and we will see if we can locate the item/s for you. Please make sure you name or label all your clothing and equipment so they can be easily identified if lost. We can return lost property by post at the owner's expense and will let you know the process for this if required.

What is your policy on phones and cameras?

Cameras are permitted during the programme however phones are not permitted. If a student’s phone is their camera, unfortunately they will not be allowed to use it.

Can I accompany my child on their Hillary Outdoors programme?

Schools sometimes use parents as accompanying adults/helpers. If you are keen to attend with your child’s school please contact the school directly as we do not take independent bookings from parents during school weeks.

Can I get in touch with my son/daughter while they are staying at a Hillary Outdoors Centre?

We are happy to take an important message only during normal business hours to be delivered to a student at an appropriate time. Please see our Contact Us page for Centre phone numbers. If the matter is extremely urgent we can contact our instructors in the field via radio (emergencies only).

Do you cater for specific dietary requirements?

Yes, however we encourage students to bring their favourite food from home, for example gluten-free snacks or bread. In the case of severe allergies we can remove ingredients such as nuts or dairy from meals but we are unable to guarantee there will not be traces of these products in our kitchens, or that there won't be others in the same area eating these products. You are welcome to contact the Centre directly prior to your child’s visit so that we can ensure we understand all their dietary needs.

Hillary Outdoors needs to receive information about dietary needs at least two weeks before arrival. The is done via the online Medical and Consent Form which is distributed by your school. The school will then provide a summary of dietary and medical information to Hillary Outdoors.

What happens if my child has an accident or is sick while on programme?

Our first priority in the case of an accident is to resolve the situation and to minimise harm to all concerned, including the person who has had the accident as well as the rest of the group and any Hillary Outdoors or school staff. We will contact a student’s caregivers and school as soon as practicable, and involve them in the communication process. You can read more about our Safety systems here.

If your 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.

Will activities still go ahead in bad weather?

Every morning our field staff have an intense safety briefing where weather is analysed. Each day’s activities are chosen to best complement the weather we are experiencing. No matter what the weather, you will be out there doing something exciting and adventurous.

Please talk to the Teacher in Charge about transport, sleeping arrangements, or start and finish times.

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For school teachers and accompanying adults

I want to make a booking for my school group

Great! You can register your group here and our Programme Coordinator will get back to you to discuss your programme needs and availability.

Who do I talk to about our booking, unit standards, costs, contracts, invoices and payments?

We have a dedicated Programme Coordinator at Tongariro who can answer all your booking specific questions bookings@hillaryoutdoors.co.nz or please contact Andy, our Centre Manager for all Great Barrier Island bookings bookingsGBI@hillaryoutdoors.co.nz

I have some students in my group who have special dietary needs and/or significant medical conditions - who do I contact about this?

Our dedicated Programme Coordinator at Tongariro bookings@hillaryoutdoors.co.nz or Andy, our Centre Manager at Great Barrier Island bookingsGBI@hillaryoutdoors.co.nz can discuss requirements around dietary needs and/or medical conditions.

All student dietary needs and/or medical conditions must be disclosed at least 6 weeks prior to the programme start date. This information will be treated as strictly confidential.

What gear will my students need for their programme?

As part of the booking process the Teacher in Charge will receive a gear list, as well as all other relevant information well in advance of their programme start date.

What is the accompanying adult required to do?

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. Find more information here in the Tongariro Accompanying Adult Booklet.

About our Tertiary Programme

When do applications open and/or close?

Courses start in mid-February, with applications accepted from July onwards. Skype interviews with all eligible candidates occur from September.

What are the entry requirements for the Certificate Course?

We are looking for people with a passion for the outdoors. Keen to learn, you will be looking to expand your skills and then pass them on to others. You need to be 18 years old or over. There are also minimum academic entry requirements, see our Tertiary Prospectus for more information.

What are the entry requirements for the Diploma course?

Have a genuine interest and enthusiasm to instruct and lead others in the outdoors. Be a minimum of 19 years of age and have completed a Level 4 Outdoor Certificate qualification, or have the following equivalent skills and experience:

  1. White-water kayaking; independent kayaking in grade 2 water

  2. Rock climbing; the ability to set anchors and lead climb with traditional (natural) placements (grade 12/severe)

  3. Mountaineering (Alpine); camping and travelling with ice axe and crampons

  4. Multi-day tramping (hiking/bush walking); on and off-track

  5. Experience of sea kayaking and caving

  6. A current first aid certificate

  7. Risk management and knowledge of group management

We would need to see a log book of this experience submitted with your application.

There are also minimum academic entry requirements, see our Tertiary Prospectus for more information.

I am from Australia - am I considered a Domestic or International student?

Australian citizens and residents are treated the same as New Zealand citizens and residents so you will be charged Domestic fees.

Where can I go with these qualifications?

The Year 1 Certificate provides you the necessary skills to work in entry level Adventure Tourism/Guiding/Instructing roles. The Year 2 Diploma gives you a solid grounding for a career in the outdoors. Companies actively seek our graduates as employees. Gaining professional industry specific qualifications, through organisations such as NZOIA will improve your ability to gain employment in a range of guiding/instructing positions, both nationally and internationally – or go on to further study.

Do you provide accommodation during term time?

Students need to arrange their own accommodation. They often tend to live in shared rental houses (flatting) in Turangi/Tokaanu, which is a 25 minute drive from Hillary Outdoors. Students also need to provide their own transport to/from Hillary Outdoors to attend course, often car-pooling (sharing) with classmates.

When are the holidays?

Courses run from mid-February to mid-November, spread over two semesters and divided into four terms. Year 1 Certificate students have 6 weeks holiday and Year 2 Diploma students have 5 weeks holiday during the course. Dates are subject to scheduling requirements.

Does the course include work experience?

Both the Year 1 Certificate and Year 2 Diploma courses include instructional work experience here at Hillary Outdoors Tongariro. Additional work experience can be available at a variety of other outdoor adventure and guiding businesses around New Zealand.

Besides technical skills, what other skills will I learn?

Teaching skills - planning and delivering outcomes-based lessons, and facilitating individual and group development.

Business skills - Graduates of our courses will be able to engage with both clients and employers. The Expedition planning unit includes learning finances, logistics and risk management skills. The Programme design unit includes communication, presentation skills and working to clients objectives.

Can I get a job at Hillary Outdoors when I have completed the Diploma course?

Successful Year 2 Diploma graduates may have the opportunity for future employment at Hillary Outdoors. The application process is the same as for external applicants.