Pure Exploration

Program Reviews

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Finlay
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

For any young travellers looking to meet some rad and interesting mates this program is for you!!

I just made the cut (age wise) and was a little nervous to be spending three months away from my friends and family; not knowing anyone in kiwi land. Little did I know I would meet the coolest and friendliest people out here (actually I was told I would, besides the point) and live amongst them for three months! They’re now my family away from home that I will remember forever. Till next time AGP.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Spending more time disconnected in the wilderness.
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Liz
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Being a part of the AGP was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone wanting insight into the outdoor industry. The program is a good mix of technical skill building like rock climbing and bush safety combined with personal development. This is a program where you have to work within a group all the time, meal planning, food shopping, gear organization etc. All in all the nature of the program teaches you more skills than what is required for the NZIOA award and leaves you more prepared to take your friends into the bush for a hiking or rock climbing adventure.

What would you improve about this program?
The quality of the program is quite high, it could be improved with explicitly sharing the learning goals of each module.
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Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the most incredible experience traveling with the team on the Expedition Leader Program earlier this year. Coming into the program with high expectations, I can genuinely say that every single one of them was surpassed. Pure Exploration absolutely blew it out of the park. Not only was the team made up of fantastic individuals, our instructors Keri and Jessica were incredible mentors from whom I was able to learn so much in what felt like so little time, and the office team back in NZ provided support beyond anything we could've asked for. I recommend the ELP to anyone looking for growth, adventure, challenges and connections that will last a lifetime. This program lit a fire in me that will forever push me to chase my dreams. I cannot wait to see where this experience will take me in the future!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Bugs! There were so many types available for us to try specifically in China and in eastern Ecuador!
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Katherine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is a great program that provided an awesome experience in New Zealand. The program is full-on, with great adventures and a lot of teaching - if you're thinking about this and planning to pursue the qualifications, be prepared for a lot of self-managed learning. We were able to see some of the most famous parts of the South Island (Milford, Aoraki/Mt. Cook, etc.), and develop a lot of technical skills. If you're planning to pursue work in outdoor education or outdoor tourism, this is a great first step, as it provides excellent training as well as great industry connections in New Zealand. The instructors are highly qualified and have more knowledge than you could possibly absorb in 3 months, and they have great industry connections. Everyone on the Pure Ex team works really hard to make sure the students are getting as much as possible out of the program both personally and professionally, and the qualifications and skills gained are marketable in a lot of industries.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you're thinking of doing this program, plan for an intense 3 months! The learning and travel can be exhausting at times. I bought a notebook the first week I was here to take notes and try to retain everything I'd learned. I also used my phone to take photos of notes that were drawn out by instructors, and videos of various climbing setups, etc. I bought a decent phone case that's waterproof and drop-proof prior to this course, and it was one of the best investments I made - it allowed me to use my phone for notes and photos without having to worry about it.

If you're thinking you want to be employed after the program, look into using a tourist visa while you're here for the program and then transitioning to a working holiday visa toward the end of your program to make the most of your time here! If you can, get a CV pulled together before the program starts so that it's easy to update with your pending qualifications, as job hunting during the program was especially time consuming and exhausting - the more you can do to set yourself up for success on that front, the better off you'll be when it comes time to find a job.

Generally, bring less than you think you'll need - there's very little from the US/Canada that you can't get once you're here - but bring a couple fun/comfort things. One of the best things I brought were my cozy fuzzy socks (the kind you would never wear out of the house) and a cozy sweatshirt. I already had a lot of camping/climbing/hiking gear, so I brought what I had, but you can definitely purchase additional things here quite easily if you're worried that what you have isn't correct. It's more expensive here than in the States, but better than bringing a bunch of stuff you don't need.
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Tyler
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you are looking for a way to pick up life experience and are interested in a career outdoors Pure Ex is an excellent choice.
Taking the adventure guide program is an exceptional way to not only learn about the outdoor industry but to discover New Zealand and intergrate yourself into the kiwi culture. Sure there are some hurdles and challenges to get throw but most of that is on you and your coursemates to figure out how you overcome those hurdles and deal with those challenges. The course itself is pretty simple but requires a lot of self discipline and responsibility. Long days hiking amazing treks, climbing solid rock, learning to cook mediocre to great meals with coursemates as you figure out what it means to be self sufficient and exploring some of the worlds most wild places. You’ll be faced with opportunities to step up or step out of your comfort zone. It’s up to you what you decide to make of it, but everyone is there to support you and encourages you to evolve yourself. Go explore!

What would you improve about this program?
When I was with pure exploration, they were going through some growing pains to say the least but they always have their students best interests and mind and are always encouraging to keep you going. They have doubled down on their curriculum and provide you everything you need to successfully obtain your certifications as well as provide you with some awesome experiences non certification related to keep your stoke high and passions up.
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Ethan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went to pure exploration without any real experience in outdoor adventure but they provided a fully immersive 3 months training which provided me with a lot of new skills and knowledge, bringing me to a place where I now feel ready to be a leader. It also brought me the opportunity to make such great new friends while getting to live in Queenstown. The staff there are amazing and always willing to help, I know when I go back to New Zealand they will be there to still help me after the course.

Vlaho Mustahinic
Vlaho
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What a great experience! Chance to learn from world class guides and climbers. So much spended time in a clean and healthy enviroment of New Zeland.
After 3 months with Pure Ex, I got whole new perspective about outdoor world, bunch of new skills, and for sure improvement as a person!
For sure I woud reccomend this training program to all those who are interested in traveling, outdoors,learning and personal development.

Bethany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I found Pure Exploration while researching ways to tour New Zealand outside of the typical tour busses and adventure programs. Being in my 30's and operating on a very strict budget, I was intent on finding something that would not only show me the beauty of New Zealand but also teach me skills that I could use back home in my volunteer work with teens. New Zealand has been my dream place to visit since High School, but I had always thought it was outside of my reach. Pure Exploration made that dream possible. I liked what I read, but honestly had no idea just how awesome this trip was going to be! Due to life circumstances, I was only able to stay for the first month, but that month has impacted me in ways beyond what I was expecting. I am so much more confident in my abilities as a climber, hiker and camper. It was great to get back home and be able to go climbing with a local group and give advice to some of the beginners because of what I learned from the Pure Exploration instructors. I highly recommend Pure Exploration for anyone doing a gap year or who is just in that stage of life where you're looking for something different. Even if you don't end up becoming an adventure guide, I can guarantee that you will come away from this program with new life skills that are invaluable, and you will learn a lot about yourself and what you are truly capable of. I was stretched beyond my comfort zone many times and am better now because of it! And, as if I needed to say it, this is New Zealand we're talking about! It is an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful country that I think everyone should visit at least once in their life!

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Michel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As I applied for this program I had no idea what I want to do in my life, but I wanted to get more into Rock Climbing and Outdoor Sports in general. Also, New Zealand was on my bucket list for years, so I couldn’t help myself and cancelled the job I had lined up at a husky farm in Norway and booked my place at Pure Ex. And man, I can tell it was a good decision.

I would recommend this program to anybody who is interested in rock climbing, hiking, or generally the outdoors. No matter if it is to enhance your personal skills or learn, how to deal with clients, groups and instruct other people.

The two main aspects this program focusses on are Rock Climbing and Hiking/Tramping.

My experience in Rock Climbing was basic before I came here. I had climbed top rope once outside, had a few lead climbs inside and went indoor bouldering every now and then. But I was just too afraid to go climb outside, because I had no Idea what to do.
Now after this program I’m going out at least once a week and do intermediate (multi pitch) lead climbs and take my friends and can explain them how things should be done.
Also I feel way more confident since we learned almost everything about sport climbing, if it is setting up an anchor at the top, where there are bolts or using a tree – I can do it. I can safely abseil a route to retrieve gear or set up top topes. And I can ensure my personal and the groups safety is guaranteed.

In terms of hiking/tramping I had a bit more experience. I did a 5-day hike and multiple one or two day hikes before I came here. But once covering the topics in the program I realized that what I was doing before wasn’t wrong but I was missing so much knowledge.
The two most important skills I took away from the tramping module was the navigation with map and compass, and making my own weather forecasts. Besides that, we covered plenty of other skills like good, cheap & light food on the trail, group management and leader ship, shelter building, fire lighting, emergency procedures, safe river crossing, how to pack a bag.

Besides all the above we did a swift water rescue course and hand down the best pre-hospital emergency care course!

For me the learning was the perfect mixture between hands on, practical learning, and a bit of theoretical information. And all that was mixed up or during nice trips around the South Island.

With the 3 moth of work experience I would recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about getting a foot in the outdoor industry or is not sure if this is the right path for you. I’m quite sure that after this program you will know it!
And even if you just want to spent a good time in New Zealand and learn a plenty of cool skills, you should join. Be prepared for last minute changes of plans and schedules, because that’s just how it works in this industry.

If you think all this sounds good and you want to join don’t overthink it – chances of meeting a great group of awesome, likeminded people is super high… you might even end up as a climbing/outdoor nerd and invest in your own gear!

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Kaylee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

After studying Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism at uni and doing an internship learning about the business side of a guiding and tour operating company, I wanted to check out the other side of the industry to see if I could hack it as a guide. The AGP provided the perfect opportunity for this, to start from the basics and train up to a leader position under the world-recognized NZOIA qualifications. I gained so many technical skills in rock climbing, abseiling, and trekking, as well as personal and group skills living, working, and training with the other interns over three full-on months. We got to experience some of the most amazing parts of New Zealand in ways many don’t get the chance to, namely by being fully in and amongst it in the outdoors. There’s nowhere quite like New Zealand, from its landscapes to its people to its never-ending possibilities for exploration. I am so happy with this program and everything it gave me, and am so looking forward to continuing in the outdoor industry thanks to the confidence and competence Pure Exploration’s AGP has provided me.