Student Profile : Matt Smith

Matt Smith

  1. Where are you currently working?  I am currently working in Murchison on the South Island of New Zealand for a rafting company called Ultimate Descents.
  2. What do you love most about your job?  Good question – there are so many aspects of guiding that I really enjoy and appreciate every time I am in the field.  Most of which are simple things, like being outdoors generally in a location that people pay quite a bit of money to be in and you are getting paid to be there and talk to them about subjects that you are passionate about.  For me personally, one of my favourite aspects is talking to people from all walks of life, whether it be someone who is extremely successful financially or highly educated in their particular field or occupation.  You can pick their brains and learn some amazing things.  Learning cultural differences is another big one.  For example, just because someone says something odd or that you are not used to within our culture, if you try to understand where they are coming from (put yourself in their shoes) you can really broaden yourself in your awareness.  Understanding culture and people’s differences is important for anyone’s personal growth.
  3. When did you complete your training?  I completed my Certificate III & IV in Adventure Guiding in 2010 and then worked for three seasons in the field before coming back and doing my Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation.
  4. What did you value about your training at TasTAFE?  There were so many things I valued about the TasTAFE training most of which were those presentations that I take for granted now, such as how to pack a hiking pack properly, gaining knowledge on birds, fauna, flora and geology.  Other things I valued looking back on, were again simple things that I blatantly wasn’t aware of such as taking your sunglasses off for a briefing, using not just words when doing interps and being able to confidently talk in front of big groups with confidence.
  5. How has your training helped you with your Guiding career?   The TasTAFE course was such an amazing base to start with, it taught me so much about how to be a professional, educated and sharp guide.  I still remember Larni saying to me “Matt this course is really the tip of the iceberg” and how true that was.  With the certificates from the course and some seasons in the field it really is your ticket around the world for anyone wishing to expand abroad.  When you work for a while in the industry and work with guides that both have and have not done the course, you can really see the level of training that has gone into the TasTAFE guides.
  6. What is your most memorable moment you have experienced on a trip?  I have had so many memorable moments on trips, too many to mention.  Some of which have been sitting on a mountain, magical beach or floating down an all-time river having a moment of clarity and appreciating how lucky I am to have the job and the lifestyle that I have, but yeah too many memorable moments to just mention one.
  7. If you could invite anyone on a trip, who would it be?  I really want to take my Dad down the Franklin River at some stage when I can organise a personal trip down there because I know he would be completely blown away and be amazed by the experience.  Plus I really want to show him what I do for a job.  But Miranda Kerr on an epic overnight would be alright too!
  8. If you could give one piece of advice for someone contemplating a career in the outdoors, what would it be?  There are a couple of pieces of advice I’d like to have had prior.  First, actually learn as much as you can, do not just do enough to pass because every piece of information that you learn will be valuable, once you are in the industry.  Second, when doing the course – have a crack at everything you do because you may surprise yourself with what you can do and you will discover what your strong points are and things you need to work on in the future.  This can also lead to finding out what area of guiding you want to get into.Matt Smith

White Water Kayaking

Last week, students of the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation course took to the Derwent River, followed by the Leven River in the north of Tasmania to tackle a week of whitewater kayaking.

Students spent the first two days developing their white water skills on the Derwent River such as reading whitewater, ferry gliding, exiting/entering eddies and much more.  Over the rest of the week, students were given the opportunity to execute their newly learnt skills and push their limits kayaking down the Leven River.

Highlights of the week included the satisfaction of improving throughout the week, group bonding and Ciara calmly waving and accepting her fate of being washed into a hole (a white water feature).  The students were lucky enough to be instructed by one of Tasmania’s most experienced and greatest instructors Nate Welch, special thanks also goes to Technical Assistant, Matt Smith.

Flat-Water Skills

Earlier this month the TasTAFE Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students engaged in teaching and instruction of their flat-water skills to Kingston High School Year 9 students.  The teachings took place on the Huon River at Huonville Esplanade.  The student’s instruction was supervised by TasTAFE instructors, Nate Welsh and Matt Smith.

The Kingston High Students where able to learn to be comfortable in the kayaks as well as learn a number of strokes.  The students were also entertained by engaging in a number of games, including ‘bulrush’ and ‘kayak polo’.

The weather behaved itself for most of the day with a slight shower in the afternoon.  TasTAFE students were able to counteract the current in the river by starting kayak polo upstream near the bridge and drifted down to the jetty as they played.

Fun was had by all as some of the keen students attempted to Eskimo roll at the end of the day whilst others students battled to simply keep the boats going straight in the water.  This provided TasTAFE students ample opportunity to specifically target technique and practice in aiding struggling students.


Successful Job Outcomes

The strength of our Tour Guide and Outdoor Recreation programs delivered at TasTAFE are the successful job outcomes of our graduating students.  Our training courses and graduates are highly regarded by tour operators in Tasmania, interstate and overseas, with several businesses relying on the supply of graduates from our courses to fill their staffing requirements each season.

The Certificate IV in Guiding students completed their studies last week and have successfully secured guiding positions with the following operators:



index o






The students have had a very busy schedule leading up to the end of their course with walking the Overland Track, followed by the Walls of Jerusalem and also attending Tour Guide training with their respective companies.

On the last day of their course we facilitated a casual ‘Tour Guiding Q&A Session’ where past students were invited in to share their experiences of the Guiding industry since they have graduated.

Thank you to Simon Mouchet (Tasmanian Expeditions), Jo McCormack (Freycinet Experience Walk/Maria Island Walk), Alice Siermicki (Tas Walking Co), Matt Smith (freelance rafting/walking guide), Belinda Clarke (Pennicott Wilderness Journeys) and Matt Sykes (Tas Walking Co./Maria Island Walk) who all shared extremely valuable information about their careers to the current students.

Tour Q&AWe wish our ‘Class of 2015’ all the very, very best and look forward to hearing about your adventures in the industry.