Author: Tour Guide Tales

Our courses aim to equip students with the knowledge, skills and attitude to become professional and competent tour guides and outdoor education assistants for the nature-based and adventure sector in Tasmania and beyond.

River Crossings

The Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students recently travelled up the Derwent River to learn about crossing rivers.

During the day the students learnt to read the river, cross the river using poles and as groups.  We swam down rapids and negotiated a fake log in the river – the dreaded strainer.

The students felt the power and cold of the river and will make better decisions particularly when leading others in a bush-walking setting.

Thanks to outdoor legends – Nate Welch, Renee Harrington and Ashley Kestle for instruction and coaching on the day.

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Bay of Fires

Last month, the Team Tombolo students spent a glorious four days exploring Mt William/wukalina National Park and the Bay of Fires/larapuna as part of the TasTAFE Adventure Tour Guiding Program.

Under the supervision of our fearless leaders Cody McCracken and Gemma Gooley, this was our first opportunity taking on the roles of Operations Managers, Guides and Caterers.

Team Tombolo walked along the coast from Stumpys Bay to Ansons Bay.  Cody and Gemma demonstrated the skills and attributes it takes to be great guides; including memorable interpretation of cultural living sites (middens), the Devonian granite and Ordovician mudstone found in the Bay of Fires; the symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus that creates lichen and the second greatest murder mystery in the Bay of Fires (don’t worry, the murder mystery is solved and we know the culprit is those conical sand snails!).  This interpretation showed us the power of the personal and how the most impactful interpretations are those that come from the heart.

The trip was also an opportunity to see how some of the companies offering guided tours in the Bay of Fires operate.  We learned about the Wukalina Walk and spent one night at their camp site, krakani lumi (“place of rest”), with its very impressive palawa-inspired dome huts.  We also visited the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk Forester Beach Camp and the Lodge, operated by Tasmanian Walking Co.  Our thanks should also go to Rory from the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk for his hospitality in opening up the lodge to us and letting us sample his scrumptious brownie.

As our first run of taking on the roles of Operations Managers, Guides and Caterers, we all gave it a red-hot go.  We learned about the importance of being able to adjust our plans and adapt when situations change, making and communicating firm deadlines for breaks, how repackaging food before embarking on a walk can make a world of difference in pack weight, and how “smoky” is an adjective that can be used to cover up cooking flaws.  Having said that, we were all treated to some really delicious meals and some of us finally nailed the art of rice cooking on an MSR stove.

Highlights of the trip included sighting pods of dolphins (or was it just one pod following us down the coast?), swimming, glorious sunrises and sunsets, our different interpretations of “having fun” in the sand dunes, Chris’s tarp skills and not one, but five Tombolians completing the ‘guide challenge’ at Eddystone Point Lighthouse … with Cody also completing the challenge and proving he still has what it takes.

A massive thank you to Cody and Gemma for being so willing to share their knowledge and passion for guiding.  You are guides we would love to emulate and hope to work with in the future.

River Crossings

The Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students recently facilitated an exciting River Crossings day for the Certificate IV Adventure Guiding students.  Recent heavy snow falls and the following snow-melt provided us with exciting river levels and very cold water at Plenty on the Derwent River.  We spent the day teaching the Adventure Guides all about river features and how to choose where to safely cross a river in a bushwalking context, as well as practical river crossing techniques – all valuable skills they are likely to need to use at some stage in their career as remote bushwalking guides in Tasmania and beyond!

The Outdoor Recreation students made the most of the opportunity to practice their practical teaching skills, as well as their swift water safety and rescue skills they learnt in a short course they attended a few weeks earlier.  We loved seeing the excitement on the faces of the Adventure Guides, many of whom were entering into the white-water environment for the first time!

For the Adventure Guides, many fears were overcome in the challenging swimming scenarios (swimming with a pack on and swimming over an artificial log) especially by the less confident swimmers who eventually succeeded in all the challenges set for them and they ended their day on a real high!  Some of the Adventure Guides were so inspired by the experience that they wanted to come back next year and do the whole Outdoor Recreation course!

Sea Kayaking

Over the past month our Certificate IV Adventure Guiding students have been focusing on their Sea Kayaking skills and spending time on the water.  The students spent time learning the basic skills of sea kayaking from the experienced Guides from Roaring 40’s Kayaking.  The lessons included learning skills such as forward and back paddle and quickly moving to more technical skills such as the draw stroke and self rescues.  The students also learnt the importance of how to guide and manage groups on the water in a range of conditions.

The students were able to experience some beautiful surrounding areas of Hobart including the Iron Pot Lighthouse and Cape Hauy on the Tasman Peninsula.  They also spent a wet and windy week on the water in the mouth of the Huon River.  It was their first overnight expedition paddling from Franklin to Dover over a four-day period.  Highlights of the week included watching sea eagles land in lofty nests, seals pose on sunny rocks, and chasing rainbows through sun showers.  It was also great to learn about marine mammals from Emma’s interpretation.

Introduction to White Water Rafting & Kayaking

Last month the students in the white-water stream of the 2017 Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation had their first introduction to white-water rafting and kayaking on the Picton and Derwent Rivers.  The scenery was beautiful and the group were keen and ready for a big week of learning new skills, visiting new places and having great experiences!  Water levels were perfect for learning on both rivers and students had a great time negotiating the rapids and honing their paddling skills, as well as learning how to run an overnight rafting trip.

The rafting trip was a great success with students learning valuable lessons about navigation on the water, features on the river and team work.  We spent a night camped at Arve Plains where we shared many stories whilst enjoying a four course (yes four courses) meal prepared by the group!  It was delicious!

The melting snow and low temperatures on Tuesday provided some challenging conditions, as well as a great learning opportunity for managing people’s comfort and safety on the water – many extra layers were put on and copious snacks were consumed to fend off the cold!

On Wednesday our group we decided to spend an extra day doing two rafting runs of the Picton River to gain more skills guiding a raft and to build up our confidence.  On Thursday students were introduced to some new paddling strokes in the kayaks and given some valuable one-on-one instruction on their paddling technique.  We had a park and play session in the morning, followed by a river journey where we were able to further practice our newly learnt strokes!

Friday was a fantastic day of park and play at Plenty Railway Bridge where the group gained massive progress in skill and technique, flying from eddy to eddy and smashing personal goals.

It was a massive week of learning and hard work, but being able to see how far we had all come by the end of the week made it worthwhile!  Thanks to our great instructors for showing us the way and telling us tales of their summers’ guiding together on the Franklin River – it really gave us all something to dream about!

 

Graduate Profile : Hannah Ling

Where are you currently working?  The Sea Kayak Company in the Abel Tasman National Park, and Awarua Guides in Fiordland, New ZealandBut actually right now, I’m sea kayaking the west coast of Scotland with my partner and a great friend!!  Both of whom have done the TasTAFE Adventure Courses too!

What do you love most about your job?  Helping people reconnect with and appreciate the natural world around us, and seeing or at least knowing the positive flow on effects they experience from such interactions.  Also, I just love fresh air – I can’t spend too long in four-walled surroundings!

What training did you undertake with TasTAFE?  Certificate III  & Certificate IV in Adventure Guiding  in 2010 and Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation in 2012.

What did you value about your training at TasTAFE?  Having the privilege to be taught and trained by the most experienced and passionate people in their fields!  Not to mention the fellow classmate legends, where amazing lifetime friendships were formed.

How has your training helped you with your Guiding career?  It really gave me a solid knowledge and experience base to build on and opened numerous doors of possibilities both locally and overseas!  Although, from my experiences and observations elsewhere, there really is no place like home!  For an enjoyable, safe and respectful workplace, where the company takes pride in caring for our greatest asset – the natural environment … Tasmanian guiding is where it’s at!

What is your most memorable moment you have experienced on a trip?  Too many to name!  But sharing the love of water with people and seeing them embrace our refreshing Tasmanian coastlines, rivers and lakes for the first time is always a favourite!  The joy that is brought to them and also to myself, is very satisfying.

If you could invite anyone on a trip, who would it be?  Anyone needing a breath of fresh air, to re-energise, redirect and/or excite them about life and the possibilities out there!

If you could give one piece of advice for someone contemplating a career in the outdoors, what would it be?  Say YES! Start living the dream!

 RTO Code: 60142

Abseiling with Project Booyah

Several weeks ago the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation climbing and abseiling students headed to Launceston Police HQ to observe and assist in the running of a commercial style abseil operation for a youth group involved in the Booyah Program.

After inspecting and critiquing the abseiling rig on the roof of Police HQ, students had the opportunity to practice dispatching and abseiling from the roof.  After a night at Launceston PCYC (Police & Community Youth Club) which included some indoor climbing and a nachos feast, the group returned to Police HQ next morning in readiness for the Booyah group.

TasTAFE students conducted briefings, gear fitting and dispatching activities for the Booyah group under the supervision of Police and TasTAFE instructors while others in the TasTAFE group cooked up a BBQ lunch for all involved.

In addition to consolidating their abseiling, rigging and dispatching skills the TasTAFE students had the opportunity to work with young clients in a “real environment”.  Thanks to Richard Youd (TasTAFE instructor) for his guidance and to Ross McIvor (Project Booyah) for the opportunity to work with his group.