Certificate III in Guiding

Adventure Tour Guiding : Mountain Biking

Both of our Adventure Tour Guiding groups are currently focusing on either our Sea Kayaking or Cycling skills clusters.  All students experience both activities for a day early in our course and then advise our preferred skills cluster.

Last month, the ‘Nunatak’ Adventure Tour Guiding students got to try out our chosen skill of mountain biking.  Over the course of the week we covered basic bike maintenance, skills on-and-off road, and practiced leading a group on the trails.  On the first day the students spent the morning in the classroom covering a basic introduction to bikes, gear, safety and maintenance.  That afternoon we had the chance to get hands on with the bikes, practicing skills such as; maintaining the group set, changing a tyre and fitting a bike to the rider.

Day two saw a much more practical lesson with students taking the bikes up to the Queens Domain.  The morning session covered basic riding skills such as braking, un-weighting both the front and rear tyres, track stands and body positions for uphill, flat and downhill tracks.  The afternoon saw the students able to practice their newly learnt skills on the recently completed trails up at the Domain, where we also had a chance to trial leading a group on the bikes.

With bad weather closing in, the plan for day three was revised, changing the itinerary from exploring the pipeline track on Mt Wellington (Kunanyi) to making the journey over to the Eastern Shore and trying our luck at the newly built Risdon Vale Pump Track and cross-country circuit.  Despite the rain, we had a great time practicing our skills in wet weather conditions and were able to experience how a guide keeps group morale high, even through such unfavourable conditions.

Unfortunately due to serious weather, the final day was cancelled as the previous night many of the major streets in town became raging torrents due to the Hobart rivulet bursting its banks.

Karl Villanueva

Since finishing TasTAFE’s Adventure Tour Guiding program, I have swapped my office in the city for some of the most beautiful and wild places in Tasmania.  I’ve been given a new lens to see the world around me with an amazing clarity and depth that I didn’t have before.  I have learnt that every single person I get to meet, whether they’re guests or colleagues have an incredible story just waiting to be heard. The course has changed my life and has opened doors that I could never have imagined“.

Karl Villaneuva

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!

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

Bay of Fires Bushwalk

The second week of June saw the last trip for the Certificate III in Guiding students and our first overnight hiking trip.  We left Hobart bright and early on Tuesday morning in two mini-buses for the long trip up to Ansons Bay and the Bay of Fires area.

The groups of ten students each, called ‘Larapuna‘ and ‘Wukalina‘ were led by Cody McCracken and Tom Keith respectively, who are alumni from our sister program – the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation course eight years ago and now work for Tasmanian Walking Co.

The new teachers posed a refreshing change in style, with all the students gaining a valuable personal connection with the Bay of Fires region and learning the realities of adventure guiding.  We walked between Stumpys Bay to Ansons Bay via Deep Creek along the Bay of Fires coastline, with the two groups walking in opposite directions.  This trip was ran in a similar fashion as the commercial trip ‘Bay of Fires Lodge’ 4-day walk and was a great learning experience for all.  The dinner provided by the caterers in each group were spectacular, which was a great achievement for the first groups cook entirely on the shellite MSR stoves rather than gas camp stoves.

Hearing the experienced interpretation of the local landscape, continuously engaged and awed students.  Interestingly, we learnt how the beaches became different over the winter months due to increased southerly storm systems, piling up metres of soft sand at the northern end of some of the beaches making for difficult walking.  We also learnt about the Bay of Fires lichen; composition of sand; ocean currents; rocks and Aboriginal History among many others.  The communication skills presented in these interpretations by our teachers provided great examples of how dense information can be communicated simply and concisely – a goal we can all work towards.

Eddystone Point Light House was also a special experience for everyone, learning the history, understanding the granite and seeing Southern Right whales offshore!  Both groups also got the chance to go swimming near several dolphins playing in the surf, which was spectacular.

On the final day, the ‘Larapuna’ group had a wonderful Sun Salutation yoga and meditation session overlooking the ocean at sunrise, ran by our student leader for the day.  After a relaxed morning packing up, we met up with the other group and headed back towards Hobart.  After well-deserved pies for lunch at the Bicheno Bakery, we got back to Hobart in the late afternoon.

As the last trip for the Certificate III in Guiding program and our first overnight walk, we are all keen and ready for Certificate IV in Guiding and the many fantastic winter walks starting in July!

Maria Island

Two weeks ago, our Adventure Guiding students departed Drysdale Campus and drove up the Tasman Highway towards Triabunna, where we would catch the new and refurbished ‘Encounter Maria‘ ferry to Maria Island.

It was wonderful to have ex-student Daniel Fisher, who now works as a Guide for The Maria Island Walk join us on this trip, providing beneficial information regarding the industry and other Tasmanian knowledge.

Lucky enough for Dan, he was able to relive some of his own Guide training memories by  listening to the student Leaders’ bus commentaries on the way up – which provided an interesting insight into the surrounding area.

On the ferry, we were lucky to admire plenty of sea birds and after we arrived on the Island, we set up camp and got underway with the day’s activities!

Splitting into two separate groups – Nicholas Baudin and Bara-Ourou, we parted ways with one group heading on a half day walk up Bishop and Clerk, whilst the other group enjoyed a circuit walk to the Painted Cliffs and Oust House via The Maria Island Walk accommodation.

Returning to the campsite, it wasn’t long until our student Caterers dished up mouth-watering meals that were soon devoured.

The next morning, we enjoyed some ice breakers which was a nice way to start the day.  We split into small groups and practiced our Interpretive tours and presenting our information to our fellow students.  We received feedback and were then given a chance to amend the tours.  Everyone found this constructive feedback really helped us improve our tours the second time we delivered them.

After dinner we went for a night walk to see if we could find a Tasmanian Devil.  We saw a lot of different animals but no Devils – but it was a great way to finish the day.

For our last day, we left camp as a whole group and walked to the Fossil Cliffs where Bruce and Daniel gave us a real insight into the geological events that happened to create the Fossil Cliffs.  We then split into our two groups again, mimicking the first day’s events in reverse with Bara-Ourou summiting Bishop and Clerk and the Nicholas Baudin group completing the circuit walk with Dan.

Returning back to camp, the Certificate III in Guiding students were quick to pack up before departing Maria Island to get stuck into their weekend ahead!