Certificate III Outdoor Recreation

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.

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.

Graduate Profile : Steve Wilks

Where are you currently working?  I have just finished a season with Senna and Stan Ellerm at Tasmanian Hikes.  Most of my work was guiding on their three night camping tour of Maria Island.

What do you love most about your job?  I love talking to the guests about their travel experiences and future travel plans.  A lot of our guests are well-travelled and it is the out-of-the-way and off the beaten track experiences I love to hear about.  Also I love helping the guests see and experience the Tasmanian environment and ecology.  No matter how many times you walk along the same track – we always see something different and something unexpected.

What training did you undertake with TasTAFE?  I completed the Certificate III & IV in Guiding and Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation during a very busy 2015.

What did you value about your training at TasTAFE?  The hands on experience and the opportunity to push myself outside my comfort zone.  Also the close involvement with the experienced and passionate teachers.  I also enjoyed the diverse group of fellow students from so many varied backgrounds and life experiences.

How has your training helped you with your Guiding career?  In so many ways – hard skills like using MSR stoves, catering, learning to find that quirky, intriguing set of facts about the plant or bird or rock that people encounter.  Then there was all the focus on the soft skills – people management in a nutshell.

What is your most memorable moment you have experienced on a trip?  I worked on an Overland Trip last January with a group of seven guests including a lady from Cardiff in Wales.  She was absolutely astounded and thrilled to see Wombats, Echidnas and Pademelons in the wild.  It was really rewarding to see her enjoy her trip so much.

If you could invite anyone on a trip, who would it be?  I think it would be someone who has spent their entire life in a large city.  Someone who has never seen a rainbow, a Scarlet Robin perching in the sunshine or an Echidna foraging for insects. Someone who has never seen a crystal clear wave breaking on a deserted beach, someone who has never seen a hundred Scoparia in full flower, or someone who has never seen thousands of stars on a dark cool night.

If you could give one piece of advice for someone contemplating a career in the outdoors, what would it be?  Send an email to the great staff at TasTAFE and organise to have a chat to one of them.  You will know in your heart whether you want to be a Guide or an Outdoor Instructor, so don’t die wondering.  Give it a go.  You will find your niche in the outdoors and when you do you will “never go to work again” – you will just do what you love and help others experience it too.

 RTO Code: 60142

Hazards Traverse

Two weeks ago our Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation students enjoyed a two-night trip to the Freycinet Peninsula, where the group further developed their bushwalking and navigation skills.  Accompanied by Cody McCracken of Wild Pedder and TasTAFE Teacher Renee Harrington, the group were blessed with glorious weather and stunning scenery.

Departing from Sleepy Bay, the group followed the coastline to the summit of Mt Parsons and then ascended Mt Baudin where they enjoyed a night sleeping in a cave.  The next morning saw student’s abseiling down a cliff which put many participants out of their comfort zone but proved to be a very rewarding experience.

After descending back to Sleepy Bay, the group continued on to Wineglass Bay and were greeted by a friendly wallaby on the beach and a pod of dolphins in the bay.  The students spent the night sleeping under a blanket of stars on Wineglass Bay beach.

The final day consisted of a small group of students hiking up to the Mt Graham lookout, whilst others enjoyed the glorious beach before returning to the bus and back to Hobart.

The trip was a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their leadership and guiding skills, occupational health and safety policies, cooking, food hygiene practices, weather interpretation and off track navigation.

 

Graduate Profile : Sara Freeland

Where are you currently working?  The Maria Island Walk and The Freycinet Experience Walk.

What do you love most about your job?  Connecting people to the land!  It’s the history of a place, the links between flora and fauna, the subtle changes in vegetation; all these little elements add up to make a place really special and the best thing about being a Guide is sharing this knowledge with people and connecting them to the place they are in.

What training did you undertake with TasTAFE?  Certificate III  and Certificate IV in Adventure Guiding  in 2016.

What did you value about your training at TasTAFE?  The knowledge!  My training really was one of the best years of my life and it completely opened up my eyes to the world around me.  From the training I have developed a real passion for the environment and I know my life will now take a completely new course because of my year at TasTAFE.

How has your training helped you with your Guiding career?  Again, the knowledge.  As I said before, understanding a place really brings it to life and I couldn’t do that without the amazing learning I received at TasTAFE.

What is your most memorable moment you have experienced on a trip?  Getting guests to the summit of Bishop and Clarke. It’s a stereotypical moment, but people underestimate their abilities and it’s always amazing coaching people to the top.  It’s a really rewarding part of the job, to see people’s faces on the summit and the pride they have for themselves.

If you could invite anyone on a trip, who would it be?  A Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder from before the arrival of the British.  It would be an incredible insight into the traditional customs of the Tasmanian Aboriginals.  How amazing would it be to learn from an elder the stories of the people and to develop a better understanding of the intricate connection they had to the land.

If you could give one piece of advice for someone contemplating a career in the outdoors, what would it be?  Stay passionate!  The guiding course can give anyone an amazing foundation of knowledge, but those that keep learning and continue to question what’s around them are the best guides.

 RTO Code: 60142