Certificate III in Guiding

Freycinet Bushwalk

“MSR up too high, not up high enough?  Do we have the portion sizes right?  Careful not to burn the sauce!  When is the water ever going to boil?  I hope everyone’s had enough to drink.  We definitely didn’t have any dietary requirements in this group, right?  I need to put my tent up. Careful, don’t burn the sauce.  Man, my co-guide had my back today!  Why did the MSR just go out?  I really messed up that interpretation, I wonder if Tom (our teacher) noticed?  This ground is hard, why didn’t I bring a piece of foam to kneel on?  Don’t burn the sauce!”

As you prepare entrée and the main for the night you have a million different thoughts running through your mind, almost all of them centred on the hope that you are keeping everyone happy and faking it enough to show you’ve learned something during the last 6 months of the TasTAFE Adventure Guiding Course.

With waist-deep snow on Pelion Plains our original trip to the Overland Track was abandoned and our contingency of the Freycinet Peninsula actioned. Two options in virtual polar opposites from each other, but a sound contingency plan at this time of year, given Tassie’s notoriously predictable unpredictable August weather. Despite the disappointment (and perhaps some relief) of missing our chance at the Overland Track, we headed off for 4 days at the Peninsula with plenty less warmies and plenty more water. Mild temperatures and light winds meant shorts were the order of the trip as we made our way around the Peninsula.  We took in the vistas of Mt Freycinet, Davonian Granite, Schouten Island, and practiced our flora and fauna identification.

This was the first opportunity in the course for students to practice their interpretation topics. Situational interps led by students were a particular highlight. Learning about the endemic Tasmanian Froglet as it called from across Hazards Lagoon, or the Tasmanian sub-species of the Wedge-Tailed Eagle as they soared above Mt Graham and beyond the clouds, or, that Oyster Catchers don’t actually eat oysters as we watched them frolic in the shallows in pairs, made for a far more memorable learning experience than those obtained from within four walls.

Off track navigation to peaks at the southern end of the Peninsula provided student guides with an additional challenge, but the scrub scratches were worth it with a lunch-time view over Schouten Island.  As we watched the sun set over water on our final night we contemplated two things, almost simultaneously.  How lucky are we to do a course like this in a place like this; and, damn, I can’t wait for the last 2 months of this course, and the work associated with it, to be over.

Photo Credits:  Ollie Bryant

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.

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

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!

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