Tour Guides

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.

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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!

Mt Field

In early March, the Certificate III in Guiding students had their first field trip for the year.  From Hobart we drove out to Mount Field, where we stopped at important geological and historical points of interest along the way.

On the first day, we had two walks in the Florentine Valley.  We walked to the top of Tim Shae to be rewarded with a fabulous 360° view into the South West of Tasmania.  We then walked into the very significant and historical Churchill’s Hut.  Elias Churchill trapped a Tasmanian Tiger that was supposedly the last specimen that died in the old Hobart Zoo in 1936.

We returned to the campground for a beautiful meal prepared in the dark by Larni and ably assisted by Bruce and Alex.  This was a great practical example of adapting and being flexible with itinerary changes and leading and catering for guided groups.

One of our students also celebrated his birthday on this day – Happy Birthday Strath!

On our second day, we  drove up to Lake Dobson where we walked amongst the Pandani Grove and up to Tarn Shelf.  During the day we saw great examples of landforms, flora and fauna including Mountain Shrimps, which are best described as living fossils.  Our student catering team provided yet another fantastic meal and after dinner we went for a walk to see the Glow Worms near Russell Falls.

On our last day we walked to the Mt. Field favourites – Russell and Horseshoe Falls and the Tall Trees Walk, where we admired the geology and flora along the way.

In the afternoon, Bruce and Alex provided information on the various tents available; how to use MSR Stoves and how to couple the bus and trailer.  All essential skills for Guides.

We had a wonderful first field trip away and look forward to many more.

The Overland Track

The Overland Track

Two weeks ago the Certificate IV in Adventure Guiding students walked The Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.  It was an exciting trip, with wild weather proving a true test for all.

Upon arriving at Cradle Mountain, the group split into two with one group heading over Marion’s Lookout down to Waterfall Valley whilst the other group headed over Hanson’s Peak to the Scott Kilvert Memorial Hut.  Here the weather threw out its first challenge, showering us with icy rain and snow.  It was a wet and cold start, but the incredibly beautiful view of Cradle Mountain elegantly standing above it all, was a sight to remember.

As each day progressed, the weather continued to surprise us with an amazing two days allowing one group to summit Mt Ossa with perfectly clear skies, whilst the other group found an incredible waterfall in a valley filled with giant Pandani’s and Myrtle trees.

One of the most stimulating moments for everyone was seeing the geology in real life, from the giant glacial valleys to the million-year-old conglomerate with fossils encased.  As each group walked along, we tested our flora and fauna knowledge, identifying the different plants and the calls of the birds from the distance.

We also enjoyed hearing stories about the Trappers and Snarers, who turned into the first tour guides and rangers of the National Park.  History behind the mining era was also shared, bringing to life the vast and varied story of the Cradle Valley region.

The final three days saw the rain settle in deep and it was a wet finish to a remarkable walk.  Huge congratulations to all the students for pushing through the rain and snow, keeping spirits high and for completing one of Australia’s most iconic walks.

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RTO Code:  60142

The Secret Life of Guides

Garrett Madison has been a mountaineering guide for 16 years, and now owns Madison Mountaineering. Photo: Marc Hom

Garrett Madison has been a mountaineering guide for 16 years, and now owns Madison Mountaineering. Photo: Marc Hom

This fantastic article – The Secret Life of Guides, was published in Outside last year.  I am sure some of our graduates can relate to some of these scenarios:

Sure, the men and women who take us skiing, fishing, rafting, and climbing get to work in beautiful country.  But they also have to deal with 16-hour days, dirty diapers, rogue clients, hangovers, low pay, bear encounters, and love affairs that aren’t always a good idea.