L3 OED - Outdoor Pursuits


The Level 3 Outdoor Pursuits Course is our flagship course designed for students who want to perform at a high level in Outdoor Pursuits.

There is an emphasis on students acquiring the judgement and skills to be able to act with independence in the outdoors. There is a strong theme of personal adventure and most course modules are supported by an extended adventurous trip where the students can apply their learning whilst under direct supervision.

Students are assessed against NZQA Achievement Standards, and Unit Standards in Outdoor Recreation.


Students in the Level 3 OP course will have opportunities develop physical skills in a range of outdoor activities, as well as to learn and apply knowledge of group management, leadership, safety planning and evaluation.

The practical pursuits will likely include:

  • Kayaking: Students learn the skills to be independent whilst kayaking on Grade 2 rivers, culminating in an assessment trip to the Upper Shotover River (or similar). Learning to kayak roll is an expectation for this module.

  • Rock-climbing: Includes lead climbing, safe descents, belays and anchors. Multi Pitch climbing and rock rescue may also be covered.

  • Alpine climbing: A trip to Mount Cook for rock climbing and possibly an alpine tramp to Mueller Hut (weather dependent).

  • Alpine Skills: Safe alpine travel skills are assessed on a backcountry trip, likely using snowshoes as mode of travel.

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: A 6-week training and assessment course at Treble Cone.


Learning takes place through a mixture of theory and practical instruction sessions, classroom discussion and individual research. One afternoon per week is allocated to practical lessons. There are several (optional) extended trips during the year, so a strong commitment to the course is required.


It is helpful to have prior outdoor experience, such as completing an OP course in Year 12, but there are no formal course pre-requisites. We are able to provide challenge and extension for those students with existing skills and experience, as well as offer instruction at an introductory level for students new to any particular pursuit.

We start the year with a whitewater kayaking programme, and it is desirable (though not essential) to have some kayaking experience. It is really helpful to know how to kayak roll prior to starting the course, but instruction in this skill will be offered (optional evening clinics) by our kayak instructors.




How is the course assessed?


Most standards include an element of practical assessment that occurs during the outdoor sessions. Because of this, it is generally not possible to provide opportunities for reassessment.

End of course qualification

Contributes to NCEA but is not a subject recognised for University Entrance (this will change in 2026).


Students who have completed Level 3 Outdoor Pursuits may consider studying Outdoor Education at tertiary level, which may lead to careers in adventure tourism, guiding and outdoor instruction.


For all indicative course costs please see the Course Costs Page.

A general course contribution is requested to cover the weekly costs associated with provision of transport, employing additional specialist outdoor instructors, admission costs to public venues, and hire of specialist outdoor equipment.

Overnight or extended trips are optional, and are costed separately. Fees for those trips are invoiced at the time of the trip. This includes the optional snowsports training programme in Term 3, for which a lesson package needs to be purchased directly from Cardrona/Treble Cone.

As a guide, course costs in 2022 were:

  • General Course Fee (for weekly OP practicals): $520

  • Snowsports instruction (optional) $228

  • Kayak rolling (optional) $60

  • Alpine trip (optional) $110

Course costs are subject to change.


MAC has achieved AdventureMark certification for its Outdoor Pursuits programmes. This is an internationally recognised safety certification that confirms our school meets the highest levels of safety in adventure activities. This certification recognises our school’s long-standing commitment to safety in its delivery of our nationally renowned Outdoor Pursuits courses and applies to rock climbing and abseiling, white water kayaking, canoeing and rafting, mountain biking, canyoning, and alpine hiking activities.

Examples of Level 3 OP trips


Alpine Skills