Got a few questions about Outward Bound that you need answered? Check out the FAQs below.

About Outward Bound

Generally you can expect to be challenged and that might be physically, mentally or emotional. It is very real - at times you may get dirty, tired and wet at the same time you may feel refreshed, exhilarated and triumphant.

It is the challenge of overcoming the perceived impossible as a team that makes a course special. Through being with people 24/7, talking about what is really going on for you, and hearing what's really going on with them, you get a better appreciation of yourself, others and how you deal with the world.

Our instructors are integral to safety. We select only the best in the business - they have a great combination of skill, experience and ability with people.

Our instructors have a rigorous six month training and induction programme, on top of their existing experience. All our courses are assigned at least two instructors.

Instructors come from a variety of backgrounds and professional disciplines. To work at Outward Bound you'd be expected to have outdoor education skills as well as superb people skills.

We recruit once a year and go through a staff selection process. This involves suitable candidates attending a short course at Anakiwa and working with our selection team. More information on staff selection.

More than three quarters of Outward Bound participants are over 18. Our courses are tailored for whichever phase you're at in life.

Our adult courses place heavy emphasis on re-energising, taking time out for yourself and breaking away from your routine - all things that we face a little later in life.

After Outward Bound

Becoming a regular giver is the most effective way you can support our work. We are a charitable trust and we rely on the support of the community. Outward Bound can have a major positive effect on individuals. Your donation ensures our work at Outward Bound continues.

When you make a donation you help towards our vision of 'Better People, Better Communities, Better World'.

Keep training! It's easier to keep up your fitness rather than having to rebuild it. Try to work some exercise into your daily routine and keep doing it. If you're having trouble with motivation, try a local sports club or find a training buddy.

Sports and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) provide useful information about sports bodies in New Zealand. The National Sports link has the national office of most sports organisations. Check out our guide to getting fit and healthy for OB. 

As well as completing your own goals, you could get involved in the The Duke of Edinburgh Award, or take on an adventure race!

Once a course has finished it is difficult to contact the instructors. Because they're often away from the school, instructors can rarely be reached by phone.

Send emails to the school using the address anakiwa@outwardbound.co.nz. Put your instructor's name in the subject line and these will be passed on.

Becoming an Instructor

In order to hire staff from overseas, we need to show New Zealand’s Immigration Department that we are unable to find a New Zealander to perform the same role. We also need to show that the overseas applicant has all the skills required to perform the role.

If you are an international applicant, and interested in applying to work for us, you will need to fulfil this criteria. You will also need to apply for a new 12-month work visa every year, as you will be expected to undertake a full three year contract with us here at Outward Bound.

Currently we have a need for instructors with skills in a number of outdoor activities, with an emphasis on sailing and instructing - feel free to get in touch!

Yes. Often it takes a while to get your accreditation's or experience. Knowing what you currently offer helps us advise you on when you should attend our selection course.

We can also advise you on what you should do to get more skills or the right sort of work experience.

We generally run one selection course each year. The dates are advertised on our website and sent to our growing list of people interested in working for us.

If you are keen to work at Outward Bound as an instructor, but our dates are not advertised on the website, please get in touch!

Yes. Each year we offer approximately six observer slots. These are five days long. Observers get to shadow two instructors as they work with their ‘watch’ of 14 students.

The observer role offers you an opportunity to watch an instructor in action. You do not do any instructing yourself. We provide all food and accommodation for the observer. Priority for these slots is given to those with future prospects for employment at Outward Bound.

It's best to complete an Instructor Application Form and Summary of Previous Experience form, and send these to our training manager. 

We're happy to give you feedback once we've received your information.

Generally you are contracted to work 200 days per year, including staff training (20 days). Typically you work 17 days of each 21 day course, you get 4 days off during course time and at least 5 days off between courses.

You don't work more than 9 days in a row. After working 5 courses you'll often get 5-6 weeks off, twice a year. 

Booking and preparing

Yes we can help you build a training case to present to your manager to show them the value of an Outward Bound course.

Download our employer support guide.

Yes! Whatever your financial circumstances we can support you to fundraise.

If you’re willing to put in some effort, we’ll be here to back you all the way. Check out our funding page, or call us on 0800 688 927 for more info.

We understand it can be difficult to balance your commitments with a course. Try involving and engaging your employer in your Outward Bound programme. Explain what you'll get out of it and how your effectiveness at work should also improve.

For inspiration on how to manage taking time out of work, watch David's story.

There are many options for getting to Anakiwa - ferry, bus, train or fly. The best choice will depend on where you are travelling from.

You're responsible for getting yourself to the Picton Interislander ferry terminal by 12.30pm on your course start day. You will be dropped back at the terminal by 12.30pm on the last day of your course (except for Navigator participants who finish at 4pm). For further information check out our Travel Info

We’ll send you a gear list telling you what you need to bring in your enrolment pack.

Outward Bound provides all specialist gear like tents, sleeping bags, tramping packs, life jackets and helmets, and we even have warm and waterproof clothing to borrow too. We recommend you bring your own hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes that you have broken in prior to the course. This will reduce the risk of blisters and sprained ankles. See your local outdoor store for advice on boot or walking shoe selection. We do have boots available for use at Outward Bound, but you will be much more comfortable if you can bring your own. You can download our Gear List.

Full course fees are due eight weeks before the course start date.

If you enrol closer than eight weeks before the course start date, the full fee is payable immediately. Note that professional enrolments i.e. enrolments with fees paid by the employer or enrolments on our Navigator or Compass courses are subject to different cancellation and payment conditions.

You must complete an Outward Bound medical form with a doctor.

This will be reviewed by our nurse. If you are concerned about a medical condition, please call us to talk it through.

During your course

We keep you well fed with healthy and delicious food. This includes all meals and snacks.

Make sure you tell us about any dietary requirements when you enrol. If you request a particular diet we ask that you please consume the meals that have been specially prepared for you.

We can cater for vegetarians and vegans, for halal and kosher diets, and for gluten or dairy free diets. We may also be able to accommodate some other restrictions or specific allergies, but not all – for example we can’t do 100% peanut-free (or most other life-threatening allergies), paleo, low-carb, whole-food only diets. As we regularly use wheat flour in our kitchen we are unable to guarantee no traces of gluten. We are also unable to provide facilities for you to cook your own food.

In some cases we will suggest bringing your own snacks for when out on expeditions.

We strongly recommend that you do not start any new diet for your Outward Bound course. We also recommend against any optional diet that restricts your choices or energy intake – a course is busy and physically demanding, not the best time to cut down your fuel options!

Letter writing is a great way to keep in touch during your course.

Your friends and family are welcome to send you letters as well. You can find Outward Bounds Anakiwa postal address here.

We will ask you to hand your mobile phone in at the start of your course so you can make the most of your experience and not get distracted. You can use our phone to make and receive calls in an emergency.

Most nights you will sleep in a bunkhouse with your watch (group)

Some nights you will sleep outdoors.

You are required to arrive and depart at the times specified. Because of the way the courses are structured, there is no way of knowing where your Watch (group) will be at a particular time.

You will not be able to join your watch once they have started an activity. The course finishes with a ceremony: this is your last opportunity to be together as a watch. We are unable to arrange for you to leave early.


We'll undertake a learning needs analysis to understand your business landscape. We'll look at your overall organisational goals, values and your learning and development priorities.

From there, we'll formulate your learning outcomes and devise a draft programme for your review.

For small business (under 50 employees) there is support for the Navigator Leadership Course through the NZTE Capability Development Voucher Scheme. Through this scheme up to 50% of the course fee may be covered.

Registering for this service is a simple process and will also provide a wide range of other support for further training and development and business growth. Follow this link for more information on what to do: NZTE Capability Development Voucher Scheme

Most custom design courses cater to groups from 10-28 people. Our facility can accommodate up to 120 people, it's best to call us to discuss your options.

We have our own dedicated base in the Marlborough Sounds. It is an inspirational place, perfectly located for high intensity learning and adventure.

As the majority of your time will be spent outdoors, our accommodation is basic but functional. You'll stay in bunk style rooms with adjacent bathrooms. We also have a superb in-house catering team, delivering fresh, home-cooked meals. We also have training rooms with multimedia facilities available for group facilitation sessions.

We deliver programmes to more than 1,500 people per year, so the earlier you are able to book a programme the better. Plus, a longer lead in time allows more time for us to understand your issues and objectives - meaning a better course design.

We can on occasion offer last-minute availability, so it's best to get in touch with us on 0800 688 927 to enquire about a programme.

Like you, we want to ensure participants make the most of this development opportunity. Spending time away from the office, and its daily demands, ensures participants can be completely immersed in this life-changing experience.

Outward Bound is a long-term investment that delivers both immediate and long-term business benefits. Our clients confirm that it's more than worth the travel to Anakiwa and the time out of work.

Formal facilitation time is approximately 12 hours. There is also informal group discussion in the field and guided reflection activities.

Debriefing regularly occurs throughout the course. This process significantly helps participants to connect and transfer field situations into practical actions in the workplace.

Compass is for those early on in their careers with the age range varying from 20-35. You might be an apprentice, graduate or simply new to the workforce. However your enthusiasm for personal development is what's most important.

Navigator includes a post-course coaching session and further coaching is available on request.

We do not write reports on individual performance. There are a number of other reports included in the course and individual action plans are formulated prior to completion.

Navigator has a specific focus on leadership, influencing and managing people. It is more suited to professionals who currently have direct reports or expect to have direct reports in the near future.

Navigator course includes a specialist business facilitator, leadership assessment tools and feedback processes. Meanwhile the Compass course focuses more on development of personal core skills setting you up for the future in the workplace.

Many organisations from a diverse range of industries develop their employees with Outward Bound. They include:

Mainfreight Ltd, Compass Health, Ministry for Primary Industries, Foodstuffs, New Zealand Defence Force, Fletcher Building, BCITO, Fonterra Cooperative Group, ASB Bank, Methanex, Hyundai, IAG, Reserve Bank of New Zealand and many more.

Fitness, health and safety

The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it! You must be able to comfortably run 3km in under 25 minutes, plus complete a full day's physical activity.

There are varying fitness requirements for these courses:

Discovery/Navigator/Compass/Leaps and Bounds: Fast walk or run 3km in under 25 minutes

Aspire: Walk a minimum of 2kms and five flights of stairs (walking sticks ok).

Check out our guide to getting fit and healthy for OB.

You don't need to be a flash swimmer, but you need to be comfortable in water.

That means getting your head underwater. We have lifejackets available at all times.

No, you don't need to have any experience of outdoor activities or spending time in the wild.

You simply need to be willing to give the activities a go. The more you get involved, the more you will get out of your course.

Outward Bound is a smoke free, alcohol free and non-prescription drug free environment.

So you need to have quit smoking BEFORE you start your course. The environment at Outward Bound is supportive, healthy and motivating, and many people use their time to try to become healthier. There are many things you can do to quit smoking, the best information is available from: www.quit.org.nz or call 0800 778 778.

Outward Bound is the leading outdoor learning and development provider. We aspire to make our programmes as genuinely adventurous as possible in order for participants to gain maximum benefit.

To support this aspiration, we have robust systems of safety and risk management in place. From internal and external safety audits to a dedicated advisory committee, we believe we have the right measures in place to assure the safety of your group.

Outward Bound courses

If you're looking for the complete Outward Bound experience, our 21 day Masters course is the one for you.

Many of our 8 day participants leave wishing they had more time at Anakiwa. Find out more about the Masters course.

Ideally, you should have two or more years' experience of working with young people. This experience can be in any capacity - as a teacher, youth worker, volunteer, Scout leader etc.

Ideally, you should be the participant's parent, guardian or main caregiver. If not, you should play a major role in the teen's day-to-day life.

Having this strong relationship will ensure you both take away even more from your shared experience.

Yes, the course fee is per participant. The total cost for both parent and teen is therefore two times the course fee, which is an all-inclusive price from the moment you arrive.

Yes, both the parent/caregiver and teen should meet our standard fitness requirements. You should both be able to run 3km in under 25 minutes and complete a full day of activity.
Check out our guide to getting fit and healthy for Outward Bound.

There is full funding available for Work and Income clients, which includes travel to and from the course. If you're not a WINZ client, get in touch - we can help you raise your course fee!

If you're playing an active role in your community, contact us on 0800 688 927 to apply for one of our two open enrolment places on this course.

The 12 remaining course places are selected by Auckland based community organisations. In the past we've worked with: New Zealand Chinese Youth Trust, Baha'i Office of External Affairs, Franklin Family Support, Ngati Whatua, Refugee Youth Action Network, Connect2Sport, and Hindu Council.

Horizons can cater for a range of intellectual disabilities. It’s best to call us so we can make sure the course is right for you.

All participants should be able to independently manage their personal care and medication. You should be able to communicate clearly and understand safety instructions. Horizons participants must be able to attend without a carer and have experience of spending time away from home.

You will need to be able to take part in a full day of activities, including up to a full day of walking, and be comfortable in and around the water.

The days can be quite busy at Outward Bound as there is a lot to fit in. You will start early each morning with some exercise and a dip in the water before heading off for the day's activities. There will be rest breaks on this course, and life jackets are available at all times if you want one.

There is full funding available for Work and Income clients, which includes travel to and from the course. If you're not a WINZ client, get in touch - we can help you raise your course fee!

Outward Bound programmes are all-inclusive from the moment you arrive.

Our price includes all food, accommodation, full-time instruction and specialist equipment. The vast majority of our custom programmes also include a facilitator to help you to transfer and embed your group's learning.

Activities on an Outward Bound experience are simply the vehicle for learning, not the overall focus of the programme. In fact, one of the most important elements of your programme is a series of facilitated review sessions.

Participants take time to reflect on their performance and process the day's events, guided by their facilitator. With this, and the use of peer feedback, participants are able to assimilate their learning and behaviours back to the workplace.

Recharge is a reflective short course.

It's designed specifically for those who've been to Outward Bound, giving you a chance to recap on what you learnt and to set new goals. Recharge fits into a long weekend, while still giving you an Anakiwa injection!

As Recharge is a shorter course, the course fee and deposit is less than other OB courses.

We require a $100 deposit for Recharge to secure your spot- which is fully refunded if the course doesn't go ahead. The remaining course fee of $799 is due 8 weeks before course start. The total course fee is $899.

We believe that you'll get the most value out of Recharge if it's been a few years since your previous OB experience.

If you're under 21 it's good to have a few more years to let your original OB experience sink in, before coming back for more!

While the Classic course runs for 21 days, Matariki is slightly shorter – 15 days long – to give you another option to consider if you’re unable to commit to a longer time away. Matariki is also designed to have a stronger focus on self-reflection set within the context of team-based outdoor activities.

You’ll experience a range of activities while on your course, kayaking, sailing, ropes course, rock climbing and tramping.

  • On the water - kayaking, sailing, canoeing
  • Up high - ropes course, rock climbing, abseiling,
  • In the bush - tramping, solo, camping
  • For your community - service projects, environmental
  • For you - goal setting, values, running

Part of the challenge of an Outward Bound course lies in not knowing what's ahead - you'll learn to deal with challenge as and when it arises.

For our custom design courses, we pride ourselves on delivering a programme in line with our client's needs, not an off-the-shelf product. We therefore need to understand more about your objectives in order to design your programme.

Outward Bound is your opportunity to make new friends and to simply be you.

Without the expectations of people who know you. You can attend at the same time as your friend - we will put you in different watches (where available). We do have one exception, this our Leaps & Bounds course which is custom designed for parent/caregivers and their teens.

Depending on which course you choose, your group will be a mix of ages. Your watchmates will come from all over NZ, from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. Many find life-long friends at Outward Bound.

There will be up to 14 people in your group and you will have two Outward Bound instructors leading you through the activities. Our watches are mixed gender (unless specified).

Yes our courses meet or exceed the requirements for Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (DoE) at the Gold level.

This includes:

  • Residential Section (5 days 4 nights away from home)
  • Adventurous Journey Training
  • Adventurous Journey Practices

Learn more here.

The focus of Recharge is to reflect on your past goals, set new ones, and re-energise in the awesome Anakiwa environment.

You'll revisit some of your previous learning from OB but also discover new elements of your character and your capability. You'll spend less time learning the ropes of the school and more quality time enjoying the beauty that is Anakiwa.