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NZS-1 Branch-ing Out!

NZ Spring Semester NZS-1 1-22-15 returned to the NZ Branch for the first time since the start of their course earlier this week. With just enough time to wash clothes, have showers and hang up their PFDs after their sea kayaking expedition, they were quickly underway again for their final semester section: hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park. Starting at the Branch Stream a couple of hour's drive south of the base, the group will hike over some of the ranges marking the northern end of the Southern Alps to an end destination at Lewis Pass on the Main Divide. The group paddled over 110 nautical miles during sea kayaking and were able to round Cape Jackson in the notoriously challenging Cook Strait. With such accomplishments to spur them on, they should enjoy the challenge of traversing NZ's high country.

NZS1 en route to their final semester section

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Mar 12, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZS-3 Boots to Boats

Over the weekend NZS-3 returned from their hiking section and spent a day at the base organizing gear and washing clothes. Their hiking section culminated with a 5-day independent student group expedition.
Section highlights included an 11 hour hiking day, a 24 kilometer travel day, watching the moon rise as the sun set, travel and camping above bush line, hiking over Waiau pass and traveling in technical terrain. 

The group is now sea kayaking in the Marlborough sounds for 30 days before they go sailing. 


Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Mar 8, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZS-2 Passing Through!

NOLS NZ Spring Semester NZS-2 1/22/15 were back to the Aniseed Valley base briefly last week as they switched from Sea Kayaking to their Backpacking section. While the fickle winds had limited the number of actual travel days, the group was in fine spirits and they felt like they had learned a lot about leadership, group dynamics, the NZ coastal environment and the skills necessary to be excellent campers. They have now set out into Kahurangi National Park for a month of hiking, where they will explore some of NZ's most pristine river valleys and will attempt to traverse some of the alpine tops in the region. They will return to the NOLS NZ branch on 27 March in preparation for their third and final section: Sailing in the Marlborough Sounds.

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Mar 2, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZ Backpacking Courses Underway

NOLS NZ's two Backpacking courses commenced this week, with NZB1 heading to Kahurangi National Park and NZB2 exploring the Southern Alps between Lewis Pass and Arthurs Pass. Both groups were at the branch for a day and a half to issue their gear and pack rations for a month of hiking. They should enjoy the more stable weather that the late summer brings in NZ, but will learn skills to deal with the varied conditions and terrain types that mountain travel involves. They will receive 3 re-rations via vehicle and helicopter over the course of their journeys.

NZB1 striking a pose at the NOLS NZ branch
NZB2 savoring the fresh produce of the NOLS NZ garden before their adventure

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Feb 18, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZS-3 heads for the hills

New Zealand Semester Three students all arrived safely at NOLS NZ. The first day of their semester coincided with the first day of rain for the year at NOLS NZ. The group bagged 77 days worth of food and organized equipment that will be bought to them through out the semester. 

The group is now hiking in the Nelson Lakes National Park. 

P1310127First day of rain for 2015 

P2010141NZS-3 Student Group 

NZS-3 – 02/01/15 Schedule

Cultural:  2-3 Feb
1 – Backpacking:  4 Feb to 4 Mar
Branch Switch:  5-6 Mar
2 – Sea Kayaking: 7 Mar to 6 Apr
Field Switch: 7 Apr
3 – Sailing: 8 Apr to 16 Apr
Branch De-issue: 17 Apr
Graduation: 18 Apr

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Feb 7, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZS-2 Semester under way

NOLS NZ Spring Semester NZS-2 1/22/15 were welcomed at the Aniseed Valley base last week and were outfitted for the 77 days of expeditioning ahead. Their semester began with an overnight Maori Cultural Section at the Te Awhina Marae in nearby Motueka. The group then transitioned to the Marlborough Sounds to begin their month-long Sea Kayaking section.

Their semester schedule is as follows:

NZS-2 – 01/22/15


Cultural:  23-24 Jan
1 – Sea Kayaking:  25 Jan to 23 Feb
Branch Switch:  24-25 Feb
2 – Backpacking: 25 Feb to 26 Mar
Branch Switch: 27-28 Mar
3 – Sailing: 28 Mar to 6 Apr
Branch De-issue: 7 Apr
Course ends: 8 Apr

NZS-2 Student Group

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Jan 26, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZS-1 Start their adventure

NOLS New Zealand Spring Semester One students all arrived safely at NOLS NZ. They spent the first day bagging rations and thoroughly checking through their equipment for their 77-day adventure.

The semester began with a cultural section at the Te Awhina Marae where they were formally welcomed on to the Marae, got introduced to Maori customs, weaved anchors out of flax, and visited culturally significant sites. 

P1230089NZS-1 Student Group

The group is now canoeing on the Clarence River toward the Pacific Ocean.  

NZS-1 – 01/22/15 Schedule

Cultural:  23-24 Jan
1 – Canoe:  25 Jan to 15 Feb
Field Switch:  16 Feb
2 – Sea Kayaking: 17 Feb to 10 Mar
Branch Switch: 11-12 Mar
3 – Backpacking: 12 Mar to 6 Apr
Branch De-issue: 7 Apr
Course ends: 8 Apr


Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Jan 25, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NOLS NZ is open

NOLS NZ is now open for the season. We all enjoyed a classic New Zealand Christmas break with its mix of heavy rain and scorching hot days.  

New Zealand in-town staff for this season  IMG_2622
Wes       Joy           Puja            Sheldon        Andy 
TC            Christian      Jordy           Camine          Roo

This season we are running three Spring Semesters and two 30-day Backpacking Courses. The first courses start next week. 

If you would like to send mail to students at NOLS NZ, please send to the address below. Allow 10-14 days for delivery. Please write their couse code after their name. 

Student's Name & Course Code
NOLS New Zealand
4 Serpentine River Road
Aniseed Valley RD1
Richmond 7081
New Zealand



Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Jan 11, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZ Season Sunset

New Zealand's final two fall semester courses return from the wilderness last week marked the end of our field season, with just a week to go before we break for the Christmas/New Year holidays.

NZSF4 brought back some amazing stories from their final section Sea Kayaking in the Marlborough Sounds, including sightings of whales, sharks, penguins and, of course, wekas. The group developed some solid sea kayak skills, featuring a full range of rescue techniques, rolls and rough water paddling practice. Highlight of the course was being able to do some long silent paddle stretches and really appreciating being out on the water.

Congratulations to all this year's NOLS NZ graduates and we hope to hear stories of the adventures to come!

PC060535A silent paddle in glassy waters was a highlight for NZSF4


Graduating in style - NZSF4 celebrate the end of their semester with a
Sea Kayak salute


A Marlborough Sounds sunset that students will hopefully remember
many years from now!

(Photos: Michelle Watson)


Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Dec 12, 2014 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZSF-5 Returns From Canoeing

New Zealand Semester Five has returned from the Clarence River after Canoeing from the high alpine environment near the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean.
2014-12-08 18.38.39Six students from NZSF-5 made it to the Pacific Ocaen 

2014-11-01 08.51.40Clarence River flowing North from Dillon Cone  

2014-11-25 09.11.49Instructor Kurt Hotchkiss teaching geology in the hills


The group stayed at Muzzle Station and helped Colin Nimmo clear a tree that had fallen over in high winds.
They then enjoyed a tour of the
Clarence Valley Apiaries (which produces Organic Blue Borage Honey), a
sheep dog trial demonstration, and a tour of the beautiful remote high country farm. 


The group is now graduating and enjoying a Kiwi Spring Barbeque in the rain.
They will soon be off on their next adventure. 


Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Dec 9, 2014 in the following categories: New Zealand

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