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NZS-3 Switch to Sails

New Zealand Semester Three wrapped up their sea kayaking section and have boarded the sail boats for their final section of the semester.
The sea kayaking section was a 30-day expedition in and around Pelorus Sound. A highlight from the section was paddling with a pod of dolphins while crossing the entrance to Pelorus Sound. The group stayed at Bill's place and were inspired by his stories. Bill is an 88 year old gentleman who lives in the sounds completely off the grid. His power comes from a micro hydro system and the only access to his place is via boat.  

IMG_8611Bill's place in Pelorus Sound 

IMG_8628View from the top of Alligator Head overlooking Pelorus Sound  


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

NZS-2 Graduate

New Zealand Semester two graduated yesterday and have been dropped off in Nelson.
The group spent the last 10-days sailing from Anikawi in Queen Charlotte Sound out and around into Cook Straight then finished in Havelock. 

A highlight from the section included sailing near D'Urville Island. The group set out to circumnavigate D'Urvile Island on the sea kayak section but were unable to due to strong winds and adverse weather conditions. They got to return to Ships Cove and reflect upon their semester and personal growth, Im sure Captain James Cook would have had similar feelings in February 1777 when he was in Ships Cove.  
The sailing section was a great culmination to the semester, the group had to work closely together to successfully sail and live on board the boats in style. 

Photo0056NZS-2 Graduation  

Students have been dropped off in Nelson and are off in their next adventure with a new found sense of confidence and direction for their lives. 

We at NOLS NZ wish them success and thank you for coming down to NOLS NZ


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

NZB Backpacking Scenes

A few photos just in from our recently graduated NZ Backpacking courses. Both courses had great weather, with just one significant storm to contend with. NZB1 enjoyed the unique flora, fauna and cultural heritage of Kahurangi National Park, while NZB2 hit some high notes in the majestic Southern Alps between Arthur's and Lewis Pass. Students on both expeditions were able to crown their experience with a multi-day mini expedition independent of their instructors. We wish all NZB grads well and hope that they will use their freshly-honed wilderness skills to keep exploring into the future!


In the alpine - classic NZ Backpacking landscape


The cheeky kea - NZ's native alpine parrot


NZB1 in the Kahurangi classroom with instructor Ngaire


NZB2 in front of some classic Southern Alps scree

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Mar 31, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

NZS-2 Setting Sail

NOLS NZ Spring Semester NZS-2 1/22/15 emerged from the wilderness of Kahurangi National Park last week after enjoying a month of classic Kiwi 'tramping'. Highlights of their hike section included multiple peak ascents, surviving an intense storm at an alpine campsite, and going on a 5 night Independent Student Group Expedition. After a brief stopover at the branch, they have now moved back to the Marlborough Sounds, to close their semester with a 10 day Sail section. They will graduate their course on 8 April 2015.

NZS2 go full circle - back to the Marlborough Sounds for their final sail section

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Mar 27, 2015 in the following categories: New Zealand

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.

Life's a beach! - NZS2 haul ashore on their SK section
Loading the kayaks ready for the next move
NZS2 all smiles after their Sea Kayak section

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

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