Module 2: PLAN IT

Outdoor Activities

Planning Guidelines

Planning Outdoor Activities

Here are some things to consider when planning Outdoor Activities:

  • What does your school already offer? 
  • What is available in your local environment? Is there a forest, beach, river or mountain nearby?
  • What Outdoor Activities can be facilitated by staff, an outdoor provider or instructor?
  • Lastly, make sure they meet our requirements.

Outdoor Activity Ideas

These are the five most popular Outdoor Activities chosen by William Pike Challenge schools around New Zealand.

1. Bush walking.

The Department of Conservation’s website is an excellent resource to find local bush walks and tramping tracks. It only shows those on Conservation Land, so be sure to use Google or your local council’s website to find regional Outdoor Activities. 

2. High ropes courses.

High Ropes courses are perfect for building students confidence, teamwork, communication skills and more. Most major centres have a High Ropes course, just Google it!

3. Mountain biking.

The Department of Conservation’s website and Trailforks are both great resources for finding local mountain bike tracks.  You can also find commercial operators or Outdoor Activity providers to help.

4. Orienteering courses.

Orienteering is a cost effective Outdoor Activity that caters for most abilities and you’ll find many permanent courses around New Zealand. Visit Orienteering NZ to find one nearby!

5. Rock climbing.

A favourite amongst our schools with most areas having both indoor and outdoor rock climbing facilities. Use Google to find your nearest location.

Outdoor Activity Planning Checklist

This Planning Checklist will help you with planning each Outdoor Activity.

Outdoor Activity FAQs

Can we use Outdoor Activities that we've already planned?

Absolutely! Just make sure they meet our requirements above.

How hard should my Outdoor Activities be?

When planning Outdoor Activities, make sure that they meet our requirements. They need to be outdoors (indoor rock climbing is allowed), offsite and challenging with two or more hours of purposeful effort. By challenging, we mean an activity that will push your students outside their comfort zone. For example, taking students mountain biking on a local mountain biking track may not be appropriate if students are already familiar with this track.

The great thing about the William Pike Challenge is that you can choose what activities will best suit your students! This may vary from year to year as your student cohort changes.

Can we do more than 5 Outdoor Activities?


How fast can we complete the Outdoor Activities?

We believe that great youth development occurs when it takes place over a long period of time – It’s more like a marathon than a sprint. To ensure balance in your programme and the best youth development, we recommend that your Outdoor Activities are spread across your school year.

We know that when Outdoor Activities are spread across the year, students are given more opportunities to develop relationships with teachers, peers, and connect with other people and places in their community. 

Show me some other Outdoor Activity examples!

In addition to the above ideas, here are some other Outdoor Activities that you could do.

Easy, teacher led and sometimes free:

Waterwise activities (sailing, canoeing and water safety).
A bushwalk using local tracks, learning about flora and fauna and how to build shelters in the bush.
Orienteering. Follow an orienteering trail.
Coastal walk or a day hike. You could also build an ecological element into the day or incorporate Community Service and pickup rubbish.

Easy and external provider led:

Beach Education. Check out Surf Life Saving New Zealand for more information.
Water Safety/Sailing/Waterwise.
SUP Boarding.
Waka Ama.

Adventurous and teacher led:

A bushwalk and overnight camp – either relatively locally or in a different location if you’re willing to travel.
Night Hike.
Mountain Biking.

Adventurous and usually external provider led:

Rock climbing/Abseiling.
Mountain Biking.
Alpine walking and skills.

Can our school camp activities be counted as Outdoor Activities?

Maybe. We believe that great youth development occurs when it takes place over a long period of time. So when it comes to allocating your Outdoor Activities, we’d prefer that not all 5 Outdoor Activities are completed back to back eg. at a school camp.

As school camps vary around the country, please contact us to verify how many of your school camp activites can be counted as William Pike Challenge Outdoor Activities. 


What is not an an Outdoor Activity?
  • Team building activities done in a local park.
  • Paintballing, go-karting, or ice skating as this is indoors.
  • Bungy jumping.
Can we team up with another William Pike Challenge school and do our Outdoor Activities together?

Of course! This is a great idea for small schools and rural schools. You can find nearby schools who are also doing the William Pike Challenge once you have access to the Challenge Hub.

Teaming up means you can share resources, staffing, costs and offer a unique social experience for both staff and students.

Can students do Outdoor Activities outside of school with their families?

No. Outdoor Activities completed by individuals as a family will not be recognised, unless approved under special circumstances by the William Pike Challenge team. 

Can William Pike join us on an Outdoor Activity?

Yes he can. Get in touch with us to find out how we can make this happen.