About Us

International Adventure Leadership School

Man on Big Hill
“We are an educational institution based in Queenstown, New Zealand dedicated to exploration, safety, and adventure.”

The International Adventure Leadership School is an arm of Pure Exploration, a New Zealand-based organisation that offers continuing education to those pursuing outdoor industry careers.  IALS serves as the hub for our adventure guides who are pursuing technical training and qualifications in certain disciplines such as bushcraft, rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking.  As part of the certification process, we believe in offering our guides-in-training a chance to learn and grow from real experiences, including guiding clients and teaching others some of the skills they have acquired.  All of this happens under the guidance of our highly experienced program leaders and alongside passionate and knowledgeable peers.  These trainees are some of the most enthusiastic and friendly guides you'll meet, and they offer unique knowledge and experiences to their clients along the way.   By participating in our tours or trainings, you are not only experiencing New Zealand in a truly special way, you are supporting the guides in their pursuit of continuing education, and supporting what we at Pure Exploration and IALS offer to the outdoor community.  


At our heart, we are dedicated to being a centre focused on learning, growth and development, and safety.  These principles permeate the adventures we pursue and are at the core of IALS and the experiences we offer.  


EXPLORE - Climb | Trek | Paddle | Cycle

We provide rock and alpine climbing, trekking, kayaking, cycle touring, and mountain biking guided tours. Our itineraries include a variety of half-day or full day trips based locally around key centres such as Queenstown, Wanaka, or Nelson.  Additionally, we can custom design itineraries for small to medium sized groups, catered to your specific requests. All of our experiences or adventures are designed for beginner or intermediate travel and adventure enthusiasts, with a passion for exploration, landscapes, and trying new things. Our expert guides know what to bring, where to go, and how to have the most fun! Even if you're experienced and just looking for a guide to give some local knowledge, hook you up with gear, or challenge you further, we're here to help.  


TRAIN - Emergency and survival skills

In addition to our guided group excursions, we offer specific training courses focused on equipping individuals with the skills to safely manage themselves and small groups in the outdoors, even if an accident happens.  These courses are courses that our guides-in-training participate in as well, and they will be learning along-side you.  


The goal is to provide survival and emergency training that makes everyone safer, more capable, and more confident.  Each course is specifically designed to focus on certain situations that may present themselves, depending on the activity, but all are focused on risk management and avoiding accidents before they occur.  While we recognise that sometimes accidents happen despite everyone's best efforts, we believe that educating people to accurately understand and assess risks and changing conditions in the outdoors makes everyone safer, and ensures that more people will be able to enjoy everything New Zealand has to offer.  


Escape - Exploration and learning center

We have limited special offerings for individuals, families, or small groups at our exploration and retreat centre at the base of the Remarkables.  From here, we offer a space to stay, get away, and enjoy the staggering beauty of Wakatipu.  We offer unique experiences and classes for those who choose this option, including skills courses and challenge-oriented experiences for personal growth and development.  We can custom-build these experience packages for your group, or take a look at our unique offerings and see if there's anything that "peaks" your interest.  


Who can participate? 

Anyone is welcome to participate in our trainings or guided tours, provided you have a functional level of English literacy and a willingness to learn.  We focus on small group sizes and fun, educational experiences for everyone.  If you are concerned about your physical abilities or preparation for any of our offerings, please reach out to discuss with someone.  We're happy to offer guidance and provide suggestions of where to get gear or what to expect and how to prepare.  


When do we operate?

Because our training courses are cyclical and only offered at certain times during the year, we operate tours and trainings an average of 16 weeks per year - 12 in Queenstown and 4 in Nelson.  Our Calendar page lists all of our current trips and trainings that we have to offer.  Keep checking back if you don't see what you're looking for - we're always updating our offerings!