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The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award

Introducing Escape Adventurous Journeys - Your Path to Adventure in Aotearoa

Welcome to Escape Adventurous Journeys, an open award center and accredited outdoor provider for the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award. Our mission is to offer a diverse range of programs that cater to all levels of The Award, including training, practice, and qualifying journeys.

Embark on a transformative journey that will challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and explore the wonders of the world around you. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is a time-tested personal development program designed for young individuals like yourself. Even if your school doesn’t offer a DoE Program, you can complete your award with us, including the two adventurous journeys and training.

Through our engagement with The Award, we prioritize fostering a positive and holistic sense of self-worth among our youth. Our aim is to encourage participants to embrace their mental, social, physical, and spiritual well-being. We take our adventurers off the grid, equipping them with essential hard skills that ensure their safety in the future while building their confidence.

If you’re between 14 to 24, you are eligible to take part in the Award program. The program offers three progressive levels leading to the coveted Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award upon successful completion.

To achieve the award, participants are required to complete four sections at each level, including voluntary service, skills, physical recreation, and adventurous journey. At the Gold level, an additional residential project is completed, adding even more depth to the experience.

At Escape Adventurous Journeys, you can complete both your Adventurous Journey and Residential components of the Award. So, embrace the spirit of adventure and personal growth with us as you embark on an unforgettable journey towards earning the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

Discover more about the different award levels.

Why do the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award?

Completing The Award will not only give you a huge sense of accomplishment, but it also teaches you valuable life skills and qualities that are sought after by educational institutions and employers worldwide.

On a practical level you will discover that you are capable of more than you can imagine. With the supervision of qualified and experienced instructors, you will learn ‘hard skills’ in a safe environment:


  • How to use a compass and maps to plan routes
  • How to navigate the bush without a GPS
  • How to read maps
  • How to identify the surrounding contours of the land and relate that to a topographical map to pinpoint your location
  • How to work in a team to achieve a shared goal
  • Develop evidence-based decision making skills
  • Learn how to stay safe in the bush

“You need to get out of your comfort zone to get into your learning zone.”

As long-time educators working with teenagers, all of our instructors understand the psyche of teenagers, and are able to get each student excited about learning.

We know that if they aren’t being challenged, they aren’t having fun. We will work with your child to develop positive outcomes during their time with us, all the while ensuring they are secure and working within our established safety parameters.

Safety and planning

Everything we do is undergirded by a solid safety framework.

Our groups are continually monitored by InReach GPS, equipped with locator beacons for emergencies, as well as satellite phones. Instructors keep in constant communication with our backup team in town, and we have proven back up & emergency plans in place if they are required.

How does the Award work?

The programme is made up of four sections (five at Gold). Over the required time you’ll need to do each activity for an average of an hour a week.

To achieve your Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award, you’ll need to show persistence, commitment and personal development.

Because Award programmes are all about getting out there, having fun and self-development, everyone can achieve something. You’ll find yourself helping people or the community, getting fitter, developing new skills, going on an adventurous journey and, at Gold level only, taking part in a residential activity.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award levels

Setting yourself up for success.

There are a lot of activities you may already be doing that can count towards your Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Here are a few examples to help get you started:


Coach or manage a sports team, fundraise for a charity, volunteer at the SPCA, become a leader at a youth club.


Participate in a team sport such as soccer or netball, athletics, skiing, kayaking, kickboxing, horse riding, running, dancing.


Play a musical instrument, learn a craft such as jewellery making, referee or umpire for a sport, learn sign language, drama or theatre skills.

Adventurous Journey or Exploration

This is something that you will plan for, it involves being part of a team and completing an expedition for a set number of days.

Residential Project (Gold Award only)

Attend a residential programme for five days and four nights with people you don’t know and undertake purposeful activity – helping at a youth camp, attend a youth event overseas.

Want to know more?

We would love to talk with you about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. You can contact us or also view our FAQs here.