Level 3 Outdoor Pursuits (L3OED)


The Level 3 Outdoor Pursuits Course is our flagship course designed for students who want to perform at a high level in Outdoor Pursuits. 

There is an emphasis on students acquiring the judgement and skills to be able to act with independence in the outdoors. There is a strong theme of personal adventure and most course modules are supported by an extended adventurous trip where the students can apply their learning whilst under direct supervision. 

Students are assessed against a combination of NZQA Achievement Standards and Unit Standards in Outdoor Recreation. 

What will I learn?

Students in the Level 3 OP course will have opportunities develop physical skills in a range of outdoor activities, as well as to learn and apply knowledge of group management, leadership, safety planning and evaluation.  

The practical pursuits will likely include:

Note: Actual programme may vary depending on availability of specialist instructors and access to specialist equipment. 

Learning takes place through a mixture of theory and practical instruction sessions, classroom discussion and individual research. One afternoon per week is allocated to practical lessons. There are several (optional) extended trips during the year, so a strong commitment to the course is required.

What should have been done already?

It is helpful to have prior outdoor experience, such as completing an OP course in Year 12, but there are no formal course pre-requisites.  We are able to provide challenge and extension for those students with existing skills and experience, as well as offer instruction at an introductory level for students new to any particular pursuit. 

We start the year with a whitewater kayaking programme, and it is desirable (though not essential) to have some kayaking experience. It is really helpful to know how to kayak roll prior to starting the course, but instruction in this skill will be offered (optional evening clinics) by our kayak instructors. 

How do I apply for a place in Outdoor Pursuits?

There are limited places available to do Outdoor Pursuits at MAC as class numbers and sized are limited to ensure we can offer a safe programme. 

Students who wish to be considered for a place in an OP class need to select it as a preferred course in their subject choices. We also strongly recommend prospective students complete the OP COURSE APPLICATION FORM which will help us in our selections. If we need to select students who will be offered places in L3OP then we will consider things such as aptitude for OP, fortnightly grade trends, attendance data, pastoral records and performance other school EOTC events (including L2OP if they are doing that course). 

Sometimes timetable constraints may also prevent a student from doing OP. 

We recognise that Year 13 is the last opportunity for students to do an OP course so we will strive to give a place to every student who has not previously done an OP course. 

Assessment outline


Assessment regulations

Most standards include an element of practical assessment that occurs during the outdoor sessions. Because of this, it is generally not possible to provide opportunities for reassessment. 

End of course qualification

Contributes to NCEA but is not a subject recognised for University Entrance (this will change in 2026). 

Where does this course lead?

Students who have completed Level 3 Outdoor Pursuits may consider studying Outdoor Education at tertiary level, which may lead to careers in adventure tourism, guiding and outdoor instruction. 

Indicative costs

A general course contribution is requested to cover the weekly costs associated with provision of transport, employing additional specialist outdoor instructors, admission costs to public venues, and hire of specialist outdoor equipment.

Overnight or extended trips are optional, and are costed separately. Fees for those trips are invoiced at the time of the trip. This includes the optional snowsports training programme in Term 3, for which a lesson package needs to be purchased directly from Cardrona/Treble Cone. 

For a breakdown of indicative course costs please see the OP Course Fees page.

The Outdoor Pursuits Student Handbook also contains more detailed information about the course, the costs, and the equipment required.

Examples of Level 3 OP trips




MAC has achieved AdventureMark certification for its Outdoor Pursuits programmes. This is an internationally recognised safety certification that confirms our school meets the highest levels of safety in adventure activities. This certification recognises our school’s long-standing commitment to safety in its delivery of our nationally renowned Outdoor Pursuits courses and applies to rock climbing and abseiling, white water kayaking, canoeing and rafting, mountain biking, canyoning, and alpine hiking activities.