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Award Leader Training

Adventurous Journey Section

What's it all about?

The Adventurous Journey section gives participants the opportunity to do adventurous activities in new environments, as part of a group of four to seven participants. The idea is to take the group (which cannot be a family group) out of their comfort zones - to travel away from habitation, using any non-motorised mode of transport (which can be mixed to make the journey more interesting) - all while staying within a safe setting achieved through suitable training and supervision.

Non-motorised modes of transport include walking, cycling (not e-bikes), horse riding and self-powered water transport such as kayaking, rafting and canoeing.


What types of journey are involved?

There are three types of Adventurous Journeys:

  • Expeditions - a journey with a purpose (where most of the time is spent on the journey itself)
  • Explorations - a purpose with a journey (where most of the time is spent observing and collecting information relevant to the purpose - e.g. an outdoor scientific study or survey - and less time spent journeying from one place to another)

What are the requirements for an Adventurous Journey?

Participants are required to:

  • have a purpose - this needs to be something that encourages them to notice their surroundings. This could take the form of an arduous journey or other physical challenge (Expedition), or a practical research study (Exploration). Early on in the process, participants need to give thought to what their purpose will be and consider whether it relates to the interests and abilities of the other team members.
  • undertake the journey in a group of between four and seven young people.
  • involve all team members in planning and preparation for the trip.
  • camp in a tent or hut throughout the journey. If the journey is an Expedition, the group must camp in a different place each night. If the journey is an Exploration, the group can camp in one place (base camp) for the duration of the journey.
  • prepare a substantial meal each day.
  • undergo Training, then enough Practice Journeys to ensure they will be self-reliant and safe when they finally set off on their Qualifying Journeys.
  • pack and take equipment that is suitable for their journey and the environment they will be living in.

What's the process for planning and doing an Adventurous Journey?


Practice Journeys

Qualifying Journeys



How long does it take to complete an Adventurous Journey?

In addition to the 20 hours of structured learning required for Training, every Adventurous Journey (both Practice and Qualifying) has a required number of hours that participants must spend in 'purposeful effort'. This is defined as time spent towards accomplishing the purpose of the journey.

The time requirements will depend on the type of journey being undertaken and the level of the Award. The total hours of purposeful effort are made up of the time spent journeying and everything else that occurs throughout the journey - from loading the transport (e.g. horses, bikes, canoes) to setting up camp and preparing a meal. If the group arrives at their destination early, they can continue to explore around the area to make up the hours. The table below summarises the hours required for each level - which are the same for both Practice and Qualifying Journeys:

How far does the group have to travel?

Adventurous Journeys are defined by hours of activity (see table above) rather than by compulsory distance.

What are the requirements for direct entrants?

There are additional requirements for participants who are starting their Silver or Gold Awards without having completed any previous levels (this is known as 'direct entry'). These requirements are outlined in full here.

Who supervises and assesses an Adventurous Journey?


All Adventurous Journeys (both Practice and Qualifying) must be supervised by a suitably qualified and competent adult - known as the Supervisor - who is familiar with the Award, and satisfied that the participants are properly trained and equipped to undertake the journey. The Supervisor is responsible for the group's safety while on the journey, including 'shadowing' the group.  Although the International Handbook suggests that Supervisors make contact with their groups once a day, in New Zealand, our environment and terrain is particularly rugged, so 'shadowing' (i.e. following the group) is necessary for two reasons. Firstly, during the Practice journey to observe them in action and determine whether any additional training is required and, secondly, for safety reasons during both the Practice and Qualifying journeys. 'Shadowing' requires Supervisors to remain close enough to the group to prevent any dangerous, or potentially dangerous, actions or behaviour - the actual distance will vary according to the weather and terrain but, as a guideline, you should be able to hail the group if (for example) they are about to attempt to cross a swollen river and you want them to stop.

If certain aspects of the Adventurous Journey (such as the remoteness of the location, or the difficulty of the terrain) require a higher level of supervision,  Award Leaders are advised to use their organisation's Safety Management Systems to determine the appropriate supervision structure for the circumstances. The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award is not responsible for incidents caused by inadequate supervision or risk management. See the EOTC Guidelines 2016 or for additional guidance.


All Journeys need to be assessed by an Assessor - a responsible adult that is not a family member and who has considerable (usually three years or more) knowledge of the chosen activity - whose role is to 'shadow' the group in order to determine their competence during the journey. The Assessor will write an assessor's report upon successful completion of the Journey.

The Supervisor and the Assessor may be the same person.


Ready to take the quiz?!

Click the link below to go to the Adventurous Journey quiz, then log in using the username and password that were sent to you when you signed up for this online training. Forgotten your username or password? Email

Take the quiz!

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