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Navigation and Survival

Comprehensive bush craft, navigation and survival courses

We also know from experience that the two go hand-in-hand, so rather than offering seperate courses, we combine the two for maximum impact and engagement.

We help you gain skills, knowledge and experiences in outdoor environments. It is centred around helping you answer the question “Where you are on the map based on the features around you and what you can do and use if the first question fails?”

No matter which experience you choose, your SNM guides will inspire you, encourage you and support you through each step of your journey so you can push your limits and reach new achievements with each experience. Adventure is for everyone, and each experience offers opportunities to try something new.

Help yourself find your way around the outdoors

Planning your route on a map is one thing, but knowing where to go when you’re out there is a whole other matter. It is essential that you know how to find your way to your destination, and even more important to know how to make it home safe.

An excellent way to challenge yourself and build your natural resourcefulness. Our campcraft, survival and navigation courses give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to do more with less and thrive in the New Zealand bush.

Natural Navigation

Taking your cues from the natural world, you’ll learn how to build a campfire, shelter and bed, and discover how to use trees and other organic landmarks as life-saving navigational tools.

If you want to learn fundamental survival skills, this is the course for you.

The course is conducted entirely outdoors in a stimulating and safe environment from an improvised base camp. You will receive professional outdoors adventure training that develops your ability to survive in the New Zealand bush, using only the resources nature provides.

Our Survival Bush course is not designed to test physical toughness, but to increase your knowledge through experience.

Serious survival

Our training environment is designed to help people from all backgrounds develop their confidence and skills – and enhance their ability to stay alive when the unexpected happens.

Anyone at any stage of life could one day be caught in a life or death situation. You could be lost in the bush as night falls or battling ocean waves after a boat or plane mishap. Could you cope?

Training individuals and teams to stay safe – even when they’re facing extraordinary challenges – is central to our mission. We believe people can only learn a certain amount from books, manuals or videos. Helping them discover their internal capabilities, and equipping them with the knowledge to make good decisions, is what we do.

What you will learn

We cover trip planning, NZ weather, packing and gear requirements for extended trips. But the focus is learning how to navigate using topographic maps. Depending on location, you will also get river crossing training. You will learn all the skills you need to go multi-day tramping in New Zealand safely with advanced tramping skills and includes in-depth weather education.

Our courses, workshops and expeditions span a range of specialist knowledge and skill-sets, from plantlore, foraging, wilderness/ expedition cooking, wildlife tracking and trailing and axe use, through to traditional winter, jungle, desert, riverine and coastal travel, using traditional techniques, modes of transportation and the insights provided by indigenous elders. Carefully designed for maximising the transferal of skill and knowledge, these courses are ideal opportunities for you to gain intensive professional tuition of highly applicable wilderness skills.

Our navigation and survival courses are for people who are looking to extend their foundational compass and map reading skills and gain confidence in the NZ backcountry. Delivered in classic New Zealand wilderness, this course includes advanced map & compass skills, travelling in steep terrain, NZ weather, route planning and bush survival skills.

This is a popular course for adventure racers, mountaineers and trampers that are getting into more serious, off-track terrain or those looking to build confidence & survival skills in the New Zealand backcountry. This course is also suitable for professional instructors training towards NZOIA Bush qualifications.


Check out our booking tab, click the book now button or fill an enquiry here.

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Navigation and survival content

Knife work
Knots and lashing
Building natural shelters
How to light fires
Build search & rescue fires
Collecting and purifying water
Identify edible plants
Using a knife for survival purposes
Making a signal fire for rescue
Making traps and snares
Identify edible plants
Processing small game
Cooking dinner on open fire

We select the best staff for the job based on their skills, knolwedge and experiences. They will be an SNM staff member or we will bring in support from equally competent contractors. Sometimes we also bring in (semi)celebrity guests!

This changes depending on what we do and where we go, but generic items are:


  • Thermal bottom leggings (polypropylene),
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Swimwear
  • Socks
  • Thin merino shirt / thermal (polypropylene) shirt x 2
  • Fleece jumper x1
  • Woolen jumper x1
  • Insulation jumper x1 (fleece, down, synthetic)
  • Wind and Rain-proof Jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Warm beanie
  • Neck warmer / scarf
  • Warm gloves
  • Wind and Waterproof Jacket
  • Wind and Waterproof Pants


  • Compass
  • Map
  • Jandals
  • Closed-toe footwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries
  • Personal medication
  • First Aid kit
  • Water bottle,
  • Head torch,
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping mat
  • Matches/lighter
  • Cooker and fuel
  • Cutlery
  • Watch
  • Binoculars
  • Knife / multi tool / swiss army knife
  • Tent / Shelter / Fly / Bivouac
  • Walking poles
  • Day pack / mission bag
  • Waterproof pack liner
  • Pack rain cover
  • Backpack to put all of the above in

All of the above is available to rent / hire or buy


One staff

Staff carry:

First Aid Kit
Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
Emergency shelter
Repair kit