Outdoor Recreation

Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation and Diploma of Outdoor Recreation

If you are looking for a fun gap-year option, or want to kickstart a career as an Outdoor Instructor, Avondale's courses in Outdoor Recreation may be just what you're looking for.

Avondale’s Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation and Diploma of Outdoor Recreation provide professional training in an exciting array of challenging adventure activities. The courses also offer nationally recognised competency-based training qualifications, designed to equip you for employment in outdoor recreation, tourism and education sectors. The Certificate III is also a great gap-year option.

The Outdoor Recreation courses are highly practical with much of the instruction for both courses taking place in the field, giving students the opportunity to travel around Australia. In the past, trips have involved: bushwalking in the Barrington Tops and the Snowy Mountains, sea kayaking around the Central Coast and Queensland, white-water paddling in Victoria and abseiling and climbing in the Blue Mountains.

Avondale has been providing professional training for outdoor guides and instructors since 2000 to both Australian and international students. We offer a unique combination of theoretical and practical resources that is highly respected within the national industry.

The Diploma of Outdoor Recreation course is also a pathway to further study in related higher education programs such as the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching.

VET FEE-HELP is available for eligible students studying the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation.

There are two pathways into the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation. The first is via Certificate III plus the appropriate Certificate IV units.

The second pathway allows you to submit evidence of previous outdoor recreation units you have completed and submission of a log of outdoor recreation experience. Based on this evidence you may be granted advanced standing that will gain you direct entry into the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation, or if the evidence provided does not fully meet the entry criteria you may gain entry into the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation by completing the requirements of a bridging course. If you are enrolled in the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation and in the event of unforeseen circumstances are unable to complete components of the bridging course, an assessment will be made by the course convener and ratified by the course committee with respect to your ability to successfully complete the Diploma based on evidence gathered during the partial completion of a bridging course. Either of these advanced standing pathways means you may be able to complete the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation in just one year.

For more information, call 02 49802159, or email study@avondale.edu.au .

Choose from the tabs below to learn more about Outdoor Recreation at Avondale.

Course Convenor

David Low

BEd Avondale, GradDip Griffith, MA(Hons) Griffith

Study Options

Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation (SIS30413)

one year full-time

The Certificate III is a full fee paying program across 3 teaching sessions. Where academic progress and skill development is satisfactory students who complete the first two sessions of the program (a specified cluster of units from Certificate III and the relevant units from Certificate IV) may be granted entry into the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation to complete the final session. This means you will have approximately 1.5 years of full-time study to complete the Diploma.

Diploma of Outdoor Recreation (SIS50310)

1.5 years full-time

Students in the Diploma has 4 teaching sessions with access to VET FEE- HELP. Students who can demonstrate sufficient knowledge via consultation with the course coordinator and have prior certification and/or industry based experience may be admitted directly into the second year of the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation with access to VET FEE-HELP. Some students may have to complete a bridging course prior to the commencement of the academic year to gain entry.

Course Structure

- Click here


  • Authorised by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)
  • Recognised under the National Framework for the Recognition of Training (NFROT).
  • Approved for Austudy/Abstudy/Youth
  • Approved as courses for overseas students

Entry Requirements

Entry into the Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation or the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation requires that a student demonstrate they have an interest in outdoor pursuits or a formal outdoor recreation qualification at a lower AQF level and are physically and academically suited to the course.

Specific course entry requirements are:
  • A Senior Secondary Certificate of Education that has been awarded to the student by an agency or authority of a State or Territory for the student's completion of year 12;
  • the student is assessed as displaying competence at or aboveExit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework* (ACSF) in both reading and numeracy; and Avondale reasonably believes that the student displays that competence.

Requirements For Overseas Applicants

In addition to the entry requirements listed above, overseasapplicants are required to satisfy Australian Government visa requirements.

Applicants from other countries will have their qualifications assessed by the Admissions Office. Applicants from a country where English is not the first language must demonstrate proficiency in English in one of the following ways:
  • Provide documentary evidence that secondary schooling was conducted in an English medium, and evidence of a satisfactory pass in English in a British O-level examination or local equivalent.
  • Obtain an overall IELTS score of 5.5 or better with no individual band score less than 5.5.


Field Trips

Much of the instruction for both courses takes place in the field. Trips can range from excursions of a few hours duration such as trips to local abseiling sites, to extended expeditions such as trips in the high country of the Snowy Mountains.

Work Experience

All students are required to participate in full-time work placement (Certificate III, minimum 2 weeks; Diploma, minimum 3 weeks) by the completion of the course. The Course Coordinator and training staff will assist in the organisation of this component.

Course and Unit Details

Avondale Policies

Avondale is committed to an environment of learning that supports the fullest possible human development. Accordingly, Avondale has policies regarding:

  • An alcohol-free, tobacco-free and drug-free campus
  • Anti-bullying and harassment



'Outdoor recreation brought me into contact with God in an outdoor setting and gave me the skills to be a leader and to guide outdoor recreation programs. It was an incredibly fun year in which I made friends that have become like brothers and sisters to me.'

Michael Bertolacci, Diploma of Outdoor Recreation, 2008


'Outdoor Recreation is a program that not only qualifies you to instruct and guide in the outdoors, but also develops adventure leadership skills that enable you to better lead and inspire others and yourself. The faculty are extremely knowledgeable, experience and willing to invest their time in you.'

Robby Morgan, Diploma of Outdoor Recreation, 2009

Career Information

Avondale Outdoor Recreation graduates find casual, part- and full-time employment in many capacities, including:

  • The retail camping sector
  • Sport and Recreation Centres - such as rockclimbing gyms
  • Camping and outdoor recreation centres
  • Wilderness adventure and camping tourism
  • Outdoor Education as part of a teaching career
  • Adventure therapy programs
  • Youth at risk programs
  • Vocational training
  • Guiding and instructing

The leadership and personal skills taught in the course are diverse and graduates find them useful in any career they choose.

Advanced Standing

Students successfully completing Certificate III or a specified cluster of units from Certificate III will gain entry into the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation. Students successfully completing the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation will gain advanced standing of up to one year of credit into a teacher education degree at Avondale.


Students who receive the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation are able to gain advanced standing into the Bachelor of Applied Science (Adventure Ecotourism) at Charles Sturt University, as per the agreement described here.

Financial Information

The tuition fee information in the table below is a guide in Australian dollars (AUD). Fees are charged for each unit in which a student needs to enrol and those who are granted advanced standing for the recognition of prior learning will have their tuition fee reduced by the relevant amount.


Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Annual Total Course
Australia & New Zealand $2,520.00 $2,460.00 $4,700.00 $9,680.00 $9,680.00
International - Other $3,431.00 $3,348.00 $6,393.00 $13,172.00 $13,172.00

Diploma in Outdoor Recreation Session 3
(previous year)
Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Annual Total Course
Australia & New Zealand $4,700.00 $4,700.00 $4,700.00 $4,700.00 $14,100.00 $18,800.00
International - Other $6,394.00 $6,395.00 $6,393.00 $6,394.00 $19,182.00 $25,576.00

Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (Fast Tracked) Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Annual Total Course
Australia & New Zealand $5,170.00 $5,170.00 $5,170.00 $15,510.00 $15,510.00
International - Other $7,034.00 $7,033.00 $7,034.00 $21,101.00 $21,101.00

For detailed information about the tuition fee for each unit in the Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation and the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation click on the relevant Fee Schedule Below.

Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation Fee Schedules


SIS30413 Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation Fee Schedule - 2016

Diploma of Outdoor Recreation Fee Schedules


SIS50310 Diploma of Outdoor Recreation Fee Schedule - 2016

VET FEE-HELP Information

If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent humanitarian visa holder, you may be eligible for VET FEE-HELP assistance in the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation course. VET FEE-HELP is a Commonwealth loan scheme that allows eligible students to defer payment of their tuition fees until they are earning the specified threshold.

Click on the icon for more information:

Living Costs

Avondale provides on-campus residence hall accommodation (including meals and internet access*), for further information, please visit the
On Campus Accommodation information page.

*Download limits do apply.

Service and Facility Fees

Service and Facility fees are an optional fee for any services and facilities provided to the student at either campus. These could include parking, printing credits, use of tennis or squash courts, etc.

Please see the Service and Facility Guide for the Lake Macquarie Campus for further information.

Student Employment

Employment opportunities are available on campus. Apply for work via our Student Employment Officer when you arrive on campus.
Diploma of Outdoor Recreation students undertake significant paid work as part of their course.

Payment Methods

All payment methods are listed on your Tuition or General Account Invoices, for more details please visit Payment Information.

Equipment and additional costs

The College provides all abseiling and canoeing equipment including personal flotation devices, canoes/ kayaks, helmets and harnesses.
Students are expected to provide:
  • Boots and neoprene booties
  • Sleeping bag
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Cook set
  • Torch, compass, first aid kit

It may be that some students will not have all this equipment at the start of the course in March, and for this reason, the College has negotiated substantial discounts for students in the course (15-20% off) through local retailers. A field trip to these suppliers is normally made during the first week of classes.

Option: Personal Injury Insurance

While personal insurance is not compulsory, students may wish to investigate the costs associated with obtaining some level of coverage.


For further information about the short course program, including the dates of the future courses, contact the short course coordinator:

David Low
(02) 4980 2159 (office) or 0410 627 093 (mobile)
Updated By: Brian Greentree