Adventure Therapy

A therapeutic approach which combines outdoor activities + connection with nature + group work and discussion.


We are New Zealand’s leading provider of Adventure Therapy services. Adventure Therapy is a great therapeutic approach for both youth and adults who want some support but would rather not be sitting in an office doing talk therapy.

What does an Adventure Therapy programme look like? Heading outside with a group of people with similar goals, facilitated by an experienced outdoor instructor and a qualified mental health professional. There is an outdoor activity that is matched to both the skills of the group and the theme for the day.

The theme of the day is targeted at what that specific group goals are, but could be around some of the following areas:

  • Self-worth and discovering strengths
  • Social confidence
  • Gaining skills to maintain hauora and personal wellbeing
  • Developing hope for the future
  • Managing emotions and triggers
  • Reconnecting with nature, culture, spirituality and personal values
  • An increased sense of wellbeing
  • Improved motivation and energy


At Adventure Specialties Trust we offer group programmes, including open enrolment programmes and community partnership programmes (read more about these below) in both our Auckland and Christchurch locations.

 We also offer one-on-one services; both mentoring and therapy.  This looks like meeting up with one of our staff, then heading off to do a low-key adventure (like a walk or easy mountain bike ride), with as much talking as you like along the way.



Our partnership programmes are exactly that. A partnership. We want to work with any therapeutic agency (school, NGO, community group) who would like to include adventure therapy as part of their own therapeutic services but don’t have the outdoor skills, experience, equipment or safety system to do so themselves. The agency could be working in any kind of therapeutic support including care and protection, youth justice, youth mental health, Māori mental health, social service agencies or specific therapeutic services.

As the agency you bring together the group, do the background individual work, set the Kaupapa, provide a mental health professional to co-facilitate the programme and hold the ongoing relationship and other support for the clients. We provide a fully registered and audited Safety Management System, all the equipment, food and transport if it’s needed, along with a fabulous facilitator that is a qualified outdoor leader to co-facilitate the programme with your staff member.

In most cases the agency will secure the funding to pay for the programme. In some cases we are able to work together to secure funding.

For more information about designing a partnership programme with us click here.



If you are someone looking for a programme for yourself or a whānau member, or if you are a professional with only one or two clients to refer – our open enrolment programme might be what you’re looking for.

We offer a range of different open enrolment programmes in both Auckland and Christchurch.  Some of them are funded by government agencies and have a specific criteria (eg. MSD and ACC), others are completely open and people pay to attend the programmes.  In some cases we have financial assistance available to the completely open enrolment programmes.

In our open enrolment programmes we provide two facilitators – one outdoor leadership specialist and one mental health professional.  Usually in these groups no-one knows each other before they meet the other participants on the programme.  Before starting the participant will have either an enrolment or referral form and meet with our mental health professional.  Safety is paramount and all participants need to be able to keep themselves and others safe on the programme.

For specific information about our open enrolment programmes in Christchurch click here, for Auckland click here.



We do also offer one-on-one services for individuals or families who are looking for a different approach to therapy.

This usually looks like heading out with our mental health professional for a walk, a bike ride or just to sit in nature – with as much talking as you would like!

With a family group, we can tailor-make an option that is going to suit the needs of the family.

Talk to us directly with any enquiries about individual or family work to see if we can provide something that would be useful.



All of our Adventure Therapy programmes focus on the following five outcomes:


Self Worth

Feel better about youself. Find out about what makes them special and what strengths you have to offer in a workplace. Practice more self-acceptance and self-compassion around your mental health and other challenges that you might face in life, without letting those challenges be barriers to working.


Tools For Hauora (health and wellbeing)

Gain and develop strategies that you can use in everyday life to help increase your physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Gain some specific confidence about managing your own wellbeing in the workplace.


Woven Into Community (Whanaungatanga)

Learn social and relationship skills which can help you to develop, maintain and strengthen relationships in your everyday lives and in workplaces. This includes communication, dealing with conflict, appreciating diversity, ask for and offering help, solving problems with others, and speaking in front of others.


Hope For a Future With Purpose

Discover energy and motivation to work towards the future you hope for and also your personal and work goals. Finish the course with some clear next steps towards work, training or work readiness.


Taha Wairua (Spiritual Wellness)

Explore your own spiritual identity (wairuatanga) and gain an understanding of how this increases your overall health and wellbeing. Discover a stronger connection to place (tūrangawaewae), and to nature.



From our Adventure Therapy programmes – youth and adult – in Auckland and Christchurch.

Click on any image to enlarge or view as a slideshow.

“We work with the most vulnerable families in the community.

… We work alongside low income families, families with historical and current abuse issues, families with on-going earthquake trauma and health issues… All our dealings with Adventure Specialties team in Christchurch have been positive and they have provided programmes which sit well alongside ours.”

Methodist Mission


“Kia kaha, Kia māia, Kia manawanui (Be strong, be brave, be steadfast.).”