Adventure Activities

Purpose of this policy

To ensure that adventure activities are conducted safely.


Prerequisite policy


Schools must follow the Department’s guidelines and school excursion policies in planning, conducting and approving adventure activities.


An adventure activity is an activity that involves greater than normal risk which may include:

  • travel into a relatively undeveloped area of the country in which vehicle contact is difficult and/or uncertain
  • confrontation with natural environmental challenges requiring greater reliance upon personal resources than would normally be required in day-to-day life
  • less than normal contact by person or by telephone, with medical and other public services available in normal day-to-day life
  • exposure to the natural elements with less than the normal physical protection provided in day-to-day life
  • activities listed in the Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors  such as:
    • abseiling
    • artificial climbing and abseiling walls
    • bush walking
    • canoeing/kayaking
    • challenge ropes courses
    • cross country skiing
    • cycling
    • downhill skiing and snowboarding
    • horse riding
    • orienteering
    • overnight camping
    • rafting
    • recreational swimming
    • rock climbing
    • sailing
    • scuba diving
    • sea kayaking
    • snorkelling
    • surfing
    • water skiing
    • windsurfing.

Note: Bush walking, cycling and overnight camping may be considered adventure activities where they involve greater than normal risk (as outlined above) and in the circumstances outlined in the activity descriptions in the Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors.

Requirements for adventure activities

For adventure activities which do not have specific guidelines listed in the Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors, schools should refer to the Adventure Activity Standards (where relevant standards exist) and consider the greater duty of care that may be required for students see: Activities within Department resources

Information provided by community groups and organisations that specialise in the relevant adventure activities should be taken into account.

All adventure activities:

  • are to be treated as excursions regardless of whether they occur on school grounds or not
  • require the approval of the principal and the planning and guidelines relevant to school excursions apply see: Excursions: Planning and Approvals
  • must also be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors, which includes a planning and risk management process as well as specific activity guidelines.

Higher risk adventure activities

This table details additional requirements for the specified activities below

ActivitySchools must ensure that


  • novices must only attempt the simplest caves
  • only teachers and other adults with extensive caving experience lead and supervise students
  • there is a ratio of no more than five students to one instructor with a minimum of two excursion staff members always present
  • permission to enter caves is obtained from the appropriate land manager.

Flying or hot air ballooning

  • only commercial operators licensed to carry passengers are used for school organised activities.


  • gliding activities are only undertaken through gliding clubs. Activities may include:
    - ‘joyflights’, under the auspices of an Air Operator’s Certificate, with the glider pilot holding a Gliding Federation of Australia charter rating.  These flights are conducted under the terms of the Commonwealth Carrier’s Liability Act with an associated limited liability.  No membership of the Gliding Federation of Australia is required
    - ‘trial instructional flights’, which require becoming a daily member of the Gliding Federation of Australia.  The pilot must hold a minimum of a Gliding Federation of Australia Air Experience Instructor authority. These flights are conducted under the protection of the comprehensive range of Gliding Federation of Australia insurances.

Unsuitable activities

These activities are unsuitable for school students because of the potential risks involved:

  • bungee jumping
  • hang gliding
  • parachuting or skydiving
  • flying ultra-light aircraft.

Flying foxes

Flying Foxes may be erected at school camps provided that:

  • safety precautions are taken in its construction and maintenance
  • it can be locked or have the carriage removed when not in use
  • all students are carefully briefed on its use and associated dangers
  • staff supervise all use
  • a safety harness is always used.

See: Department resources

Related policies

Department resource