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Dick & Pip Smith Leadership Through Adventure Fund

Iron Cove Venturer Scout Unit’s

7th New Zealand Expedition


Earlier this year the Iron Cove Venturer Scout Unit (made up of 6 youth members, 3 leaders and 1 adult helper) completed their 22-day adventure travelling around the South Island of New Zealand, with the youth assisted financially by the Dick & Pip Smith Leadership Through Adventure Fund.

The adventure was a mix of Venturer Scout-relevant experiences, including two of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”, an overnight heli-trek on Fox Glacier, knife making and the opportunity for other adventurous activities in Queenstown.

The adventure advanced each youth member’s personal progression and Outdoor Adventure Skills with demonstration of organisation, teamwork and time-management. Members managed their own personal gear, finances, food shopping, sorting, meal planning and lightweight packing for hikes. They managed many risks also, in different situations that presented including the weather, changing terrains and their personal interactions.

It was surely an adventure for both youth members, leaders and helper. Here are what they shared with us in their reflections:

“My favourite activity of the trip was the overnight trip to Fox Glacier and Chancellor Dome. The walk up the mountain to the summit was challenging and exciting, it pushed me both physically and mentally in many tough and scary situations that pushed me out of my zone of confidence.” – Matthew

“Originally I didn’t want to go on the trip… but I’m glad I did. As it was the greatest experience of my life so far. The trip to New Zealand really helped me build my confidence, gain new experiences and generally as a person. The people who I went with have made this trip extra special. They were all awesome, kind and supportive. The trip also helped me to start to enjoy hiking along with the serenity and solitude it brings and inspired me to have a look at becoming a black smith/blade smith later on in life. I will recommend others to experience a trip similar to Iron Cove Venturer [Scout] Unit NZ expedition – it is truly one of the greatest experience of my life.” – Nate

“I really enjoyed going to New Zealand. It was my first time traveling overseas without my family. I felt independent and enjoyed the sense of responsibility of looking after myself. The walks were long and challenging at times. Being part of a group that all encouraged each other helped me get through the tougher parts and not give up. We finished the hikes as a team. I finished the walks with a sense of achievement. I loved being a part of the group, planning meals, shopping and cooking together. The knife making course and ice climbing were the highlights for me as I learnt new skills and challenged myself. I feel very lucky to have been part of this fantastic group of people and experienced an incredible adventure together.” – Hugh

“The Iron Cove Venturer [Scout] Unit 7th NZ expedition was one of great fun and learning experience. Everyone came together as a team and built skills through our new experiences. We learnt lessons such as how much food we really need to bring on hikes through the trial and error of The Stroll (not enough food) and Rakiura (slightly too much) as well as things like weight distribution and clothing. Through the Fox Glacier we learnt cool new things about the environment around us as well as how hard it is to track through snow with crampons on, but the view from the top was very much worth it… Overall definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so glad that I went.” – Arabella

My favourite part of the trip was our expedition up Fox Glacier and Chancellor Dome. It proved challenging and yet provided the opportunity to practise abseiling/climbing skills in a new environment… On the first day we utilised a mixture of hiking/climbing to get to the summit, before sliding back down part of the way on the snow. The trek up was difficult as some of the less compact snow would continuously shift beneath our feet causing us to slip. The second day provided the opportunity to ice climb in crevices, which was a first for many of us. It was a unique experience to be lowered into the ice and climb out and we couldn’t resist a second turn before we headed back into town by helicopter.” – Aiden

“The Iron Cove Venturer [Scout] Unit NZ expedition trip has taught me to expand my horizons. Being away from home and my family for the longest time in my life, has helped me strengthen my perseverance and the importance of community. It bought out a better self from me and opportunities to adapt to new experiences every day.” – Charlie

The founder of Iron Cove Venturer Scout Unit and adult helper of the 7th NZ Expedition – Fossil (Peter Blakeney) recently celebrated his 55th anniversary with Scouting. He shared some of the insight from previous and recent expeditions with us.

“We have walked in sunny balmy breezes to full scale blizzards, walked up to our waist in water. Nearly had to spend a night on Fox Glacier because the weather closed in and the helicopters could not fly. Ice climbed, ate a lot of Hokey Pokey Ice-cream, forged knives from steel. Swam in very cold water and been eaten alive by sand flies.”

“Summing up, I think that every moment of these expeditions has been more than worthwhile and I look forward to the next one in two-years time – and it gets them off their mobile phones for short periods.” – Fossil (Peter)

Dick & Pip Smith Leadership Through Adventure Fund (LTAF) was launched in July 2022 by Dick Smith to provide grants to youth members or project patrols to undertake activity skills and leadership training, adventurous journeys and expeditions.

If you are planning your adventure for next year and you would like to find out more how LTAF can assist financially to the adventure, download the LTAF Application Form and Guide in completing your application or email LTAF@scouts.com.au.

Some photos and video from the Iron Cove Venturer Scout Unit 7th NZ Expedition