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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I book on the internet or over the phone?
You can book online or by post/fax.

When does the balance need to be paid?
This is payable 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the course. In the event that the balance is not paid we will treat the booking as cancelled by the client and offer the course place for re-sale.

Can I book last minute?
Yes. The whole course fee is required to reserve a place for any booking made within 4 weeks of the commencement of the course.

We offer discounted courses to Taranaki School Groups

Can I pay by credit card?
No payments can be made by electronic transfer, cheque or cash

Who do I make cheques payable to?
Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre

Can I cancel a booking?
All cancellations must be in writing. They will be dealt with as stated in the terms and conditions of booking.

If I book a course non residentially, what does non-residential include?
Non residential means instruction only. You will need to provide your own meals and accommodation.

If I cannot attend the course I have booked can I let a friend come in my place?
Courses are per on numbers. As long as the numbers do not exceed the total booked it is ok.

Does the TOPEC insurance policy cover overseas courses?
You must organise your own cover for overseas courses or for NZ courses if you are not a NZ resident.

What happens if TOPEC cancel a course?
We will notify you not less than 5 days prior to the commencement of the course. In the event of a cancellation clients will be offered the choice of either a full refund of the course fee paid or another course on different dates.

Do I need to be insured to take part in any of the courses?
We strongly recommend you take out insurance against cancellation and curtailment of your course and accident and personal injury. TOPEC has public liability insurance.

What is included in the course fee?
Your room (normally shared) and full board unless we specifically state self catering or non-residential.
Use of specialist technical equipment and clothing.
All course transport. All instruction.

Do you cater for disabled visitors?
Our buildings have been modified and extended over many years. They have been adapted to give access to wheelchairs to some cabins. Access to the main areas of the centre and ablution blocks is possible.

When should I arrive at TOPEC
All course dates shown are inclusive activity days e.g. if your course is shown as 20-24 May you should arrive on the morning of May 20th (Rooms will not be available until 10.30 am). No self catering meal is provided on this first lunch.

Do I have to organise my own transport to TOPEC?
Yes. This is not included in the course fee. Directions to TOPEC are available by searching Google Maps TSB TOPEC

What meals are included in the course?
Meals can be self catered or semi catered ( food and cooking instructions supplied ) All food for meals, including breakfast, packed lunch and an evening meal are supplied if the semi catered option is chosen. Snacks, morning and afternoon tea should be supplied by you. For other options please contact us.

Do you cater for vegetarians / vegans/ specific dietary requirements e.g. gluten free?
Yes. Please contact us well in advance.

Can I cook my own food?
If you are attending any of our listed courses there are facilities for self catering. The Main lodge has a commercial kitchen, the Davidson lodge has a kitchette.

Do I have to stay at TOPEC if I want to attend one of the courses?
No, however it is advisable in most cases as last minute changes to timing can often happen due to weather, tides, river conditions.

If I know my course is going to include an overnight expedition do I need to bring my own food supplies?
No this will be catered for as part of your course fee and you will be issued with appropriate supplies to take away with you. Snacks are a good idea

Can I stay on after my course has finished?
Accommodation may be available at an additional cost. You can book this last minute (2-3 days before).

Can I stay at TOPEC if I am not on a course?
Yes, it may be possible to arrange. You should contact us to find out about availability for our lodges or cabins.

What happens at the end of a course?
Standard courses finish around 1pm on the last activity day ( Friday for a week course ). There is usually a debrief / review before departure and all gear is to be returned to stores. You should vacate your cabins by 12 pm.

Are there any age limits for courses?
For all our courses you must be over 8 unless otherwise specified.

What about under 8s
We do run a series of courses tailored for younger age groups. Please contact us.

If I am under 16 do I need to be accompanied by an adult to take part in a course?
We do not allow under 16 year olds on our adult courses but we do run a series of Young persons courses which may be suitable.
If you are aged 16 or 17 you do not need to be accompanied by an adult to take part in a course but your booking form must be signed by a parent or guardian.

Do you only run 5-day or 2-day courses?
TOPEC run taster sessions during the school holidays, which are a great opportunity to give an activity a go. These are ideal for families as well as individuals wishing to try out climbing, canoeing or skiing and operate for ages 8 or above. We also run skills courses which can vary in length dependant on your needs.

How fit do I need to be?
All of our courses assume a certain level of fitness. As a general rule the fitter you are the more you will get out of your course. Our winter courses are particularly demanding and consequently require higher levels of fitness. We reserve the right to curtail participation in (rare) extreme cases we may ask you to withdraw from activities if we feel your lack of fitness is causing excessive difficulties for you or other course members.

What will the weather be like?
It is hard for us to predict what weather conditions you will get. Our best advice is to keep your eye on the forecast before you travel and pack appropriately.

Will I get wet?
The quick answer is yes ! If you are on a paddling course then you may well get wet and be immersed in water. If you head into the hills or go rock climbing you may also experience rain. You will however be given access to appropriate specialist equipment that will mean this is not an uncomfortable or unpleasant experience, should it happen.

Do I need to be able to swim if I book a river / sea based course?
No. We ask however that anyone booking on a paddling course is water confident. You will find any other specific requirements listed with the course information.

What happens if there is no snow?
Unless advised otherwise your course will still run. The TOPEC instructors can cover the skills and techniques that will allow you to go out an enjoy the snow when it does come

Can I use my own equipment?
You are welcome to bring your own equipment and use it at your own risk and that it meets minimum safety standards as stipulated by TOPEC, however if our instructors consider you r equipment unsuitable they will provide you with technical equipment from our stores. With certain courses you must have your own equipment. Most hill/mountain courses require you to have your own map. Please see course notes.

Do I need to provide my own stove fuel?
If you use a TOPEC stove we will provide free fuel. If you prefer to use your own stove you must provide your own fuel.

If I bring my own kayak / canoe / bike is there somewhere I can store it?
Yes. Just let reception know when you arrive and they will advise you where to store it.

What can I do in the evening?
TOPEC staff do not remain at the centre each night unless a programmed activity is taking place. You must arrange your own activities, excursions or things to do. TOPEC staff can help you with possible ideas. TOPEC is within easy reach of New Plymouth with the attractions this has to offer.

Can I use the internet?
We can provide an internet service for clients staying at TOPEC. This will be on a nominal rate. Just ask at reception.

Can I get a mobile signal?
Reception is generally not that good at TOPEC although some providers do work e.g. O27

Can I watch television?
We do not have televisions in the rooms. We want to help you relax and unwind and get away from the pressures of every day life. A TV is available in the Main lodge and Davidson Lodge.

Can I get a weather forecast at TOPEC?
We obtain Met Service local mountain forecast including synoptic charts from the Met office each day. They are available in the main office area at 8.45am each morning. You are always welcome to pop in to check on the weather if you are passing.

Do you have female instructors?
Yes. However, staffing does change from year to year. we cannot guarantee this

Do you have a tuck shop?
Yes. You can buy basic refreshments (crisps, chocolate and drinks).

Do you ever sell any of the TOPEC equipment?
Yes. We occasionally sell of our equipment water equipment. We also occasionally sell harnesses, helmets, rock shoes and walking boots. Contact us or alternatively check the Trademe website for prices.

Do I have to share a room?
Most accommodation is in bunk cabins. Adults / teachers cabins are separate to students and can sleep up to four each.

Can I bring my dog?
We do not allow animals at TOPEC (except guide dogs). If you plan to stay overnight at TOPEC we recommend that you make alternative accommodation arrangements for your pets.

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