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Wellington Caving Group

Trip Leaders Guide

Tip: print this page off to use as a checklist This guide is to make it easy for trip organisers to run a great trip for WCG. The trip organiser may, or may not, lead the actual caving trips, but does have to ensure that an appropriately skilled and experienced person does take responsibility for the underground activities.

(Note trip leader and trip organiser are used interchangeably below, cave leader is used to refer to the person who takes the trip underground.)
  • The trip leader is a coordination and delegatory role.
2012-10-19 19.35.18 DSCF1757 Moira Lipyeat.jpeg: 4320x3240, 3172k (2012 Nov 06 00:00)

The trip leader's main tasks are to

If you are initiating or recommending a trip that is not on the calendar also select a few possible dates and check with the committee that it fits into the programme schedule.

A trip leader has the prerogative to decide who can take part in a trip. The trip leader does not have to accept late enrolments for a trip. Trips may be for members only. In general members get priority over non members for places on a trip. The trip leader can refer people to the committee initially through the Event's coordinator or President regarding trip participation.

Set a firm date (generally the Monday before the trip) after which anyone pulling out still needs to pay for their share of the shared food and if necessary transport. Make sure everyone knows about this.

See also

Be the point of contact

People like to be able to plan ahead and will come on trips if there is sufficient information and they perceive it is well organised. Ensure your contact details are available, perhaps adding a profile to our members information page.

Publicise the trip

Publicise the trip in SumpThink by advising the editor of the trip itinerary, your contact details etc. Make sure the information on the website events page is correct, and updating it as required. Closer to the date email members using our email groups to tell them about the trip, and later to remind them.

  • consider adding a page about the event to our events page, and link your trip to it (see previous examples).

Cavers, permissions, access, location, transport

The first port of call for information about caves, access, accommodation, and equipment required is our Database Officer. Talk to trip leaders or cave leaders who have been there previously, check out trip reports in SumpThink or on the website. The TomoTimes and NZSB

Also see, and update the accommodation and transport information on the website.

  • Ensure that cave maps, directions to the parking area, and location of the cave are obtained.

To make trips economical, and in fact more friendly, the trip organiser can facilitate the sharing of transport. Sometimes this allows the driving to be shared which can make the trip safer. Find out from participants if they require or can supply transport. See trip transport for indicative costs that could be shared at the discretion of the driver. Remember that a lot of the places we stay don't have cell coverage, so make sure at least the driver of each car knows where to go as last minute directions may be impossible.

Trip financials

WCG prefers that fees for accommodation and cave access are paid to the trip leader who then accounts for them and makes sure they are paid appropriately.

Most trips will have trip fees. These include

  • accommodation
  • cave access fees
  • food
  • contribution to the trip kitchen kit
  • trip organiser's expenses (eg toll calls)
  • use of rope - this is a donation, either a gold coin or a beer / wine

Round trip fees up to the nearest $1, $2, or $5. Any excess is returned to the club for use in maintaining club gear, first aid kit, kitchen kit, etc.

Tip: Ask club members to pay in advance (directly into the WCG bank account (03-0502-0001003-000), or bring a cheque book to avoid handling cash.

Trip leaders can deposit trip fees into the club account and the club treasurer can write cheques as required.


Determine participants experience levels and if they have suitable gear for the trip. (Talk to the caving leaders to ascertain what this would be). If you don't know the person ask what other trips they have been on and if necessary check with previous caving leaders.


Participants self cater breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. On weekend trips the tradition is that the trip organiser supplies the Saturday night meal, including dessert, and are recouped as part of the trip fee. On longer trips trip participants or groups of trip participants may be asked to bring a meal for the party, with costs being divvied up. Some trips, such as the Easter trip to Paturau, are fully self catering. If your cooking something that needs grated cheese, be aware there probably won't be a cheese grater, so either bring one yourself or buy grated cheese.

WCG has a kitchen/brew kit which includes (to be supplied). The trip leader also often has to arrange or delegate the bringing such items as toilet paper, milk, even light bulbs. These items are venue dependent.

WCG has a first aid kit that should be brought on all trips. Ask trip participants if they have a current first aid certification.