Recently, more educators have argued for the need to attend to both the cognitive and the affective aspects of fieldwork in geographical and environmental education. Experientially based studies are seen as particularly valuable in understanding the fieldwork experiences of both students and teachers and what meanings they have derived from such experience. This study is a qualitative case study of two geography field trips for Secondary Four (Year 10) students of mixed abilities in a Hong Kong School. The teachers, focusing on the affective outcomes of fieldwork, were determined to let students attain unusual and memorable experiences by undergoing adventurous activities. The results revealed that while most students generally felt excited and delighted over the challenge, a number of students decided to withdraw from the experience. Students of higher academic achievement appeared to be more critical. Their frustrations were often related to academic learning and the lack of a collective learning atmosphere on the trips. The experience was characterized by a tension of purpose between academic learning on one hand, and fun and excitement on the other. Copyright © 2000 The authors.