A reference list of accessibility keys Careers New Zealand home page Sitemap Search the website About us Contact us govt.nz Jump to content Jump to site navigation main-menu Left column sub navigation menu Jump to page header Jump to page footer Jump to right-hand column

Tour Guide

Kaiārahi Rōpū Haere

Tour guides escort people on sightseeing, educational or other tours, and describe points of interest.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

What are the chances of getting a job?


Chances of getting a full-time job as a tour guide are poor due to low demand for their services and few job openings.

According to Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of tour and museum guides decreased by about 3% between 2010 and 2012.

Summer best for finding work

It is easier to get work between November and April, when more tourists visit New Zealand, but those jobs are often casual, and the amount of work depends on bookings. Little work is available in New Zealand for full-time guides between May and October.

Communication skills and foreign languages help your chances of getting work

Employers prefer tour guides who have:

  • a good knowledge of New Zealand history, geography and culture
  • the ability to convey this knowledge appealingly to a wide range of clients
  • some ability to speak a foreign language.

Varied employers

Employers of tour guides include:

  • private tour companies
  • museums
  • wildlife sanctuaries and some government departments, such as the Department of Conservation (ecotour guides).

Tour guides may run their own businesses and market their services directly to the public, or to tour companies.


  • Department of Labour, ‘2003-2013 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2013.
  • ProGuides New Zealand website, accessed June 2014, (www.proguides.co.nz).
  • Tourism New Zealand website, accessed June 2014, (www.tourismnewzealand.com).

Current vacancies

Tour Boat Skipper Listed: 05 Dec 2014 Otago
Punter/Tour guide Listed: 12 Dec 2014 Canterbury
Coach Driver/Tour Guide Listed: 11 Dec 2014 Canterbury
Shop Supervisor and Tour Guide Listed: 01 Dec 2014 Canterbury
LOTR/Hobbit Tour Guide Listed: 28 Nov 2014 Otago
Kayak guide Listed: 17 Dec 2014 West Coast
Chinese Tour Manager (Long Term) Listed: 16 Dec 2014 Canterbury

Other vacancy websites

Progression and specialisations

Tour guides can go on to work as:

  • consultants to tourism businesses
  • managers, marketers or owners of tourism businesses
  • tour package co-ordinators.

How many people are doing this job?

Year 2012
Year 2011
Year 2010
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.

Zane Smith looking through a bookings folder in his office

Tour guide work is usually busy during summer and quiet at other times

Zane Smith beside the blowhole at Punakaiki

Eco-tour guides need to understand natural phenomena such as the blowhole at Punakaiki

Tony Kuepfer, right, standing talking to a group of museum tour guide trainees, in Te Papa museum

Tony Kuepfer, right, instructing a group of museum tour guide trainees, in Te Papa museum

Updated 23 Jul 2014