Tour guide training FAQ
- What is the knowledge for tour guides program?
- Do I have to do this course?
- Will the course replace the current Tour Operator Workshop held in the park?
- How much will the course cost?
- How long will the course take to complete?
- Who is running the course?
- Can I complete the course remotely?
- What is Learnline?
- What about participants who don't have a computer?
- Is the course compulsory?
- How will participants be assessed?
- What will participants receive?
- Is the training a permit requirement?
- I've been a tour guide for years, why do I need a certificate?
- I already have my Certificate I/II/III/IV in Tour Guiding, do I have to do this course?
- I guide in Kakadu National Park and only go to Uluru-Kata Tjuta once or twice a year; do I have to do both courses?
- Will international or interstate guides escorting tour groups, or guides on extended tours through the NT, have to do the course?
- How can I obtain more information or register my interest to do the course?
- How do I find a step on guide?
To support high standards, tour guides working in Kakadu or Uluru-Kata Tjuta national parks must complete a special entry-level training course. The course is called 'Knowledge for Tour Guides', or you might hear it discussed as 'tour guide training' or 'tour guide accreditation'. It is delivered by Charles Darwin University and you can do the training online or in person.
The course must be completed by the person who will maintain primary responsibility for the tour group's safety and the person giving the group park information while they are in the park. In most cases this is the tour guide.
This entry-level training covers the key areas of visitor safety, understanding the parks' natural and cultural values and history, minimising environmental impact and legal compliance. Park staff, Aboriginal traditional owners and the tourism industry have been consulted in developing the course.
Charles Darwin University is delivering the course using a range of interactive, flexible learning tools, including a CD ROM with audio and visual learning aids, and an online discussion forum. The course is also available in print format or it can be delivered face to face by special arrangement with the university (there is a small cost involved).
A specific course has been developed for each park. The Kakadu course was released in November 2006 and the course for Uluru-Kata Tjuta was released in August 2009.
If you intend to work as a tour guide at Kakadu or Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, you should complete the training. The course must be completed by the person who will maintain primary responsibility for leading the group while they are in the park (the person giving the information to the group) - in most cases this is the tour guide.
At Kakadu this has been a requirement since 2008 and at Uluru the requirement has applied since 2011.
The training is an important part of giving every visitor a great experience and ensuring their safety. It will provide tour guides with great stories to share with visitors and because it is delivered online the training can be done wherever and whenever you like.
If it is not possible for a tour guide to do the course, the tour operator can hire a step-on guide who has done the training. Each park keeps a list of accredited step on guides - contact the relevant park to find out more.
See also question 17: Will international or interstate guides escorting tour groups have to do the course?
The Knowledge for Tour Guides course has replaced the basic training content of the tour operator workshops in both parks. In the future traditional owners and park staff will continue to hold the popular park-based tour operator workshops/seminars. The Knowledge for Tour Guides course will be a prerequisite for attendance at the workshops, which will no longer include basic training. The content of the park-based workshops will be enhanced to provide a more in-depth experience of local culture.
Course fees are payable to Charles Darwin University upon enrolment. Fees for guides with a Northern Territory address are $168 for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park unit and $210 for the Kakadu National Park unit.
The NT Government provides a subsidy for NT residents. Course fees for interstate guides are $400. Please contact CDU for details of the fee if you are an international guide.
Because of the flexible nature of delivery, tour guides will undertake learning at their own pace and have up to 12 months to complete the course from the time of enrolment. Much will depend on the participant's existing knowledge of the subject matter.
Charles Darwin University advises that the course may require up to 100 contact hours. However depending on the participant's experience and prior knowledge, completing the course may take a significantly shorter period of time. A number of guides have reported completing the assessments in a matter of days.
Individual support will be available to assist participants to work through the materials and learning and assessment activities. The Charles Darwin University coordinator will have more details.
Participants will be enrolled through Charles Darwin University's School of Tourism and Hospitality in the Interpret Aspects of Local Australian Indigenous Culture unit.
Yes. The content of both the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu Knowledge for Tour Guides courses can be learnt via CD ROM with audio and visual learning aids and an online discussion forum. The course materials can also be made available to students in print format or can be delivered face to face by arrangement with the university.
Assessment responses can be emailed or posted to the School of Hospitality and Tourism at Charles Darwin University. Alternatively guides can complete their assessments orally over the telephone, by making an appointment with the relevant course coordinator.
Learnline is used by Charles Darwin University to make subjects available online. Learnline allows participants to undertake interactive learning activities, download information and link to other websites. Participants can also view their progress and participate in online class discussion.
The course materials are also available in print through CDU.
If you intend to work as a tour guide in Kakadu or Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, you must complete the training. The training is compulsory for the person that maintains primary responsibility for a tour group while they are in the park (the person providing the information to the group).
In Kakadu this has been a requirement since 2008 and in Uluru the requirement has applied since 2011.
The training is an important part of giving every visitor a great experience and ensuring their safety. This applies whether the company visits the park only once a year, or more frequently.
If it is not possible for a tour guide to do the course, the tour operator can hire a step-on guide who has done the training. Find out about finding a step on guide.
Tour guides can complete the course at their own pace. They do not need to attend classes. This is a flexible program where all the tools needed to complete the course are supplied at the time of enrolment. This means that guides can complete their assessment questions through whichever means they are most comfortable with - be it written or video/audio recordings, by email, in an interactive workshop, face-to-face or over the phone.
Participants will be assessed by the Tour Guiding Trainer and Assessor from CDU's School of Hospitality and Tourism.
Course participants who successfully complete the tour guide training course will receive a nationally-recognised Statement of Attainment from Charles Darwin University.
Once a guide has completed the Kakadu course, they should contact the Bowali Visitor Centre on (08) 8938 1120 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request their tour guide ID card.
Course participants at Uluru are eligible to be part of Uluru-Kata Tjuta's Accredited Guide Network. Guides will receive a park ID Card and regular newsletters that contain information they can use to enhance their tours.
Yes. Under the permit conditions for businesses working in Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta, tour operators must make sure the person who maintains primary responsibility for the tour group and the person providing information to the group has completed the training. In most cases this is the tour guide. This is similar to the condition that requires the tour guide to hold a Senior First Aid Certificate.
The information presented to visitors by tour guides directly impacts on visitor safety and experience.
The training has been specifically developed by Charles Darwin University using information collected by Parks Australia on behalf of the Aboriginal traditional owners of the two parks. Each course is specifically tailored to the respective park.
The entry-level tour guide training course has been developed to ensure that the information presented to visitors is of the highest standard, and is part of a broader move towards industry-accredited national benchmarks in education and training
Yes. While tour guides who have already completed a nationally accredited tourism qualification may have successfully completed the elective unit Interpret Aspects of Local Australian Indigenous Culture, the Knowledge for Tour Guides courses have been developed with information specific to guiding in Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta national parks.
Guides need knowledge specific to each park to maximise safety, compliance and the accuracy of information provided to park visitors.
While credit transfer and recognition of prior learning are available for the unit Interpret Aspects of Local Australian Indigenous Culture, successful completion of the assessment sections of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu tour guide training courses will be required to gain certification from Parks Australia to guide in either of these parks.
16. I guide in Kakadu National Park and only go to Uluru-Kata Tjuta once or twice a year; do I have to do both courses?
Due to the differences between Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks, most of the content in each course is park-specific. Tour guides operating at both parks who are responsible for the safety and welfare of visitors will need to show that they understand these differences by successfully completing both certificates.
Those who complete the training for Kakadu, and then undertake the training course for Uluru-Kata Tjuta, will be enrolled in a unit called Research and Share General Information on Australian Indigenous Culture. Similarly, those who initially undertake the training for Uluru-Kata Tjuta, will be enrolled in this second unit, which will equip them with knowledge specific to Kakadu.
17. Will international or interstate guides escorting tour groups, or guides on extended tours through the NT, have to do the course?
All tour guides with primary responsibility for visitors at Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta are required to have successfully completed the entry-level tour guide training course. Foreign language speaking guides who are contracted by commercial tour operators to communicate with non English speaking clients need to have completed the course as they are the primary guide delivering safety and interpretive information to these clients. Alternatively, a foreign language speaking guide translating information from an accredited guide is acceptable.
Visiting international or interstate guides escorting tour groups, or guides on extended tours, can use the services of a trained step-on guide if they have not successfully completed the course themselves. Each park has a list of trained local step-on guides who can provide high quality interpretation, some in languages other than English. Find out about finding a step on guide.
All visiting international guides escorting tour groups must have the relevant work authority to work in Australia. Visit www.immi.gov.au/immigration/coming-to-australia/ for details.
For contact details and how to enrol visit our contacts page.
To find a step on guide please get in touch with the contact officer for the particular park.