Outdoor Guide & Instructor Training

Designed for aspirant outdoor guides seeking positive developmental instructor training for independent travel, adventure tourism industry work or lifes next chapter through Instructor and Guide Training

Our programs are at the forefront of adventure tourism training, offering comprehensive courses designed for those passionate about leading and inspiring others in the great outdoors. With a focus on outdoor instructor training, we equip individuals with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to safely guide participants through a variety of adventurous activities. Our tour guide training curriculum is tailored to those looking to excel in creating and delivering engaging, informative, and memorable experiences for travelers. Whether you’re aiming to start a career in the adventure tourism industry or looking to enhance your existing skills, our training programs provide the foundation and expertise required to succeed in these dynamic and rewarding fields.

One-day training costs: $250
Two-day training costs: $450

NZOIA Bush Leader, Bush 1 & Bush 2

Get knowledge, skills and experience becoming an NZOIA Bush Instructor

NZOIA Cave Leader & Cave 1

Get knowledge, skills and experience becoming an NZOIA Cave Instructor

NZOIA Alpine 1

Get knowledge, skills and experience becoming an NZOIA Alpine Instructor

NZOIA Kayak Leader, Kayak 1 & Multisport Kayak

Get knowledge, skills and experience becoming an NZOIA Kayak Instructor

NZOIA Abseil Leader, Rock Leader, Rock 1, Sport Climbing & Rock 2

Get knowledge, skills and experience becoming an NZOIA Rock Instructor

Leave No trace (LNT) Awareness Workshop & Trainer Course

Get knowledge, skills and experience becoming a Leave No Trace educator

Outdoor Education & Adventure Recreation

About the Outdoor Guide & Instructor industry

For many years SNM has guided and instructed for excellence outdoors and in nature. We exhausted many years of research to best meet needs of hopeful outdoor educators and the broader industry for coming decades. As the twenty first century unfolds, we help people better understand and engage with their world through excellence in Outdoor Guide & Instructor Training.

By blending ideas, practical experiences and modern issues; we train instructors and guides for the forefront in making a difference. Using integrated instructing and guiding approaches addressing change, our approaches increase a sense of connection to where we live and who we live with.

Promoting the highest Outdoor Guide & Instructor Training standards, we have supported outdoor education as a profession by using formal peer reviews thus improved our way of working collaboratively as Outdoor Recreation Guides/Instructors.

What is instructor & guide training?

Our Guide and Instructor Training is taught by qualified and experienced Outdoor Recreation Guides/Instructors. We give you the skills, knowledge and experiences to go on your own adventures and lead others. You will engage with natural landscapes to develop detailed understandings of instructing and guiding in the outdoor and tourism industry and what it means to our society now and for the future.

Develop your instructing and guiding then share your passion using unique combinations of theory and practice through proven talents in outdoor education.

You will learn effective Outdoor Guide & Instructor Training methods for teaching and helping others to engage with and respect our spectacular outdoor settings and instruct activities within it.


How much do guides & instructors get paid?

Pay for outdoor recreation guides and instructors is paid by hour, day, trips or salary and varies depending on experience, qualifications, and type of work. New entry-level outdoor recreation instructors usually earn minimum wage ($22.70/hr NZD) or $47,216 a year. Senior instructors with higher qualifications and experience can earn an indicative pay between $25-30/hr or $52,000-$62,400 per year often with an allowance for clothing and equipment. Social Nature Movement is a Living Wage employer, meaning we pay a minimum of $26/hr or $54,080 per year.


Experience guiding and leading groups outdoors

Are there many instructor & guide job opportunities?

Outdoor Guide & Instructor Job opportunities are average so what are the chances of getting a job? Chances of getting a job as an outdoor recreation guide or instructor are good because tourism is New Zealand’s largest export industry and is growing by 8% annually. If you are well-rounded with versatile skills and knowledge and able to work all seasons then you can expect plenty of work!

Outdoor recreation guides and instructors may work for:

  • tourism businesses
  • ski fields
  • polytechnics
  • schools
  • outdoor education/pursuit centres.


Guide & instructor progression & specialisations

Outdoor recreation guides and instructors may move into senior, management or training roles, or may set up their own guiding businesses. They may also teach at polytechnics or outdoor recreation centres.

Outdoor recreation guides and instructors usually specialise in an area such as:

  • Bungy jump masters who direct, supervise and control bungy jumping activities.
  • Canyoning guides who organise and lead canyoning trips.
  • Fishing guides who organise and run guided fishing trips for individuals or groups.
  • Horse trekking guides who organise and lead trips along beaches, parks and New Zealand’s back country.
  • Hunting guides who organise and run guided hunting trips for individuals or groups.
  • Mountain biking who guides organise and lead mountain bike tours.
  • Mountain or glacier guides who organise and run guided trips of mountains and glaciers.
  • Outdoor adventure instructors who provide education in outdoor adventure sports and bushcraft.
  • Rock climbing guides who teach different styles of climbing at indoor climbing walls or on guided climbing trips outdoors.
  • Ski field patrollers who provide a safe environment for skiers and snowboarders by ensuring conditions are safe, and educating visitors about mountain safety.
  • Trekking guides who organise and run guided bushwalking and trekking trips.
  • Whitewater rafting guides who organise and run guided rafting and kayaking trips on whitewater rivers.
  • Personal trainers/fitness instructors who help people improve their general fitness or train for special events through individual programmes or classes.
  • Divers who work underwater and may develop and maintain commercial structures, carry out marine searches and rescues, instruct dive students, do biosecurity work, and gather seafood.
  • Rangers who protect, enhance and maintain conservation and recreation areas such as regional and national parks, forests, wetlands, reserves, and sites of cultural importance.
  • Recreation co-ordinators who plan and run community leisure, before and after-school and sport programmes at venues such as recreation centres, parks, clubs and schools.
  • Tour guides who escort people on sightseeing, educational or other tours, and describe points of interest.


Guide and Instructor Training

What your instructor & guide training might cover

Outdoor Recreation Guides/Instructors may do some or all of the following during their Guide and Instructor Training:

  • Plan outdoor recreation activities and instruction programmes,
  • Assess risks involved in an activity, considering weather and different clients’ abilities,Lead, guide and instruct people taking part in activities,
  • Organise safety procedures including checking equipment, running rescue practices, and providing first aid if necessary,
  • Prepare recreation areas by doing things such as signposting or fencing off paths and hazards,
  • Organise bookings, transport, food and accommodation, and drive clients to activities,
  • Clean and store equipment after use
  • Keep logbooks of their trips.
  • Clothing and equipment,
  • Local conditions and weather
  • Logistics and safety management,
  • Cultural and environmental sustainability
  • Professional foundations and applications
  • Advanced Pursuits (Rock Climbing, Tramping, Kayaking, Caving etc.)
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Modern issues
  • The art and science of teaching and learning
  • Policy and planning
  • Resource management
  • Guide and instructor training content
  • Work independently without direct supervision,
  • Learn how to guide others confidently in outdoor pursuits,
  • Gain national awards as part of your engagement.
  • Work within an activity and site specific risk management plan,
  • Work nationally without a need for site induction,
  • Instruct advanced skills,
  • Develop and supervise programmes,
  • Prove knowledge and understanding of safety management plans and processes.

SNM Ethical Practices for guide & instructor training

Promoting standards of Outdoor Recreation Guide/Instructor professional behaviour and portrayals for practicing as outdoor professionals while Guiding and Instructing:

  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Industry Standards
  • Rapport with Clients and Public
  • Interpretation and Enforcement
  • Commitment to Positive Values in Environmental Issues

Guide and Instructor Training

Who needs instructor & guide training?

Our Outdoor Guide & Instructor Training s for Outdoor Recreation Guides/Instructors who have already developed their personal skills in a particular activity, have begun instructing and guiding others and who wish to become legitimate.

Our instructor and guide training will go through the major elements required for industry standards.

We help you identify any gaps before you take responsibility for others and attend assessments. Guide and Instructor Training. Outdoor Recreation Guide/Instructor.


Personal attributes for guide & instructor training

  • Guide and Instructor Training. Outdoor Recreation Guide/Instructor.
  • Mature, responsible and composed in emergencies,
  • Good decision-makers under pressure,
  • Patient, sympathetic and enthusiastic,
  • Confident, competent and able to inspire that in others,
  • Excellent instructors with good communication skills,
  • Good at planning, organizing and have problem-solving skills,
  • Able to work in a team,
  • Alert and observant.
  • Personal requirements

Guide and Instructor Training

Outdoor recreation instructors & guides need to be:

  • mature, responsible and able to stay calm in emergencies
  • able to make good decisions under pressure
  • patient, sympathetic and enthusiastic
  • confident in their own abilities and able to inspire confidence in others
  • excellent leaders with good communication skills
  • good at planning and organisation, with strong problem-solving skills
  • able to work as part of a team
  • alert and observant.

Useful guide & instructor experience

Useful experience for outdoor recreation guides and instructors includes:

  • paid or voluntary leadership of outdoor recreation groups
  • teaching, sales or customer service work
  • work involving contact with the public
  • first aid and accident emergency work
  • conservation work.
  • Physical requirements
  • Outdoor recreation guides and instructors need to have excellent fitness and health. They must be strong as they may have to transport equipment, walk, cycle, ski or ride long distances, or take part in a range of physical activities.

Guide and Instructor Training

Instructor & Guide Registration

Registration is not compulsory for outdoor recreation guides and instructors. However, they may choose to register with the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors’ Association (NZOIA) or join the New Zealand Register of Recreation Professionals (NZRRP).

Outdoor recreation guides and instructors who register their qualifications are re-evaluated by NZOIA every three years to ensure they are up to date with current standards.

  • New Zealand Outdoor Instructors’ Association (NZOIA) website – information on registration
  • New Zealand Register of Recreation Professionals (NZRRP) website – information on registration
  • Adventure tourism operators need to register with WorkSafe and pass safety audit inspections to legally operate.
  • Worksafe website – list of registered adventure activity operators

Guide & Instructor Skills, knowledge & experiences

Outdoor recreation guides and instructors need to have:

  • a high level of skill in their outdoor activity or activities
    knowledge of health and safety procedures relating to activities they undertake
  • outdoor survival and first aid skills
  • knowledge of weather conditions and geography in the area where they work.
  • Working conditions

Guide and Instructor Training

Outdoor Education & Adventure Recreation recreation instructors & guides

May work long and irregular hours, including weekends and nights
work at locations such as national parks, mountains, forests, caves, rivers, lakes and the sea
may work in hot, cold, wet, windy or dangerous conditions
may travel within New Zealand or overseas to areas where the outdoor activities take place.

People are drawn to education outdoors and adventure recreation. We are all happier in the outdoors; feeling better, sleeping better, time slows and the air feels good to breathe. That is why our instructor and guide training is not all about nature and pursuits. There are cultural activities and exchanges; sightseeing and touring; personal development; community and social events; free time and plenty of opportunity for exploration into one seamless program.

Your instructor and guide training will be split between intensive practical and theoretical training; gaining world-recognised guiding qualifications, plus industry experience in the adventure tourism industry. All this will give you the best entry into the instructing and guiding adventure industry with skill-sets for becoming a confident outdoor adventurer and global citizen. You will experience places most only dream of seeing.

We focus on meaningful experiential travel, immersing people in unique cultural environments, educating and inspiring them to reach goals, and encouraging personal development. Through adventure and exploration, we want to help your instructor and guide training through mental fortitude, internal confidence and external wellbeing.Guide and Instructor Training. Outdoor Recreation Guide/Instructor.


SNM’s approach to guide & instructor training

Our instructor and guide training philosophy threads through all our action-packed itineraries, encompassing developmental and educational ideas. We provide vast skills, great knowledge and huge experiences within an adventure travel context. We create cultures and ever-expanding levels of independence for you and others.

Each place and practice for instructor and guide training is chosen for your perfect ‘classroom’ toward personal development, immersive learning and managed challenges.Guide and Instructor Training. Outdoor Recreation Guide/Instructor.


Guide and Instructor Training

How to enter instructor & guiding jobs

Entry requirements
There are no specific entry requirements to become an outdoor recreation guide or instructor. However, a diploma in outdoor recreation (Level 5 or 6) may be useful.

Outdoor recreation qualifications from Skills Active Aotearoa or the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors’ Association (NZOIA) may also be useful.

Skills Active Aotearoa website – information on outdoor recreation qualifications
New Zealand Outdoor Instructors’ Association (NZOIA) website – information on outdoor recreation instructor qualifications
You must also have a high level of skill and experience in the relevant outdoor activity.

Skills Active Aotearoa oversees outdoor recreation instructor apprenticeships.

Skills Active Aotearoa website – information on outdoor recreation instructor apprenticeships
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Oranga Tamariki website – information on Vulnerable Children Act requirements
Secondary education
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become an outdoor recreation guide or instructor. However, geography, physical education and English are useful.

Year 11 to 13 students can learn more about the outdoor recreation industry by taking part in a school and workplace partnership through Skills Active Aotearoa.

Skills Active Aotearoa website – information on school programmes and workplace partnerships

Check out our booking tab, click the book now button or make a trip enquiry.

Get help booking. Have questions? Click our FAQ’s, call a specialist (0800 76 62 66) or message one (support@snm.nz)

DoE Gold Residential Project

Guide and Instructor Training Credentials

SNM are NZOIA qualified guides and members.

Promoting excellence in outdoor instruction and guiding through qualifications for professionals since 1987. Our instructors can organise, instruct and lead multisport kayaking on flat water and moving water up to and including class II. Our team have awards in both whitewater and multisport instruction.

Adventure Mark
SNM are externally audited in Adventurous Activities.

AdventureMark™ is New Zealand’s largest adventure certification body. They work with over 200 operators here in New Zealand and in several countries worldwide providing our health and safety audit and adventure certification services across the globe.

DOC Concessionaire
SNM are registered DOC Concessionaires.

The Department of Conservation is the public service department of New Zealand charged with the conservation of New Zealand’s natural and historical heritage.

Leave No Trace (LNT) NZ
SNM are Master Educators in Leave No Trace (LNT) Outdoor Ethics.

Leave No Trace New Zealand seeks to educate and challenge the New Zealand public and visitors on how and why to minimise their environmental impacts while enjoying natural and cultural heritage areas.

Tourism Industry Association TIA
SNM are Tourism Industry Association (TIA) members.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) is the only independent association that represents all sectors of New Zealand’s large and diverse tourism industry