Alice Orr – Graduate Story

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Graduate Story – Alice Orr 

Adventure Tourism Management graduate, Alice Orr, has adventure running through her veins. 

She started working for the iconic Hukafalls Jet from the age of 14 part time while attending Taupō Nui A Tia college however, she then left school earlier to pursue her passion for the industry and started working for them full time. 

In 2017 she was introduced to QRC through her friends in the industry who highly recommended the college. She felt the Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management was the perfect course to help boost her career prospects. 

Alice is now back at Hukafalls Jet working in Reservations and has had an interesting journey since graduating from QRC in 2018 

Follow the link to read her full interview about her time at QRC and beyond.  


Why did I choose to follow a career in tourism? 

In 2013 when I was just 14 years old, I was lucky enough to score a casual job working the weekends and summer holidays at Hukafalls Jet. I very quickly fell in love with the vibrant industry and found it so different to being at school. I was encouraged to talk, be bubbly and outgoing. 

 2015/16 I decided school was not for me, I always knew tourism is what I wanted to pursue. I got offered a full-time job at Hukafalls Jet which I took straight away, I was full time up until I left to Queenstown in 2017 for QRC.  

 Where did you undertake your internship? 

I was lucky enough to get a customer service supervisor role in a tourism company called ‘experience co’ in Cairns Australia. They offered rafting tours, reef tours, skydiving, hot air ballooning and helicopter flights which I was involved in operations within all these tours. 

 Why did you choose QRC? 

I had known a few people who had been to QRC before me who highly recommended the college. My mum is also head of tourism at our local college Taupō Nui A Tia so she knew lots about QRC.  

 Tell me about your journey since leaving QRC? 

After I graduated QRC I decided to stay in Queenstown for a little bit. I was a zip line guide for Paradise Ziplines in Glenorchy for a season – which I loved as this was my first “guiding position”. Once the season was over I decided to move back to Taupō and start back at Hukafalls Jet. 

 Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 I was made redundant from Hukafalls Jet. As we know the tourism industry was hit hard with international tourism becoming non-existent overnight. I had to come up with B plan pretty quickly, this was daunting for me as tourism was all I knew. Just after the national lockdown I put Facebook add in a Taupō babysitting page to say I was available for any babysitting, I got an overwhelming number of responses.  

 I saw a clear gap in the babysitting/nannying market in Taupō. Very quickly my days turned into enormous amounts of research and in July 2020 I launched my very own business called Operation Nanny which is Taupō’s newest causal, part time and full-time nanny placement service. I have 6 part time nannies working for me and at the moment I try to babysit on my days off and evenings. I decided to return to Hukafalls Jet in December 2020. My role now is reservations, sales, and trainee back up jet boat driver which requires 25 hours of training in the jet boat…. Once I have done my 25 hours I may carry on and do my commercial licence, but we will see how it goes… HA HA 

 How did QRC help prepare you for your current job? 

As I had been in the industry before starting QRC I had a lot of practical experience behind me however, QRC prepared me for more of the management side of how a tourism company runs. As I progress through my career and starting my own business.  I have noticed I am using lots of fundamentals that QRC taught me such as marketing plans, accounting, and operations (writing and renewing SOPS etc). 

 What do I enjoy the most about you current position? 

I love working at Hukafalls jet, most days it doesn’t feel like a job. Because I have worked here on and off for many years now it’s a huge part of who I am, my second home. I love coming to work every day especially when I am learning new skills such as driving the jet boat.  

 Ultimate career goal? 

My ultimate career goal would be too general manage an adventure tourism company then ultimately own and operate my own tourism company.  

 Any words of wisdom? 

I had the privilege to work with a very special man named Phil Ball. Phil worked at Shotover Jet in Queenstown since a young age. In 1990 Phil bought a Jet Boat up from Shotover Jet to Taupō and started Hukafalls Jet.  

 Phil sadly passed away from motoneurons disease in 2016, I was very lucky to work with Phil for a number of years. He had a larger than life personality and he always use to say “every trip is different because of the people. They are the ones who make it, its just like any other job, it’s what you put into it and I love meeting new people and seeing their reaction to our jet boat excursions”. 

 I hold this quote and Phils legacy very close to my heart and whenever I am struggling to make a decision about anything I always think “what would Phil do”… 



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