Graduate Story -Amy Coulton

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

That seems to be the case for QRC Adventure Tourism Management graduate and ex Garin College student Amy Coulton.

Amy’s love of the outdoors and the possibility of a career on the sea drew her to the tourism industry.

Looking for something different, a course that combined practical skills and management theory lead her to Queenstown and Queenstown Resort College (QRC).

During her 9 month internship Amy had a dream job working for Fullers Greatsights in Paihia where she worked in Guest Services. This involved hosting visitors and looking after their needs while they sailed around the bay seeking dolphins and other marine life.

After graduating she headed off to the Cook Islands where she worked as a Tour Guide for Ariki Adventures. She was aso able to assist them in their marketing strategy thanks to her lessons at QRC.

Read on to learn more about Amy’s journey since leaving QRC

On the Couch With Amy Coulton

Why did you choose to follow a career in tourism/hospitality?
Like most people in Queenstown, our love of being outdoors is undeniable. Can’t stand the thought of sitting in an office for 40 years. Tourism seemed like the most obvious route into an outdoors lifestyle and when I chatted to the QRC crew while at college, the assured me that it would be a rad path to follow.


Why did you choose QRC?
The thought of living in Queenstown amongst world class mountain biking, trails, lakes and mountains was too good to turn down. Traditional ‘uni’ didn’t push my buttons and I wanted to be around people who frothed adventure.


Where did you undertake your internship? (job/position)
Paihia, Bay of Islands. One of my best mates from Queenstown and I went up to work on dolphin viewing tourist boats.


What was the biggest “take away” from your internship experience?
The simple fact that we really could do what we love every day and get paid! Growing up you get funnelled towards these ‘traditional’ jobs in offices, people are used to being miserable 5 out of 7 days of the week. Was a huge eye opener to realise I can wake up excited to for mahi every day ⛵️


Tell me about your journey since leaving QRC.
I lived in the Cook Islands for 14 months after graduating, working as a tour guide doing their marketing. Island life is a game changer, puts into perspective what’s really important!

Then worked as a surf guide in Indo for a bit, went back to Paihia and worked the past two summers on a different boat – a 30ft sailing catamaran doing day trips around the serene islands out in the bay.


What role are you in now?
Currently I’m working on a yacht in the Kimberleys, WA. Good to escape the NZ winter! The scenery here is unreal, so different to Aotearoa in its own diverse way. Huge canyons, turquoise water, deep red earth and plenty of crocs



What are your main responsibilities?
Combo between stewardess and cook. Mainly cleaning, washing, preparing meals, fishing with the crew, anything that needs doing really! It’s a small crew so we all pitch in.


How did your time at QRC help prepare you for your current job?
QRC really helped me land on my feet within the industry, especially the marketing and law papers. Having this basic knowledge was super helpful and gave me the confidence to push myself into better roles within a company.


What do you enjoy the most about your current position?
Seeing all these epics places that not many people ever see! Being so isolated, it feels like no one has explored here before which is always a nice change to the over-crowded tourist spots that sometimes pop up.

And like before, getting paid to be on the ocean and wake up stoked.


What are your plans for the future?
No idea. Hahaha most people in tourism probably say that.

I’d love to head over to Ningaloo after this role and work on the reef with the marine mammals there.

Something always pops up, just going with the flow for now.


What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
‘Bring something to the table’ from a friend of mine in Australia told around a beach bonfire.

Whether that’s your humour, zest for life, cooking skills, knowledge of biking, empathy.

Whatever it is, bring something to the table. In every interaction.

You never know when you’re going to make someone’s day or teach them something 😊


Words of wisdom for those considering a career in tourism?
ohhhh… send lots of emails and make lots of phone calls. Heaps. That’s how I’ve gotten most of my jobs. Just throw yourself out there, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no? Cool, move onto the next epic company. The right one will say yes, trust the process. Sounds cheesy but that’s how I get all my gigs, loooots of emails and cover letter writing. 😂


For more information about our Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management click here.

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