About Savannah Guides

Savannah Guides is a network of professional tour guides and tour operators based in the tropical savannahs of northern Australia.

Savannah Guides works with many of Australia’s leading tourism, environmental and community organisations to pursue its Mission of being an economically sound, community based professional body which maintains high standards of:

  • Interpretation and public education
  • Training and guiding leadership
  • Natural and cultural resource management

and, through the promotion of ecologically sustainable tourism principles, enhances regional lifestyles and encourages the protection and conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Tropical Savannahs of Northern Australia.

See videos of Savannah Guides.


Savannah Guides Limited was established as a non-profit company in 1988 to provide access for tourists to unique natural features in Queensland’s Gulf Savannah and train high quality tour guides.

The network has expanded to currently support over 500 tour guides and operators across Australia through a range of professional development activities including the national EcoGuide Program, Wet Tropics Tour Guide Program, accredited training and tailored business support.

Accredited enterprise and individual members must meet strict standards of operation and abide by professional Codes of Conduct.  This has underpinned the career development of many individuals and the success of many businesses.

Find out more about becoming a member.

Two Field Schools are conducted each year, at varying locations across the savannahs, featuring experts in related fields including ecology, land management and tourism. Field Schools provide valuable professional development as well as a strong networking opportunity for members and non-members.

Find out more about Savannah Guides Field Schools.

Savannah Guides has assisted in the development of tour experiences and guides for numerous Indigenous and regional businesses under government supported projects.

Find out more about our Group Training options.


Savannah Guides Ltd is managed by a six-member Board of Directors who meet at Schools and by videoconference. The Board is supported by a part-time Manager based in Cairns.  Our financial resources come from membership fees, government grants and corporate sponsorships.

Find out more about Savannah Guides activities through our newsletter page.


Savannah Guides received worldwide recognition when they were lauded as Best Tourism Organisation (World) and were the Australian Divisional Winner in the 2000 British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The organisation has received numerous Tropical North Queensland, Queensland and Northern Territory Tourism Awards for Industry Training in the Private Sector and Tourism Services.

Savannah Guides is regarded by its members and stakeholders as providing valuable services for individuals, tourism businesses and organisations and sets a benchmark for professional standards of tour guiding and tourism operation.

The Savannah Guides Message Stick Hatband

The Message Stick hatband is a stylised pattern that captures many of the concepts of Savannah Guides. The two panels were conceived by John Courtenay, Savannah Guides’ founder in the 1980’s. John says: “We talked about the Macassan influence and the Aboriginal element and I remember I had seen an engraving done by early French explorers that illustrated 2 men in a bark boat and we stylised this – the Arafura Sea and the fact the Gulf Savannah was not just grasslands but also ocean facing.”

Savannah Guides wear the hatband proudly to symbolise:

  • Aboriginal or Macassan people living like us in a bountiful region
  • The rivers of northern Australia, some flowing and others seasonally dry
  • Our acknowledgement of Indigenous perspectives, paralleled in Savannah Guides through our oral tradition, elders and respect for the land and its people

Copy of Message stick

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