Surf schools and other commercial activities (licences)

A tour guide leading a diverse group of people through the Victorian bush, on a path cut through the flora.

You will need this licence to offer commercial tours or recreational activities on public land in Victoria. Public land includes national parks and state forests, as well as marine areas, wildlife areas, crown lands and any other land managed by a government agency. 

It is illegal to conduct an organised tour or recreational activity for profit on public land without holding a tour operator licence. This applies to all tour operators and activity providers, whether they be one person operations or large companies. 

Current licencees

Examples of activities include (but not limited to): 

  • surf lessons, kayaking or swimming  

  • trail bike touring or bush-walking 

  • fitness training, yoga classes or other wellness activities 

  • horse riding or dog training classes 

  • educational tours or classes not covered by a permit 

  • other similar activities which are instructor lead 

Please note that in some instances, non-profit and charitable organisations may be required to possess a Tour Operator Licence. 

Eligibility requirements 

Generally, to be eligible for this licence, you must: 

  • have adequate public liability insurance (at least $20 million) 

  • ensure your tour guides/instructors have a current first aid qualification (which is equal to or better than the standard required by Law or equivalent) 

  • ensure procedures are in place to minimise the risk of potential hazards to clients 

  • hold an Australian Business Number 

Ongoing eligibility requirements 

You will need to comply with all relevant legislation, standards and Codes of Practice, including relevant Australian Adventure Activity Standards. 

You will also need to ensure that you comply with the requirement to possess any other relevant permits or authorities - these will depend on the particular activity you intend to undertake. 

Further information 

For further information, or your wish to enquiry about obtaining a licence, please email