This trip, based at Goat Island Marine Reserve and Tiritiri Matangi Island, offers students the opportunity to visit some of New Zealand’s ecological gems. It has been used by Biology teachers for many years to stimulate interest in our ecology and conservation issues.


Rocky shore exploration and data collection; Snorkel or glass-bottom boat ride in Goat Island Marine Reserve; Behaviour studies of birds or fish; Experimental work in Marine Lab; Visitor centre tour; Slide shows/ presentations on marine biological themes; Marine reserve planning activity and public meeting role play; Visit shore birds reserve; Day trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island; Visit Kelly Tarlton’s (Marine Aquarium); Dive or snorkel the Poor Knights Marine reserve; Presentations and tours at research facilities.

Curriculum and assessment: 

Living World
AS90925, AS91153, AS91154, ASS91155, AS91158

Accommodation & Meals

You’ll stay in comfortable bunk room accommodation right by beautiful Pakiri Beach just 16 km from Goat Island Bay. This spacious facility, miles from the nearest town has games room and TV room as well as a kitchen where you group can self-cater if you choose. Alternatively we can organise self-service buffet continental breakfast, packed lunches and fully catered dinners.



Goat Island Marine Reserve, established in 1977, is New Zealand’s oldest. Left undisturbed (more or less) for 35 years, it has provided huge insights into our marine ecosystems as coastline inside the reserve recovers towards its natural state. Once vigorously opposed by locals, especially fishermen, it now attracts more than quarter of a million visitors a year for educational and recreational purposes.

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand's most exciting conservation projects. 120 years of farming saw this small island stripped of 94% of its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between over 250,000 trees. The island is now 60% forested with 40% left as grassland for species preferring open habitat. All mammalian predators have been eradicated and a number of threatened and endangered bird and reptile species have been introduced, including the flightless takahe and the tuatara.

Choice of activities

Day One
  • Visit Kelly Tarlton’s, for an introduction to rocky shore ecology and a possible tour “behind the scenes” or Leigh Marine Lab visitors’ centre (or Miranda Shore Birds centre for a presentation on migratory birds if travelling from south of Auckland).
  • Rocky shore exploration
  • Glass bottom boat ride
  • Presentation on marine reserves and management of marine biodiversity.
Day Two
  • Snorkelling in Goat island Marine reserve, including underwater data collection if desired (fish size and numbers)
  • Whelk behaviour investigation
  • Rocky shore profiling and data collection (formative or summative in support of AS 2.6
Overnight Pakiri Beach Day Three
  • Ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island
  • Guided walk to see many of New Zealand’s endemic and endangered bird species, including saddleback, kokako, takahe, kakariki, stitchbird and more.
  • Discussion of threats to New Zealand’s genetic diversity and their management.
  • Bird behaviour monitoring (optional)
  • Swim off Hobb’s Beach, conditions permitting.

Curriculum and assessment:

Learning area strands:Living World Key competencies: Relating to others, thinking


Biology AS91153 2.1 Carry out a practical investigation in a biology context with supervision.
AS91154 2.2 Analyse the biological validity of information presented to the public
AS91155 2.3 Demonstrate understanding of adaptation of plants and animals to their way of life
AS91157 2.5 Demonstrate understanding of genetic variation and change
AS91158 2.6 Investigate a pattern in an ecological community with supervision.
AS91601 3.1 Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context with guidance
AS91602 3.2 Integrate biological knowledge to develop an informed response to a socio-scientific issue.



  • Research, planning, bookings and organisation
  • Facilitation
  • Return ferry tickets
  • Accommodation at Pakiri Beach Holiday Park
  • Activities as specified
  • Letter to parents
  • RAMS form
  • Gear list
  • A master copy of worksheets
  • Use of specialized equipment
  • Snorkeling instruction
  • GST
  • Saving you a great deal of time and hassle

Not included:

  • Transport (bus, to and from school). Ask us to quote if you don’t have access to your own.
  • Food can be provided for an extra $35 pp per breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Class set of worksheets – it’s more cost effective for you to copy these at school.
  • Snorkel gear, including wetsuits (mandatory as part of risk management) can be hired for $25 per person.
  • Additional adult supervision to ensure a ratio of no more than 1 adult to 6 students while snorkeling. We provide a minimum of one to ten, which needs to be supplemented by school staff on the trip.


Q1. Why do teachers choose to tour with Learning Journeys?

Using an outside provider like Learning Journeys allows you to avoid stress and save time to focus on the core demands of teaching and have more time with your family and friends.
  • Trips are well tried and tested and our local knowledge, New Zealand-wide, is extensive. • We’ll facilitate your trip as well as planning, recce-ing AND booking it (including transport, food and accommodation). Have as much or as little input as you want.
  • Our facilitators are secondary geography or science teachers with years of classroom as well as EOTC experience.
  • Trips are curriculum linked and can include NCEA assessment tasks.
  • RAMS forms, parents letters, gear lists and worksheets developed and provided for you.
  • We’re Qualmarked (Tourism New Zealand has checked us out as a safe, professional, company) and Dept. of Conservation approved.

Q2. Does it cost more for Learning Journeys to organise and run my school's science and geography trips?

Yes it does cost a little more per student. However, you need to factor in the time you'll save by using Learning Journeys. You will also save the cost of relief for staff who would otherwise have come from your school, since Learning Journeys will provide one or more facilitators who will contribute to staff-student ratios.

Q3. What about risk management?

Safety is always paramount in our trip planning and delivery. We are acutely aware of the responsibility of being entrusted with other people’s children. We will provide you with RAMS forms for all activities included in your programme.

Our Health and Safety Plan deals with every aspect of our operations and training. Hazard identification is carried out for every new activity and a RAMS (Risk Analysis and Management System) form is prepared. This process has been audited both by a Department of Conservation approved Safety Auditor and as part of our Qualmark® accreditation

Our teacher-facilitators are trained in safe practice and all have First Aid qualifications. The suppliers we use are fully qualified and experienced in their specialist areas and where available we choose to work with Qualmarked® operators. Their sound safety records are further guaranteed by the Qualmark®, accreditation process.
Qualmark® is New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality. All accommodation and tourism businesses carrying the Qualmark® have been independently assessed as professional and trustworthy, so you can book and buy with confidence.

Q4. Who are your facilitators?

Our trips are managed and facilitated by qualified science or social science secondary teachers with classroom experience as well as many years’ experience in the field.

Q5. How long have you been running field trips for New Zealand secondary students?

Since 2001. Our oldest client did 12 consecutive yearly 3 day trips to Goat Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Most other schools repeat trips year after year.
Make a booking Contact us
Tour Length
1 to 3 days
Years 7 to 13
Trip dates
By arrangement
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 35+ students
1 day from $37 incl. GST
2 from $170
3 from $273
Valid until December 2020
Make a booking Contact us