New Zealand gold mining field trip for secondary school students.
Karangahake Gorge school trip. Explore stamper batteries and other mining relics
Karangahake Gorge school trip. Explore stamper batteries and other mining relics
Karangahake Gorge school trip. Explore stamper batteries and other mining relics
Appreciate the hardships of the early gold-miners and pan for gold.

Gold Mining

The first recorded discovery of gold in New Zealand was by Charles Ring, a Tasmanian who found a small amount at Driving Creek near the town of Coromandel in 1852. Some years later there were more discoveries around Golden Bay and Marlborough, Otago and on the West Coast.
In the 19th century discovering gold was a way out of poverty and thousands flocked to the gold-fields. The work was harsh, with days spent digging in cold creek beds and only a lucky few found riches in the rock. However, the collective value of the gold discovered kick-started the young colony’s economy.
Hard rock gold, can be mined from the quartz veins of hard rocks by tunnelling. Machines called stamper batteries were used to crush this rock, and the chemical cyanide helped to separate out the gold. Alluvial gold comes from gold-containing rocks worn down to sand and gravel over many thousands of years by rivers or glaciers. The gold can be sifted from the gravel of river beds by hand using a pan, sluiced, dredged, or dug up with machines.

Choice of activities

  • Explore stamper batteries and other mining relics (Karangahake Gorge)
  • Explore an underground mine
  • Visit the Gold Discovery centre in Waihi
  • Visit open cast mine (Waihi)
  • Prospect and pan for gold. (Thames)
  • Visit a working stamper battery (Thames)
  • Appreciate the hardships of the early gold-miners
  • Compare environmental management now and in the early days of NZ mining

New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement

Material and Physical Worlds
  • AS90931 1.2 Demonstrate understanding of the chemistry in a technological application
  • AS90933 1.4 Demonstrate understanding of aspects of selected elements
  • AS91163 2.3 Demonstrate understanding of the chemistry used in the development of a current technology


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.
Request a quote Contact us
Tour Length
1 day
Years 7 - 11
Thames, Waihi, Coromandel Peninsula
Trip dates
By arrangement
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 35+ students
From $67 incl. GST
Valid until 
Request a quote Contact us

The general feedback from the students was that it was a great day and they really enjoyed it. Being year 9 the focus for them was on the social side of life and the sense was they all had a great time. They loved the variety and particularly the tunnels.”

Westmount School, Auckland

Our students LOVED the field trip. Many that did the trip last year want to do it again. It opened their eyes to some important conservation issues.

Trident High School, Whakatane

Learning Journeys organised and led three community study field trips with year 11 students at Hillcrest High School, all planned to meet NZQA requirements for NCEA Level 1 Biology. The organization is excellent, the work interesting and explanations are clear and appropriate to the students’ level. Rapport with the students is excellent while maintaining high professional standards. I have enjoyed working with Learning Journeys over the last 3 years and hope to continue in the future.

Hillcrest High School, Hamilton