Natural Landscapes - Taupo to Tongariro
From barren volcanic areas to towering snowy peaks, from lush rainforests to meadows of alpine flowers, from golden beaches to deep caves – some of New Zealand’s most iconic landscapes are preserved in its 14 national parks. In 1887, Ngāti Tūwharetoa chief Horonuku Te Heuheu gifted the peaks of Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu to the Crown. He wanted these central North Island volcanoes included in a national park, to prevent them from being divided and sold.
This gift led to the establishment of Tongariro National Park, the country’s first national park, in 1894. Tongariro National Park is at the south-western end of the Taupō Volcanic Zone. Its volcanoes are all active, and Mt Ruapehu erupted spectacularly in 1995 and 1996. Vegetation ranges from alpine herbs to tussock and flax, with beech forest in the mountains and low-growing shrubs in the Rangipō Desert. Wildlife includes long- and short-tailed bats, and many native birds and insects.
Whether it's Tongariro Volcanic Centre or South Island High Country, the interaction of physical and cultural processes to sculpt our natural environments makes a fascinating story. Explore, sketch, photograph, collect data and meet the local experts as you focus on case studies of these processes in action.
Choice of Activities
- Visit the Volcanic Activity Centre
- Stop at the Taupo Lookout for views of the Central Plateau
- Drive south along shores of Lake Taupo to understand volcanic processes and resulting landforms.
- Check out the audio-visual display at Whakapapa Department of Conservation Office.
- Presentation on Lahar Hazard Management or similar.
- Hike Tongariro National Park's tracks.
- Carry out Altitudinal Zonation study.
- Examine lahar surface features.
- Visit Rangipo Desert
- Take a tour of the Trout Centre to understand the Park's freshwater ecology.
- Relax with a hot swim
New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement
- AS 91240 2.1 Demonstrate geographic understanding of a large natural environment
- AS 91244 2.5 Conduct geographic research with guidance
- AS 91426 3.1 Demonstrate understanding of how interacting natural processes shape a New Zealand geographic environment.
- AS 91430 3.5 Conduct geographic research with consultation.
- AS90952 1.13 Demonstrate understanding of the formation of surface features in New Zealand.
- AS91189 2.3 Investigate geological processes in a New Zealand locality.
- AS91191 2.5 Demonstrate understanding of the causes of extreme Earth events in New Zealand.
- AS90925 1.1 Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with direction.
- AS91158 2.6 Investigate a pattern in an ecological community, with supervision.
- AS91155 2.3 Demonstrate understanding of adaptation of plants or animals to their way of life.
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.