Tongariro National Park_Geography multi day school trip, New Zealand.
Tongariro National Park_Geography field trip for students studying in NZ.
Waimangu Volcanic valley. Geography field trip for New Zealand secondary school students.
New Zealand students enjoying Waimangu boat cruise during school field trip with Learning Journeys.
Students sample testing during geothermal chemistry field trip with Learning Journeys, New Zealand.
Rangitoto Volcanoes day trip. Students in lava caves.
Rangitoto Volcanoes day trip
Biodiversity field trip. Shore games with Auckland DIO secondary school, New Zealand
Kuirau Park, Rotorua. Student tour to for Geothermal Chemistry and/or Geography with Learning Journeys.
Students luging during North Island field trip.
Buried village, Rotorua. Student field trip for Geography
Polynesian Spa, Rotorua, New Zealand.

North Island - educational experiences

Here's how Tourism New Zealand describes the this country’s two main islands:

"New Zealand's North Island offers active volcanoes, island sanctuaries and immense culture and history for an authentic experience. From the far north where New Zealand’s political history began, journey through landscapes that blend magnificent beaches sprawling farmlands and geothermal wonders. Maori culture is rich and ever-present in many parts of the North Island."

"The South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you’ll ever experience. From wildlife to wineries, from glacial valleys to star-filled skies, nature's best flourishes against a palette of dramatic scenes."

In other words the two islands offer vastly different educational experiences. You can't take your students overseas just now, but you can show them the other half of their own country and for considerably less cost than a tour to Europe or China!

Sample 5 day itinerary, North Island.

Tectonic Processes or Earth Science

Tectonic Processes or Earth Science (Have a look at our shorter programmes if you'd like a different theme: these also work as modules for building longer trips or something with a different focus.)

This tour begins in Wellington, or with some reshuffling of activities, Auckland or Rotorua. We can organise flights for your group if you’re travelling from the South Island.

Day one - Wellington
  • Visit Te Papa museum for an introduction to New Zealand’s geology and tectonic hazards.
    • Enter the realm of Rūaumoko, god of volcanoes and earthquakes, and explore the geological forces that shape our shaky land.
    • Experience a shake up in the earthquake simulator.
    • Explore the links between New Zealand’s geology and ecology.
    • See the quake braker exhibition.
  • Tour the city to see points of interest earthquake-wise
  • Discussion/presentation from Council or Victoria University experts on earthquakes and mitigation of their effects on Wellington.

Overnight Wellington

Day two - Wellington to Tongariro National Park

  • Drive North to Tongariro National Park with stops en route at the Tangiwai Disaster site and discuss the 2007 lahar and damage mitigation and Rangipo Desert, produced by the combined effects of the Taupo eruption about 200 AD, low rainfall on the eastern slopes of Ruapehu and high wind.
  • Continue to Whakapapa visitor centre.
  • Visit Ruapehu ski-field to see lava flows and dykes and begin a data collection (altitudinal zonation).

Overnight Tongariro National Park

Day Three Tongariro National Park to Rotorua

  • Walk Silica Rapids trail, or Taranaki Falls (2 to 3 h), collecting altitudinal zonation data.
  • Drive along the eastern shore of Lake Taupo
  • Then north towards Rotorua stopping at sites of interest (Waiotapu mud pools, Huka Falls, Lake Taupo lookout and Geothermal power station lookout) as time allows.
  • Guided tour of Waimangu Volcanic Valley followed by boat trip on Lake Rotomahana. The geothermal features in this valley appeared following the eruption of Mt. Tarawera. There are lots of interesting by-products of volcanic activity to discuss here eg: the largest geyser ever, extremophiles.
  • Hot swim at Polynesian Spa

Overnight Rotorua

Day four - Rotorua to Auckland

  • Visit the Buried Village and its on-site museum. This is the village closest to Mt. Tarawera, destroyed in its 1886 eruption
  • Kuirau Park, Rotorua: geothermal chemistry: qualitative and or quantitative analysis of geothermal spring water. Discuss the link between volcanic activity and the composition of geothermal water and the value of this in monitoring this activity and carry out tests on samples collected from hot springs. There’s a lot of interesting redox chemistry behind the variation in the appearance and temperature of springs.
  • Gondola and luge: take cable car up Mt. Ngongotaha for views of Rotorua caldera and other volcanic landforms. (one luge run included) (Discuss the origin of visible features.)
  • Drive north to Auckland.

Overnight Auckland

Day five - Auckland

  • Take a ferry to Rangitoto Island Volcano
  • Hike to the summit discussing the geology and ecology of Rangitoto on the way.
  • Collect data (substrate, temperature, wind, altitude, plant species)
  • Appreciate the history and cultural significance of Auckland's volcanic field and the likely impact of a future eruption
  • Explore the lava caves

New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement

Earth and Space Science
  • 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
  • AS91007 1.1 Demonstrate geographic understanding of environments that have been shaped by extreme natural event(s).
  • AS91240 2.1 Demonstrate geographic understanding of a large natural environment.
  • AS91426 3.1 Demonstrate understanding of how interacting natural processes shape a New Zealand geographic environment.
  • AS91011 1.5 Conduct geographic research, with direction.
  • AS91244 2.5 Conduct geographic research with guidance.
  • AS91430 3.5 Conduct geographic research with consultation


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.
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Tour Length
5 days
Years 7 to 13
North Island
Trip dates
By arrangement
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
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Thank you again for another fantastic learning experience for the level 2 biology students! All had a great time and really enjoyed all the opportunities that you were able to give them on the trip.

Western Springs College, New Zealand

Our students LOVED the Goat Island 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

There were a lot of good things that happened on this trip: I have made new friends. Snorkelling was fun. It was my first time and it was amazing. The purpose was to learn and that was what I did. It was a great experience. I will never forget it and will try to con my parents into coming here again. The reserve is a beautiful place. I had a great time.

Year 12 student
Rotorua Girls’ High School