Cross-curricular, cultural exchange, community service

Homestay and NZ school immersion; Auckland Memorial museum; Mt. Eden volcano; Pakiri Beach; Goat Island Marine Reserve; rocky shore ecology and conservation;; geysers and mud pools; geothermal chemistry; iconic kiwi bird; Maori cultural experience; South Island high country geology and wildlife; Jade as a traditional resource for Maori; Hot swim; Fox Glacier; Westland National Park; Puzzling World; Arrowtown an gold panning; cable care and luge; Nature Cruise on Akaroa Harbour

Educational themes

Marine ecology and conservation; cultural exchange; community service;
geology; geothermal chemistry, ecology, Maori culture experience; South Island climate, geology and ecology; glacial landforms and processes, interaction with the natural vegetation (zonation, succession); gold-mining, conservation and social issues; human perception; hydro-electric power; astronomy; earthquakes


All accommodation is included. You’ll be warm and comfortable in private single gender bunk rooms (bedding provided) in our pick of the South Island’s best hostels. You’ll love the common rooms and games rooms, where you can relax and get to know each other and other travellers. Wifi is available


All dinners are included except one and are a choice of tasty, two course meals served in our favourite restaurants. Breakfasts are buffet style selections of cereals, toast, fresh fruit, yoghurt, juice and hot drinks. Ask us about vegetarian, kosher or halal options. Lunches will be tasty picnics: fresh bread rolls with your choice of fillings, followed by fresh fruit and muesli bar.

Cross-curricular, cultural exchange, community service

Day 1 Auckland to Pakiri Beach 120 km – 1.5 hrs

Introduction to Auckland and New Zealand
Auckland is situated on an isthmus with a highly indented coastline, created by the flooding of valleys carved out during the last Ice Age, and dotted with nearly 50 volcanic cones.
  • Arrive Auckland airport.
  • Mount Eden volcano – views of city and volcanic field.
  • Auckland Museum – exhibitions of interest: ecology and geology.
  • Drive to Pakiri Beach, an off-the-beaten-track location in easy reach of Goat Island Marine Reserve.

Day 2 Pakiri Beach to Goat Island to Auckland (homestay) 100 km - 1.5 hrs

Marine ecology and conservation - Goat Island Marine Reserve, established in 1977, is New Zealand’s oldest. Left undisturbed (more or less) for 35 years, it provides huge insights into our marine ecosystems as coastline inside the reserve recovers towards its natural state.
  • Glass bottom boat ride in the reserve and Rocky shore study and data collection.
  • University of Auckland visitor centre experience including experimental design exercise,
  • OR presentation from marine scientist.
  • Return to Auckland to meet your homestay families and accompany them home.

Day 3 Auckland (homestay) 160 km – 2 hrs

Cultural Exchange – Auckland secondary school
Auckland, as New Zealand’s largest city has a wide range of secondary schools, to choose form.
  • Spend half a day at a New Zealand secondary school.
  • Enjoy half a day of activities with new friends from school: Piha Beach and a walk to Kitekite Falls.
  • Return to Auckland to meet your homestay families and accompany them home.

Day 4 Auckland Community Service

Community Service
You’ll be linked with a not for profit organisation and spend the day helping those less fortunate than yourselves. Your project will be selected depending on the strengths of your group from one of three types: head, heart or hand. Head projects will make use of special skills you may have. Heart projects will allow you to spend time with people with disabilities or the elderly. School groups are usually most valuable participating in Hand projects, which could involve painting, gardening, beach clean-ups, environmental restoration or your assistance as marshals at one day community events.

Day 5 Auckland to Rotorua to Christchurch 240 km – 3 hrs

Geology and geothermal chemistry, ecology, Maori cultural experience
The Taupo Volcanic Zone, overlying the subduction zone where the Pacific plate meets the Australian, contains New Zealand’s most active volcanoes. Maori people were originally drawn here by the benefits of the hot springs.
  • Visit Te Puia, site of New Zealand’s most impressive geysers and mud pools.
  • Analyse hot spring water to understand geothermal activity and its benefits and dangers.
  • See kiwi birds in an aviary where day becomes night so visitors can see this iconic nocturnal bird.
  • Maori Cultural experience: a glimpse of the way of life of Maori before the arrival of Europeans.
  • Board a late afternoon flight to Christchurch.

Day 6 Christchurch

Marine ecology; the Christchurch earthquake
Nutrient rich currents are responsible for the abundance of marine life in this area. The central area of Christchurch, devastated by the earthquake of 22nd February 2011, has now reopened and reconstruction is underway. Tourism to the city provides a major source of support to the city’s recovering communities.
  • Explore Christchurch City, the Earthquake Museum, the Container Mall before driving to Akaroa.
  • Akaroa, an historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Explore the village then take a nature cruise to see dolphins, whales and other marine life.

Day 7 Christchurch to Franz Josef 410 km – 5 hrs

The Southern Alps: South Island climate, geology and ecology
The Southern Alps would be growing upwards at a rate of one centimetre a year if it wasn’t for the forces of erosion. Go back in time geologically as you drive west, , meeting remnants of Gondwanaland, as you near the west coast.
  • Explore the stunning limestone formations at Castle Hill.
  • Meet kea, our mischievous alpine parrot species at the summit of Arthur’s pass.
  • Visit a jade (pounamu) factory in Hokitika.
  • Soak in the hot pools of the alpine spa then walk into the rainforest after dark to see glow worms.

Day 8 Franz Josef to Wanaka 270 km – 3.5 hrs

Glacial landforms and processes, interaction with the natural vegetation (zonation, succession)
The west coast glaciers are among the fastest moving in the world because of their large catchments. During the last Ice Age, they reached beyond the current coastline, so glacial land forms feature prominently here.
  • Take a guided walk to Fox Glacier terminal then drive south and through the Haast Pass.
  • Along this highly scenic route, study glacial land forms and zonation of vegetation inland of beach and dune systems. Visit beech forest to compare its ecology with coastal temperate rain forest.

Day 9 Wanaka to Queenstown 120 km – 1.5 hrs

Gold-mining, conservation and sociological issues; human perception; adventure
Gold was first discovered in this region in the 1850s and provided the economic stimulus which drew settlers to the area, including miners from China.
  • Enjoy the maze, holograms, Ames Room and other illusions at Puzzling World.
  • On the way to Queenstown, watch (or try) bungy jumping from the Kawerau Bridge.
  • Explore historic Arrowtown. Pan for gold and visit the former Chinese miners’ village.
  • In Queenstown, take a cable car and a luge ride before an all-you-can-eat dinner.

Day 10 Queenstown airport for flight home

  • Airport transfer

Cross-curricular, cultural exchange, community service

Prices from $1876 (30 pax)

This includes

  • Christchurch airport transfers
  • Accommodation in hostels, mostly YHAs
  • Private, single gender bunkrooms with all bedding provided and shared bathrooms, teachers twin share with en suite bathroom where available
  • All breakfasts
  • All dinners in restaurants.
  • All activities described in itinerary unless marked optional.
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach.
  • Friendly, professional guides.
  • Access to our national parks
  • 1 free teacher per 15 students
  • 1 additional teacher per 10 students at the same price as the students.
  • Pre-trip information
  • Worksheet
  • Risk management paperwork

Not included:

  • International and domestic airfares
  • Optional extra activities like bungy jumping.
  • Personal expenses (phone, wifi, laundry, lunches, etc.)

Cross-curricular, cultural exchange, community service

Organising a school trip overseas is a huge task, even if you do intend using the services of a local specialist once you get to your destination. The following suggestions will make your job easier and less stressful, especially if you've never run your own school trip before.

1: Begin your planning in plenty of time:

six months is the suggested minimum. Decide where you'd like to go and what you'd like your students to gain from the experience. Run the idea past your colleagues, principal and school board as necessary to see if the idea has their support. Discuss your approximate budget, target group, which subject areas to address, type of accommodation you'll use (We recommend hostels as being great value for money and more student friendly. Teachers are accommodated in separate twin rooms with en suite bathrooms where available.) Ask for an indicative quote from us and find out what airfares are likely to cost.

2: Talk to the student year levels you'd like to join the trip

Talk to the student year levels you'd like to join the trip, mentioning dates and approximate cost to gauge the level of interest. Remember that initial enthusiasm doesn't necessarily translate into signing up, but it at least signals that you should go further. Choosing dates that don't clash with exams or other big school events is self-evident, but it's also worth checking what other overseas trips your school might be planning during the same period. Groups of 25 to 35 gel well on tour and are easier to manage while also costing less per head than small groups. Price per head reduces up to a group size of 45 including teachers after which there's no budgetary advantage to making the group bigger. Let us know if you want us to build all accompanying teacher costs into the pricing. Typically schools send up to 1 adult per 10 students on tour.

3: Promotional evening for parents and students

Once you've got this far, set up a promotional evening for parents and students. We can provide a presentation with details of Learning Journeys as a company and New Zealand and lots of photos to whet their appetite. At the same time, hand out copies of the itinerary and a letter summarising key details with a request for expressions of interest and a deposit (say 10 to 20 % of the total cost) and a timeline for the payment of the balance of the trip cost. Your letter should also mention any need for clothing or equipment the students may not possess: good walking boots for example or a warm, seriously water proof jacket.

4: Confirm your booking

Once you have enough deposits to be sure the trip will go ahead, confirm your booking, which involves paying a deposit. We ask for 10% at this point or 25% if your departure date is less than 3 months ahead.

5: Expect to receive more planning paperwork

Having confirmed your booking, you can now expect to receive more planning paperwork: more detailed destination information, gear lists, RAMS forms, worksheet drafts... At this stage you can fine tune your itinerary: the first cut may have include optional or alternative activities and the educational programmes are also likely to include a choice of activities. If your school is a state school, your choice of adventure activities may depend on running these past government departments who will approve them or otherwise.

6: Building anticipation among the group

Now it's just a matter of building anticipation among the group, addressing relevant curriculum related topics in class, collecting further payments as deadlines draw near. We'll ask you for student details, including dates of birth, heights, shoe sizes if they'll be hiring, say, ski equipment. We'll provide finalised itineraries with times and details of activities. You'll receive a master copy of the worksheets (if you want them) with as much or as little input from you as you want.

7: Reminders

Students, as you're sure to know, will need frequent reminders about all aspects of their preparation for the trip. Suitable clothing is key. Teenagers who live in warm countries, or even colder ones, are likely to need convincing that they really do need that warm, waterproof jacket to ensure that they'll still enjoy what they're doing if the weather turns bad. Preparation for physically demanding aspects of the tour - hiking or even skiing/boarding also requires lots of reminders. Every communication with students needs to be copied to parents, especially meeting times and places for your final departure.

8: New Zealand

Once you're on the plane, your biggest challenges will be over. Once you reach New Zealand, we'll meet you as you come through the arrivals gate, then, apart from your supervisory role with the students, you can relax and enjoy yourself.

9: Anything we can do to make your job easier, just ask

Throughout this build up period, if there's anything we can do to make your job easier, just ask. Our role is not just to provide you and your students with a fabulously memorable and educational experience, but also to make your role as teacher in charge as painless as possible.
Request a quote Contact us
Tour Length
10 days / 9 nights
Tour dates
By arrangement
Minimum group size
10 Students
Free teacher
For every 15 paying students
From $1876pp incl. GST
Valid until December 2020
Request a quote Contact us