Earth and Environmental Science| New Zealand tour

Earth and Environmental Science | Trip Summary 


Sky Tower and Auckland Memorial Museum or Rangitoto Island; Mt. Eden; Hobbiton Movie Set; Mt. Maunganui; White Island; Rotorua Museum; Buried Village; Maori cultural show and hangi meal; hot spring water analysis; Cable car and luge; Waimangu Volcanic Valley; Debretts hot mineral pools; jet boat ride; Orakei Korako; Huka Falls; Tongariro Alpine Crossing or shorter hikes in Tongariro National Park; White water rafting; Waitomo Caves and Discovery Centre; Ruakuri Cave; black water rafting; farm show

Want to know more? Contacts Us, Email us [email protected] or request a quote

Educational themes 

Tectonic processes and volcanism in New Zealand; shield volcanoes, calderas, composite cones, lava domes; geothermal features and their origins; The eruption of Mt. Tarawera, a case study of an extreme natural event and its management; monitoring volcanic activity including chemical analysis of hot spring water; New Zealand ecology: coastal and montane. Altitudinal zonation; coastal zonation; erosional processes; human impacts; management of endangered species


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.

Want to know more? Contacts Us, Email us [email protected] or request a quote


All dinners are included and are a choice of tasty, two course or buffet 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.

Earth and Environmental Science  | NZ tour details

Day 1 Auckland

Meet your guide at Auckland airport then, as time allows, visit the Sky Tower or the Museum OR take a half day trip to Rangitoto Island Volcano.

Overnight Auckland

Day 2 Auckland to Tauranga

Visit the summit of Mt Eden Volcano then drive to Tauranga via a tour of Hobbiton Movie Set. Climb Mauao, an iconic mountain (lava dome) at the mouth of Tauranga Natural Harbour for an introduction to volcanism in New Zealand. Enjoy views of the Taupo volcanic zone, and locally, drowned valleys, barrier island and a tombolo.

Overnight Tauranga


Day 3 Tauranga to Whakatane to Rotorua

Drive to Whakatane to take a luxury launch to White Island and a tour of the crater (gas masks supplied!) before returning to the mainland (possible dolphin watching en route). Examine greywacke outcrops at Kohi Point, the parallel mountain ranges of the East Cape, the Rangitikei Plains graben, aggradation over the past 6000 years, former dune systems, the Edgecumbe fault, a remnant of the 1987 earthquake as time allows. After dinner, enjoy a soak in the hot mineral pools at the Polynesian Spa

Overnight Rotorua

Day 4 Rotorua

Visit Rotorua Museum for an introduction to the Taupo Volcanic Zone and the 1886 eruption of Mt. Tarawera in particular (as well as local Maori history and culture, strongly influenced by volcanic and hydrothermal activity in the area). Visit the Buried Village, site of the village closest to the Mt. Tarawera’s eruption. The afternoon is available for optional adventure activities (zip line ecotour, agroventures (bungy, swoop, extreme free-fall – see In the evening experience a hangi (ground oven cooked) meal and a Maori Cultural presentation and kapa haka performance at Mitai Village.

Overnight Rotorua

Day 5 Rotorua

Get serious this morning with some qualitative and quantitative analysis of hot spring water and geothermal mud in Kuirau Park with the aim of understanding the relationship between volcanic and hydrothermal activity and how geologists monitor the one as a source of clues about the other. Late morning, take a ride on the Gondola up Ngongotaha mountain (with spectacular views of Rotorua caldera and associated landforms) and enjoy lugeing back down. This morning take a guided tour of Waimangu Volcanic Valley with its crater lakes, relics of Mt. Tarawera’s 1886 eruption. Visit Debrett’s Thermal Pools after dinner.

Overnight Taupo

Day 6 Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

Visit Orakei Korako by jet boat. Drive on south, stopping to admire the Huka Falls, close to the outlet of Lake Taupo into the Waikato River and for views and Visit the Volcanic Activity Centre with its interactive displays and video presentations. Discuss Lake Taupo caldera and the strato-volcanoes of Tongariro National Park and their associated hazards. Move on to a lookout over the steam field of Wairakei Geothermal Power-station. Optional activities: Jet boat ride to the Huka Falls OR bungy jump OR Canyon Swing.

Overnight National Park Village

Day 7 (BD) Tongariro National Park

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (19 km, 7 hours, 900m height gain) is today’s challenge. This hike takes you up Mangatepopo glacial valley over lava flows of different vintages and then, after a long climb onto the alpine mountain tops, past Tongariro’s newest satellite cone, Ngauruhoe (aka Mt. Doom) to the summit next to the aptly named Red Crater. The hardest part of the hike over, you now descend past steam vents and brilliantly coloured crater lakes through tussock and beech forest to meet your transport at the Ketetahi Road end. (Plan B: if weather isn’t suitable for the Crossing take a couple of shorter, lower altitude hikes).

Overnight National Park Village

Day 8 Tongariro National Park

Enjoy White Water Rafting on the Tongariro River (Grade 3, 60 rapids, a fantastic first time experience - adds $90) and/or take a hike round Lake Rotopounamu (crater lake), followed by a visit to Whakapapa Visitor centre to understand the park’s geology and ecology and the management of public use of the park to ensure its sustainability.

Overnight National Park Village

Day 9 Tongariro National Park to Waitomo Caves

Drive to Waitomo Caves and begin your experience of solution caves with a session with the Education officer at the Caves Museum. Next, tour the famous Glow-worm caves then take a walk through a collapsed cave system (including hanging bridge).

Overnight Waitomo Caves

Day 10 Waitomo Caves to Auckland

This morning you have the choice of visiting the Ruakuri cave, (a small group, more atmospheric and personalized tour) or enjoying a black water rafting adventure (adds $75 pp) - a 3 hour experience including wading or floating along an underground stream (also in the Ruakuri Cave). Wetsuits, hard hats etc. are provided. Relax this afternoon with an entertaining one man show (Woodlyn Park) explaining the story of how European pioneers made a living from the land.

Overnight Waitomo Caves

Day 11 Waitomo Caves to Auckland

Airport transfer for your flight home

What’s included

2018 Price: from 30 + $2531 pp

This includes 

  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation in hostels (students in private bunk rooms with shared facilities, adults in twin/triple rooms)
  • 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
  • Pre-trip information

Not included:

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

Planning your school trip to New Zealand

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.


Length 11 days, 10 nights
Begins Auckland 
Ends Auckland
Dates By arrangement
Designed for Secondary students
Free teacher For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size 10 students
Price for 30+ students From $2531 pp including GST 
 Price Valid until December 2018