Environmental studies, Cultural exchange, Home-stay

Homestay; Christchurch city tour; Antarctic Centre; High country wildlife and geology; Jade as a traditional resource; hot swim; glow worms; Fox glacier; Westland National Park; Puzzling World; Pan for gold in historic Arrowtown; cable car and luge; Queenstown adventure activities; Dolphin eco-experience; kayak among mangroves; Pakiri Beach; Coromandel Peninsula; Cathedral Cove; Hot water beach; surfing; farm show; kiwifruit orchard; Geysers and hotpools; Maori culture and concert; kiwi bird; Karangahake Gorge; Auckland city tour; Mt. Eden.

Educational themes

New Zealand ecology and conservation; cultural exchange; tectonic processes; geothermal chemistry, Maori cultural experience; South Island climate, geology and ecology; glacial landforms and processes, and interaction with the natural vegetation (zonation, succession); gold-mining, sustainability and social issues; human perception; sustainable farming practice; sustainable energy; extreme natural events - earthquakes


All accommodation is included. You’ll be warm and comfortable in private single gender bunk rooms (bedding provided) in our pick of the North Island’s best hostels. Accompanying teachers will twin share, with en suite bathrooms where available. 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.

Environmental studies, Cultural exchange, Home-stay

Day 1 Christchurch

Arrive at Christchurch airport

The Christchurch area was first settled by moa-hunting tribes about 1250 CE. Following the purchase of land by whalers, a party of European settlers established themselves in what is now Christchurch in the 1840s.   In December 1850 four ships brought to the area 792 settlers with aspirations of building a city around a cathedral and college like Christ Church in Oxford. Now New Zealand's second-largest city, Christchurch was hit by a huge earthquake in February 2011. Much of the central city with its classic neo-gothic architecture was destroyed. However, it remains a beautiful city: the buildings may have been damaged but the soul of the city and the welcoming spirit of the people remain very much intact.
  • Enjoy a tour of Christchurch city including the parts affected by the earthquake.
  • And, time permitting, visit the Antarctic Centre an exciting experience of the Antarctic continent: survive an Antarctic storm, learn about life in modern day Antarctica and Scott Base, hang out with Little Blue Penguins and as extras  there are also the famously exciting Hagglund ride and an awesome simulated 4D cruise.
Overnight Christchurch

Day 2  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. As you drive west, you go back in time geologically, meeting the oldest rocks in New Zealand, remnants of the super-continent, Gondwanaland, as you near the west coast.
  • Drive west across the Alps, stopping to see highlights, as time allows.
  • 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 and relate the formation of this metamorphic rock to NZ’s latest mountain building phase.
  • Enjoy an evening soak in the hot pools of the alpine spa and, time permitting, take a short walk into the rainforest after dark to see glow worms.
Overnight Franz Josef

Day 3 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 so they extend down into the forest. During the last Ice Age, they reached far beyond the current coastline, so glacial land forms feature prominently along the west coast of the South Island.
  • Take a walk to the terminal of the Fox Glacier this morning, then drive south and through the Haast Pass to Wanaka.
  • Along this highly scenic route, see 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.
  • Enjoy the maze, holograms, Ames Room and other illusions at Puzzling World this morning before setting off for Queenstown.
Overnight Wanaka

Day 4 Sun 5th April – Wanaka to Queenstown 120 km – 1.5 hrs

Gold-mining, conservation and sociological issues; human perception; adventure

Nestled below towering mountains, Wanaka is the most tranquilly set of the South Island lakes. In winter, skiers flock here from all over the world for superb skiing and snowboarding at Cardrona and Treble Cone, cross-country skiing at Snow Farm and heli-skiing high in the Harris Mountains. But Wanaka, New Zealand, is much more than a winter destination. Year round activities include fishing, hiking, canyoning, climbing and skydiving. Gold was first discovered in the Otago region in the 1850s and provided the economic stimulus which drew settlers to the area, including miners from China.
  • On the way, watch (or try) bungy jumping from the Kawerau Bridge.
  • Explore historic Arrowtown. Pan for gold and visit the former Chinese miners’ village.
  • Arrive in Queenstown in time to travel high above the town by cable car to enjoy a luge ride before an all-you-can-eat dinner in the Skyline Restaurant.
  • Take a ride in the famous Shotover Jet (adds $69/$129 pp – under 16/16 or more).
Overnight Queenstown

Day 5 Queenstown to Auckland - to Paihia 260km - 3.5 hours

Queenstown is a resort town on Lake Wakatipu with spectacular views of nearby mountains. The area was first known to Māori who probably visited en route to collect jade (pounamu). Explorers William Gilbert Rees and Nicholas von Tunzelmann were the first Europeans to settle the area. Rees established a high country sheep farm in 1860 until the discovery of gold nearby encouraged him to convert his wool shed into a hotel. In 2012 Queenstown boasted 220 adventure tourism activities, including skiing, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, sky-diving and fly-fishing. It is also close to a small wine producing region and the surrounding area is often used in making movies, including of the Lord of the Rings.
  • Enjoy a free morning in Queenstown, then a famous Fergburger as an early lunch.
  • Take a late morning flight to Auckland. (Air New Zealand departs 1240, Jetstar 1135)
  • Drive to Bay of Islands
Overnight Paihia

Day 6 Bay of Islands to Pakiri Beach/Auckland – 175 km 2.5 hrs/260 km 3.5 hrs

Dune ecology; marine ecology
The Bay of Islands, one of the most popular fishing, sailing and tourist destinations in the country, was first settled 800 years ago by Maori. Whalers, among the first Europeans, arrived at the end of the 18th century, and the first missionaries came in 1814. The Bay of Islands is also where the Treaty of Waitangi, underpinning New Zealand's identity as a bicultural nation, was signed in 1840. Thanks to its subtropical climate and pristine, sheltered waters, the Bay of Islands is a haven for wildlife. With a resident dolphin population estimated to be 500 strong, the Bay of Islands is one of the best places in New Zealand to view wild dolphins and migratory whales year-round.
  • Dolphin eco-encounter (half day): watch and, conditions permitting, swim with dolphins in the course of this memorable wildlife cruise.
  • OR Enjoy a guided kayak to the Haruru Falls taking in the mangrove forest and Motumaire Island, as time allows, with a commentary on the mangrove eco-system, history of the area and the bird and marine life. Instruction is given on basic sea kayaking techniques and rescues.
  • OR the Cream Trip – adds $10 pp or $40 including the dolphin swim (Note that this is a full day 0930 – 1615): Explore the Bay of Islands! Stop for lunch on an island and travel to the famous Hole in the Rock. View and, if you choose, swim with the dolphins or boom net alongside the vessel. The Cream Trip is the perfect cruise for nature lovers, and the most extensive historical cruise in the Bay.
  • Drive to Pakiri Beach or Auckland
Overnight Pakiri Beach or Auckland

Day 7 Pakiri Beach (Auckland) to Coromandel Penisula to Tauranga 350 km 5 hrs

Coastlines; geothermal phenomena; sustainable dairy farming
The Coromandel Peninsula was named for HMS Coromandel, a ship of the British Royal Navy, which stopped at Coromandel Harbour in 1820 to purchase kauri spars and was itself named for India's Coromandel Coast. The peninsula is steep and hilly, with the Coromandel mountains rising to nearly 900 metres, and is largely covered in subtropical rain forest.
  • Take an early walk on beautiful Pakiri Beach, then drive south through Auckland and on to the Coromandel Peninsula.
  • Visit Tairua, a coastal holiday resort dominated by the lava dome, Paku, at its harbour entrance. Climb Paku (10 mins) for stunning views of the Coromandel Coast.
  • Follow the cliff tops to Cathedral cove with its famous sea arch
  • Dig your own private spa bath by the water’s edge at Hot Water Beach and soak in geothermal spring water (low tide 1530).
  • Drive to Tauranga to meet homestay families.
Overnight Tauranga (homestay)

Day 8 Tauranga

Estuarine ecology; Sand-dune ecology; Homestay

Tauranga is New Zealand’s fastest growing city after Auckland and a favourite summer holiday destination for kiwis, with its large natural harbour and extensive white sandy beaches. Settled by Māori late in the 13th century and by Europeans early in the19th, it is now a centre for business and international trade, culture, fashion and horticultural science. A wide range of fresh produce, including kiwifruit and avocados is grown in the area due to the mild, sunny climate and volcanic soils. Tauranga is New Zealand's largest export port and a regular stop for both container ships and luxury cruise liners.
  • Mudflat ecology study and or sand dune study
  • Climb Mt. Maunganui (iconic lava dome at the entrance to Tauranga natural harbour for stunning views/activities on the beach.
  • Optional extra: Take an "Introduction to Surfing" Group Lesson. including 2 hours of professional tuition, all equipment, easy to learn surfing techniques, instruction on surf safety and ocean awareness. Instructors in the water help you catch waves so expect to stand and surf in the first lesson! (adds $50 pp)
  • Or: Try Blokarting, land yachting for all ages and skill levels. The windy summer months provide perfect conditions to try this sailing meets the speedway experience. (adds $30 pp).
  • Rejoin your homestay families.
Overnight Tauranga(homestay)

Day 9 Tauranga to Rotorua

Geology and geothermal chemistry, ecology, Maori cultural experience; kiwifruit orcharding

The Taupo Volcanic Zone, running from the north-east coast to the centre of the North Island, is where New Zealand’s most active volcanoes are to be found, because it overlies the subduction zone where the Pacific tectonic plate is being forced beneath the Australian plate. The Maori people who still live in this area were originally drawn here by the benefits of the hot springs and mud pools.
  • Leave Tauranga early this morning to travel to Rotorua
  • Begin your day with a farm tour at the Agrodome, an interesting and entertaining introduction to New Zealand’s primary industries including a visit to an organic kiwifruit orchard.
  • Visit Te Puia, site of New Zealand’s most impressive geysers and mud pools.
  • Carry out qualitative analysis of hot spring water samples to understand the nature of geothermal activity and its benefits and dangers to the inhabitants of Rotorua.
  • See kiwi birds in a special aviary (where night and day have been reversed so visitors can see this iconic nocturnal bird).
  • Maori Cultural experience: Experience a unique glimpse into the way of life of  Maori people before the arrival of the Europeans: the wero, or traditional challenge to visitors, the haunting traditional call, the karanga, performed by a wahine (woman) as the powhiri (ritual of arrival) begins. Listen to a tane (male) explain the customs of the tribe and be entertained by the songs and games performed by a kapa haka (Maori cultural performance) group.
  • Optional hot swim at Polynesian Spa (adds $23 pp)
Overnight Rotorua

Day 10 - Rotorua to Auckland

Gold mining; Auckland volcanic field
  • Head for Auckland the Karangahake Gorge a former Maori stronghold and later a gold-mining centre. If there's time, take the short but spectacular Windows Walk over swing bridges and through old gold mining shafts and river gorges this morning, time permitting.
  • Visit Mount Eden volcano – views of city and volcanic field.
  • Explore the city centre and newly redeveloped waterfront.
  • Shopping depending on flight time.
  • Airport transfer for flight home

Environmental studies, Cultural exchange, Home-stay


  • Christchurch airport transfers
  • Accommodation in hostels, mostly YHAs
  • Private, single gender bunkrooms with all bedding provided and shared bathrooms
  • All breakfasts
  • All dinners included but one. 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.)

Environmental studies, Cultural exchange, Home-stay

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
11 Days / 10 Nights
Tour dates
By arrangement
Designed for
Secondary students
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 30+ students
From $2631pp incl. GST
Request a quote Contact us