New Zealand Flora and Fauna

Waitomo glow worm caves; Tongariro National Park; Trout Centre; Huka Falls; Debretts Hot mineral pools; Whirinaki Forest Park; Geyser and mud pools; Maori Concert; Tiritiri Matangi Island Wildlife Sanctuary

Educational themes

New Zealand’s geology; cave ecology; montane ecology; altitudinal zonation; adaptive radiation; succession on lava flows; management of endangered species in Tongariro National Park –case studies; interaction of volcanic, biological, climatic and erosional processes; indigenous and exotic forest ecology; Management of endangered wildlife 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


Meals are not included. However all hostels have well equipped kitchens so you can prepare your own. We will ensure you can make regular supermarket visits. Alternatively we can suggest restaurants and make reservations on your behalf.

New Zealand Flora and Fauna

Day 1 Auckland to Waitomo 183km

Auckland is New Zealand's largest city, situated between the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. Known locally as the City of Sails, Auckland offers a wide range of experiences from trips to islands of the Hauraki Gulf, climbing one of its iconic volcanic cones to exploring the rugged and beautiful wild west coast with its black sand beaches and dense rainforest. Maori have lived in the area for around 800 years, attracted by its rich supply of sea food, natural harbours, fertile volcanic soils and the vantage points provided by 50 or so volcanoes. European settlement of the area began in 1840 after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi with Maori
  • Arrive Auckland airport 1645.
  • Drive to Waitomo.
Overnight Waitomo

Day 2 Waitomo to Tongariro National Park 172

Tongariro National Park is noted for its volcanic and geothermal activity and cultural and recreational value. Tongariro was New Zealand's first national park, created following a gifting of the sacred central North Island peaks to the nation in 1887 by Paramount Chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV (Horonuku). The park has been added to the World Heritage List
  • 0830 Leave Waitomo for Tongariro National park.
  • 1100 Tour the Department of Conservation’s Visitor Centre in Whakapapa for an introduction to the management challenges of the area.
  • 1230 Take a two or three hour hike on the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu Volcano, the highest mountain in the North Island and the setting of many Lord of the Rings “Mordor” scenes. Activities on hike as time and daylight hours allow:
    • Case studies: observe/collect data
    • Mistletoe: an endangered semi-parasite
    • Heather: an introduced pest
    • Carry out an altitudinal zonation study (600 m to 1600 m - 2000’ to 5500’)
    • Data collection: succession on lava flows
  • 1800 Book into accommodation.
Overnight National Park Village

Day 3 Tongariro National Park to (Ohakune) to Taupo – 200 km

Taupo is a summer resort on the shores of Lake Taupo, the largest in the southern hemisphere, in one of the world’s largest calderas created by a super-sized eruption 26500 years ago. Taupo also prides itself as the events capital of New Zealand, hosting a series of sporting events through the year, notably the Taupo Cycle Challenge, a 160 km course around the lake completed by around 12 000 keen cyclists every November.
  • 0830 Leave accommodation. Choice of activities, as time allows:
    • Extra time for day one activities if desired.
    • 1030 to 1300 Spatial variation: plant diversity in relation to eruption history and climate in the park. Travel north again via the southern and eastern slopes of Ruapehu, including the Rangipo Desert.
    • 1300 lunch break
    • 1400 Visit the Trout centre for a tour introducing the wildlife of Tongariro National Park and conservation challenges, native and introduced (eg; trout and blue duck) and discussion of the influence of the Tongariro Power Scheme on the park’s ecology.
    • 1600 Watch or even participate in bungy jumping over the river. Optional extra
    • Visit the spectacular Huka Falls, close to the outlet of Lake Taupo into the Waikato River and the nearby Honey Centre.
  • 1800 Book into accommodation.
  • 2000 Hot swim or soak at Debrett’s Hot Water Springs
Overnight Taupo

Day 4 Taupo to Whirinaki Forest to Rotorua – 157

Whirinaki Forest Park is a 55,000 hectare enclave of indigenous forest located south east of Rotorua which has a global ranking for its biodiversity and ecological features. Whirinaki’s most striking feature is its awe-inspiring trees, of which the totara, kahikatea, matai, miro and rimu stand supreme. It has been variously described as one of the great rainforests of the world and the finest of New Zealand’s remaining giant podocarp forests – or as David Bellamy describes it, the ‘Dinosaur Forest’. It is one of only two native forests in New Zealand where the canopy is seen in such completeness - a feature encountered nowhere else in the world.
  • 0800 Leave accommodation
  • 1030 Whirinaki Forest Park. Activities as time allows:
    • Guided walks/hikes
    • Bird watching in Whirinaki Forest Park
    • Stratification and biodiversity studies in Whirinaki Forest Park
  • 1230 Lunch break
  • 1530 – 1700 Redwood Forest: (exotic forests in New Zealand) data collection, biodiversity issues.
  • 1730 Book into accommodation.
Overnight Rotorua

Day 5 Rotorua - Auckland – 236km

Rotorua is our oldest tourist resort, because of the bizarre geothermal features spread through and around the city, including geysers, mud pools and hot springs. In the 1800s visitors travelled around the world to see the famous Pink and White Terraces, unfortunately destroyed by Mount Tarawera volcano in 1886. The city is still a thermal resort, as well as the heart of Maori culture but now also has a great range of adventure and cultural activities to keep the visitors there a bit longer.
  • 0900 Te Puia is Rotorua’s most spectacular geothermal Park, location of New Zealand’s biggest and most active geysers, as well as spectacular mud pools and boiling hot spring. Compare pre and post European Maori culture. Historical dependence on native flora and fauna, Maori impacts on these.
  • Activities as time allows:
    • Tour the geothermal field.
    • Enjoy a Maori Cultural show (at Te Puia) and experience a glimpse of the way of life of Maori people before the arrival of the Europeans.
    • Chemical testing of hot spring water (at Te Puia and based on methodology used by geologist monitoring volcanic activity in the area).
    • See nocturnal kiwi birds in a darkened aviary.
  • 1300 Lunch break in town
  • 1400 Leave Rotorua for Auckland
  • 1730 Book into accommodation
Overnight Auckland

Day 6 Auckland

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand's most exciting conservation projects. 120 years of farming saw this small island stripped of 94% of its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between over 250,000 trees. The island is now 60% forested with 40% left as grassland for species preferring open habitat. All mammalian predators have been eradicated and a number of threatened and endangered bird and reptile species have been introduced, including the flightless takahe and the tuatara.
  • 0800 Leave accommodation.
  • 0900 Day trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island
  • Ferry trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island. Activities as time allows:
    • 1030 Guided walk –New Zealand’s unique bird dominated ecosystems, endangered species and their management.
    • Coastal niche – the pohutukawa tree.
    • 1300 lunch break
    • Interactive exhibition: forest ecosystems.
    • Discussion: optimising gene pool variety in small populations
    • Explore other parts of the island or swim off sheltered Hobb’s Beach.
  • 1530 Depart Tiritiri Matangi Island.
  • 1700 Arrive back in Auckland.
Overnight Auckland

Day 7 Auckland

  • Airport transfer for 8 am flight.

New Zealand Flora and Fauna


  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation in hostels (students in private bunk rooms with shared facilities, adults in twin/triple rooms)
  • All activities described in itinerary unless marked optional
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach 
  • Friendly, professional guide 
  • Access to our national parks
  • Pre-trip information

Not included:

  • International and domestic airfares
  • Meals – all hostels have large, well equipped kitchens.
  • Optional extra activities like bungy jumping.
  • Personal expenses (phone, wifi, laundry, snacks etc.

New Zealand Flora and Fauna

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
7 Days / 6 Nights
Tour dates
By arrangement
Designed for
Tertiary students
Free Teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 30+ students
From $1398 pp incl. GST
Request a quote Contact us