Parent-child Educational tour of North Island of New Zealand

Tour Highlights

Karangahake Gorge; Mt. Maunganui beach and mountain; plant trees or dune grasses; explore and study mudflats; kayaking, blokarting, sailing or horse-trekking; kiwi fruit orchard tour and tasting; virtual beehive tour and tasting; farm show; cable car and luge; Hot swim; geysers and mudpools; Maori culture and concert; kiwi bird; Huka Falls; jet boat ride; Hike Tongariro National Park; skydive, bungy jump, white water raft or horse-trek; Waitomo glow worm caves; Hobbiton movie set; Auckland city tour; Mount Eden volcano; Tiritiri Matangi Island wildlife sanctuary

Educational themes

Volcanoes; gold-mining; mudflat ecology; coasts; food productions; sustainable use of resources; geothermal chemistry; New Zealand ecosystems; erosional processes; altitudinal zonation; karst landscapes; cave ecology; tourism; New Zealand history; urban settlement; Forest ecology; conservation of biodiversity


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.

Parent-child Educational tour of North Island of New Zealand

Day 1 – Auckland to Tauranga - 200 km - about 2 hours 30 minutes

  • Arrive at Auckland airport and drive to Tauranga via Karangahake Gorge

Educational Themes: volcanoes, gold-mining

  • Karangahake Gorge Windows walk – This is a short, very scenic walk through rainforest among early gold-mining artefacts: tunnels, stamper batteries, tramlines, vats. Discuss mining and extraction of gold and compare early attitudes to health and safety and environmental damage with current mining practice
Overnight Tauranga

Day 2 – Tauranga

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. It’s also New Zealand's largest export port and a regular stop for both container ships and luxury cruise liners.

Educational themes: mudflat ecology, coastlines.

  • Climb all or part of the way up Mauao the iconic mountain at the entrance to Tauranga natural harbour for an overview of coastal landforms, including beaches and dunes, a tombolo, barrier island, mudflats, saltmarshes. Examine and discuss human impacts and their mitigation. Plant dune grasses, time permitting.
  • Explore mudflats to meet crabs and other organisms inhabiting this highly challenging Environment. Discuss adaptations in relation to environmental conditions and collect data on community patterns. Enjoy experiential activities (eg: predator-prey games).
  • Visit Mount Maunganui beach for games, to paddle (conditions permitting) and for a sand-castle building competition.
Overnight Tauranga


Day 3 - Tauranga to Rotorua – 85 km

Tauranga was settled by Māori late in the 13th century and by Europeans early in the 19th, 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

Educational themes: the geography of food

You’ll have a choice of adventure activities to try this morning, including
  • Kayaking (adds $45pp) on the peaceful Wairoa river, including instruction.
  • Blokarting (adds $30 p) This is land-yachting for beginners. The light winds typical of this time of year provide ideal conditions.
  • Sailing (adds $80 pp) Take an introductory lesson in an easy to handle dinghy, suitable for beginners.
  • Horse-trekking (adds $80 pp) enjoy a guided trek through the lush Bay of Plenty. Again this is an ideal setting for first-timers to try this sport.
  • This afternoon, visit a working Kiwifruit orchard on your way to Rotorua. Climb aboard a KiwiKart and experience a fascinating 40-minute tour through lush orchards. Gain an understanding of kiwifruit orcharding and  the dynamic kiwifruit Industry, how the Bay of Plenty is able to grow the world’s healthiest fruit better than anywhere else in the world, then taste the proof for yourself! A great range of kiwifruit products can be purchased on site.
  • Comvita Honey Centre: stop here to taste and purchase New Zealand manuka honey. Also available is a range of this world renowned company’s manuka honey based medicinal products and cosmetic as well as honey ice-cream and a tour (adds $15/25) of a virtual bee-hive for the children.
Overnight Rotorua

Day 4 - Tauranga to Rotorua – 85km

Rotorua is in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, where New Zealand’s most active volcanoes and their associated geothermal activity are to be found. This is because it overlies the subduction zone where the Pacific tectonic plate is being forced beneath the Australian plate. The Maori people were originally drawn here by the benefits of the hot springs and mud pools. Because of the bizarre geothermal features spread through and around the city, including geysers, mud pools and hot springs Rotorua is our oldest tourist resort. 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, but now also has a great range of adventure and cultural activities to keep the visitors there a bit longer.

Educational themes: Farming in New Zealand; volcanoes
  • The Agrodome Sheep Show provides an entertaining introduction to sheep and dairy farming in New Zealand, with the opportunity to watch sheep shearing how the herd is managed using highly trained sheep dogs, as well as the chance to touch and feed baby animals.
  • Tour the highlights of Rotorua including the Government Gardens, a snapshot of Rotorua’s heyday as a thermal resort town in the early 1900s and the lakefront.
  • Next, take a cable car high above this city in a volcano for stunning views, an optional buffet lunch and the chance to luge back down the mountain in small cart controlled like a bicycle.
  • Polynesian Spa: This is a great day to finish a busy day, if you choose (adds $10/$15 pp, and enjoy a hot swim and mineral-pool soak in the family spa.
  • Alternatively you can visit the shops!
Overnight Rotorua  


Day 5 – Rotorua

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.

Educational themes: Volcanoes; geothermal chemistry; New Zealand ecosystems: Maori culture
  • Visit Te Puia, site of New Zealand’s most impressive geysers and mud pools.
  • Enjoy an introduction to chemistry and carry out simple tests on hot-spring water samples to understand 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. You’ll also see artists engaged in traditional Maori crafts (wood carving and flax weaving)
  • Drive to Taupo via the Huka Falls, impressive for the volume of water churning through the Huka Gorge and cascading into the Waikato River.
  • Take the famous Huka Jet to view the Falls from below, if you choose (adds $70/105).
Overnight Taupo


Day 6 – Monday 10th November (BLD) Auckland

Tongariro National Park: This area 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. 

Educational themes: forces shaping the land; high-altitude ecology.
  • Today you’ll visit and take a gentle guided walk in New Zealand’s oldest National Park, also the site of many Lord of the Rings movie set locations, including Mt. Doom and Mordor.
  • Or, if you’re feeling adventurous (extra cost), try a tandem skydive, a bungy jump or white-water rafting. This is also an opportunity to kayak the shores of Lake Taupo, the largest in the southern hemisphere and located in a super-volcano (currently dormant!) 40 km wide.
Overnight Taupo

Day 7 - Auckland 

Waitomo Caves village and cave system are major tourist attractions. The caves are noted for their stunning  stalactite and stalagmite displays, and for their glow-worms (the fungus gnat Arachnocampa luminosa).The word Waitomo comes from the Māori language wai meaning water and tomo meaning a sinkhole. These Caves are believed to be over two million years old and have been the centre of increasingly popular commercial caving tourism since 1900.

Educational themes: Karst landscapes; cave ecology; tourism
  • Guided tour of Waitomo’s famous glow worm cave. See spectacular stalactites in the upper cave, then board a boat to drift in silence through the glow worm gallery and marvel at their tiny lights, like thousands of stars in the night sky.
  • Cave ecology: observe the unusual niche of the fungus gnat. Glow worms are the larvae of fungus gnats. They are found mostly in New Zealand and Australia in caves and grottos, or sheltered places in forests. The larva spins a nest out of silk then suspends mucus covered threads of silk, 30 or 40 cm long from it. The larva glows to attract prey and a hungry larva glows brighter than one which has just eaten
  • Next take a short but stunning walk in mature rainforest in collapsed cave system.
  • OR Hobbiton Movie Set near Matamata (adds $37.50/$75) This is an opportunity to see a unique attraction, the set reconstructed specially for the filming of the Hobbit, a mecca for fans worldwide of author J. R. R. Tolkien and a work of art in its own right. It’s also an excuse to break your journey to Rotorua and visit the working sheep farm the set is built on.
  • Continue your drive towards Auckland.
Overnight Auckland

Day 8 – Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand's largest city, with nearly a third of the country’s population, 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.

Educational themes: history of New Zealand and Auckland; development of the city.
  • This morning tour highlights of Auckland city, beginning with a short walk to the top of Mt. Eden volcano for views of the city and stories of its geography, geology and history. Walk around the volcano’s crater, past the archaeological remains of a fortified Maori village which previously occupied the volcano’s summit.
  • The rest of the day is yours to shop for souvenirs. We’ll help you reach Newmarket and one of the city’s biggest malls.
Overnight Auckland

Day 9– 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.

Educational themes: Forest ecology; Conservation strategies
  • Ferry trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island
  • Guided walk – introducing New Zealand’s unique wildlife and one of its most successful conservation projects.
  • Visit the visitor centre next to the island’s historic lighthouse and browse in the souvenir shop with its fascinating range of wildlife themed gifts on sale.
  • Explore other parts of the island or swim off sheltered Hobb’s Beach.
  • Ferry back to mainland.ay10 –Auckland
Overnight Auckland

Day 10 – Auckland

  • Transfer to Auckland Airport (free time to shop en route, depending on traffic) for flight home to China
  • These prices are net to us, valid until October 2015 and inclusive of 15% GST. They include food and accommodation (twin, triple or quad share – single supplement $50/$70 pp per night) as specified, activity fees unless otherwise stated, 4 star coach and driver, teacher-facilitator. Prices do not include airfares, whether national or international, insurance or airport taxes. The adult prices are based on a group made up of not more than 50% adults. For additional adults price on application.

Parent-child Educational tour of North Island of New Zealand


  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation in hotels, (twin or triple share) 
  • All breakfasts 
  • All lunches  (picnics) (except B&B rate)
  • All dinners in restaurants. (except B&B rate)
  • All activities described in itinerary unless marked optional.
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach. 
  • Friendly, professional guides. 
  • Access to our national parks
  • 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.)

Parent-child Educational tour of North Island of 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.
Request a quote Contact us
Tour Length
10 Days / 9 Nights
Tour dates
By arrangement
Designed for
Parent & Secondary school groups
1 Tour leader
Minimum group size
10 Students
$2066/2182 (hostels) or
$2416/2533 (hotels)
incl. GST
Request a quote Contact us