Cross-curricular, cultural exchange, community service | NZ tour details
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.
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.
Over night 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.
Day 4 - 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).
Day 5 - Queenstown to Auckland - to Paihia 260 km - 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
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.
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)
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