This one month summer program combines a week of blazing sun, pristine sea, golden sand and exciting water sports in the beautiful Mamanuca Island Resort in Fiji, followed by three weeks of adventure travel in both the North and South Island of New Zealand.
If you’re looking to get stuck into a myriad of different activities, both on land and at sea – this program is most certainly for you! Try mountain biking, rafting, snorkeling, scuba diving, stand up paddle boarding, luging, ice skating and various boat trips. In New Zealand visit ‘The Shire’ (Lord of the Rings movie set), the incredible Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area, and soak in hot springs. Students will fly down to Queenstown in the south island, to spend time exploring the “adventure capital of the world” before falling in love with Milford Sound via a cruise through the fiords (according to Rudyard Kipling, the “eighth wonder of the world”). The New Zealand Fiji summer program also includes two awesome service-learning projects, spending time at The Farm just outside the Bay of Islands in Northland, and at the Kiwi Birdlife Park down in Queenstown, giving students the opportunity to get stuck in to local conservation and sustainability efforts.
New Zealand has enjoyed 100 million years of isolation since it separated from the southern super continent Gondwana, sinking into and rising again from the ocean. This sinking, rising and isolation from other landmasses (Australia is 1300 miles away), protected unusual eco-systems where birds filled all the major niches usually taken by mammals. These eco-systems were radically compromised by colonization and the introduction of new animal species - first from the indigenous Maori some 800 years ago and more recently by European settlers.
Fiji is a ‘tropical paradise’ of over 300 islands with forests, sandy beaches, coral reefs, and gorgeous clear waters. The Mamanuca Islands are volcanic in origin and fringed by spectacular beaches and reefs. Fiji is home to people with a vibrant culture rich in music and dance, arts, sports and food. This summer abroad program is suitable for high school graduates, gap year students, university students and graduates, ideally 18 – 24 years.
• Introduction to scuba diving in Fiji
• Snorkeling over coral reefs in Beach Comber Island
• Visit the most Northern tip of New Zealand, Cape Reinga
• Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area and cultural immersion at a Maori cultural performance and feast
• Visit Hobbiton (Lord Of The Rings movie set)
• Mountain biking in The Redwoods, Rotorua
• White water rafting on the Kaituna River
• Four days spent at The Farm, just outside the incredible Bay of Islands.
• Wellington, New Zealand’s vibrant capital – Parliament tour and the Te Papa museum
•Explore Queenstown, the “Adventure Capital of the World”
• Volunteer at the Kiwi Birdlife Park
• Experience a picturesque boat cruise through the world famous Milford Sound
• Explore Mount Cook region, home to the highest mountain in New Zealand
• Hot chocolate under the starry night sky in Tekapo
• Informal lectures and discussions on history, culture, society and environment
• Very personalized and supportive small group experience – maximum 12 students
• Two experienced and inspiring Pacific Discovery Program Instructors for 9+ students supported by local guides (one experienced instructor for groups of 8 and below).
You’ll arrive in Nadi, Fiji where sunshine, fresh air and smiles await you. Your Program Instructors will meet you at the airport and transfer with you to our group accommodation, a “hidden gem” in Nadi, located right on the beach front. Program orientation begins, inclusive of ice breaker games and “get to know you” activities to encourage all students to bond and relax into island life.
We travel by boat to Beachcomber Island Resort, located in the picturesque Mamanuca Islands. We spend four days on this dreamy island, surrounded by glistening turquoise waters and soft, white sand. The four days will be taken at “island pace” whilst students settle in, get to know each other and explore the beautiful oasis that surrounds them. You will have plenty of time to spend in the water; swimming in the sea or taking advantage of access to snorkelling gear and stand up paddle boards. We also spend time boating around the island, and all students will have the chance to explore the mesmerising sea life which lives in the deeper waters with an introductory dive! On the sixth day we say goodbye to paradise as we jump back on a boat to spend one more night in Nadi, before we fly out to begin our kiwi adventure in Auckland!
Welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival to Auckland we pick up our van and head north up towards Paihia, which is the epicentre of the jaw-droppingly beautiful (and famous) Bay of Islands. We head far North from Paihia, to lands less explored, and head all the way up to Cape Reinga where the Tasman sea collides dramatically with the Pacific Ocean! Cape Reianga is known for being the most spiritual place in New Zealand, according to Maori tradition. You will walk to the light house, play in the famous giant sand dunes and explore the spectacular 90 mile beach.
The Farm is a quintessential working dairy farm, located just outside the Bay of Islands. This local, family owned, slice of paradise allows you to get up close and personal with a range of farm animals. You’ll have the chance to milk, feed and look after them. You will also get a chance to kayak, hike and explore their 1000 acre “back yard”, learn hosemanship skills and get a chance to put them to the test with horse trekking. There’s also opportunities to fish, drive tractors and learn survival skills amongst so many other great activities. It’s an awesome place to try your hand at new things and experience what is an authentic kiwi lifestyle for so many New Zealanders!
We spend the night in Auckland before heading south to stop off at Hobbiton, ‘The Shire’ movie set from Lord of the Rings, where you experience your very own “middle earth” adventure. We finish this day up in Rotorua, at the heart of New Zealand’s cultural and geothermal landscape. Day two is full of adventure and energy as we go mountain biking in the Redwoods, with the afternoon spent rafting down the Kaituna River. On day three we take it a little slower, recovering from all the adrenaline activities with a soak in the Waikite Valley thermal pools. We finish the day at the Tamaki Maori Village for an evening experience, consisting of a cultural immersion and a traditional hangi feast.
We have one long travel day on the program from Rotorua to Wellington driving across the Great Desert Road, New Zealand’s volcanic alpine plateau. Wellington, New Zealand’s compact capital city, is really vibrant with great shopping, cafés and nightlife…and well worth the drive! We’ll visit Parliament to learn about New Zealand’s political system (way more interesting than it sounds, we promise), and visit the National Museum, the Te Papa. You will also have some free time to explore independently as a group and we can recommend some other well known attractions that you might like to visit.
Today we fly from Wellington to Queenstown, known as both the “Adventure Capital of the World” and Pacific Discovery’s home! You’ll take a trip up the gondola and go luging, which is great fun, and can be highly competitive! The next day you’ll have to yourselves, and if you’d like to independently book any adventure activities - you’re in the right place. Bungy Jumping, sky diving, ziplining, paragliding, jet boats or even skiing or snowboarding up our local mountains is part of every day life here in Queenstown! We’ll spend a day over in Wanaka and a day volunteering at the Kiwi Birdlife Park, a wildlife refuge in Queenstown. You’ll work alongside park rangers and duties could include cleaning aviaries, native tree planting, food preparation and animal observation. We’ll also spend a day over at Milford Sound, arguably New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attraction. Home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins - you’ll be sure to spot something unusual and exciting in the water! On day 26 we say goodbye to Queenstown as we drive to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s most famous and highest mountain.
We wake up at Unwin Lodge which is conveniently located at the entrance to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. We partake in a local hike and soak up the splendour of the mountain peak which is majestically watching over us. After our hike we drive to Tekapo, a stunning must-see destination which is famous for its clear night skies. We spend the night snuggled up with hot chocolate, watching the stars above us - a truly magical experience. The next day is spent making the most of the winter activities available to us; ice skating, tubing and soaking in the local hot pools.*
We drive to Christchurch where we spend the last few days exploring the city. We wrap up the program and spend time reflecting on our month adventure before we say our goodbyes - heading off back home!
Note: Each week there will be some designated free time in a town or city so that you can catch up on email and laundry, relax and have your own independent experiences with others in the group.
Open to high school graduates, university students and graduates, ideally 18 – 24 years. This program is suitable for anyone of average fitness with an enthusiasm for conservation and new experiences. You need to be committed to, and prepared for, some physical work whilst on the volunteer component of the program i.e. trail building, tree planting or painting. You don’t need to have had previous experience with travel or any of the activities offered.
The program is a shared group experience. We expect you to join the program with an open mind and a willingness to work together with your group mates to make the program an amazing experience for the whole group. Additionally, the program will be as much about the inner journey of personal growth and learning about yourself as it is about what you will experience in the outer physical journey. We expect you to be open to learning and challenging your ideas and assumptions.
Our accommodation will be comfortable and clean hostels and lodges. Laundry and WiFi facilities will be available most days, except while in the field on the volunteer projects. Accommodation is diverse, comfortable and carefully chosen to fit our needs.
Meals are fresh, tasty, healthy and varied. Special dietary requirements and vegetarians are catered for. 85% of meals are included in the program cost. Food preparation, shared by all participants, is fun, social and often a highlight. The remaining few meals are not included to allow a choice of when, where and what we eat. For the meals not included, you will have the option of dining out, or self-catering with others in the group. We recommend you budget the sum of $10 per day for snacks, drinks and meals not included in the program cost (allow $300 for the program).
Program Tuition Includes
Visa on arrival*; All in-country travel and transport (except flights); All accommodation; Most meals; All activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary; Two weeks of volunteer conservation projects; Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation, history and eco-tourism; Experienced Pacific Discovery Program Instructors and local guides; Online image library for your program. *Note: Free visitor visas for New Zealand & Fiji are issued on arrival.