Have a summer to remember in New Zealand! Enjoy 3 jam-packed weeks of exploration and adventure as you travel the North and South Island.

Volcanoes, fjords, geothermal pools, pristine beaches, mountain ranges and vibrant cities... You will see it all on this 3 week tour around the North and South Island of New Zealand. You will give mountain biking, rafting, volunteering at a wildlife park and hiking a go, making the activities just as diverse as the landscape.

You will soak up the history and Maori culture, hike to the top of a dormant volcano, and volunteer at a pristine National Park in the North Island. When we leave the rolling green hills behind us after two weeks, we travel around the snow-capped mountains and infinite lakes of the South Island. You will love this part of the program, from the “adventure capital of the world” before falling in love with Milford Sound on a cruise through the fiords. 

Who is this summer program for?

This summer program is perfect for students and non-students, ideally 15 to 17 years old.

  • Rewarding volunteer conservation projects in National Parks and the Kiwi Birdlife Park
  • Spot seals and penguins on a picturesque boat cruise through the world famous Milford Sound
  • White water rafting on the Kaituna River
  • Hike to the summit of a dormant volcano on Rangitoto Island
  • Spot seals and penguins on a picturesque boat cruise through the world famous Milford Sound
  • Cultural immersion at a Maori cultural performance and traditional hangi feast
  • Mountain biking in The Redwoods, Rotorua
  • Wellington, New Zealand’s vibrant capital – Parliament tour and the Te Papa museum
  • Explore Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of the World
  • Very personalized and supportive small group experience – maximum 12 students

**This is a guide to what you can expect to do on Program. The order in which the activities occur might vary**

Week 1. Bay of Islands & Conservation Volunteering

You’ll arrive in Auckland, where your Program Instructors will meet you and transfer you to Paihia, which is the epicenter of the jaw-droppingly beautiful (and famous) Bay of Islands. Program orientation begins, inclusive of ice breaker games and “get to know you” activities to encourage all students to bond and relax into Kiwi life. 

We'll learn how New Zealand's history was shaped as we visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which showcases museums, cultural Maori performances in the Maori Meeting House, a traditional waka (canoe) and native gardens with spectacular views of Paihia and the many islands.

We'll also make our way to the stunning Tawharanui Regional Park for a conservation volunteer project. Tawharanui boasts some of New Zealand’s most beautiful white sandy beaches, rolling pastures, shingled bays, native coastal forest and regenerating wetlands. The sanctuary is a unique blend of conservation, recreation and sustainable farming within Tawharanui Regional Park. Our days here are spent participating in volunteer conservation initiatives working alongside park rangers and a local group of community volunteers, and our nights are spent under the starry night sky as we camp in this beautiful location.

Week 2. Rafting in Rotorua & Experiencing Maori Culture

After getting back to Auckland, we will take a short scenic ferry ride to Rangitoto Island, Auckland's most iconic island. It's renowned for having the youngest and largest of Auckland's 48 dormant volcanoes and the world's largest pohutukawa forest. We will hike to the top of the volcano, where we are rewarded with spectacular views of the city scape. 

Heading south, we travel to the geothermal and cultural heartland of the country. In Rotorua we stay in a Marae, a traditional village meeting hall and spiritual home to the Maori. Our days here are full of adventure and energy as we go mountain biking in the Redwoods, and spend an afternoon rafting down the Kaituna River. The Kaituna River is Rotorua rafting’s playground, and home to not just one, but three impressive waterfalls, including the highest rafted waterfall in the world – Tutea Falls at 7m! We finish our stay in Rotorua 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 gain insight into Maori culture through an intimate Maori educational experience at the National Museum. 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.

Week 3. Rock Climbing, Queenstown and Milford Sound

Today we fly from Wellington to Queenstown, known as both the “Adventure Capital of the World” and Pacific Discovery’s home! We’ll spend 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.

Next up is 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! But it's also time to say goodbye to Queenstown as we drive towards Christchurch. We will make a stop at genuine working farm, where we'll get an in-depth explanation about shearing and wool, get up close with the animals in their paddocks, see firsthand how they raise and look after them, and give a helping hand. We drive to Christchurch where we spend the last few days exploring the city on a tour.


*Each week there will be some designated free time so that you can catch up on email, laundry, rest, and explore.
**Pacific Discovery reserves the right to alter and/or change the order of the itinerary, the focus of the projects or the activities themselves due to dates, availability, and safety precautions.

For full program details, please request the information booklet


This summer program is perfect for students and non-students, ideally 15 - 17 years old. Anyone with an average fitness level and an enthusiasm for the outdoors and new experiences will have a great time on this summer program! You will need to be prepared for some physical work during the volunteer projects on the program, like trail building or the removal of invasive plants.

The program is a shared group experience. Join this 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 a mix of camping (tents supplied) and comfortable, clean hostels and lodges. Laundry and Wi-Fi facilities will be available most days, except during the weeks in the field on the volunteer projects and on expeditions. 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. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are included in the program cost. Any snacks are at an additional cost, which we recommend budgeting around $10 per day for.

Food preparation responsibilities are shared by all students. It’s fun, social and often a highlight. An average day on program would consist of the following:

  • Breakfast: cereals, porridge (oatmeal), toast, spreads, eggs, yoghurt, fruit, tea and coffee
  • Lunch: wraps, sandwiches, salads, dinner leftovers
  • Dinner: BBQ meat, vegetables and salads, potato salad, pasta, chili, wraps, fish and chips, burgers

Camping meals will be adjusted to the cooking equipment at hand

Included in the tuition

  • All in-country travel and transport except for flights
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Environmental education and volunteering projects
  • Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves - working towards a deeper understanding of their values, identity, passions and purpose
  • Individual mentorship from program instructors, supporting you in your personal goals for the program
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism
  • Pre-departure booklet with all information you need in one place to prepare for the program
  • 24/7 emergency contact number for students and parents
  • Global medical rescue and political evacuation insurance
  • Instructors have 24/7 access to a physician and a psychologist for advice and support
  • Pacific Discovery T-shirt

Duration 21 days
Program Tuition $6,599 USD Estimated Flight Cost $1,600 USD
Availability Closed
Group Size 12 Students & 2 Instructors Ages 15-17 ideal
Optional College Credit No Start/Finish Start - Auckland
Finish - Christchurch