Home to diverse eco-systems and spectacular natural landscapes all year round, New Zealand is a premier destination to discover the many wonders of science. The country is considered a biodiversity hotspot, as it is recognised by the scientific community as among the top 36 locations around the globe which contain unusual and irreplaceable forms of life. An ecosystem containing so many rare forms of life is obviously fragile and needs protection. As a result, a growing culture of environmental consciousness has emerged in New Zealand. On tour, students make connections between sustainable green practices and preserving the natural environment.
Students will soak in the majesty of unspoiled landscapes and participate in a range of truly unique activities with links to the curriculum units of earth and space sciences, earth processes, the changing earth and more. Where else can you climb an active volcano, swim in geothermal pools, explore limestone glow-worm caves and zip-line through the canopy of ancient forests?
Mt. St. John Observatory, South Island
Curriculum Link: Earth and space sciences
Be introduced to cosmology and learn about the science of the spectacular night sky above the world’s southernmost optical research facility. Using powerful telescopes, step into the shoes of an astronomer and learn about the innovative research that goes on at the facility. The area is perfect for astronomical research and internationally renowned as one of the best spots for stargazing, being part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve.
Whakaari / White Island, North Island
Curriculum Link: Earth processes – energy transfers and transformations
See the effect that New Zealand’s only active marine volcano has on the surrounding environment as you join guides and board a charter boat bound for the inner crater of White Island, a magnificent live marine volcano. Knowledgeable guides will lead you on a journey into another world and provide fascinating insights into the geology and history of the island.
Equipped with hard hats and gas masks, you’ll explore roaring fumaroles, sparkling sulphur chimneys, bubbling pools of mud and the spectacular main crater. A trip to Whakaari / White Island is the ultimate earth science lesson.
Quake City, Christchurch Tour
Curriculum Link: The changing earth – the cause and impact of earth hazards
Discover first-hand the effect that an earthquake has on the urban environment on this guided tour. Understand the science behind liquefaction, where the vibrations of an earthquake liquefies the ground to the point that it bubbles up and buries streets and buildings. Discover exactly what causes destructive seismic waves and be inspired by stories of hope and heroism as you learn the extraordinary response from the community that followed the earthquakes.
Other science focused learning activities in New Zealand
- Learn about the forest ecosystem as its evolution from informative guides as part of a fascinating ‘Footprints in the forest’ guided tour.
- Explore the incredible Waitomo Glow-worm Caves and learn about the subterranean ecosystem, inhabited by thousands of glow-worms that together produce an extraordinary glittering display.
- Visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderlands in Rotorua, New Zealand’s most colourful volcanic area. Here, the landscape has been gradually sculptured by volcanic activity, resulting in diverse natural features such as the Champagne Pool, the Primrose Terrace steaming ground and huge volcanic craters.
- Visit the vast kiwifruit orchards and learn about the agricultural biochemistry behind this major export in New Zealand.
Whether its learning about earth sciences in geothermal areas or marvelling at constellations and exoplanets in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand makes science exciting and real.