Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

New Zealand

It’s no secret that New Zealand is arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It combines beauty and adventure with its amazing National Parks, great metropolitan cities, rolling hills, glacier trekking and its extreme sports, making it the perfect place for those who seek adventure and adrenaline. After all, this is the birthplace of bungee jumping!

The country also has a rich history, an incredible Māori culture and friendly locals with a laid back attitude, making it an ideal travel destination for everyone.

Our first stop is the gorgeous harbour city of Auckland, located on the North Island of the country, and built on top of over 40 volcanoes. It is the perfect base for exploring the natural wonders of the area. From here, you can take a day trip to Matamata which is home to the movie set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Hobbiton! You can pretend to be a hobbit by exploring Bag End, going inside the Hobbit homes and having a drink at the Green Dragon Pub.

From Auckland, you can also go to the town of Rotorua. Here you will find Māori villages and learn about their culture; join in a Haka (war dance); eat a traditional hāngi (Māori feast cooked in the ground); learn some Māori language; or check out an authentic cultural performance with song, dance, legends, arts and crafts. Around 700 years ago, the Māori people discovered and settled in New Zealand. Their culture has been a great influence on what New Zealand is today and you will be able to ask local Māori guides about how their culture is surviving in the 21st century.

New Zealand is a hiker’s paradise. There are countless epic walks that will take you past the country’s top natural wonders. One of the most popular hikes is the challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing, situated on the North Island. Often rated as one of the world’s best single-day wilderness walks, this 12-mile hike provides views of volcanic landscapes with craters, brightly coloured lakes and the vast Central Plateau.

Next stop is Queenstown on the South Island. Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand offering skiing, bungee jumping, jetboating, skydiving and pretty much any other extreme activity you can think of. It’s the perfect place for anyone seeking adrenaline-inducing adventure! So if you fancy jumping off a bridge on a bungee or swimming with sharks, this is the place for you!

From here, you can go to Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park and see one of the most breathtaking parts of New Zealand. This designated World Heritage Site is home to waterfalls, tall mountains, forbidding cliffs and crystal-clear still waters. The best way to see it is by boat or by kayak. Either way, keep your eyes peeled for seals, dolphins and the Fiordland crested penguin.

Next stop is Kaikoura. First settled by Māori with their taste for seafood, Kaikoura sits near a deep underwater trench which helps draw a wide variety of sea life into the area. It is best known for its whale watching, as large pods of whales frequent this part of New Zealand’s coastline during their annual migration. You can also swim with dolphins, feast on crayfish, go on a fishing excursion or take a boat tour to see whales, dolphins, seals and marine bird life – the possibilities are endless.

Our final stop is Lake Tekapo. The skies over Lake Tekapo are some of the clearest in New Zealand, if not the world. So if you’re interested in stargazing, astrophotography or simply sitting beneath the stars before you go to bed, this is the best place to go – if you’re lucky, you’ll have the most amazing view of the Milky Way!