Tourism field trip itinerary

Queenstown is one of the best places to learn direct from leading tourism operators.

One of the world’s top four-season resorts, with more adventure activities than any other destination on the planet. Covid made Queenstown an even more interesting learning destination.

While the rest of the world saw tourism decimated by Covid restrictions, Queenstown shifted its attention to domestic tourism. While domestic visitors haven’t replaced the volume of international tourists, many operators in Queenstown made a successful transition to serving the domestic market and learned valuable lessons as a result. They’re now leading global tourism conversations on the future of tourism post Covid.

Bring your students to learn direct from the world’s top tourism talent, in a destination working to define the future of tourism.

Ziptrek Ecotours

Activities for your Queenstown tourism field trip

  1. Experience an iFLY tourism & business seminar.  When Covid hit, new tourism attraction iFLY pivoted to serve the NZ market. Get the inside scoop on running a tourism start-up in Queenstown. Learn about tourism marketing and technology and find out why iFLY are thriving post Covid. All iFLY field trips include a flight in the iFLY wind tunnel.
  1. Book an educational talk at AJ Hackett. AJ Hackett opened the world’s first commercial bungy jump. Learn from the OGs of Queenstown’s extreme scene, with a talk from their team, paired with a zipline or bungy adventure for your students. Talk topics include, branding and marketing, innovation, technology, health and safety and HR.
     
  2. Go behind the scenes at Millbrook Resort. Get a private tour at one of New Zealand’s top luxury resorts. Learn about luxury tourism, careers in the tourism and hospitality industry, and enjoy a tour of the resort grounds. Other hotels in Queenstown happy to host educational visits from student groups include the Hilton Resort & Spa, the Ramada, and the Crown Plaza.
     
  3. Visit Queenstown International Airport. The airport team welcome student groups. Get an introduction to airport operations, aviation, travel and tourism careers. Formal school visits are on hold until June 2021, due to Covid, however the airport is also an excellent place for informal visits where students can observe security measures, tourism marketing, and communications for international audiences in action.
     
  4. Spend a morning at Queenstown Resort College. Visit the college for an introduction to their courses in tourism and a conversation about the future of tourism. The college has strong connections in the Queenstown tourism community, and they’re happy to provide introductions. They also offer schools the opportunity to base yourself at a classroom for a few hours to do coursework or invite local tourism leaders to meet your group.
     
  5. Head up to Coronet Peak. The team at Coronet Peak welcomes school groups and may be able to offer your group a tour and talk about running a ski resort. If you’re visiting during ski season combine your visit with time on the slopes. Coronet Peak offers group discounts and has a dedicated groups team.  Time on the snow can count towards national curriculum credits in skiing and snowboarding.
     
  6. Organise a tourism scavenger hunt. Make research fun for your class by challenging your class to gather evidence of tourism in action around Queenstown. Task them to visit information centres to observe marketing, count and categorise tourism businesses, interview tourism operators, survey visitors, and gather those all-important selfies as evidence.

Kids fun at iFly indoor skydiving

History field trip itinerary

Visit Queenstown to learn about the history of goldmining in Central Otago. And as one of New Zealand’s first tourism resorts, it’s also the ideal destination to explore the history of tourism, and the impact the industry has had on the region.

Activities for your Queenstown history field trip

  1. Visit the Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown. The museum offers a hands-on education programme to bring Arrowtown’s goldmining past to life. Activities for years 0-10 include experiencing a class in an 1800s schoolhouse, learning how to make butter and rag mats, panning for gold, and building shelters. Older students can do a range of activities aligned to the NCEA history curriculum.
     
  2. Tour the Chinese Settlement in Arrowtown. Take a self-guided tour, using the interpretation panels to explore the contribution made by Chinese people to the region’s gold mining, cultural and business history. The Lakes District Museum also offers tours of the Chinese Settlement, and research opportunities for students.
     
  3. Try your hand at gold panning at Goldfields Mining Centre. Gold was mined on this site for 100 years. Book a tour for a talk about the Central Otago Goldrush, demos of historic gold mining equipment, and a lesson in gold panning.
     
  4. Hike the Invincible Gold Mine Track near Glenorchy. Take your class for a three-hour hike on a historic track built by gold miners in the early 1880s. You’ll see a rotating convex table, built to separate gold ore from pulverised rock dust. At the site of the old mine, you can see remains of the water wheel and the most complete set of berdans (large, revolving cast iron bowls in which the ore was ground) left in NZ.
     
  5. Take the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak. The TSS Earnslaw is the only hand-fired steamship operating in the southern hemisphere. Commissioned by New Zealand Railways to service the communities around Lake Wakatipu, she was launched in 1912, and has sailed the waters of the lake for over 100 years. Combine a cruise with a visit to Walter Peak High Country Farm, to learn about the history of farming in the region.
     
  6. Book a 4WD trip to Macetown. Explore the historic gold mining town of Macetown. A ghost town abandoned in 1930s, it’s a DOC historic reserve, and the most intact abandoned gold mining villages in the region. Take a 4WD tour up the rocky road, with the added excitement of crossing the Arrow River 25 times each way.

The Chinese Miners Village in Arrowtown

Geography field trip itinerary

Queenstown is the ideal destination for geography students to study tourism as a cultural process, and gain understanding of how it shapes geographic environments. Many of the activities suggested for the tourism field trip would also be suitable for this itinerary.

Activities for your Queenstown geography field trip

  1. Learn how tourism has shaped the community at the Lakes District Museum. Geography students can study tourism in Queenstown, with talks from local experts on spatial variation, temporal changes and the social effects of tourism in Queenstown and the Lakes District.
     
  2. Visit the Queenstown Resort College. Learn about tourism in Queenstown, the impact of Covid on the local tourism industry, and how the industry is planning for the future. The College can also explore the topic of sustainable tourism.
     
  3. Understand what goes into a major tourism event. Meet Destination Queenstown to understand the planning that goes into the Queenstown Winter Festival. As the Regional Tourism Organisation, Destination Queenstown can also answer questions on how the cultural process of tourism has shaped the environment.
     
  4. Speak with the local police. Local officers are happy to speak with student groups about the social effect tourism has had on the community. These talks can be organised at Queenstown Resort College or at the Lakes District Museum.
     
  5. Visit the Skyline Gondola. The gondola opened in 1967 and has been one of the most popular visitor attractions in Queenstown since. The attraction has seen the growth of international tourism in Queenstown, has undergone two major upgrades, and has been part of the Bike Park development. The Skyline management team are happy to talk to school groups about the part Skyline has played in the cultural process of tourism in Queenstown. They also offer discounted rides on the gondola and the luge.
     
  6. Visit local developments. Visit the sites of past and current developments, to understand how tourism has shaped the growth of Queenstown, as well as the effects it has had on local infrastructure. Developments to consider include Remarkables Park, Jacks Point, The Treespace eco-tourism development at Mount Dewar, the Lakeview Development planned for the site of the former Queenstown campground on Man Street.
     
  7. Conduct your own research. Teach your students how to gather quantitative data by surveying tourists and locals on tourism topics. Explore qualitative research by interviewing local tourism businesses and organisations like the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Destination Queenstown.

Skyline Gondola over Queenstown with the Remarkables mountains in the background

Sustainability field trip itinerary

Help your students understand the principles of sustainable use of an environment by exploring the sustainability of tourism in the Queenstown region. Students can investigate the impact of tourism on the region environmentally, socially, and economically and ask whether it’s sustainable for Queenstown to continue to host large numbers of visitors. 

Activities for your Queenstown sustainability field trip

  • Get an introduction to eco-tourism at Ziptrek. Ziptrek’s purpose is to give visitors an understanding of place, environment, and show how businesses can have a more positive impact. Their educational talks cover biodiversity, introduced species, predator control, becoming a zero-carbon business, and designing efficient power systems. Finish with a zipline tour complete with commentary on sustainability and ecotourism.
     
  • Learn about sustainable tourism at Queenstown Resort College. Tourism Industry Aotearoa define four pillars of sustainable tourism, environmental, community, visitor, and economic. Learn about initiatives like this and the Tiaki Promise, along with the movement towards non-materialistic tourism, and local tourism businesses leading sustainability.
     
  • Take a day trip to Camp Glenorchy. The Camp is New Zealand’s first resort to generate more power than it uses, and the first guest accommodation designed according to the Living Building Challenge – the most rigorous sustainability standards in the world. They offer daily tours to learn about the initiatives they have in place
     
  • Do your bit for the local environment. Meet the team at Wilding & Co, an award-winning social enterprise removing wilding pines and using them to make essential oil. Then volunteer for Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control to help protect biodiversity in the region.
     
  • Explore the future of luxury eco-tourism at Millbrook Resort. One of New Zealand’s leading luxury resorts is challenging the perception of 5-star, with an innovative future plan for sustainable and eco-tourism.
     
  • Conservation meets tourism at Kiwi Birdlife Park. The park runs four conservation programs from a five-acre oasis of native bush in the heart of Queenstown. The South Island kākā, the North Island brown kiwi, the pāteke (brown teal) and the whio (blue duck) are bred here for release into the wild. ​​They also manage breeding programmes for 20+ native birds and reptiles.
     
  • Talk kaitiakitanga and tourism at Shotover Jet. Shotover Jet connects Ngāi Tahu culture with adventure tourism. Learn about how Ngāi Tahu businesses live Ngāi Tahu’s statement of purpose, “Mo tatou a mo ka uri a muri ake hei” (for us and our children after us) with their environmental and cultural practices, tour the boats, and cap your visit off with a ride through the Shotover Canyon.

Kiwi Birdlife Park moorpork

Planning your student group visit to Queenstown

If you’re planning an educational field trip to Queenstown for your school, college, or university we’re here to help. Use our student groups information hub, or contact the Queenstown Convention Bureau team and we can give you information and advice.