Engage your passions! Join Pacific Discovery for a life-changing, overland journey through the heart of New Zealand and Australia.
On our New Zealand & Australia Semester, you'll travel in a fun, safe and supportive small group with two experienced international instructors to facilitate and mentor your experience. Combine three week-long service-learning conservation projects in diverse national parks and marine reserves; five multi-day outdoor expeditions including backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing and surfing; and educational adventure travel through New Zealand and Australia’s stunning mountain, forest and beach environments. You will also have many opportunities for meaningful connections with local people that will deepen your own global perspective. We encourage you to challenge your personal barriers and support the development of your leadership skills, resourcefulness, resilience, and independence. Pacific Discovery is committed to sustainability and ethical travel, which we'll be practicing throughout the program.
Develop a global perspective, independence, leadership and communication skills through outdoor expeditions, service learning projects, and authentic cultural immersion. Pacific Discovery programs foster empathy for other cultures, ethical and sustainable travel practices, and awareness of international issues. Students leave with a deepened sense of their identity, passion, and purpose.
Pacific Discovery is a global leader in experiential education, offering inspiring summer, semester, and gap year programs abroad since 2001, and is an inaugural member of the American Gap Association.
10-week program for ages 18-24. Fall and Spring departures. Scholarships and academic credit available.
- Visit our website to request a detailed information booklet for this program –
Cost and Session Information
Gap Year Program fee inclusions:
•All in-country land transport and travel (some flights - varies by program)
•All language classes, activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in each program's itinerary
•Service learning projects in conservation and community development Informal lectures from resident experts on history, culture, development issues
•Experienced program instructors and local guides
•Online image library for your program
•Extensive pre-departure preparation support and information
•During program weekly updates to families and group photo album
•Post-program alumni network
•Assistance with booking international flights
5 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
After searching through countless gap year programs, I had finally settled on one - Pacific Discovery Australia & New Zealand. I loved the balance it had between service projects and adventure activities. Going into it, I knew I was about to have a great adventure, but I could have never expected the extent to which the program would impact me. It wasn't just seeing new places and meeting new people - it was being in awe of places you couldn't have imagined, finding connections to different cultures, and becoming more aware of yourself in the process. And there would be no better way to experience all this than with the group of people you come to call your closest friends. Going through all these experiences together, growing together, allows you to become connected on a whole other level. The mission of Pacific Discovery really does come to life as the program fosters awareness for yourself and the world around you.
I had always wanted to go Australia and New Zealand, and this program gave me the amazing opportunity to do so! Going into the program, I wasn't really sure what to expect. The website and pictures I had seen looked amazing, and I expected and wanted to grow as a person from this experience, but how and by how much, I had no idea. From the very start, Pacific Discovery taught us that the greatest learning comes from outside of our comfort zones. This trip was the first time I was continuously pushed out of my comfort zone, whether it was being away from home for 2 months, being with 13 other people from all different backgrounds, abseiling down a 30m waterfall with my heart pounding outrageously in my chest, jumping out of a plane from 13,000 ft and soaring like a flying squirrel, or countless other occasions. I learned that to really make the most of an experience, I have to take what I experienced and internalize it so that I can learn from it and come back to it for future reference. There were ups and downs and ins and outs, but at the end of the day, I'm a physically and mentally stronger person than I was at the beginning of the trip - because I internalized and learned the lessons from experiences outside of my comfort zone, thanks to the way that PD runs the trip.There is so much emphasis on personal growth, learning more about your own identity, and getting the most you as yourself can get out of the trip. Along the way, I met incredibly wise and incredibly eccentric people; I learned about genius designs that revolutionized my view of "eco-friendly," I became aware of so many other lifestyles than mine own, I developed and grew as a photographer, and most of all, I came out of this program with a stronger sense of who I am and how I want to live my life. All of this personal growth in a land that some people only dream of coming to, the beautiful vistas and great cities of Australia and New Zealand. Gazing up at the millions of stars visible in the night skies there, I was reminded of just how large the world is, and how much we all have to learn from different places and from each other, something that this Pacific Discovery program definitely emphasized very well. For that, I thank you so much PD! With love, -Ashley Yu
Other students might be wondering what to do with their gap year, or even just what to do after high school, it's a hard question. I always figured i would go straight into college... until I didn't get into any of the colleges I wanted to go to. After looking at countless gap year programs I decided to go with pacific Discovery. Thank goodness! For my first time abroad I could not have asked for a better experience. The trip far exceeded my expectations. I learned things in these last nine weeks that I never knew I didn't know. Honestly, school could never have taught me more about myself, how to interact with other people, the world around me, and how to be so independent. The knowledge I gained on this trip is invaluable, and I know I'll never forget the experiences I had on this amazing program. Also, the other participants on the program have become some of my best friends. They each brought something different to the table and it makes you realize that any kind of person can participate in this program. The group leader didn't act as a parent but more as an adviser. We were able to take on more leadership roles and a greater amount of responsibility. Any one who is considering a trip with pacific Discovery should definitely take do it! You'll never be able to capture these one in a life time adventures any where else with the same level of satisfaction. Be brave, get out of your comfort zone and trust that you won't regret choosing Pacific Discovery!
I recently returned from the 9-week Australia and New Zealand trip with Pacific Discovery. The trip itself is fantastic; the travel and sites you get to see on this trip are on point in trying to gain an adventurous and cultural experience of the lands down under: from surf camps to canyoning in Australia, to multi-day hikes and canoe trips, white water rafting and rock climbing in New Zealand. Further, the volunteer conservation projects offer a unique perspective into sustainability and environmental maintenance that is rewarding for any type of traveler. I myself had completed a bachelor's degree and was in the midst of applying to medical school when I decided to join this trip. It was an amazing and inspiring experience that opened my eyes to an entirely different aspect of the world, and reminds us not to overlook the natural adventure all around us. Finally, the coordination of the program is perfected to the tee. The trip coordinator acts as more of a peer than a supervisor, and the trip encourages the participants to take initiative to make the most of the own travel experience. It also promotes leadership and social skills over a number of different tasks, from coordinating bookings, to organizing dinners, or leading expeditions. Not to mention, you'll make some of the greatest friends of your life on the trip, and you'll never want the adventure to end. Quite a life-changing few months for myself, and a re-inspiration about all the amazing things life has to offer.
I had a few months in between graduating college and starting graduate school, and I knew I wanted to travel abroad. I could have chosen to go abroad with my college program, but I decided to take a risk and go with a group of 13 people from all over the world that I did not know. I am so glad that I chose Pacific Discovery! Thanks to this program, I have made friends all over the world that are now a family to me, and the experiences that we were able to have together were unforgettable. I did so many things on this trip that I never thought I could do, and I feel like a stronger person because of it. Pacific Discovery inspired me to keep on exploring and to seek out adventure, whether it may be across the world or just around the corner in my own town. If I were to do it all over, I would choose Pacific Discovery over any other program because their main purpose is to help you develop as a person by immersing you in different cultures, pushing you out of your comfort zone a little bit, and surrounding you with awesome people through it all. Couldn't be more grateful for this experience of a lifetime! I just wish more people could experience what I did, so I highly recommend this program for anyone and everyone!! You will not regret it!!