Multiple Locations +2
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
4 - 12 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, Payment plans
Health & Safety

Program Details

City Exploring Hiking Trekking
Fall Spring
Guesthouse Host Family Hostel
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
Program tuition includes all food, accommodations, scheduled program activities, and international travel insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $3,000 - $4,000; visa fees estimated at $50-$100.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Airfare Visa
May 29, 2024
Dec 08, 2022
115 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Spend a gap semester in Australia and New Zealand: located in the heart of the South Pacific, each is uniquely informed by indigenous cultures, European colonization, and diverse ecosystems. Both nations highlight the ever-evolving relationships between indigenous cultures and colonizing forces and the challenges of balancing environmental conservation with the economics of industry and tourism. Both island nations also offer ample opportunities for outdoor adventures in some of the most picturesque regions in the world!

Explore the majestic Abel Tasman region of New Zealand, with lush mountain valleys and iconic ocean shores, and Australia's largest tropical rainforest and stunning beaches. Carpe Diem Education provides a unique opportunity to explore these island nations, learn about cultural and environmental conservation, develop leadership skills, and seek adventure through hiking, biking, canoeing, scuba diving, and other outdoor pursuits.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

We recognize that we are a long way from the diversity we aim for within our students, staff, and partners. We want and need more diversity to truly become the organization we would like to be. We recognize that this will not happen overnight or without dedicating time, attention, and resources. To that end, we have created a strategic plan to address our current shortfalls and to make significant improvements, which you can see on our Diversity & Inclusion page.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Neurodivergent Support

At Carpe Diem, each applicant reads through our extensive Essential Eligibility Criteria prior to enrollment. This criteria allows applicants to determine if the organization is an appropriate fit for their gap semester/year goals and their individual needs. During the interview and application process, we have honest and direct conversations with students and families about the support that our staff is able to provide throughout the program experience. We are committed to creating a culture of acceptance and support. To that end, our Overseas Educators and local leaders are selected for their skill in group facilitation and promoting inclusive group dynamics.

Accessibility Support

At Carpe Diem, each applicant reads through our extensive Essential Eligibility Criteria prior to enrollment. This criteria allows applicants to determine if the organization is an appropriate fit for their gap semester/year goals and their individual needs. We have honest and open conversations with applicants about our ability to support individual needs on each program, with the ultimate goal of a healthy and successful experience for all students. In the past, we have worked with students with severe allergies, diabetes, chronic injuries, and mental health diagnoses. We know each student's journey is individual and we work with families to support these individual needs where possible to help determine if the program is a good fit for their gap semester goals.



We are committed to maximizing the net positive impact while minimizing the carbon footprint of every program. In our office, on our programs, and through our carbon offset match, our programs are geared toward environmental education to empower future leaders to move their communities to take action. During our programs, students learn more about their impact as individuals and a travel community - then take a solution-oriented lens to tackling key issues. We also contribute to and amplify the voices of organizations and partners who focus on permaculture, natural building, and sustainable solutions.

Ethical Impact

Our programs are designed to connect to our local communities and provide reciprocal exchange and engagement. Through engaging in experiential education, community engagement, and intercultural exchange, our students develop enhanced perspectives, deeper cultural understanding, and a profound sense of self-discovery and personal growth. We work with vetted local providers to build their businesses as they provide value to our students and programming. With our homestay families, we ensure we minimize our footprint by regularly rotating the communities we work with and evaluating our social impact alongside their community leaders.

Program Highlights

  • Engage with conservationists: Work with farmers and scientists to explore the effects of climate change, regenerative agriculture, and sustainable living
  • Find your courage: Develop your leadership skills during a series of wild outdoor adventures, juxtaposed with intentional retreat
  • Delve into social justice: Learn from the Māori communities and develop context and history for how indigenous traditions intersect with modern life
  • Get outside: NZ and Australia were made for the adventurers - mountain bike, raft, hike, kayak, canoe, and explore this diverse region
  • Positive change: As is the Carpe Diem way, take time to reflect on the challenges you witness and how you can contribute to making the world a better place

Program Reviews

4.81 Rating
based on 21 reviews
  • 5 rating 95.24%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 4.76%
  • Housing 4.55
  • Support 4.8
  • Fun 4.8
  • Value 4.9
  • Safety 4.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 21 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

SoPac '22

Going on this amazing adventure with Carpe Diem was life changing! From the places we went to the people we met as contacts, this trip had a huge positive impact on me. From the moment I set foot in Australia, I learned so much about myself, the environment and the people around me. These past three months have opened my eyes to a different way of life, and helped me grow exponentially! Carpe Diem did an amazing job helping me prepare for the trip and my Oversea Educators were so welcoming from the start. All contacts that Carpe have are so insightful and you can make real connections with. From Claire and Marcus at Sheoak Ridge to Tiaki in Whangaroa you will learn about environmental conservation, but you will also learn things that you could never learn in a typical school environment. The Walkabout group and experiences we had will always stay with me, this trip wasn't just a vacation it was an immersive experience and I'm so happy I went with Carpe Diem!

75 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

South Pacific Review

I am so happy I decided to go to the South Pacific with Carpe. Unfortunately, my trip got cut short due to COVID-19. The time I did have in New Zealand was amazing. Carpe Diem does an amazing job planning itinerary, connecting with locals, and supporting students. While abroad, students participate in a diverse set of activities and are given skills to use in country and at home. Not only did we have fun, we learned about the different environments we were in and the everyday issues they face. It is interesting to learn and compare these issues with my life at home. Everyone should consider this program, it was life changing!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Pack light! The more you bring, the more you carry and the less space you have to buy things abroad.
147 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Hongi Fall 2019 ~ Fiji, New Zealand, & Australia

I come from a town in Colorado where taking a gap year has never really been heard of. I remember sitting through classes during my junior year of high school thinking about how much I didn't want to go to college but had no idea on how to justify that to my family. Then, I found Carpe Diem.
I cannot even begin to explain how profoundly this past semester has impacted my life. I have had some of the most impactful experiences this semester--like in our remote Fijian village, at our yoga/meditation retreat in Australia, and in the Great Barrier Reef. I went into this program with uncertainty, fear, and loss of direction; I have left Carpe as a completely changed individual. I have gained so many new values I now carry into my day-to-day life. I feel exceptionally confident in my abilities as a solo traveler. I have made friends on this program that I still talk to everyday. If you are looking for an exceptional gap year program that will seriously challenge the way you think about the world (and life, for that matter), Carpe Diem is it.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I personally didn't eat it--you know, being vegan and all--but on our last day at our Fijian village homestays, the nanas cooked us a manta ray curry. People who ate it said it felt kind of rubbery and tasted like chicken, haha!
140 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Hongi 2019~ the most impactful 3 month journey of my life

My time with Carpe in the South Pacific was nothing short of magical and amazing! We had several placements, teaching us about sustainability and culture, each fueling my passion of environmental justice. My favorite placements were the Hart farm and Sheoak Ridge. The Hart farm taught me so much about sustainable agriculture, mindful eating, and the true power of love. Sheoak Ridge was a nature reserve in Australia, where I learned what it means to have a true allyship with the land you live on and the indigenous people who it was stolen from, while having the perk of hanging out with wallabies! My time with Carpe was deeply transformative and I feel like I have a much better grasp on what my future can be. I recommend this program for anyone with an open mind, an urge to learn and a willingness to grow.

What was your funniest moment?
When one of the wallabies came to our camp at Sheoak Ridge and started doing a mating dance toward one of my group members. This was hilarious and it amazed me that I was just living alongside wallabies.
141 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

South Pacific Adventures

Woooow. A three month era I will truly treasure for the rest of my life! I met some truly inspiring people on this trip, both within the group and with our hosts, guides, newfound friends, and acquaintances throughout the semester. After sharing ups (the otherworldly Outback stars, scuba diving in the vibrant reefs of Fiji, hiking through the astounding hills of the Abel Tasman in New Zealand), downs (travel days), stories, and most prominently, laughs, our group became a family. Our leaders were fantastic, not only in guiding us through the semester, but in teaching us things to take with us for life. Sarah and Paff both made individual lasting impressions on me as people and as leaders. This trip taught me to see the world in a more positive light, taught me to engage with the world around me, and to value every moment spent with the people and in the places I love. This is a program I would recommend to absolutely anyone looking for an eye-opening gap year experience.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Student directed travel would definitely have been better planned given a second chance. Still made for great memories.
150 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Hands down the most meaningful and powerful journey I’ve ever been on. Carpe does an incredible job of making the students experience as educational, inspirational and fun as possible. The contacts you meet with are all incredible people who teach you invaluable life skills as long as the skills to become a great traveller. I’ve been trying to decide which part of the journey was my favorite but each country and each city had its own uniquely beautiful qualities. The Carpe Overseas Educators were not only incredible educators, they were two of the most intelligent, wise and fun people I’ve ever met and the overall adventure was greatly improved by their leadership skills and genuine love of exploring. To anyone considering Carpe Diem for their gap year, it was the perfect choice for me and I feel incredibly I found a program like that. Seize the day!

What would you improve about this program?
The student directed travel section was a little rocky but all turned out well in the end.
150 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

"Oh the Place you'll go"

Oh the places you can go...
what an incredible time I had in the great South Pacific!! I can't thank Carpe Diem enough for giving the best people and the greatest leaders a girl could ask for. The things we did were absolutely incredible. I can't imagine going anywhere else with anyone else. I had the most amazing experience at the homestay and I would definitely by far say it was one of my favorite moments throughout our trip. However, the Outback was insane. Our tour guide, Guy, couldn't have been any more friendlier than he was and the places he took us were out of this world. If I were you I would go on one of these trips because you won't get to experience something like this. My leaders were maybe one of the two most incredible people you will ever meet. They taught me so much and I learned a lot from them. At first, its weird meeting new people for the first time but this group instantly became really close. Everyone at the airport was super friendly and willing to try new thins. No one was ever afraid of being themselves because you never know what someone else might be going through.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly this program was everything I thought it would be. It showed me how to be a stronger person both individually and within a group.
158 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

It's an experience alright!

I've been globetrotting my whole life, but there comes a point where you gotta do something by yourself, and 13 others.

Before this trip I never did anything remotely outdoorsy, never camped, or hiked, or backpacked- nothing! But after these action packed 3 months, I feel pretty confident doing any of those things now, and I actually enjoy them! If you can believe it, I never did any group activities either! So the most challenging part for was learning to live with 13 total strangers. It was a bit daunting at times, especially when someone was feeling down, but we always managed to pull through. And those 13 strangers became like family, the more I got to know them. My group with Carpe helped me grow into a more self sufficient, and confident traveler over the past semester, and I can't thank everyone enough who helped put this program together!

What would you improve about this program?
I would've appreciated more of a balence in regards to the stay durations in countries.
154 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

I would say so, I am finishing my college degree now in Film and Communications, and all of my friends in the program have also gone onto finishing their degrees! It's very easy to transfer to where you want to go.