Kia Ora, greetings in Māori, the second official language of New Zealand. When preparing your semester abroad in New Zealand, it’s important to know what are the must do things and experiences during your stay in this beautiful country.
A semester abroad is not just about studying but also about getting to know the culture and the locals!
New Zealand has fairly good bus, train and flight connections between the biggest cities and it’s very easy to rent a car as well if you acquire a New Zealand driver’s license. So, what are the must do things while in New Zealand? Let’s have a look.
First of all, you just cannot visit New Zealand without taking a tour of the world-famous movie set, The Hobbiton. This place, also seen in the Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy, is a must stop even for the ones that haven’t yet seen these movies – what better chance to make your classmates back home jealous! This movie set, located in the small town of Matamata 370 kilometres from Palmerston North, is totally man-made. All the built details are so remarkable that you will definitely feel like a hobbit yourself. Take a guided tour, enjoy a beer or cider brewed especially for Hobbiton, explore, take pictures of the hobbit holes and learn more about how the movies were made. Perfect day activity for a Saturday or Sunday alone or with a friend.
2. Bungee Jump / Canyon Swing
If you are craving for adrenaline, New Zealand is the place to get your fix. World-famous bungee jump and other adventure activities are must do things for many visitors. If you feel that doing a bungee jump is too much, try a canyon swing or other options such as river rafting. Queenstown is one of the most famous bungee jump and canyon swing locations, but there are also others in New Zealand. Get your body shaking by doing something cool and memorable once in your life. This will definitely give you an adrenaline rush and create memories that you can share with your family and friends for years to come.
3. Waitomo Glow Worm Cave
Whether doing it in a simpler (just a walk) or more adventurous (rafting in a river) way, this is something you need to experience. Imagine going inside a cave and staring at the night sky with teeny tiny stars. Wait, what? A night sky and stars in a cave? It does look like a night sky but these are not stars, they are glow worms that glow blueish in the dark. It is a beautiful and one of a kind experience and a must do thing when visiting New Zealand. A good half-day activity with a group of friends that you will remember forever.
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New Zealand is famous for its many natural wonders that you probably have never seen before. Rotorua is an area where the most famous geysers and natural hot springs are located. Rotorua has multiple geothermal parks where you can see these wonders of the nature and also learn more about the amazing Māori culture. It might be a somewhat touristic thing to do, but totally worth it as you learn a lot about the local nature and culture. Combine the tourist attractions with a spa visit in the best possible way; by being outdoors, exploring the area and learning something new on your day off.
Whether it is hiking on a flat ground, high mountain or an old volcano, you must do it. New Zealand is known for its nature, so you must put on your workout clothes at least once and go outdoors despite your fitness level. You don’t have to go to the middle of nowhere, you can even hike in the nearby areas of the cities as lush nature is available everywhere. There are multiple tracks, native bushes and trails to follow. The best thing is that New Zealand is a safe place for hiking as there are no big predators like bears trying to eat you. Be of course careful as some tracks can be slippery and pretty steep. While you’re at it, remember to take some selfies in the most beautiful landscapes ever!
If you want a non-traditional study abroad experience, filled with outdoor adventures, then New Zealand is the perfect choice!
This text was written by our International Coordinator Elisa!