New Zealand frequently tops polls for travel destinations worldwide. Is it the scenery? A hike on the coast track through Abel Tasman National Park might make you think so. Is it the food? Dine in Wellington and you’d be tempted to say yes. Is it the outdoor activity? Well, this is the home of extreme sports… Whatever it is, this amazing country will give you a gap year to remember.
Even without its legendary fondness for bungee jumping, New Zealand has adventure travel down. This is an outdoorsy place: come here and you’ll be kayaking down the Whanganui River, trekking past glaciers and mud pools to volcanoes, and relaxing with whale-watching and a visit to the albatross, penguins and seals of Otago Peninsula.
New Zealand is very backpacker-friendly, so student travel is no problem. You’ll find the people peaceful and open, and there’s a cultural landscape that easily matches that outdoors. You can explore Maori lifestyle and history, investigate the art scene in Wellington, tour the wine region of Hawkes Bay or simply study the country’s world-class cuisine.
If you want to dig deeper into the culture of New Zealand, volunteer work is an excellent place to start. There are wildlife conservation projects you can join that will add a whole new dimension to your trip.