Lesser-Known Places in New Zealand to Visit for International Students

Thursday, September 26, 2019

These are some of the unheralded and unspoken best places that New Zealand has to offer that may not be as popular as other places to discuss, but deserve a mention because of their beauty, uniqueness or ruggedness.

Curio Bay
A bay at the bottom of the South Island, the camping ground here needs to be experienced. It offers a unique environment and great facilities to take advantage of. You can have the chance to see the very rare yellow-eyed penguins, swim with Hector’s dolphins and enjoy fantastic dinners made by the staff onsite. Here you can also find the fossilised remains of an ancient forest and try and spot the fur seals and sea lions from the tree stumps. No dogs allowed!

With Mount Hutt, Lake Heron and Mount Taylor all nearby, this small mid-Canterbury town comes alive in winter but offers plenty in the uncrowded summer months as well! For those Lord of the Rings fans out there, nearby Mount Sunday was also used as the filming location for Edoras, the capital of Rohan. If you have some money spare, you can go jet boating, hot air ballooning or take a scenic flight around the area.

We bet you didn’t know that there was a town in New Zealand called Moana, not to be confused with Aotearoa’s largest Māori–owned fisheries company! This small settlement is located next to Lake Brunner and the religious settlement of Gloriavale Christian Community on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Go fishing on Lake Brunner, eat at the King Fisher restaurant and bar or jump aboard the Tranz Alpine train, which arrives and departs daily from Moana village.

This Nelson town is known as the northern gateway to Kahurangi National Park and offers bird-watching, kayaking, bike-riding among other possible outdoor activities in the stunning scenery around the area. Once a bustling gold-mining town in the mid 1800’s, Collingwood is home to less than 500 people now.

Matiu/Somes Island
This predator free scientific reserve is located three kilometres South of the Wellington suburb of Petone and is owned by local iwi (Taranaki Whānui). It can be reached by a daily ferry boat and is the largest of three islands in the northern half of Wellington harbour. Once a quarantine station, the island has an automated lighthouse, old anti-aircraft fortifications and a loop-track which takes 45 minutes to walk.


This rural settlement 20km North of Napier is known for its park, wineries and river. It’s a great place to escape to if you are looking for somewhere to go that is uncrowded and refreshing. If you head to this town, make sure to pay a visit to the war memorial church while you are there – this building was dedicated on the 3rd December 1920 and can be found on State Highway 5, north of Napier. “The interdenominational church had been built by local landowner Thomas Clark and his daughter Annie in memory of Annie’s late husband, Lieutenant Percival Moore Beattie, who had been killed in action at Le Quesnoy on 4 November 1918.”1

​[1] https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/eskdale-church-war-memorial

Cape Reinga, Spirits Bay & Te Hapua

From a bay at the bottom of the South, to a bay at the top of North, New Zealand has hidden gems all over the country. Te Hapua is the most northerly settlement in New Zealand. Cape Reinga is the northernmost tip of the country and the Spirits Bay campsite provides you with a spot to park your campervan, put up your tent and stay the night. From this campsite you have access to incredible views and tramping tracks. This area has lush forests, sandy beaches and is a fantastic place to relax.

Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand. As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.