The Top 10 Best Places for International Students to Visit in New Zealand

Thursday, November 23, 2017

From the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island, the best free and paid Kiwi experiences for International Students.

North Island

  1. Free: Go to the Northernmost point of NZ and watch oceans collide
    Paid: Dive & explore the Poor Knights Islands in Northland
  2. Free: Visit Cathedral Cove and the Coromandel
    Paid: Take a boat tour on the Hahei explorer
  3. Free: Explore Auckland’s dormant volcanoes
    Paid: Watch the All Blacks at Eden Park
  4. Free: Soak in Rotorua’s hot pools
    Paid: Raft down Okere falls
  5. Free: Hike the Tongariro Alpine crossing
    Paid: Learn to ski/snowboard at Mt Ruapehu


There is a place you can go where you can witness the meeting of oceans. The Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean can be seen doing battle from under the Cape Reinga lighthouse. It’s an incredible sight, and one that is even better when viewed at sunrise or sunset. Take your Northland trip even further by paying for a dive tour of the Poor Knights Islands. Here you will swim through waters of crystal blue and enjoy the company of a wide array of marine life. This dive can’t be missed by nature lovers and water people.


Cathedral Cove is a legendary artefact that cannot be missed when visiting the Coromandel coast. From the lofty heights above Hahei, you descend to the gorgeous beach with glorious views and native bush to trek through the whole way down. The cove is the final jewel at the end of a fine journey, and once you’ve made it to the beach you won’t want to leave. If you’d rather explore by boat the Hahei explorer will give you the opportunity to take in everything the area has by sea, no walking required!


Taking a trip around Auckland’s dormant volcanoes is a must. There are around 50 volcanoes that have erupted in the past, and to explore the terraces and craters they have created is fascinating. The volcanoes range from 250,000 to 600 years old and the most prominent walks close to the city are One Tree Hill, Mount Roskill and Mount Eden. If you are interested in sports, Auckland City also provides the perfect opportunity to catch our famous rugby team, the All Blacks, play at their fortress Eden Park. Rugby is like a religion in New Zealand, and learning the rules or some player names will impress your Kiwi friends!


There are plenty of free natural hot pools in the geothermal town of Rotorua. These provide ample opportunity for relaxation and recovery after long days spent travelling around the country. Be prepared for Roturua’s ‘rotten egg’ smell - it’s caused by hydrogen sulphide emissions, which is part of what makes this geothermal region so wonderful! If you are brave enough you can use your hard-earned cash and take the plunge down the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the country with your friends. This is for thrill-seekers only and you will need to be very confident in the water!


The stunning Tongariro National Park was gifted to the nation by Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV in 1887. The park is made up of three mountains: Tongairo, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. To cover the great mountain of Tongariro you must walk 18km past hot springs, emerald lakes and old lava flows, with a mountainous backdrop stretching the distance. The Tongariro Alpine crossing, a one-day walk through a park with dual World Heritage status, is an experience that cannot be missed. Once you have conquered Tongariro, in the winter you can pay for a pass and take to the slopes of Mount Ruapehu. North Island skiers and snowboarders flock annually to ski fields Turoa and Whakapapa (on the South-Western and North-Western slopes of Ruapehu respectively).

South Island

  1. Free: Pohara Beach – Golden Bay
    Paid: Kayak the Bays in Nelson
  2. Free: Visit the blue pools in Wanaka and Mt Aspiring National Park
    Paid: Take a guided tour up Mt Aspiring, NZ’s ninth highest mountain, as far as you can go
  3. Free: Queenstown - Hike Ben Lomond
    Paid: Jetboat in Queenstown
  4. Free: Chase waterfalls in Milford (Milford track)
    Paid: Book a five-day guided walking tour or take a boat cruise
  5. Free: Go to Bluff (NZ’s Southernmost point) and take a photo with the sign
    Paid: Take a trip across to Stewart Island and visit Rakiura museum


It’s not just the North Island that has beautiful beaches and Pohara beach in Golden Bay is one of many spectacular sands along the top of the South Island that prove that both of NZ’s islands have safe and beautiful stretches of coast to explore. If you have some money to spend make the trip South to Nelson and hire a kayak to explore the waters in small guided groups.

Central Otago

Mount Aspiring National Park is a magnificent area and NZ’s third largest national park at 355,543 hectares. The blue pools are an easy walk with a fantastic payoff of completely see-through deep dark blue pools with a view through to the bottom of the river. If you can afford to, and if you have the expertise, you can take a five-day guided climb up Mount Aspiring itself - or just stick to being guided through the easier and safer trails in Mount Aspiring national park. Walks and tramps in Mount Aspiring national park are for people of all levels, only climbers who are serious about safety and experience should attempt to summit Mount Aspiring.


The South Island is known worldwide for its incredible mountains, so it makes since that there would be a few on this list. To get to the summit of Queenstown’s Ben Lomond (1,748m) is demanding, but you will be rewarded with stunning views of Queenstown should you have the desire and stamina to make it to the top. It is a full day hike and it is recommended you attempt the climb in the warmer season (December – March) as winter conditions make the climb difficult. If you aren’t up for more mountain climbing spend some money to take the ultimate thrill-ride on a jetboat through the shotover river instead.


You’ve probably heard of New Zealand’s utterly show-stopping beauty, and you’ve surely seen pictures of Milford Sound when researching us. Now it’s time to experience our countries poster child for yourself. Chase waterfalls and breathe in some of the freshest air in the world. The Milford track is a 53km stretch in Fiordland’s national park that can be walked daily for free, but the huts must be paid for. To do a full five-day guided tour covering the entire one-way trip is highly recommended as this tramp has been called “the finest walk in the world”. If you’re tired of walking, then a boat cruise is the way to go. See the sights of Fiordland national park from the water instead!


Your final stop on your NZ road trip takes you to the bottom of the South Island. Find the Bluff sign post and take your own picture with it to signal the completion of

 your journey. If you want to take things even further you can take a ferry to Stewart Island and visit the Rakiura museum.

Now your trip is completed you can reflect. Whether you took the ferry from Wellington to Picton, flew from domestic terminal to regional terminal, or took public transport across the country, it doesn’t matter how you got here. The thing is, you’ve made it. Two islands, 2223km (including ferry ride) and some unforgettable memories have been made getting you to this point. Now you’ve just got one question to ask yourself, do I ever want to leave NZ?


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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 blog so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.