13 November 2023

New Zealand and the Outdoors: A Guide | Study With New Zealand

Theo Spruyt
Global Digital Content Specialist | Education New Zealand

When you arrive in New Zealand, you’ll quickly realise that the whole country has a special connection with nature and the outdoors.

Whether it’s by hiking through the Central Otago hills, cycling through the streets of Wellington, or simply enjoying native birdsong while walking to the local coffee store, there are so many ways to interact with New Zealand’s natural environment.

So, once you’re in New Zealand, how can you make the most of the outdoors?

Make the Most of Your Free Time!

No matter if you’ve got weeks off for holidays, an upcoming long weekend, or simply a free afternoon, there are lots of activities and attractions in New Zealand that fit the amount of time you have available.

With so much of New Zealand’s population close to the coast, a beach trip could be perfect for some. There are so many beaches across the country, so a quick Google search will help you find the perfect one. If you want one that’s perfect for surfing, one that’s closest to your home, or has the best scenic views, there are plenty to choose between!

Even if you only have a few hours, there are still so many ways you can take in and appreciate the beauty of New Zealand’s scenery.

New Zealand's stunning wildlife and landscapes make for a picturesque combination

Use the Internet for Handy Resources!

While your goal might be to get away from screens and technology wherever you can, there are several online resources that can help you find awesome activities outdoors and in nature.

Apps like Plan My Walk and AllTrails showcase New Zealand’s beautiful hikes, tramps, and walks, and help you find the perfect trip to take. You can choose to filter your options by overall difficulty, accessibility, attractions, pet-friendliness, elevation and so much more.

It’s very important to note that before setting out on any outdoor activity, you should research the weather forecast, prepare supplies, and dress appropriately for the conditions. In the past, numerous people have been caught out by rapidly changing weather conditions, or they didn’t pack the proper equipment and supplies to deal with the terrain.

New Zealand weather conditions can be prone to quick changes. The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council put together this handy guide for planning day walks, hikes and tramps, which you can find here.

Don’t be afraid to turn to social media for recommendations either. A great way to find some hidden treasures is by talking to the locals. Most large urban communities in New Zealand have community groups on Facebook you can post on for activity suggestions, or you could check what hashtags are trending in your local area on Instagram.

Join in with Others!

Whether you’re looking to join a sports team, hiking club, or group of cyclists, some activities are just better when you’re with others!

You won’t need to look too hard to find others with similar interests as you, either. A quick Google search will help you find already established groups.

New Zealand's many beaches are the perfect place to spend time with friends

Transform Your Commute!

For a lot of people, the commute to work or study means they’re able to spend some quality time enjoying nature while they walk, cycle, or drive to where they need to be.

For longer journeys, private cars, public transport and rideshare apps might be best, but consider ending your journey a little earlier so that you can still spend some time outdoors in the fresh air.

Looking for a bike to use on your commute? Think about joining a community bike workshop! These provide you with an old bicycle to refurbish (with their guidance and tools), as well as teaching you the skills needed to keep them in top condition.

While you may need to donate a nominal fee (usually $20 - $50), you will end up with a bicycle that you’ve fixed with your own two hands!

Walking is a great way to see the world in greater detail. If you’re able to, consider slowing down, take your time and see if you can find a new place for lunch, a fun new activity, or just a nice place to sit and watch the world go by.

In Summary

Your time spent in Aotearoa New Zealand will have you surrounded by lush green landscapes, stunning views, and easy access to rivers, lakes, and oceans – make sure that you make the most of it every chance you get.

You’ll find that many New Zealanders are protective of their local area, as well as the entire country. That means you should be proactive about not leaving behind any trash or damaging any natural landscapes or wildlife.

The Māori word ‘Kaitiakitanga’ refers to guardianship or stewardship of the land. Many New Zealanders believe that they don’t inherit the land from their ancestors; they borrow it from the future generations.

So, when you’re out and about, be sure to take care of the area around you. In return, you’ll have access to one of the safest, most beautiful countries in the world!

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About the contributors
Theo Spruyt
Global Digital Content Specialist | Education New Zealand