Known for its rolling green hills, endless blue skies and meandering lakes, New Zealand has become an increasingly popular destination for Malaysian tourists in recent years.
Interestingly, a large number of Malaysian students are also choosing to pursue their tertiary education in New Zealand. According to recent data from Education New Zealand, there are now over 2000 Malaysian students in the country, a majority of which are pursuing their tertiary education at one of the New Zealand’s eight prestigious universities, all of which rank in the top three per cent in the QS world rankings.
But ask any international student in New Zealand, and they’ll tell you that in addition to offering a quality education, New Zealand allows students to step outside of their comfort zone, immerse themselves in countless new experiences, and explore the boundless beauty of one of most spectacular places in the world.
So if you’re already studying in New Zealand and looking for a chance to try something new, or are considering New Zealand as your international education destination, here is a list of the top five activities you can do while on your semester breaks.
1. Explore Mother Nature’s finest, right in your own backyard
It’s no secret, New Zealand’s natural beauty is incomparable, and appreciating this luxurious landscape is a way of life for most Kiwis. With stunning national parks that make up nearly a third of the country, why not spend some time exploring the majestic mountains and landscapes that New Zealand has to offer?
If you’ve got a couple days to spare, then head to the snow-capped Mount Cook for an overnight hike that will reward your physical efforts with tranquil sunsets that will leave you breathless. Or, if you’re looking for a short weekend activity, head to the Waitakere Ranges, which are located forty-five minutes west of Auckland. Enjoy sloping dunes and emerald cliffs as you hike your way through the Buck Taylor Track Loop at the Ranges.
2. Confront your fears and discover a new side of you
The best part about life as a student is getting the opportunity to chase new experiences and challenge your limits. New Zealand’s Queenstown is known as the world’s adventure capital, and offers a wide array of heart-stopping activities that are bound to give any thrill seeker a run for their money.
Be it the more traditional adrenaline pumping activities such as bungy jumping and sky-diving or the lesser known canyon swinging and heliskiing, Queenstown has something for everyone. Plus, you need not worry if you don’t have the time to make it down to Queenstown, most cities in New Zealand offer some form of adventure sport that you can try.
New Zealand’s fresh produce, combined with innovative cuisines and a thriving café culture, mean that the country is a foodie’s haven. After all, what better way to unwind from all that studying than a well-deserved food tour of New Zealand!
Visit one of the many farmers’ or seafood markets nationwide to experience farm/ocean-to-table produce first-hand. Diary is New Zealand’s largest export and so if you’re a cheese-lover, then be sure to check out the specialist cheese shops available in both the North and South Island.
Moreover, New Zealand is also home to some of the country’s best coffee.So throw your dietout and go #treatyourself to all the delectable delights the country has to offer!
4. Find your own beat
Let’s face it, no student experience is complete without amazing music festivals. Luckily, New Zealand has a vibrant creative community, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to groove to the beat and enjoy yourself with your friends.
You could plan a long visit to Aotearoa around its world-class summer music festival scene, each of which is held in stunning outdoor locations. Unlike European festivals, where the cold winter chill is sometimes a downer, in New Zealand you can soak in the sun while you vibe to your favourite tunes.
Alternatively, celebrate the New Year at Rhythm & Vines (rhythmandvines.co.nz) on the North Island, and be amongst the first in the world to welcome the New Year! The three-day festival, which takes place in vineyards, attracts many international and local acts, with previous headliners including Major Lazer, Public Enemy and Moby.
5. Go behind the scenes
Nominated for 800 awards worldwide, and winner of 475 international film awards, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is perhaps New Zealand’s biggest claim to fame. So whether you’re a fan or not, Hobbiton, located in Waikato, is worth a visit! After all, where else can you say that you’ve literally walked the same path as some of Hollywood’s most elite actors?
Moreover, the Weta studios, responsible for the film’s production and editing, is also worth the tour, especially if you’re a cinephile or interested in film production.
The film studio offers various tours of the behind-the-scenes production units where guides explain how various films were made using props, models, weapons and special effects.
They say that the university days are the best times of your life and in a place like New Zealand, where there is a new adventure to be had everyday your university days are sure to be filled with exciting experiences and a world-class education.
You can learn more about the New Zealand universities, and how to apply, here.