Gap Year in New Zealand

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A Guide to Gap Year in New Zealand

Due in large part to winning the geological lottery and undergoing millennia of isolation that lasted well into the 18th century, New Zealand has cultivated a reputation as indescribably beautiful from shore to flawless shore. Although it’s truly an outdoorsman's dream, there’s far more to New Zealand than crystal blue lakes and jade ferns. Whether you want to study, volunteer, work, or just simply adventure, New Zealand has you covered. Looking for time off before or after college? A well-deserved break from the rat race? A solid excuse to travel for a year? Make the most of it and take a sweet as gap year in New Zealand!

Everything else you need to know gap years in New Zealand

Costs. New Zealand is notoriously pricey, but do not let that deter you! For gappers who hold a working holiday visa, there are hundreds of ways to make a little extra cash. Many hostels also provide free accommodation to those who are willing to make beds and empty trash cans for a couple hours each day. Don’t forget FundMyTravel either—it’s extremely useful for raising money if you want a comfy financial cushion (and it’s a good idea to have one).

By the way, wifi is expensive. Many hostels offer free wifi nowadays, but some still don’t, and signals aren’t always the best no matter where you are. We think you’ll survive without the weekly Skype calls home, but if you don’t think you can, budget for internet fees.

Accommodations. Hostels in New Zealand truly set the standard for the rest of the gap year world. In even the tiniest city, where the sheep outnumber the people, you can find a clean, comfortable hostel. If you’re willing to do a little research, you can find one that’s downright affordable to boot. Once you choose a location to plant roots, do yourself a favor and test a few hostels out before committing to one. Once you know where you would like to live, ask the owner or receptionist long-term rates—there’s usually a discount.

Weigh your pros and cons with accommodation. Flats can be cheaper rent-wise in the long run, but nothing beats living in a hostel with many like minded travelers. Having 50-plus roommates may sound wildly unappealing, but it means there’s always someone available for game nights, cooking dinner with, and chatting over the free hostel tea.

Visas. A Working Holiday Visa is what you’re after for a gap year in New Zealand. They are exceptionally easy to apply for. The terms vary between countries, but in general they include a small fee, and last for a year. They are (sadly) non-renewable, but for some nationalities they can be extended under certain conditions. Check out the to learn more.

Safety. New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, and may even be safer than your home country (seriously). You will be surprised how comfortable you feel almost immediately. However, solo travelers are seen as easy targets, and must always remain vigilant against scammers and wrong-doers (and that includes other gappers). Always trust your instincts—if something feels dodgy, it probably is.

GoAbroad's Inside Scoop

Truly, there is no wrong time to take a gap year. You can create an experience that is exactly what you want it to be, or you can go with the flow and see what the universe has in store for you. A gap year will always be remembered as perhaps the most adventurous year of your life, and it will give you more than just pretty pictures—you will go back home feeling inspired, and with the confidence to take risks and leave your comfort zone.

Don’t be that person who stays inside and watches Into the Wild for the 10th time in the hostel TV room—it’s a really sad movie, anyway (spoiler alert). Get out there and hike that trail to Mordor, and climb Mount Doom, or create your own adventure! Just don’t waste your time, and don’t lose sight of why you’re there in the first place. New Zealand is far too special, and your gap year is far too valuable, to spend it all indoors (although, you have our permission if there’s a cyclone).

In the Land of the Long White Cloud, the romanticism of travel is alive and well, and it will complement your gap year swimmingly. Stunning topography, fun culture, adventure around every bend in the alpine roads—stop waiting, and take a gap year in New Zealand!

Interested in learning more? Check out this post-college gap years.

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