Visit the vibrant island nation of New Zealand and explore this vast oasis in the South Pacific Ocean.
New Zealand is a country of stunning contrasts, home to some of the most well-preserved natural landscapes on the planet.
This diverse destination is famous for adrenaline-inducing adventure opportunities, dazzling fjords, lush forests, and miles of picturesque coastline as well as postcard-worthy waterfalls, pristine lakes, and verdant valleys–in fact, one third of the country is actually a protected national reserve.
Ecological awareness has ensured that these islands remain one of Earth’s most unique bioregions, home to Hobbits, kiwis (the flightless bird), and Kiwis (New Zealanders) alike. The nation is also inhabited by the Māori people, who first settled the island in the 1300s; today, Māori culture and customs remain an integral part of New Zealand life.
Adventure awaits. Queenstown is widely acknowledged as the adventure capital of the world; it's also home to the world’s first commercial bungee jump at the Kawaru Bridge, which remains one of the city’s premier attractions.
Did you know? New Zealand has the highest density of sheep per unit area in the world–in fact, it's estimated that for every person, there are at least 10 sheep, meaning there are more sheep than citizens!
Nation of nicknames. New Zealand has been called “God’s own country,” and “Paradise in the Pacific.” In the indigenous Māori language, it is sometimes known as Aoteroa, which translates to “Long White Cloud.”
Try a taste of Kiwi culture. Travel to Rotorua, a region rich in Māori heritage, and attend a traditional hangi feast; the unique geothermal properties of this area contribute steam-based the preparation process.
Tolkien tourism. Lord of the Rings fans can visit the stunning landscapes that served as sets for the three-film series.
The southernmost capital in the world. Located at the tip of North Island near Cook Strait, Wellington takes the title of southernmost capital city.
Annabel H., EF Gap Year Class of 2019 Boston University Class of 2023
My gap year took me out of my comfort zone so many times—and my life is better because of it. Now, as I head off to college, I am able to focus on my excitement rather than feeling nervous, because I have built so much confidence within the past year. If anyone is searching for a path to follow, a way to achieve their goals, or even just who they are, they need to take a gap year.