1. Go Bungy Jumping in Queenstown: When in New Zealand… Am I right? There’s nothing quite like the views you get while free falling and flying through the valley above the Nevis river. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of fun, and regardless of my initial freakout, I enjoyed every second of it. I promise you will too.
2. Climb Roy’s Peak in Wanaka: The consistent uphill climb is worth the effort for the incredible views upon reaching the top. It’s a popular track for a reason and an unmissable part of Central Otago.
3. Do A TimTam Slam: After using a Tim Tam as a straw for hot chocolate, you will never eat the chocolately treat a different way again. It was a life changing moment in my dessert-loving life.
4. Attend A Rugby Game: Wear something ridiculous and pretend like you know what’s going on for 80 minutes. If you’re in Dunedin, make sure to get a spot in the Zoo. Cheer when the Kiwis do and you’ll fit in just fine. It’s a blast!
5. Go Barefoot For A Day: Do as the Kiwis do and ditch your shoes for a day. You would be surprised how oddly freeing it is.
6. Tramp the Kepler Track: I don’t think a more scenic 60 kilometers exists in this world. Actually, I’m sure there are plenty of other places in New Zealand that rival this stretch of landscape, but that’s irrelevant. This place is special because you can only get to it with your feet, and you are rewarded for your efforts with spectacular views.
7. Try New Food: New Zealand boasts quite an array of authentic international cuisine. Make it a point to try something you’ve never had before! I had never tasted Indian food before my semester abroad and now have consistent cravings for curry and garlic naan. Take advantage of the options while you’re here, you won’t regret it!
8. Kayak in Fiordland: Hands down one of my favorite things I have done in New Zealand is kayaking in Milford Sound. After enduring some gnarly weather and our first attempt being cancelled, Mother Nature loved us enough to give us 5 hours of sunshine for our second go-around. Attempting to steer the kayak while taking in the astonishing views of Stirling Falls and Mitre Peak proved quite difficult, but that might just be my lack of multi-tasking ability. It was an unreal experience.
9. See the Southern Lights: This remains at the top of my to-do list. I have yet to catch a glimpse of the spectacular light show myself, but I’ve heard that they are incredible!
10. Camp Under the Stars at Lake Coleridge: Few have heard of this off-the-beaten path destination, but it will forever hold a special place in my heart. 24 kilometers from the nearest paved road and even further from civilization, I had my first encounter with a true New Zealand night sky. I felt like I was at a planetarium, like the abundance of stars in the sky could not be anything but made up. If I had to pick a place to permanently pitch my tent, the shores of Lake Coleridge would be it.
The world awaits…discover it.