Considering studying abroad in New Zealand? These photos and places will further whet your wanderlust…

Lake Matheson

I think this is the most beautiful spot on the South Island! Lake Matheson at the View of Views lookout point on the surrounding lake hike. New Zealand is full of places that will take your breath away but it is something about the snowy Southern Alps in the distance and the reflective waters that really put this spot over the edge. It was here that I found a unique peace within nature and had a true appreciation to the way glaciers shape land and how beautiful our earth can be.

Mountains and clouds reflecting in a lake surrounded by green trees in New Zealand
Lake Matheson | Photo by TEAN Alum Kristen Nunn, University of Pittsburgh


Kaikoura – the place where the mountains meet the sea, where seal pups play in frigid waterfalls and where I saw the most beautiful sunrise of my life. Kaikoura was the first place that I visited while living in Christchurch. It was this morning where I found myself running from my hostel to the shore at 7:30 am in below-freezing temperatures trying to get as close as I could to this magnificent sunrise. Watching the sunrise on this morning and seeing the sky light up in the most incredible collection of colors I have ever seen was a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Rocks leading out to a lake surrounded by mountains and a purple sky in New Zealand
“Some experiences are just worth the wait. I spent several hours simply enjoying the ocean breeze and waiting for the sun to set in Kaikoura, New Zealand and when it finally did, it was worth it to watch the sky grace these rocks with its purple glow.” | Photo by TEAN Alum Erik Dassoff, North Carolina State University

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman one of New Zealand’s Great Walks is an experience unlike any other. This trek takes you through lush forests and leads you to sandy beaches and magnificently blue waters to cool off in at the end of each day. This trek was the first time I went on an overnight backpacking trip for four days and was an experience that really pushed me out of my comfort zone while teaching me how to pack light and make food while hiking. This trail makes you feel like you are hiking on a paradise island. My favorite part of this trail was the tide crossing. On the last day of the hike you must wait for the tide to be at its lowest to cross a certain section of the walk. Most hikers take off their shoes and walk across an area that just a few hours previous you could swim in. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind hike, not to be missed when visiting the South Island.

A tree lined path leading down to turquoise coloured waters sit below a blue sky in New Zealand


Windy Wellington, the capital of New Zealand is an incredible city. From the cable car, to the mountainous terrain, to the variety of museums and, of course, parliament it is a super fun city to spend some time in. When visiting Wellington I toured the parliament building and went to numerous art museums. I also went to a nature preserve were I was able to see exotic birds that are in the process of rehabilitation. Wellington also has one of the most beautiful botanical gardens on the North Island that is wonderful to walk through no matter the season. It was in Wellington where I was finally able to try the famous chocolate milk that is made with New Zealand’s Whittaker’s chocolate and is constantly sold out of supermarkets all across the country. Wellington is lively and arty and a wonderful place to experience while traveling in New Zealand.

View from Mt. Victoria, looking down on the city of Wellington, New Zealand
“It’s kinda nuts to think that this was my home for five months. This photo shows the view from atop of Mt. Victoria, looking down on Wellington from afar. It is a beautiful city that provides amazing views and was my favorite city in New Zealand.” | Photo by TEAN Alum Charles Stemen, Champlain College

Molly Nugiel is a TEAN Alum and graduate of Miami University of Ohio. She studied abroad with TEAN in Christchurch, New Zealand.