Favourite Summer Pastimes for Students in New Zealand

Posted by:
1 Nov 2016

The winter is behind us, the days are growing longer and the air is feeling much warmer. Summer is just around the corner and that is definitely something to get excited about! While New Zealand is beautiful throughout the year, summer is when our country really shines. If this is your first season in New Zealand, you might be wondering how to make the most of the fine weather.


In today’s post I’m going to share some of the pastimes that our English New Zealand students enjoy the most each summer. If we missed any of your favourites, make sure you let us know by leaving a comment below!


Visit the beach

Spending an afternoon at the beach is a favourite summer pastime for everyone in New Zealand. Visiting the beach, or “hitting the beach” as we sometimes say, with some friends is the ideal way to enjoy our scenic coastline and cool off on a hot day. If you’re heading going to the beach, make sure you know these important Kiwi words:


  • Jandals – a beach sandal, known as “flip flops” in other parts of the world
  • Togs – bathing suit


Don’t forget to toss a bottle of sunscreen in your beach bag, too. The sun is very strong in New Zealand, so it’s important to use sunscreen when you’re at the beach, even on a cloudy day. Use an SPF 50+ or 30+ that is water resistant.


Most cities have buses that will take you to the local beach. If you’re living inland, check out the nearby lakes and rivers – many of them have swimming and recreation areas, too.  It is very important to remain safe in the water – if at the beach, only swim between the flags and don’t go far from the shore.  Always make sure another person you are with knows that you are in the water if going in alone. Always consider your swimming ability before going into the water, whether it’s at a beach, lake or river.


Water sports

While some students are happy to lounge on the beach and read a book or chat with friends, other students prefer a little action! Water sports are hugely popular in New Zealand. Many beaches have rental kiosks right on the sand, making it easy for you to take out a surfboard or kayak for a few hours. If you’re new to surfing, sign up for a lesson at one of the approved local surf schools. It’s the best and safest way to experience this exciting sport.


There’s no shortage of activities on lakes and rivers either. From a gentle canoe ride to exciting white water rafting, you can get your fill of water thrills no matter where you are in New Zealand.


Pack a picnic

You don’t need to travel far to enjoy this summer pastime! Pick up some tasty treats at your local shop, grab some friends and head to a new spot for the afternoon. You can use a chilly bin (cold storage) to keep your food and drinks cool. Our students love setting up at scenic overlooks, where they can watch the city or landscape from above. Local parks are also a top choice for picnicking. Many recreation areas have barbeque pits, so head to one of these convenient spots if you fancy some burgers and sausages.




Hiking is another popular activity and it won’t cost you a cent! There are hiking trails throughout the entire country, even in major cities like Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. Hikes can range from 30 minutes to several days (this is called “tramping”) and there are options for all skill levels. It is very important that you tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return, and you should take some light snacks and warm clothing in case the weather changes. From gentle strolls to peak summits, there is a hike for everyone in New Zealand.  



While bike riding is popular year-round, it’s much more enjoyable in fine weather. There are bike trails designed to suit all levels throughout the country. Mountain biking is very popular and there are a number of areas where mountain bikers flock to enjoy designated mountain biking trails. Many cities and holiday towns allow students to rent bikes for a few hours or a few days, making it easy to zip around town or cycle down the coast.  You need to wear a bike helmet – you could ask your host family or hire one with the bike.


Action adventures

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then summer is the perfect time to try something a little different. These activities do tend to cost a little more, but they can be the highlight of your summer if you’ve got a little extra cash to spare. You can find pretty much every action adventure under the sun in New Zealand – skydiving, bungy jumping, abseiling, rock climbing, jet skiing, and much, much more. If you want to plan a whole trip around adventure activities, I recommend heading to Taupo or Queenstown, where you’ll find numerous options in one small area.


What will you do this summer?

Hopefully you’re feeling inspired to get out there and try something different this summer. We’d love to hear all about your summer plans – feel free to share them in the comments area below. And at the end of the summer, do report back and tell us what you liked the best. Have fun and don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!




Kindergarten Picnic by Phillip Caper, CC BY 2.0

Picnic by Chloe Kim, CC BY 2.0

Woooooaaaaaahhhhh! by grace a, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0