Are you thinking of doing a summer abroad program? Would you rather be spending your time going on adventures than laying by the water all summer? Do you love dramatic landscapes and extremely friendly people (with fantastic accents)? Are you a human being? If you answered yes to these questions, then New Zealand is the perfect choice for your summer study abroad!

Despite the fact that the months of June, July and August are New Zealand’s winter months, there is still so much to offer. Here is everything you need to know about New Zealand winter time and why it’s a million times better than sitting in a lawn chair all month.

Program Types

Companies such as GlobaLinks, Arcadia and CIS Abroad all offer programs that can take you to New Zealand for as little as three weeks to a few months at a time. There are even more volunteer programs where you can make a difference on the communities and beaches of New Zealand that will continue to make it a ‘Pure’ country.

Planning Your Trip

A Few Quick Packing Tips

Since it is’ the off season, ticket prices are usually at their lowest during this time which means they can range anywhere from $900-$1700 round trip (from LAX or SFO) which is a small price to when you look all that New Zealand as to offer! Using sites like STATravel and Skyscanner will give you the best rates, and STA even has better rates for students!

To tie up the loose ends, some last minute tips include:

The most important thing to pack during a trip during the winter months to New Zealand is warm layers! It may not get as cold as we would expect winter temperatures to get but being outside adventuring all day can get a bit chilly! Invest in a good set of thermals and you’ll be comfortable all day long.

Speaking of the weather, don’t be surprised if you literally see all four seasons in one day. It can start sunny, turn to rain, back to sunny, snow a few centimeters and then end the day with a beautifully clear sunset!

If you rent a car to go exploring, it’s a good idea to pay the extra fee for snow tires even if you are experienced in driving in snow. Also, it’s very important to pay attention to road signs because roads that wind through the mountains and valleys (which is almost every road in NZ) are often closed due to snow.

There are nine great walks in New Zealand that are all equally fantastic, but unfortunately some of them on the South Island are not open during the winter months due to snow. If you plan on doing any of the treks across the country be sure to check the warnings and stop by the DOC to sign intention forms.

Be prepared to have the time of your life!


Even if extreme adventures aren’t your thing, there are still lots of things to spend your time exploring! Central South Island in the Otago Region is famous for it’s vast land of wineries where you can hop on a bus and bounce from winery to winery learning everything you’d want to know and tasting the outcomes! There are a number of festivals going on throughout the winter including the International Film Festival, Napier’s Jazz Festival, Field days, and the famous Queenstown Winter Festival. Of course, if you’re a LOTR fan, New Zealand is the perfect place to go on a journey!

Including the classic winter time activities of skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing; there is so much more such as...

  • Glacier walking: on two of New Zealand’s glaciers such as Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier
  • Geothermal wonders and hot springs: Rotorua is in the heart of the North Island filled with geysers, bubbling mud pools and hot thermal springs which attracts many tourists from around the world
  • Caving: in Waitomo you can abseil down 100ft and gaze at the thousands of ‘glowworms’ that occupy the cave walls
  • Bungy Jumping: Try out Queenstown’s Nevis bungy from 134 meters!

There's something to entertain even the most avid of adventurers. New Zealand is not for the faint of (adrenaline-pumping!) heart!

Contributed by Kelsey Mirehouse

Summer Study Abroad Programs in New Zealand

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