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Connecting Your New Zealand Gap Year with the World

Written by Alice McLeod on 02 / 11 / 2023

Gap Year Advice

A gap year is a unique opportunity to explore the world, gain new experiences, and broaden your horizons. New Zealand, with its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and adventurous spirit, is a popular destination for gap year travelers (check out our itinerary for 3-4 weeks in New Zealand here). However, why limit your adventure to just one country? A gap year is all about fitting in those once-in-a-lifetime moments, ticking a few things off your bucket list, and of course making new friends along the way. In this blog, we'll explore ways to link your gap year travel to New Zealand with other countries, allowing you to create an unforgettable journey of contrasting countries and experiences.

Explore the South Pacific Islands

New Zealand's location in the South Pacific makes it an excellent starting point for exploring other beautiful islands in the region. Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands are just a short flight away. These destinations offer a taste of island life, with pristine beaches, warm waters, and vibrant cultures. You can easily connect your New Zealand adventure with a series of island-hopping escapades, creating a well-rounded South Pacific experience.

Head Down Under to Australia

For a more extensive adventure, consider hopping across the Tasman Sea to Australia. New Zealand and Australia are geographically close, and you can often find affordable flights between the two. Australia offers a diverse range of experiences, from the bustling cities of Sydney and Melbourne to the rugged landscapes of the Outback and the Great Barrier Reef. A dual-country gap year will give you the best of both worlds – the charm of New Zealand and the vastness of the Australian continent. Just be aware that both Australia and New Zealand are more considerably more expensive than say, South East Asia. They're both incredible countries to combine, but bear in mind that you'll need to stick to a tight budget, and that your money won't stretch as far as it would in other places. You can check out our Australia itinerary here.

Asia Awaits

New Zealand's location in the southern hemisphere provides an excellent opportunity to explore Asia during your gap year. Countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia are easily accessible from New Zealand (for a three month itinerary of SE Asia then click here). You can experience the rich history, vibrant street markets, and breathtaking landscapes of Asia while using New Zealand as a hub. This fusion of cultures and landscapes will make your gap year unforgettable.

If you want to dive deeper into the SE Asian experience, consider a New Zealand-SE Asia combo. You can start by exploring the stunning islands and cities of SE Asia and then venture down to New Zealand. A typical route might include places like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, followed by the serene landscapes of New Zealand. This journey will provide a unique blend of tropical paradise and rugged natural beauty. Lots of gappers start their journey with a team programme with us before heading off on their independent travels. We have both a Vietnam and Cambodia team programme, which will also give you an excellent contrast if you connect with New Zealand.

The Americas Adventure

For the ultimate gap year adventure, you can head even further afield and link New Zealand with countries in the Americas. Venture to Central and South America for another contrast to New Zealand. The Americas offer an incredible variety of cultures, landscapes, and experiences, from the bustling cities of Mexico City and Rio to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. With the right planning, you can spend a portion of your gap year in New Zealand and the other half exploring the vast continents of Central and South America.


Your gap year is a chance to explore, learn, and grow as an individual. By linking your New Zealand gap year with other countries, you can create a journey that's uniquely yours. From island-hopping in the South Pacific to backpacking through Asia or exploring the diverse landscapes of the Americas, the world is your oyster. Don't limit yourself to just one destination; take the opportunity to see and experience as much as possible during your gap year. Connecting New Zealand with other countries will provide a rich tapestry of memories, cultures, and adventures that you'll carry with you for a lifetime.


How long should I spend in New Zealand? To really see it all you should plan at least a month. You can check out our full New Zealand itinerary in our backpacker advice hub, which gives you ideas of all of the backpacker highlights, ways to get around, and places to stay.

How much do I need to budget for a gap year trip to New Zealand? There's no denying that New Zealand is an expensive country. Budget around £2,000 for a month of travel, however there are definitely ways you could save some money here and there.

What's the easiest way to get around New Zealand? You can either hire a car, or get around via buses, depending on your budget.

What currency do they use in New Zealand? The New Zealand dollar (NZD) is the currency of New Zealand.

Do you need a visa to visit New Zealand on a gap year? If you're staying less than six months then you don't need a visa, but you will need a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA), proof of a return or onward ticket, and proof you have enough money for your stay

Is it easy to get a job whilst on a gap year in New Zealand? Yes, if you're UK based then you can apply for a New Zealand working holiday visa, valid for 12, 23, or 36 months. You’ll also need to show you have at least NZ $350 for each month of your stay, and enough money to buy a ticket home.

Related Articles:

The best New Zealand itinerary

3-4 week Australia itinerary

3 months backpacking around SE Asia itinerary

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