Stunning topography ✅
A famously adventurous culture ✅
No language barrier ✅
All three make Oceania an excellent choice for your gap year or study abroad trip. Cross over the equator to a world of unparalleled natural beauty and a limitless supply of meat pies.
From glaciers to deserts to rainforests to volcanoes, Oceania has it all. Plus, the government and locals are exceptional at preserving their natural treasures. If you’re headed for the Land Down Unda, here’s what you should bring for those exciting days when your homework is done and the world is yours to explore.
The ozone layer is thinner over Oceania, causing up to 15% more solar radiation—you’re going to need both sunscreen and sunglasses, every single day. Can’t decide which sunscreen to slather? Ultraviolet is a beautifully simple app that syncs with GPS to provide up-to-date UV indexes and recommended protection for each area. Of course, when you’re having fun in the sun—whether you’re chilling on the beach or shredding powder on the slopes—it’s easy to forget to apply and reapply…behold the Sunscreen Reminder app.
Temperate rainforests and cyclones are also a reality in the southern hemisphere. I lost my phone to water damage on the Abel Tasman Coast Track on New Zealand’s South Island, and Zealand doesn’t have Apple stores…major bummer! Learn from my mistakes and protect your precious device with a waterproof case. I thought my phone would be safe deep inside my backpack, but alas the Pacific rains saturated my entire bag. Kkeep your inner contents dry (especially an extra pair of socks!) with a rain cover over your bag.
Unless you’re hanging out in big cities like Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, Oceania is simply not the place to rely on a roller bag. Even metropolises like Auckland and Wellington are incredibly hilly. This is Middle Earth, after all—gear up for mountainous terrain and unpredictable ground.
If you’re planning on engaging in beginner/intermediate adventuring, this Fjallraven Raven Backpack is for you. It boasts way more zippered pockets and hidden compartments than the original Fjallraven Kanken pack, plus a padded laptop sleeve. Now, if you’re an advanced explorer (ie: you’re planning on conquering one of New Zealand’s Great Walks), then opt for a hardcore, large backpack by Osprey or Deuter designed to handle the elements.
Prefer Australia’s Uluru Desert to New Zealand’s Southern Alps? Sounds good, but don’t forget to stay hydrated. Pop this CamelBak-esque hydration system into any backpack. Hands-free sipping, rejoice!
With all this talk about the great outdoors, we’d be remiss not to mention the preferred sleeping arrangements down under al fresco. If you’re in New Zealand, use the CamperMate app to find and reserve a prime camping spot. If you’re exploring Oz, WikiCamps will help you score camping sites everywhere from Queensland to Tasmania. Whether you opt to sleep in a tent or camper van, get excited for unparalleled stargazing with the help of the mesmerizing Star Chart app—a leading educational app that uses augmented reality to point out constellations.
Oceania is home to some of the world’s best surfing spots, from Piha to Byron Bay. For the daily swell report, MSW Surf Forecast has up-to-date surf conditions for all the spots in Australia, New Zealand and around the globe. If you’re an avid surfer, it’s often more cost efficient to buy a used surfboard in-country than renting all of the time. Attach this XY3 smart item finder when storing your board. In the unlikely event that your baby is lost or stolen, the Bluetooth technology will reveal its precise location.
Learn in class, but also from Mother Nature. Will you hop along with kangaroos in Victoria, or swim among the glowworms in Waitomo? No matter what courses you’re enrolled in, Oceania will turn you into an A+, world-class adventurer.
Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.