Things to see and do while backpacking in New Zealand.
Check out tips from other travellers and bloggers and their experiences in New Zealand.
If you're already planning to visit New Zealand - scroll to the next section for a list of the best places to stay.
New Zealand must-do: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
So, I have just come back from one of the biggest adventures in my life – a two-week backpacking around New Zealand. This blog post will talk about one of the must-dos while visiting North Island of New Zealand – Tongariro Alpine Crossing.Edgaras Katinas
Famous for two things: gannets and surf! Unfortunately no surfing gannets, you’ll just have to watch them dive instead. From March to August, a vast colony of these seabirds take to the cliffs above Muriwai Beach to raise their young in relative safety. An easy boardwalk track from the beach winds gently up until you are high enough to look down from above. And if the smell is a little overwhelming – over 2000 birds make a lot of mess – you can always face the beach itself and soak up the view. The rougher seas of the West Coast are an invitation recreational fishermen and surfers cannot ignore. For those with a love of riding waves, this is reportedly one of the best spots in New Zealand, and for those who prefer their riding more land based, Muriwai Beach Horse Treks offer a four-legged alternative to a board. Their most popular 1 hour ride is a leisurely walk through the scrub, up the coast and back through native forest. Simply sublime! For a closer look at that famous sand, take a hike up the dunes (and maybe a roll down) and write your name on the wet beach to watch it sparkle as it dries in the sunshine.Helen Louise
There are also a range of day walks and multiple day hikes (known as ‘tramps’ in New Zealand). The Department of Conservation (DOC) has information on the different tracks.Nicola Woodhead
Welcome to Wellington!
Wellington, windy, windy Wellington. The capital of New Zealand, dubbed ‘The coolest little capital in the world’ by the Lonely Planet (2011), is a compact city of less than half a million people tucked between the mountains of the southern North Island and the Cook Strait. It is also one of the windiest cities on Earth. Despite this, it is among my favourite cities; I first visited in February 2015 while taking the Stray backpacker bus around the country and I am now lucky enough to currently live and work here. For a small city, there is plenty to do with many cafés and bars, hiking trails and attractions such as Te Papa museum.Fliss
Wanaka. A piece of paradise
Wanaka. A small town in the heart of New Zealand’s south island. Located in the Otago Region, 1 hours drive from Queenstown. It is a piece of paradise in an otherwise dry and arid region. Glaciers sculpted the area thousands of years ago and what they left behind is simply incredible. The town of Wanaka sits on Roy’s Bay, in the south east of New Zealand’s 4th largest lake. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, you get a real feel of isolation.Ricky Tunbridge
There Are Numerous Chances To See A Kiwi
When people ask me ‘Where you from?’ my goto answer is ‘kiwi’. While this doesn’t exactly make sense, a massive majority of the time people will understand what I mean. New Zealanders identify as kiwi therefore backpackers keep it in mind that it would be cool to see an actual kiwi (the bird) while visiting.Jub
Castle Hill: Intriguing ancient rock formation
As you drive west out of Christchurch, on State Highway 73 (SH73) towards the wild West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, the Canterbury plains give way to the foothills of the Southern Alps. Dry summer farmland transforms into the green paddocks of sheep and cattle farms as you rise out of the plains and into the rolling hills towards the steeper Porters Pass. In winter, keen groups and families take to the hills for a variety of recreation, to seriously ski and snowboard the higher mountains or toboggan the lower slopes and enjoy the snow of the area. Small lakes line the road beyond the Pass and in summer you can see small numbers of campervans, tents, and boating enthusiasts enjoying what nature has to offer. Climbing higher you come upon the Korowai-Torlesse tussock land park where wider open spaces offer a completely different vista from the lower plains and the terrain becomes much more interesting than farms and flat land.TeresaGlobalTravels Teresa Lynch
Fantastic Coffee and Where to Find It
New Zealand is famous for its coffee, and Wellington certainly doesn’t disappoint.eloise-sims
Hello From Auckland!
It seems as if I’ve adopted a new name since landing in New Zealand. Whenever I meet someone new, without fail, I’m always introduced as ‘Megan-From-America’. It’s not a bad thing, as it holds truth, but it is quite funny that literally everyone says it.Megan Fisher
New Zealand - Aotearoa - Country of Maoris
New Zealand is such a beautiful country with so many things to do and to see. I spend five months in Auckland working for a Dentist agency, it is worth to spend a couple of days in Auckland and here is why:Maren
What will I learn from travel?
I am from a typical hard working New Zealand family, and I suppose one could say I had a bit of a sheltered upbringing. Travelling throughout less privileged countries really opened my eyes to just how hard life is for some people and it surely made me appreciate just how lucky I am. Kids playing in the street with no shoes, mothers cleaning the dishes from the evening meal on the side walk, a family of five crammed on to a scooter, poorly covered lowly strung power lines within a child’s reach, malnourished homeless animals with little but the scraps on the ground to eat. Aside from the poor circumstances these people always managed a smile and appeared to be just as happy, if not happier, than those of us who have everything and anything we need or want. To experience first-hand how these people live really makes travelling worthwhile. No amount of money or objects make a person happy, it is the experiences you have throughout life with the people you love that will bring you happiness.Becky Ensor
6 things to do in Queenstown - without breaking your budget
One of the coolest little towns I have ever come across is found in the South Island of New Zealand. Although this whole country is amazing, there is something special about Queenstown. The town is built around Lake Wakatipu and with its beautiful scenery, endless amount of activities and adventures and good nightlife this is definitely the perfect getaway for anyone from families to backpackers.Ellen Skoog
New Zealand : Motueka
Motueka located at the north part of the south island, in Tasman District. This town is very near to Able Tasman National Park, which is the smallest national park in New Zealand. Although it is small but there is a lot of outdoor activities!shuwei-low
Cromwell - Must Do
With the ever increasing popularity of Central Otago, New Zealand, as a tourist destination, it can be difficult to get off the tourist trail. Whilst old favourites like Queenstown and Wanaka have a lot bto offer, it’s important not to overlook gems hidden in the paths less travelled. One of those gems is Cromwell, a small town with a big heart.Carys Jones
Rotorua…My Home Town!
I would like to tell you a bit about myself. I was born in Rotorua, in New Zealand, which is of course one of the most beautiful and interesting resort cities in the world. I grew up among the Maori people, the immense natural beauty, the geothermal wonders, the world famous tourist attractions, the splendid fishing and hunting and you know what? I took it all for granted, because it was all I knew!Guineith Isaacs
A Guide to Napier, New Zealand
Napier is well known for being the world’s Art Deco capital and for its winery tours but as a teenager found this sort of thing boring and instead got into skate parks, surf breaks, mountain bike trails and rivers. Napier is a small town with a population of about 60 000 people, it’s part of Hawkes Bay and could quite possibly be the coolest place you come across in New Zealand. I’d definitely recommend visiting in Summer, the weather is perfect, it’s not too hot like the tropics but still hot enough to make you want to go swimming and just seems to always be sunny. This is a quick guide to the places I’d go and things I’d do in Summer which might be a bit different to what you see advertised for tourists.jaydon-mckenzie
The Garden City
Not being the type to sugar-coat things, I will admit that my first impression of Christchurch was not a great one. It was only the end of February but when we stepped off the plane, I could’ve been forgiven for thinking I’d mistakenly boarded a flight back to the UK. Safe to say it was freezing for what was supposed to be New Zealand summer, and all the trees had be stripped of their leaves. On the bus to our hostel, I think I even heard someone complaining about the weather! It could well have been me, though. However, we were here for nearly 3 more days so we decided to embrace the situation and throw ourselves into whatever Christchurch could offer. After waking up with a mildly uncomfortable hangover, we set off to meet some friends from home and explore the Botanical Gardens. Apparently a world-class attraction, and with NO terrible reviews on tripadvisor (an achievement not to be underestimated), we had high hopes, and boy was I pleasantly surprised! I won’t call myself an aficionado of botanical gardens, but I’ve been to quite a few in my time, and although this was not on the same level in terms of size or exoticness as, say, Berlin or Rio, it was a thoroughly relaxing place which was clearly a treasured piece of Christchurch culture. We followed it up with a visit to the Canterbury Museum, where I sat on a penny-farthing and learned about the history of this troubled but admirable city. Not wanting to have too much fun in one day, we went to sit in the vast but pretty Hagley Park, and managed to while away the rest of the afternoon there. I can’t comment on the Christchurch clubbing scene, but what I gathered was that for those who do not know where the hotspots are, it all seems very dead. Luckily for us, we had a Pak N Save round the corner for all our drinking needs and in true backpacker fashion, we met a few people in the hostel and ended up sat around the table, having a rather tame but drunken night. The next day, after desperately asking around for what other visitors to Christchurch had done here, we set off for the Westfield Mall in Riccarton. Normally, as with all curious and aspiring travelers, I enjoy tasting local cuisine or exploring the impressive things nature has to offer in the area, but by this point I was quite frankly clutching at straws, regarding cultural opportunities in the city. The good news, though, is that the mall proved to be an excellent lunch spot and we all had a whale of a time there.Alex Taylor
Pasifika and International Cultural Festivals 2016 in Auckland
During my stay in Auckland, I could notice that the number of foreign people moving in there has been increasing and I observed how the city accepts that the population is becoming international. I mainly remember of two Festivals to discover Pacific Islands and various cultures settled in New Zealand.Lusi
Favourite Spots in New Plymouth
When I first arrived in New Plymouth I didn´t like it. It was too much of the same and on the first look just like any other bigger city I had visited in New Zealand. But after staying here for four weeks I found some spots I really loved and can recommend to everyone who´s planning on visiting New Plymouth. For starters, it might be good to know that most of these are best to reach by car but there are taxis available in the city.Lisa
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand; A Humble Paradise
So you’re planning your ultimate vacation to little ol’ New Zealand. You’ve heard about the skiing in Queenstown, the glaciers in Milford Sound, the cultural capital that is Wellington, and undoubtedly, the “Lord of The Rings” Hobbiton tour in Matamata. But the one place that you definitely need to have on your list, is the beautiful beach cove, Mount Maunganui.Deanna Hayley
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