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The Ultimate Backpacking New Zealand Travel Tips

Backpacking New Zealand is to embark on an unforgettable journey. A journey filled with epic adventures, unforgettable landscapes, and native culture kept alive by love and dedication. 

Personally, I can’t get enough of New Zealand. I’m fascinated by the Maori culture, enthralled by the larger-than-life landscapes, and charmed by the scenic small town. 

New Zealand has many points of interest that make the country a hotspot for travelers.

All these things make New Zealand an awesome destination for outdoor addicts, backpackers, and adrenaline junkies.

In fact, in all my travels I have never heard one person say that they did not like their traveling New Zealand itinerary. The country is just that good.

Why Travel to New Zealand

Some of you might recognize New Zealand as Middle Earth. The acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy was indeed filmed in New Zealand’s own capital of Wellington.

While that is a completely legitimate reason to book your way to New Zealand, I wouldn’t underestimate everything else this beautiful island country has to offer!

Characterized by natural formations from volcanoes to glaciers, New Zealand has a variety of environments to experience and is incredibly rich in biodiversity.

Best Time to Visit New Zealand

You can’t go wrong with visiting New Zealand at any point in the year. Although some points of the year are warmer than others. Let’s check out some New Zealand Travel Tips for the weather.

Summer in New Zealand – The warmest months are September through April, with December, January, and February making up the summer and, therefore, New Zealand’s peak travel season.

Spring in New Zealand  Spring is from September to November with temperatures ranging from 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall runs from March through May and shares Spring’s general climate.

Winter in New Zealand – June, July, and August make up the winter months with temperatures shifting within 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things to Know Before Backpacking New Zealand

As part of this New Zealand travel guide, I am going to suggest getting travel insurance. 

Since it is impossible to plan for unexpected or emergencies, travel insurance is a smart investment.

It protects your finances when you encounter unfortunate but common situations like illness, last-minute cancelations, or lost luggage.

Cost of Traveling in New Zealand

Ok, budget is one of the most important areas in this New Zealand Travel Guide. You must plan your New Zealand budget carefully.

Daily- Plan to spend an average of $60-70 USD a day backpacking New Zealand.

This daily calculation includes accommodation, food, transportation, and the average cost of miscellaneous activities.

If you are very strict with your budget, however, you can spend less by minimizing transportation or activity costs, utilizing free wi-fi, or even cooking your own meals.

Monthly – The daily costs equate to about $1800-2100 USD a month.

However, New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world and if you are an adventure junkie expect to spend a lot more.

One New Zealand travel tip I want to stress in keep track of your budget or you will be in trouble.

Backpacker Banter has an awesome New Zealand Budget Summary!

Top Spots to Visit in New Zealand

So you know how much money you need! Now it is time to learn about all the top holiday spots in New Zealand.


Auckland is the largest and most populated city in New Zealand, and it only has 2 million people.

Auckland is claimed as a popular tourist city with many activities to do natural sights to see.

Things to See in Auckland

Visit the Hauraki Gulf and discover the surrounding, picturesque islands known for their wine and water activities.

As Auckland’s oldest park, the Auckland Domain exposes evidence of natural incidents throughout history, including explosion craters from the Pukekawa volcano.

The Waitakere Ranges are a series of hills that travel along the coastline and through dense forests that are home to thriving wildlife.

You will get to witness a diversity of natural settings and scenery including waterfalls and beaches.

Things to do in Auckland

Get an early start to make it to Otara Flea Market (Like the markets in Mexico you have to get there early.)! They only operate on Saturday mornings and sell virtually everything from fresh produce to secondhand clothing.

If you’re going to go bungy jumping, why not go where AJ Hackett first created the activity? AJ Hackett Bungy takes you off the Auckland Bridge and into the harbor.

Visit the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere! Standing over 1000 feet high, Sky Tower provides a 360-degree view of the city with a revolving restaurant at the top.


Coined as “The Garden City,” Christchurch is home to many beautiful parks and gardens and a popular backpacker destination. Christchurch went through an horrible earthquake years ago, but the city is recovering nicely and is still a cool place to visit.

Things to See in ChristChurch

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is known for their thriving bird life and nocturnal kiwi tours.

The Port Hills provides trails for walking or biking with picturesque views of the Southern Alps and the Banks Peninsula.

Check out the art gallery among the streets. Brockworth Street Art Gallery showcases artwork and colorful murals along brick walls.

Things to do in Christchurch

The Christchurch Gondola is a popular ride that starts on the grounds of the Heathcote Valley and takes you along Mount Cavendish.

It presents stunning views and a restaurant with a view at the top and options to cycle or take a tram ride back down.

Punting is another favored attraction in Christchurch.

The Avon River offers scenic views as the boat ride takes you along the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and through the city.

Visiting the International Antarctic Centre is a must during your stay in Christchurch.

It is a space that replicates the environment in Antarctica and provides an interactive experience with rides and even real snow for you to play in!


Queenstown is known to be the action capital of the country for all the adrenaline junkies out there!

Things to see in Queenstown

Saturate yourself in the great outdoors of Queenstown with the myriad activities available there.

Bungy Jumping – As it is home to the famous Nevis jump, bungy jumping is the most popular activity and allows you to quite literally immerse yourself in the scenery.

Fergburger is a renowned burger joint and a Queenstown tradition.

They allegedly have the best burgers in the world and is, therefore, an essential stop during your stay.

Snowboarding – If you happen to be in Queenstown during the wintertime, make sure to take the time to go skiing or snowboarding!

These mountains provide some of the best platforms for these sports. Queenstown is one of the most beautiful cities in the world

Things to do in Queenstown

See the underwater observatory that has views of all the scenery in the lake.

You can’t skip a visit to the vineyards when you’re in the leading wine region in New Zealand for white wines.

Take a wine tour to explore these grounds!

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is home to flourishing plants and birds and a peaceful, scenic setting for a nature walk.

One of my New Zealand travel tips is to set some money aside to have some adventures and get your adrenaline pumping in Queenstown.

Where to Stay in New Zealand

Hostels are one of the cheapest options for accommodation when traveling. If you have not yet visited a hostel, these shared rooms are sometimes referred to as dorms, which can give you an idea of the style of housing it resembles.

I always search for hostels using Hostelworld they provide you with a list of popular hostels and customer reviews in your desired city.

Airbnb is also a valid option and using this link you save $25 off your first stay.

Staying in hostels also allows you to get acquainted with fellow backpackers from all over the world. Some of the most memorable events of any of my travels involve sharing adventures with the friends that I have met in hostels.

Another option to search for accommodation is Airbnb. Or an alternatives for Airbnb.

You get a more local experience than staying in hostels, and it is a great way to see a country. (Plus you can save some $40 by signing up through this link).

It allows for more privacy and enables you to connect with locals who can offer a taste of the real New Zealand.


Transportation costs will consume much of your budget, so finding the cheapest methods will save you a lot of money when backpacking. You can also take tours of New Zealand.

For New Zealand, there are 3 major ways for travelers like us to get around.

There are more ways to get around, but for this New Zealand travel guide, I am only going to suggest the ways I have taken so I don’t give you a bad recommendation.

Naked Bus – is a great option for searching for the cheapest bus fares available. They provide long-distance transportation services at affordable prices.

If you are looking for more informational ways to get around,

Haka Tours – is a company exclusive to New Zealand and offers customized adventure tours. They offer awesome New Zealand Tour Packages! 

They provide services to plan out your destinations, accommodation, activities, and transport. Read my entire Haka Review here. 

Stray – Another company that offers guided tours. Stray offers hop on hop off passes. You could do the same thing on Naked Bus, but on Stray, you will be surrounded by fellow backpackers.

Other Popular Things to Do and See When Backpacking New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing – Witness Mordor with your own eyes! ( Highly Recommended!!) 

Considered one of the best day hikes in New Zealand, the Tongariro Crossing is a relatively easy but a long hike (approximately 12 miles).

Tongariro lets you hike amongst volcanic terrain, sulfur lakes, and lush forests.

Bay of Islands – Located north of Auckland, the Bay of Islands provides a beautiful backdrop for popular sea activities such as dolphin/whale watching, swimming, boating, and of course, eating seafood.

Abel Tasman National Park- If you haven’t figured out by now, there is an endless course of spectacular nature in New Zealand for your viewing.

Abel Tasman National Park, located on the south island. Is an ideal for relaxing with views of the crystal blue waters or participating in more adventurous activities such as kayaking or trekking the jungles.

Franz Josef Glacier – This 12km-long natural formation is located inside Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the South Island of New Zealand.

You’ll have options to heli hike, valley walk, among other rugged activities that offer stunning views.

Skydive – Jump out of a pink plane at Lake Taupo ( One of my favorite New Zealand trips)

So what did do you guys think of my backpacking New Zealand tips?

About Me

Chaing Mai Backpacking

Hi, I’m Stephen Schreck (pronounced like Shrek; but don’t worry, I’m not green.)

At 21 I fell in love with travel. Since then my adventures have taken me to over 80 countries in 8 years.

Now my biggest passion is helping people just like you, reach their travel dreams!

Read 101 Fun and Interesting Facts About Me


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      8 thoughts on “The Ultimate Backpacking New Zealand Travel Tips”

        1. It’s hard to choose as the diversity of the landscape lends itself to so many different experiences. I did a skydive in Taupo which was amazing, but I think the stand out experience was the Tongariro Crossing!

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