First, hiking in North America is a great experience that many people do every weekend. There are some great tracks on the West coast, East coast, Rocky mountains and other places in the United States. But Backpacking New Zealand is also an incredible experience.
When Backpacking New Zealand, you can explore the country and untouched landscapes, go through great Backpacking New Zealand trails with beautiful views and vast areas of the desert. Moreover, is a dream for many tourists, and one of the most attractive tourist destination in the world.
Finally, New Zealand is more than it seems on the map. This fact means that the journey can take longer than you might think if you want to see as much as possible. To see all of that in the South Island you’ll need at least two months. Three or four months is the perfect time to do the island. Also on the North Island, you’ll need at least two months to see everything.
If you’re camping, you can see in New Zealand for about two months, but you will be rushing. You will see a lot, but you can’t do the whole country. There is so much to see on both islands. It is a shame to fly a long way only to rush around Backpacking New Zealand.
- 1 What to Pack for Backpacking New Zealand
- 2 Travel New Zealand while Teaching English
- 3 Budget Meals while Backpacking New Zealand
- 4 Where Is the Best Weather
- 5 Portable Computer
- 6 Work and Travel in New Zealand
- 7 Campervan in New Zealand
- 8 Guided Walks in New Zealand
- 9 Planning your New Zealand Travel Itinerary
- 10 Bob’s Peak
- 11 Christchurch to Queenstown in South Island
- 12 Queenstown to Milford Sound
- 13 The Haast Pass
- 14 Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
- 15 Stewart Island
- 16 Blenheim and Wine
- 17 Things to do in Kaikoura
- 18 Picton to Tasman Region
- 19 Te Anau to Aoraki Village
- 20 Lake Moeraki
- 21 Paringa to Haast Cattle Track
- 22 Lake Moeraki to Queenstown
- 23 Mackenzie Country and Mount Cook
- 24 White Heron Sanctuary
- 25 Mt. Cook and Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
- 26 Fiordland: Te Anau to Milford Sound
- 27 Queen Charlotte Track
- 28 Hikes in New Zealand North Island
- 29 Abel Tasman Coast Track
- 30 Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier
What to Pack for Backpacking New Zealand
Always travel with a water bottle, it will save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on the planet.
It is always worth packing the correct towel. Hostel towels are dirty and take forever to dry. Microfiber towels quick dry, compact, lightweight and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat, if necessary.
Taking a tent with a backpack is not always practical, but the hammocks are lightweight, cheap, sturdy, and allow you to pitch up for the night almost everywhere.
Travel New Zealand while Teaching English
If you are English and you want to make money traveling the world, training the English language online is an excellent way to earn a constant income. Moreover, you can teach from anywhere in the world with a good Internet connection. You can train the English language remotely from your laptop and save some cash for your next adventure.
Budget Meals while Backpacking New Zealand
How much money you need for a trip to Australia depends on your daily habits. Some people emerge from cafes and clubs every night, others cook themselves and read a book at night.
An excellent tip to save money on food is to have a large lunch and a small dinner, many places offer cheaper meals for lunch. Cooking with multiple people in a hostel while Backpacking New Zealand can reduce the cost of food and, if you are in one place longer, you can save money.
However, the real way to save money on the things you consume when Backpacking New Zealand is your alcoholic beverages. Alcohol in New Zealand is much more expensive than in Europe or the United States. Even the alcohol in the store is very expensive.
Where Is the Best Weather
There are two main islands in New Zealand, precisely North Island and South Island. The weather can change rapidly and vary significantly from one end to the other. In Auckland, the temperature usually ranges in the high 40s during winter and low 70s in the summer, although the day can be much warmer.
On the East coast of North Island, Hawke’s Bay is famous for sunshine all year round. Contrarily, Queenstown on the South Island is warm, with sunny summers and winters that can dip to almost freezing temperatures.
Some regions experience a little more precipitation in winter than in summer. Nonetheless, there are seasons where there is no rain in New Zealand. Travelers should be aware of regardless of when or where they are going, New Zealand weather is unpredictable, and it will probably rain at least a little in any time of the year.
If there is one thing that more and more travelers pack is the laptop. With a computer, you can save and edit all of your photos, write a blog, find Wi-Fi hotspots and access to a network. Also, listen to music or watch movies.
The presence of a laptop can be significant, but only in some cases. The first issue is weight since the extra pounds adds weight to carry. Secondly, you have the theft or damage factor. For example, if you have an excellent ultra-light laptop, you need to take the risk of theft or damage.
Those who benefit the most of a laptop are travelers in developed countries. They have genuine reasons to use a computer regularly. For example, for paid labor. Developed countries offer a sufficient number of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Also, most hostels offer wireless Internet access.
In undeveloped countries, where Wi-Fi spots are few and far between there are other ways to access the network or use the computer to upload a blog, photo, or chat online. For example, you can pick up a connection on your smartphone.
There are many pros and cons, but for first-time travelers who are planning to move without a serious reason, it is better to leave the computer at home.
Work and Travel in New Zealand
If your level of English is not good, you can find a job picker. Just show up at several farms in the harvest season, and there is an excellent chance to get a job. On the contrary, if you possess a good English level, any work of hospitality open to you. It can take you around two weeks on average to find a job.
Of course, if you have good qualification and a good level of English, it is up to you to do any work. Nothing can replace the effectiveness to appear before a company manager and sell yourself.
Moreover, there are also a considerable number of recruitment agencies in New Zealand that you can interview. Those recruitment agencies can look for work for you for free. Plus, they are good at it, and companies pay them to find the best employees for them.
Campervan in New Zealand
Maybe you would never think about living in a car. You have to put money down to the van for the interior, as well as equipment, but in answer, you get the liberty to bring home with you wherever you go.
With a stove camping, storage for equipment, and the mattress you have everything you need to feel comfortable. Especially if you parked your van in front of a stunning landscape that you can admire on a morning with a freshly brewed aromatic coffee.
Guided Walks in New Zealand
The concept of the campaign, as seen in places like the Himalayas is not entirely applicable to New Zealand. Nowhere in New Zealand, you have the option to hire porters to carry your gear, and no tea house books at night, not to take sleeping bags, tents, and stoves.
The closest match for hikes, as experienced abroad, is probably guided walks. Guided walks are full Backpacking New Zealand with a guide along great trails. For example, along with the Milford and Routeburn tracks. Also, in other ways. For instance, Hollyford, hump ridge, and banks Peninsula tracks.
Guided walk companies have their hut, in right conditions, including proper beds, hot showers, and cooked dishes. Nonetheless, you have to pay for the privilege of these home facilities. Currently over NZ$2000 for five days in Milford track. The advantage, of course, is that you need to carry only the Essentials with you on the day-pack, so they are much less complicated than independent travel.
Planning your New Zealand Travel Itinerary
In General, tend to spend more time in the South Island than the North Island because the scenery is more spectacular, although in the North there are unique charms. Try not to waste your whole holiday driving. There is much more ground to cover than you can expect, and it is often quite dull driving because the roads are long and not straight.
To get around you need to rent a car or van. There is some public transport in New Zealand, but it is not conveniently. If you’re trying to keep travel budget under control, hostels or youth houses are everywhere and usually have individual rooms. Also, holiday homes are often available for rental.
In January, it is necessary to book accommodation in advance as it is peak holiday time for New Zealanders. If you don’t have a whole month to spend in New Zealand look at short trip South island itineraries.
To get to the summit of Bob’s Peak, you can choose to go with a gondola. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for the thrill or want to save money, you can try with the power of your feet and trek up. The climb is a relatively easy hike that steadily climbs through the pine forest about an hour until you reach the building of skyscrapers on top. The views from here are stunning.
If you Google ‘Queenstown,’ most of the photos that show the results are photos taken from that view, and the best part is that it’s free to visitors. However, if you want to view the typical picture, you have to hike up a bit further.
Keep going up the Luge and go through the woods for 10 minutes until you get to the clearing. This way is where paragliders take off. If you have difficulty finding it, ask somebody working in a landscape or a sled. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
Christchurch to Queenstown in South Island
This path is a short route that you can complete if you don’t have much time. First, you hop aboard the emit train and go along the river Waimakariri, which crosses from the East to the West. Start in the town of Greymouth. Then, head South along the coastline and visit the magnificent glaciers.
You can find Fox and Franz Josef glaciers before sliding by the mountains to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. In Queenstown, you can go skydiving, bungee jumping, rafting, and anything you can dream. Consequently, you will be sure to get an adrenaline charge.
If you drive along the path, you will admire lush rainforests and pristine mountain lakes that make up the West coast of New Zealand incredible. This route is a chance to wind your way through a world heritage region, where glaciers and mountains meet the ocean.
Queenstown to Milford Sound
Be sure to try the whitebait in Haast pass. It‘s a local delicacy. If you like adrenaline, Queenstown is for you. At the end of the day eat at the famous FERG Burger before the end of the rounding of a perfect day. The best time to go is autumn, so between March and May. It’s a little warmer than spring, and you’ll avoid the busy summer period and cold winter. The beauty of the West coast may surprise you to allow some leeway.
The Haast Pass
There is beautiful scenery along the Haast Pass. You can travel North from Queenstown through Arrowtown, Cromwell, and Wanaka to Haast. Between Wanaka and Haast, you will encounter the Haast pass. The pass name comes from the 19th-century adventurer Julius von Haast.
Through the route, you can stop and stretch your legs at various roadside walking which can range from 5 minutes to 1 hour. Some of the notable stops include the roaring Billy falls; Thunder Creek falls, Cameron lookout walk, and blue pools. Also, you can continue the path North along the West coast to the Fox glacier and the glacier of Franz Joseph.
Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
A 15-minute drive on highway 8 in the city leads you to the Observatory at mount John. You can enjoy night sky tours, amazing Astro café and the opportunity to view the enormous telescopes at night. Views of Lake Tekapo are breathtaking, but the winding road that leads to the top is not for the fainthearted.
Unfortunately, this is not a year-round phenomenon. Sky events only bloom for about six weeks in the period from mid-November to the beginning of the new year.
Technically, Lupin flowers are weeds that spread around the island, posing a threat to native plant species. Nonetheless, Lupine flowers bloom to create fantastic landscapes, where everything goes into a beautiful shade of pink and purple.
You can find Lupine flowers everywhere from the shoreline of Lake Tekapo, along the road to mount cook and all the surrounding meadows.
In Stewart Island, you can do many things. For example, you can hike the entire Milford track and then rest the legs with a cruise on Milford Sound or take on a walking discovery. For example, walk sections of the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler tracks.
The bottom of New Zealand is close to the South pole. One of the leading causes that people travel far South in New Zealand is to visit Stewart Island. The island is the third largest island in NZ. Besides, Stewart Island has only 400 people. Also, 80% of Stewart Island is a National Park.
Native forests, marshes, and pristine beaches provide ample opportunities for spotting wildlife like penguins and elusive kiwi bird. At night, there is no light pollution, fantastic scenery and the chance to see the Southern Lights. Where you choose to stay in Southland will depend on which area you want to visit and how much time you have.
Blenheim and Wine
Thirty minutes South of Picton is Blenheim on the plains of the South Island. Also, is home to New Zealand’s most famous wine region Marlborough. Marlborough grows 75% of New Zealand wine. Great place to go tasting the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Make sure someone else is driving.
There is a wine celebration on the second weekend of February each year, where you can taste every wine in the county. Blenheim wine tours vary from bike to family tours in 4×4 eco-tours. It is also possible if you have a car to drive around and call the wineries as maps are available in Blenheim.
Things to do in Kaikoura
There are boat tours all the year to see the whales that congregate around Kaikoura because of the underwater geography, which bring nutrient-rich water to the surface. There are many types of whales on the coast of Kaikoura depending on the time of the year.
Boats use sonar in the water to identify the whales, so you have chances to get a good view of the whales. Seeing tails to raise their dip is fantastic. Nonetheless, it is hard to appreciate them in full size unless you are fortunate. Moreover, you can see dolphins during whale visits.
Swimming with dolphins
One thing to do in Kaikourawhen Backpacking New Zealand is swimming with dolphins. Swimming with dolphins is splendid as they tease and disorient you to the shoot to annoy and surprise someone else. Dusky dolphins are the varieties that subsist in Kaikoura, and like all dolphins are unique and playful.
When you are in the water with hundreds of them, it’s fascinating. Some come and swim around you slowly and then faster and faster until you can’t keep twisting them and when they are happy they go in the blink of an eye. Even from the boat, it’s a great experience, as they always jump in and out of the water.
Picton to Tasman Region
You leave the beautiful town of Picton behind as you drive West on highway Queen Charlotte road, winding around the Marlborough sounds towards Nelson. You can hike along the trail of Queen Charlotte when Backpacking New Zealand. Nonetheless, this requires additional planning and not so comfortable with the car. Moreover, the path is about an hour in Nelson going at quite a slow pace, and the corners are pretty acute.
There are lots of stuff to do in Nelson for a day and a half. You can visit the center of New Zealand, walk from the Park on the hill with beautiful views of the city. Walk through the Queen’s gardens, which is an excellent place for a picnic. Also, you can visit Nelsons own Christchurch Cathedral and have a coffee or drink at the Trafalgar street or near the center of the city.
Te Anau to Aoraki Village
Te Anau to Aoraki Village takes 5 hours by car. The distance is 422 km. As practical information when Backpacking New Zealand, fuel in Te Anau before you leave, then again fuel in Twizel. It is important to stop in Twizel four square supermarket, before reaching the village of Aoraki. Make sure you buy sufficient food for a few days. Eateries are scarce and expensive to cook.
This disc will start a little slow, but it will pick up once you pass Twizel. Once you reach lake Pukaki, you will drive along the lake with breathtaking views. At some point, the magnificent peak of Mount Cook appears, and you go to towards all the way. This view is one of the most unusual perspectives ever. It is a famous New Zealand mountain photo with an epic empty road leading towards the mountains.
You will ride on empty and incredible roads. The village of Mount Cook is remote, so make sure that you buy enough food to last for a few days. Also, don’t forget to pack some protein bars along on walks and hikes in the mountains.
The best way when Backpacking New Zealand to encounter Lake Moeraki and its surroundings is by foot and kayak. For those who like a quiet start, they can explore the calm water of the Lake Moeraki with a kayak.
Guides can give you basic training in our stable boat, before rowing up the river through a magnificent forest, to enter the shallow wetlands of Lake Moeraki. Moreover, you have the opportunity to venture a bit further to visit the spectacular coastline of the Tasman Sea.
Paringa to Haast Cattle Track
The more adventurous Backpacking New Zealand tourists can go to the Paringa to Haast cattle track. It is the main route before the road completed in 1965, which takes you to the wilderness hut. Also, with a narrow suspension bridge to cross one of the main rivers that feed the Lake Moeraki.
Lake Moeraki to Queenstown
Lake Moeraki is about four hours on the road to Queenstown when Backpacking New Zealand. On the way, you can stop to stretch your legs in Wanaka and walk around the city or enjoy a short walk to the mountain. Moreover, you can enjoy lunch in Wanaka before partaking in an exclusive wine tasting at the local vineyards.
If you decide to hold your stay in the vicinity of Queenstown, you will find many other ways to experience South Island. For example, you can join the excursion to the beautiful Milford and Doubtful.
Also, you can be adventurous and try out bungee jumping. Finally, you can try the vintages at the Central Otago wineries if you would like to go Backpacking New Zealand. The Milford track or Routeburn track are two routes that will protrude through spectacular landscape.
Mackenzie Country and Mount Cook
The road from Christchurch to Mount Cook when Backpacking New Zealand crosses through a land of lakes, vast open spaces and golden, tussock-hills that roll toward the Southern Alps. Along the way, you pass by the milky-blue, glacial lakes Pukaki and Tekapo. Located on the shores of Lake Tekapo, a single little stone Church of the Good Shepherd has stunning views of Mount Cook, framed by the window of the altar.
Mount Cook is 12,349m high, towers above the massive, snowy peaks that make up the National Park of Mount Cook. On one side of Mount Cook, there is the Tasman Glacier, a 19-mile giant and one of the largest outside of the Himalayas.
Also, there is a spectacular ski plane flight. Moreover, there are all kinds of skiing options, including heli-skiing and ski touring. There are glorious mountain walks and climbing for any level of physical fitness. A wide range of services includes a hotel, chalets, a youth hostel, and camping.
White Heron Sanctuary
In White Heron Sanctuary you can experience the pristine beauty of the ancient white pine Kahikatea forest and admire the natural flora and fauna. In White Heron Sanctuary you visit a unique place in New Zealand.
You can use White Heron Sanctuary Tour that departs from the tour office in Whataroa. The Backpacking New Zealand tour starts with a short minibus ride. Then a gentle 20-minute scenic cruise into the Waitangiroto nature reserve with a jet-boat. The only way to enter this area is by boat.
In the unique reserve, you can disembark from the boat for a short walk through ancient Kahikatea forest for observing wild animals to watch the magnificent white Heron (Kotuku) in their natural nesting habitat.
Mt. Cook and Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
After spending some days in Queenstown its time to move forward to Mount Cook National Park, famous for its flora. The drive takes you through lake Hayes, the beautifully manicured vineyards and wineries in Gibbston, and fruit farms and orchards in Cromwell.
Spend the day exploring the unmitigatedly turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. This whole area is awash with bright purple lupines in the summer. After that, you can spend the entire day exploring Mackenzie, Canterbury and passing through the Mount Cook National Park.
Moreover, if you have an extra day or two to spend in the hotel near Lake Tekapo, the night sky is legendary because it is part of the dark sky reserve of the UNESCO.
Finally, after 4000 miles and so many new places, you can stay in Christchurch. In Christchurch, you can walk through Hagley Park, and met with dozens of varieties of roses in the center of the Rose garden. If you crave another jam-packed day, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Christchurch.
Fiordland: Te Anau to Milford Sound
In the route of the road to Milford Sound via Te Anau, you don’t miss Queenstown, which you pass on the way to Te Anau. It is wiser first to visit Milford Sound then return to Queenstown.
In Queenstown, you can move to a more scenic crown range road when Backpacking New Zealand. If you are traveling in the winter, first check out the weather conditions. You can also use snow chains, so make sure your rental provides them.
After you drive Queenstown, you will drive towards Te Anau through a beautiful stretch of road called the devil‘s staircase along the mountain range the Remarkables. Te Anau is the entry to the Fiordland National Park. You need to keep your eyes on the road. This way is a very flexible part of the trip.
When you get to Te Anau when Backpacking New Zealand, you can go for a walk around the lake in the evening and recharge the batteries before the big day tomorrow.
Queen Charlotte Track
Queen Charlotte offers a combination of steep climbs that lead to infinite 360 degrees Marlborough sounds, and in great weather, you can even see on the North Island of New Zealand. There are so many exciting places to pitch a tent along the way.
There are vast amounts of uphill. You need to book tracks when Backpacking New Zealand on the trail, including your boat transfer. In high season, you should book accommodation, and campsites in advance.
The Queen Charlotte sound in Marlborough is usually more peaceful option than the Abel Tasman. The beach is less than Abel Tasman, and there is more variety of accommodation along the route when Backpacking New Zealand. In contrast to the Abel Tasman track, Queen Charlotte also allows cyclists. Some people prefer to walk small sections of each.
Queen Charlotte track is a 70km route. This track passes through a private area, which means that you can stay in different kinds of lodges (i.e., bed and breakfasts, hotels, etc.), That makes the hike a little more affordable.
Hikes in New Zealand North Island
Kepler track is a challenging but rewarding 5-day trek on New Zealand’s aptly named ‘big walk.’ Located in Fiordland National Park on South Island of New Zealand, the Backpacking New Zealand route starts in the forest and rises through the tussock grass on hills. Finally, runs along a snow-covered mountain peaks and descends back to Te Anau.
Along the way, you see many different species of flora and fauna and encounter with Kea, New Zealand’s mischievous Alpine parrot. You will stay in backcountry huts, which equip with bunk beds, a gas stove, and an open fire. Unlike many other great walks, this loop trail means that you must arrange transport to collect your car.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a flat trail with a small increase in 60 km height that usually lasts 3 to 5 days. Also, Abel Tasman Coast Track contains additional side trips and leads from Marahau to Wayne. From there you have to arrange the water taxi if you don’t want to go the same way back when Backpacking New Zealand.
The track can take you approximately a week if the weather is sunny, and the atmosphere is relaxed. In a week you can enjoy the picturesque coastal landscapes, caves, waterfalls, and a swim along the way. If pressed on time, you don’t have to hike the whole distance. Instead, arrange a water taxi that can drop you off at various access points so you can easily plan your day as you like.
Another option when Backpacking New Zealand is kayaking along the coast when hiking is not your thing. Several tidal inlets require planning because you can cross them only at low tide. You can find information about the time of the waves. Don’t forget to book accommodation in huts or campsites ahead.
Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier
Glacier country is one of the most amazing natural attractions of New Zealand. The glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are about 20 km from each other, which reach the lower forests in the country, and gives a fantastic opportunity to study them.
There are some activities to choose Backpacking New Zealand from when visiting the glaciers. The free option is to walk a self-guided path to the terminal face of each glacier. The only way to physically set foot on the glacier is to join a guided tour where you will walk further in parts of the glaciers.
For a unique perspective, you can even ride a helicopter to the glaciers. Some companies also offer snow landings on the glaciers. The weather is always changing in the glacier, as the light clouds roll during the day. Before heading out for the day, double check the weather conditions in Franz Josef tourist center.
You can visit both glaciers Backpacking New Zealand in the same day or different days. 5 km west of the village of Fox glacier you can find Lake Matheson, a small lake. There you can enjoy scenic bush walks. Moreover, is an incredible opportunity to photograph Mount Cook reflecting in its waters.