Backpacking in New Zealand - The Ultimate Guide

Two Islands, One Hell of an Adventure

New Zealand is a place of mountains, pristine lakes, glaciers and the most friendly people offering explorers an exceptional and remarkable travel insight. Backpacking in New Zealand is one of the most sought-after activities in the world. Set yourself up for probably the most dazzling landscape on the planet. We are talking epic mountain sights, National Parks, gigantic glaciers, beautiful cascades, hot springs…The list goes on! The adventure capital of the world also offers the internationally acclaimed bungy jumping, jet boat rides, gondola rides, sky-diving, rafting and lots more! Undoubtedly, it attracts many solo travellers and backpackers every year.
So here is a guide to help you explore the country by backpacking in New Zealand at the most reasonable budget. Read on!

Five Best Things to Do While Backpacking in New Zealand:

  • Tongariro National Park:

    The purpose behind picking Tongariro over all others is that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site loaded with intriguing treks, snow-capped mountains and the extraordinary volcanic peaks and ski slopes you've ever come across. The active volcanos Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Ngauruhoe are situated in the centre of the park. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the best hikes in the world, making it a perfect destination for backpacking in New Zealand.

Milford Sound, Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Milford Sound:

    Portrayed as the "eighth wonder of the world" by Rudyard Kipling, Milford Sound was cut by ice sheets during the ice ages. Stunning in any climate, the fiord's cliffs rise vertically from the dark yet attractive waters, skyscraping mountain tops and cascades course downwards from as high as 1000 meters. At the point when it rains in Milford Sound, and it frequently does, those cascades increase with great impact. Boating – during the day or overnight – are a superb method to encounter the Sound. Adventure junkies may likewise prefer to take off ocean kayaking, jumping or flightseeing. To get familiar with the neighbourhood marine life, visit the submerged observatory at Harrison Cove and wonder about the dark coral, 11-legged starfish and sensitive anemones, making it the ideal spot for those that want to go backpacking in New Zealand. 

COST:
Guided tour- NZD 144
Cruise- NZD 65


Hobbiton Movie Set, Auckland

  • Hobbiton:

    Visit the original movie set used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit and experience the real Middle-earth. Spread over 1250 acres, this picturesque spot provides a magnificent view of the Kaimai Ranges. You can explore the lush meadows of the Shire with a guided tour of Hobbiton
COST: Age 9-16: NZD 44
Above 18 years: NZD 89 - NZD 199.
Waitomo Glow-worm Cave

  • Waitomo Glow-worm Caves:

    Spending time in a dark cave, that too with worms sounds scary, but on the contrary, this experience is extraordinary. One of New Zealand's best natural attractions, you enjoy a rather pleasantly surprising sight of glowworms(Arachnocampa Luminosa) which are unique to the land of the Kiwis. These are tiny worms living on the rocks which start to gleam around evening time, emanating a delicate greenish-blue light that gives the dim cavern a delightful makeover. Waitomo is the best place to witness it but Lake McLaren near Tauranga and Kawiti Caves in Waiomio are more budget-friendly options.
COST: NZD 55(Adult)
NZD 25(Child).
Hot Water Beach

  • Hot Water Beach:

    Despite the fact that New Zealand isn't celebrated for its beaches, this one is worth visiting. One of the most popular attractions, it brings in approximately 700000 visitors annually. Reaching an hour before the low tide will let you make most of your self-dug hole in the sand along with a delightful ocean view. The hot water oozes from the geothermal springs under the sand. Relax and enjoy the natural jacuzzi bath and soak yourselves in it! 

Where to Stay While Backpacking in New Zealand?

Hostels, DOC campsites, freedom camping, and Airbnb are all good budget-friendly options for accommodation. 

A Hostel in New Zealand

  • Hostel Rooms:
    The rent ranges from NZD 20 - NZD 50 per night for the rooms with basic facilities. Try to book the Youth Hostel Association(YHA) hostel rooms as they are quite reasonable and provide good facilities like internet, laundry, barbeque, although these do not include breakfast. Also, these are a great place to meet like-minded people and making new friends.
  • Campsites:
    Campgrounds are easily available at reasonable costs along with necessary facilities, sometimes more than necessary too. You get a chance to live amidst the magical nature and scenery of New Zealand. Besides, you save a lot on your accommodation expenses!
  • Airbnb:
    They are easily available with both single and shared accommodation facilities. Rent ranges around NZD 25 - NZD 70 per night.

What to Eat While Backpacking in New Zealand?

Cost of food is rather high in New Zealand although expenses on food vary depending on where and what you eat. Dining out costs an average of NZD 20 per person. Fast food and street food restaurants are cheaper than casual dining restaurants. 
Listed below are the typical food prices :

Breakfast with coffee: NZD 13
Lunch: NZD 20
Dinner: NZD 20 - NZD 40
McDonald's(large meal): NZD 8 - NZD 15
Street food(Chinese/Korean/Japanese Sushi): NZD 10 - NZD 15
Average Total Cost per day: NZD 43 - NZD 60

How to Get Around While Backpacking in New Zealand?

Getting around in while backpacking in New Zealand is not very difficult as public and other transport facilities are easily available at reasonable rates. You can rent a car and self-drive, join guided tour groups, use hop-on-hop-off buses or take a campervan to explore the beauty of the country.
  • Car Rentals: NZD 17
  • Taxis: NZD 25
  • Tour Groups: NZD 100
  • Hop-on-hop-off buses: NZD 85 - NZD 135
  • Intercity: NZD 90

Tips to Save Money While Backpacking in New Zealand:

  • Staying with Friends
    People you know who can help you. I am not saying that you make use of your friends and live off them but splitting grocery bills, enjoying the perks of a friend's job at a restaurant to get a free drink, or knowing a person who owns a car can really help you save. When the time comes, return the favour too!
Source

  • ENJOY NATURE: All good things are wild and free! Nature is the best thing in New Zealand hands down. You can go hiking, trekking and walking and enjoy nature and the different landscapes in New Zealand ranging from volcanoes, forests and beaches.
  • COOK YOUR FOOD: Eating outside is expensive in New Zealand while cooking yourself is more economical. You can buy groceries from cheap supermarkets like Countdown and Pakn'Save and cook yourself a delicious meal. 
  • WWOOFING: WWOOFing is a great way to arrange your accommodation and food. In exchange for working, you get free food and accommodation. It is quite popular with travellers since it lets you remain in a spot for cheaper and longer. 
  • WORK FOR ACCOMMODATION: Many people in New Zealand are open to offering a bed in exchange for cleaning, housekeeping, etc. 
  • AVAIL DISCOUNTS: Keep an eye on discounts while visiting a place or in newsletters and loyalty cards. Often there are special discounts for backpackers so make sure you do not let them go.
  • PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES: There are tons of activities you can do in New Zealand ranging from nature walks to adventure sports. If you do not plan and decide what you really want to do, your money will slip away from your bank account in seconds. 
All things said, even if you have to extend your budget a bit, do not hesitate to go backpacking in New Zealand is one of a kind you'll visit in a lifetime.

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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