Backpacking Around New Zealand

Kayaking Abel Tasman

New Zealand is one of the world’s most beautiful countries with a whole lot of different and exciting things packed into a relatively small area across two islands. A trip to New Zealand can take in all sorts of outdoor activities without having to venture too far. A great way to truly experience the country is to apply for a working holiday visa and head under down under for more of a longer term trip incorporating work as you travel to stretch your money a bit farther.

I did this back in 2005 and the trip is still one of my favourite travel experiences where I was able to take in a variety of outdoor activities like glacier heli-hiking at Franz Joseph, plenty of multi-day trail hikes around the country, taking on the Tongariro Crossing, exploring the East Cape, sand boarding north of Auckland, experiencing the Aurora Australis (the southern lights), cycling, skiing, go carting, camping, and loads more during my five months in the country.

I funded my trip with various stints working. I spent a month picking fruit in Hastings on the east of the North Island, and then I took on a job managing a hostel and campsite in a tiny town of only 35 people on the South Island. Financing my trip in this way not only meant that I had extra cash to spend, it also gave me a great glimpse into life in New Zealand outside of the usual tourist locations.

One of the main reasons I loved New Zealand was the ease of getting around. It’s really a small country with so much packed in that no matter which direction you drive off in, you’re bound to find something to interest you. I bought a camper van early on in my trip and having my house on wheels as I explored was wonderful. I could arrive in new cities without having to worry about booking a bed and I could really get out into the wilderness to explore. I did have a few problems at the end of my trip selling my van so if I were to visit again I would choose a New Zealand campervan hire company to rent a van without the hassle of having to maintain and sell my own vehicle at the end of the trip.

New Zealand remains one of my favourite countries to this day and it’s an excellent escape for people stuck in the 9 to 5. It’s a beautiful, clean, exciting country and one that I look very forward to returning to one day.

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