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The NZ Experience

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific The NZ Experience

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1. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

I got chatting to someone this weekend who's done the round the world thing. I was telling her that I'm planning to live in New Zealand for a year and she told me that she found NZ very difficult after Australia.

She said that Oz has a constant stream of backpackers moving up and down the coast, and she found it very easy to meet new ppl constantly.
When she arrived in NZ, however, she said backpackers seemed to be very spread out and there werent specific backpacker hostels, pubs, etc...She found it hard to enjoy her time there (i.e. a couple of weeks) and said she would much prefer Oz.

To be honest, I'm sure NZ will suit me better, but I'm just wondering what other people experiences were in comparing the two countries.....

2. Posted by steff (Travel Guru 1160 posts) 11y

Great question, Ev! I had the same discussion with many of my friends as I personally prefered travelling in N.Z. to travelling in Australia. Mind you, I spent 9 months in N.Z. and only three months in Australia so far.
What I really loved about N.Z. is actually the fact that backpackers are spread out a lot more and we therefore also had the chance to meet much more locals. They generally seemed a lot more interested in foreign backpackers and you would sometimes end up having a great chat in the supermarket or at the petrol station . It also happened to us several times that Kiwis would invite us to stay with them!!! That doesn't mean you don't meet any other backpackers at all, there are certainly well-known bars and pubs throughout the country. I also experienced travelling in N.Z a lot more relaxed and easy, backpacking in Australia is a very organized business and sometimes it can even be difficult to get to some place of interest on your own, without going on a fairly expensive tour.
Maybe I should add that I truly had a great time travelling in Australia and met many lovely people, in my opinion N.Z. was just a bit more unique.

Steff

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 11y

I think this is highly dependent on what you're looking for. Having just finished a year in Australia, following ten months in New Zealand, I'd hazard a guess that this person who found New Zealand difficult was looking for partying. (Compared to some parts of Australia's East Coast, New Zealand would definitely seem quiet.)

Personally I've had better contact with backpackers in New Zealand.
This held especially true in the smaller hostels, while Auckland and Christchurch hostels (those cities being arrival and departure cities) had a less inviting atmosphere. In Australia the people I talked extensively with (rather than just "where are you from/how long have you been here/where are you going") often turned out to be from Australia themselves (staying in a hostel because the part of Australia they were from was half the country away).

Because most places in New Zealand are fairly close together, you won't find many locals in hostels (excepting perhaps during school vacation), while Australia has such sights as entire school classes staying in hostels on extended trips, having quite an impact on the number of backpackers staying there at the same time.

Anyway, I definitely enjoyed New Zealand more than Australia. That's mostly due to the country itself, with its awesome nature - while the pure backpacker experience would be only slightly in favour of New Zealand - but it's true all the same.

4. Posted by FionaNZ (Respected Member 903 posts) 11y

Quoting samsara2

I got chatting to someone this weekend who's done the round the world thing. I was telling her that I'm planning to live in New Zealand for a year and she told me that she found NZ very difficult after Australia.

Ok Ev who is this Philistine bloody O'driscoll fan no doubt

I wouldn't worry about your plans to stay & work here for 12mths, you will meet loads of people.. & the object isn't too hang out with only backpackers - is it I would agree that it is different to Oz but not difficult.

5. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

Thanks for the responses

To be honest, while I know I'll be glad to meet other backpackers on my travels(and will be one myself), there are a lot of aspects of backpacker culture that I think wouldnt appeal to me, particularly in Australia. New Zealand interests me more at the moment. Of course, I could be pleasantly surprised by Australia and its never good to have preconceptions.........but...

It just seems that every year there is a mass exodus of 20-somethings from Ireland and England who go to Oz and get wasted for a year That's not what I'm looking for really.

I do plan to spend a couple of months in Australia because it sounds like an amazing country, but I think if I had to pick somewhere to live for a year it would have to be NZ.

I'm going to ignore that comment about Brian, Fiona!

6. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 11y

Quoting samsara2

It just seems that every year there is a mass exodus of 20-somethings from Ireland and England who go to Oz and get wasted for a year That's not what I'm looking for really.

Um...hic....yeah right....hic

Seriously, compared to Oz I'd say the backpacker "infrastructure" would be pretty thin in NZ.

7. Posted by FionaNZ (Respected Member 903 posts) 11y

So is the Ice your skating on James

8. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 11y

Quoting samsara2

I do plan to spend a couple of months in Australia because it sounds like an amazing country, but I think if I had to pick somewhere to live for a year it would have to be NZ.

Very good choice!!! You won't have any troubles to meet backpackers in NZ, that's for sure! But, what you will get is the possibility to avoid them when you feel like it - I don't think that option is available in Oz (well, not at the East Coast at least!)...

During my year in NZ I actually spent the two last months in a hostel (our landlord turned out to be really weird, we had to move and couldn't be bothered to look for a new flat). I can really recommend it: Georgia Backpacker's by Auckland Domain, close to the hospital - so nice! Super charming place, with friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere... It was a great opportunity to hang out with the locals as well as backpackers from all over the world. A lot of people stayed there for longer periods of times too, and all our friends from uni was hanging around there too of course. Very cool place!!! (At least it was back then... )

Good luck in NZ, you won't regret it!
//Susanna

9. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

Thanks Susanna!;)

10. Posted by TravelMc (Respected Member 93 posts) 11y

As a kiwi on the other side of the world I can say that return trips home for holidays has proved the point that everyone seems to be making here - you can get right into the back packer culture or you can just step out of it in NZ - super easy. Even though my family seems to have most of the country covered (in providing me with somewhere to sleep that is) I have managed to stay in a few hostels, motels etc and its totally what you make of it - the whole atmosphere seems to be laid back and about what you want out of your trip rather than trying to shovel packaged tours down your throat. Possibly its because the concept of a back packer in NZ is slightly different to other places in the world but you will have no trouble hooking up with locals or travellers anywhere you go so long as you don't mind talking to people. I have 2 sets of aunts and uncles who are well known for returning home from town with travellers in tow that they just got talking to and ended up saying 'come stay with us so we can reminisce more about our trips to your country' and you will find it happens to most people. We kiwis are a lovely bunch!
Have fun!