Backpacking in New Zealand

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Backpacking in New Zealand

1. Posted by sweetas (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


I am thinking about travelling New Zealand and would like to know what the best way to do this is. I have a few questions and would like to see if I can get some answers for them.

a) Where is the best place to see?
b) is it worth hanging around auckland long?? and why?
c) who is the best tour company and why??
d) what made your trip good or bad ??
e) how could it been better now that you have knowledge of the area???

I am just trying to get a fair idea of what i need to look for when i get there and whats the best way to do it as i wont have alot of time so i need to make good decisions.

2. Posted by chortovka (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I don't know what happened to my previous response. Anyway, I'd highly recommend visiting Milford Sound on the south island. I'd also recommend taking the overnight cruise. It isn't that expensive and a lot of fun. We're older, but ended up with a group of college students from Australia. We sat up all night and played Trivia Pursuit. It was a blast and the scenery is beyond belief. We had the time so we also visited the Bay of Islands on the north island. Well worth the trip, but if you have to choose, go with Milford Sound.

3. Posted by Cool Paul (Respected Member 611 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

a) Where is the best place to see?
pretty much everywhere is nice. I prefer the north island, it has welly, tauragna, tongariro crossing, the coromandel, bay of islands, piha...

b) is it worth hanging around auckland long?? and why?
no, it's boring. it's ok if you are going to live there and really get to know the neighborhoods but not to visit. Ponsonby is ok, heaps of bars, clubs and shops and completely void of tourists.

c) who is the best tour company and why??
rent a van or hitchhike. The kiwi experience is terrible, the drivers never shut their mouths and they stop at every meat pie shop on the way to the most expensive hostel.

d) what made your trip good or bad ??
Good: Renting a van and driving the coromandel, living in auckland and wellington, meeting new people.

Bad: The kiwi experience bus

e) how could it been better now that you have knowledge of the area???
I would have skipped most of the south island. dunedin, christchurch, invercargill, westport, nelson, picton and greymouth are all pretty pointless. dunedin and chch are good if you are going to live there for a while though.

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Apr-2009, at 05:23 by Cool Paul ]

4. Posted by miket.rtw (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Milford sound was pretty incredible, sailing in the bay of islands was also great! We hired a car and made our way round was very flexible

The north and south islands are very different some pics here

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Apr-2009, at 14:39 by miket.rtw ]

5. Posted by gba (Budding Member 5 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Basically get yourself all over NZ and DON'T spend too much time in Auckland. It is a grey busy dirty city. I have lived here since I was 3 and I would rather be anywhere else. Nothing touristy and culture-like about Auckland. The rest of the country is beautiful and I recommend you travel the north AND the south island as both are very different. Get yourself to Milford Sound at some point and you might want to check out the Coromandel in the north island.

Good luck and enjoy our country!

6. Posted by TravelMc (Full Member 93 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


I have to agree that all over is worth it. 7 years ago I woud have agreed with gba about Auckland but time and distance has improved the place. If you are there for a day or two and like museums and parks do see the Domain and museum between Newmarket and the city. Mission Bay and the north shore have some lovely beaches and Howick has a living history village that will give you a great idea of what it was to be a colonial kiwi! If you like shopping big Malls seemed to have popped up everywhere in an incredibly short time but its nto worth it for souvenirs (try Rotorua for those).
That said the northern north island (both sides and including Bay of Islands) is brilliant, the sounds, Wellington, Blenheim, Nelson, Hanmer Springs, the Coromandel peninsula all rock.

The more touristy = the more plastic! So places like Rotorua and Kaikoura can be a bit much but Taupo has great night life, is close to skiing and great mountain walks, has a massive lake and cool hot pools so is well worth a visit!

Drive. Its a great country to drive in once you are out of Auckland (don't forget the right turning rule though!) Wonderful landscapes, amazing little places to stop and look around (Karangahake Gorge between Waihi and Paeroa has loads of new walks around the old gold mining works and is absolutely beautiful).

Have a great time. This has made me wish I was heading home for another holiday and I've only just got back!

7. Posted by maorigirl (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Auckland does have some good things to offer. Would definately recommend going to a place called spookers wich is like an adult version of a haunted house attraction - sounds a bit gay I know, but believe me - past visitors have been known to pee their pants in fright so dont say you werent warned! Not really a kiwi or nz thing to do but is highly entertaining. Would recommend going to the Otara Markets which are open on a Saturday morning till lunch time. You'll find stands with local polynesian/kiwi blend foods, clothing and gifts. Waiheke Island is lovely for a weekend visit. You can hire a scooter and go visiting local vineyards and b&b places are very nice. 'trademe' website will sometimes have some accomodation direct from the owners. Auckland museum is great and will show you some great Maori artefacts on display. They also have maori culture shows that as a maori myself - would highly recommend. You dont have to go all the way to Rotorua to see a really good Maori show. Being so close to the Pacific Islands, there is a huge Polynesian population in Auckland consisting of Cook Islands, Samoans, Nuieans, Tongans and more. You dont need to get on a plane to see a island show. Come in feb/mar and their are usually free events all over Auckland that are huge with thousands of local/international visitors. Search for 'Pacifica Auckland Event' or 'ASB Polyfest Auckland' for 2 major events you wont want to miss. A great place for cheap car/caravan rentals is ''. It actually has cars for both nz and au and you get it dirt cheap if can take the trip on short notice. Hope this helps!!

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by adell (Budding Member 42 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I really liked Auckland and especially enjoyed the Chinese lantern Festival that was on in Feb. As everyone else had said just go everywhere there is so much to see and do.