New Zealand is all about getting away and getting intimate with nature. It’s one of the most wild and remote places on Earth and is a very rewarding place to backpack. With so much beauty to take in, it’s best you take your time. Here are our top 5 spots for a fulfilling, once-in-a-lifetime Kiwi backpacking experience.
1. Find yourself a whale encounter
Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is the place to head if you want to see the huge ocean mammals. It is the only spot in New Zealand where you are likely to come eye-to-eye with a huge 15 meter sperm whale. Kaikoura is also a great spot to check out other marine life such as seals and dolphins. Unforgettable stuff, you can be sure.
2. Tongariro National Park
You may have seen Tongariro National Park before, if you have ever watched a Lord of the Rings movie. This mountainous landscape is not only the setting for Mordor, but it has one of the best walks in the country. The 19.4 km track takes you to the summit of mountain, past the craters and to the beautiful Emerald Lake. It then winds its way back down along the Ketetahi springs and waterfall, letting you view some of the most spectacular scenery New Zealand has to offer.
3. Hop onto Nevis
Situated in the adventure capital of Queenstown, the Nevis swing (NZD 195, one person) is the largest swing in the world. If hurtling from a 160m high platform across a canyon at around 120 km per hour sounds like your idea of fun, then Queenstown is the place for you. Bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are also some of the activities on offer here.
4. Hot Water Beach
Have you ever had a hot spa while laying on the beach before? No, then you need to visit the Coromandel and make a stop at Hot Water Beach. Hidden under the sand are natural hot springs, that are accessible only at low tide. Ask a local for directions, grab a spade and head towards the rocks on the main beach. Once there you can dig yourself out a natural hot tub and soak yourself right next to the ocean.
5. Lake Tekapo
The scenery in the South Island of New Zealand is spectacular and a road trip around the southern lakes is a must for a rounded Kiwi backpacking adventure. Tekapo is one of my favorites because of its spectacular turquoise color. Camp a night here and enjoy the stunning views over the Southern Alps. Spend a night enjoying the Aoraki Mackenzie dark sky reserve. This area is the only dark sky reserve in the southern hemisphere and if conditions are right you could even get the chance to see the Aurora Aurealis or Southern Lights. Make sure you pack a good bottle of wine.
What are your friendly tips? Don’t be shy. Let us know by leaving a comment below.