Backpacking in New Zealand

New Zealand is an extremely attractive destination for backpackers, with diverse scenery, adrenaline-fuelled adventure and a buzzing party scene in the main cities of Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown. There are many ways to explore both islands, either independently or with a small group – for more advice, see our blog How to travel around New Zealand.

Group tours

We offer a wide range of tours in New Zealand and below we’ve chosen some of the group tours we think are best-suited to backpackers. These include some ‘YOLO’ tours from G Adventures (aimed at 18-35 year olds), plus a range of other great value group tours that suit the young at heart and those travelling on a budget.

For more advice, see our blog post 10 reasons to try a group tour.

Remember, tours are great value because they include:

  • All accommodation
  • All local transports
  • Some meals
  • Some extras like national park entrance fees or local activities

See more backpacker tours in New Zealand


Staying in budget and backpacker accommodation can be a great way to meet other travellers. We can suggest good quality hostel accommodation in New Zealand where you will find safe, clean and budget friendly options to suit you.

Our pre-paid hostel passes are valid for many destinations meaning you can buy in advance but still have the flexibility to stay where you want and choose you route as you go. Buying hostel nights in bulk saves you money as well as offering the peace of mind that all your accommodation is already budgeted for.

Base Hostels are located in many locations including Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo and Queenstown. As an international brand, you’re guaranteed clean, safe accommodation and a fun vibe. Base hostels are known for their great bars and social scenes, so they make a great option for those wanting to meet new people.

Nomads Bed Hopper passes are another great way to save money. Nomads passes can be used in more than one country, so if you are visiting Australia, New Zealand and Thailand you can use this pass everywhere you go. As an international brand you can be confident that these hostels will be safe & clean.

Getting around New Zealand on a shoestring

Hop-on/hop-off bus passes are a cheap, flexible and sociable option for backpackers and those on a budget. You can stay with the same bus along the entire route or if you like a destination then jump off and spend some extra time there, you can simply get on the next bus passing through. We offer some great deals on these passes in many different locations. If you’d prefer to drive yourself, a budget campervan can be a brilliant way to get around. The basic models can sleep a couple of people in reasonable comfort!

Kiwi Experience is a bus pass aimed at the young traveller keen to get out and about and explore and make friends along the way. Your pass includes all transport on a Kiwi Experience-owned bus, all accommodation, some trips and help to book additional trips locally. Your driver/guide will help you book experiences as you travel and help you make ke the most of your adventure. 

Stray offer unique and local experiences for those wanting to leave the tourist trail. With their itineraries, you could find yourself sleeping overnight at a traditional Maori meeting ground, enjoying an authentic local farm stay or staying in a lodge set deep in the native bush. Your transport will be on a Stray-owned vehicle with selected trips included in the price. You can book accommodation and extra tours as you travel.

Bamba bus passes are different to Kiwi Experience and Stray. As a Bamba passenger, you’ll travel on local transport and you can book trips and tours via the Bamba online booking system as you travel. You will be travelling independently without a guide or schedule, but with the peace of mind that all your travel is pre-paid. Accommodation is not included but some experiences are included. There are local offices on hand to help with anything you need.

Need more advice on backpacking in New Zealand? Simply contact our team and we can advise you on round the world tickets, accommodation and the best way to explore. Call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.




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