Visiting New Zealand as a Solo Traveler
New Zealand is a hugely popular destination for solo travel and backpackers. Many travelers end up heading their after it’s larger neighbor, Australia. The country is split into two main islands and the seasons are the opposite to the northern hemisphere, so summer is from December to March and winter extends from June to August.
How to get to New Zealand on budget
One thing is undeniable. NZ is a long long way from anywhere! It’s closest neighbors are 3 to 4 hours flight away (that would be Australia and Fiji). Australia is also a long way from anywhere as is Fiji. Auckland is as far from Malaga (Spain) as any place on earth – they are antipodes! You getting the picture now?
So with that in mind any trip to New Zealand is going to be expensive. That’s on top of the fact that New Zealand is an expensive destination these days. It’s a double whammy but it has not stopped visitors coming as year on year more tourists are heading Downunder.
It is possible to get to New Zealand for less money if you are creative
What is the absolute cheapest way of getting to New Zealand from Asia, America or Australia?
New Zealand is a hub for sailing and shipping. If you have experience of working on a boat then you could possibly have a free passage to NZ from Asia, Australia or even the Americas.
You need to find out the sailing seasons. Sailing to NZ in the southern summer would probably represent the best chance of securing a passage.
Popular sailing centers in Asia include Penang in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand.
There are of course many cargo ships that come to New Zealand but getting a passage with them would take a lot of research and time. They might not even represent a cheap way either!
Probably not the best boat to tackle the Tasman!
Remember to always have travel insurance for visiting New Zealand before you enter the country.
So sailing is not for me. What are some other options for getting to NZ on the cheap?
Well of course the next and only choice (there are no road bridges to NZ!) and that’s flying!
Now the good news is that many airlines now fly to NZ including full service airlines e.g. Air New Zealand, Qantas, Emirates, Qatar as well as budget airline e.g. Air Asia, Jetstar.
Having flown many times to NZ from Asia and America I have a pretty good idea of the cheapest methods.
Flying to NZ on the cheap from the Americas
Let’s start from the south and work our way up the Americas.
There are direct flights from South America. You can currently fly from Chile and Argentina direct. The flights can be expensive and there are rarely airline sales so the best advice is to book in advance.
It’s probably not worth the hassle of flying via North America.
Is it worth visiting NZ in the winter?
Taking a hike on the Franz Josef or Fox glaciers is at the top of many travellers’ New Zealand must-do lists, and there’s no better time to make the trek than in winter. First of all, the chances that it will rain are considerably less in winter, so a drizzle-free hike is on the cards, and the ice won’t be as slippery. Secondly, the ice that makes up the glacier is much more, well, icy in winter! The glacier will be at its biggest and best, meaning you get the best possible glacier experience.
Hot Pools in NZ
New Zealand is dotted with hundreds of natural hot pools on both the North and South Islands. Many of these pools are used as spas with extensive facilities attached. Fancy a facial, massage and soak in the pool? I thought so.
If being pampered isn’t up you alley, there are also plenty of un-cultivated springs in national parks around the country. They may not be as deliberately clean as the facilities in Rotorua or Hanmer Springs, but what could be better than finding your own, personal hot tub in the middle of the forest? It goes without saying that the hot springs are best enjoyed in the winter, when the chilly air causes steam to rise visibly in the air, tempting even the most stubbornly terrestrial among us.
New Zealand Culture
There’s more to New Zealand than hiking trails and sheep farms. Auckland is a fun city of 1.3 million people and Wellington is often acknowledged as being one of the coolest capital cities in the world. From hip bars and clubs to creative fusion cuisine to world-class museums, there is plenty to do in the climate-controlled indoors.
Wellington’s Te Papa (the national museum) is a fabulously curated peek into all aspects of New Zealand life and culture, while the Auckland Art Gallery holds an impressive collection of local treasures. To really get into the New Zealand cultural scene, look into the plays and concerts going on during your visit: we get a lot of world-class entertainment passing though at lower prices than you’d pay in the northern hemisphere.
Skiing and Snowboarding in NZ
Already well-known as a winter sport-lover’s mecca among locals and Australians, Queenstown in the far south of New Zealand, is gaining an international reputation as the place to get your wintertime thrills. In addition to the bungee jumping and skydiving that earned the town its reputation as the ‘adventure capital of New Zealand’, are a whole slew of excellent slopes.
Heli-skiiing provides a fantastic adrenalin buzz
There are plenty of options, so snow bunnies of all levels will find something to do. And if you haven’t had quite enough of a heart-pounding, blood-pumping ride, try a heli-ski: helicopters drop you down on out-of-the-way alpine powder so pristine you’ll swear you’re dreaming.
Kiwi Outdoor Activities
New Zealand is all about the outdoors, and the fun doesn’t stop in winter. In fact, it gets even better, with an array of activities that you can only do when it’s cold. In the beautiful town of Wanaka on the South Island, for example, you’ll find sled dog or snow mobile tours, and snow and ice driving experiences. Over at Tekapo Springs or the Ozone Tubing Park near Queenstown, you can try your hand at snow tubing – yep, like the tubing made famous in Laos’ Vang Vieng, but over snow instead of a river. Too much fun.
Whale Watching in New Zealand
Whale watching is one of the most popular things to do in New Zealand anytime of the year. But did you know that some months are better than others for an up close view of these marine giants?
That’s right. While international tourists may need coaxing to visit New Zealand in the winter, pods of whales are more than willing to stop by. Humpback whales, blue whales and southern right whales leave the frigid waters of Antarctica in the winter and migrate towards tropical Tonga. Catch them mid-migration in Kaikoura, where they spend June and July with the sperm whales that live there year-round and feed on the giant squid living in the underwater Kaikoura Canyon.
Winter NZ Festivals
Every year, backpacker hot spot Queenstown celebrates the start of winter with a 10 day extravaganza of parties, fireworks, music, comedy and plenty of mountain based fun. I was lucky enough to witness this year’s Dog Derby, where anyone with a dog can get involved racing down Coronet Peak with their furry friend. The winner is the first person across the finish line still holding their dog – cue one of the funniest things I’ve witnessed in ages, and a few hairy (‘scuse the pun) moments where dogs looked as though they were going to take out a few skiers. Hilarious.
Skiing in New Zealand – How does is compare to Europe?
While the Northern Hemisphere is basking in summer sunshine the South is in mid winter which means only one thing for the mountains of NZ – snow!
New Zealands’ resorts might not be as flash as the ones in Europe and North America, but on a smaller scale, they are still well worth a visit if you are into winter sports of skiing and snowboarding.
Here are a run down of the resorts.
Coronet Peak ski New Zealand
The closest ski resort to Queenstown, Coronet Peak has some of the best free riding terrain in New Zealand. The high capacity lift facilities cater for a large number of skiers and boarders.
Long groomed runs make the riding style smooth and fast, and the snowmaking facilities ensure that there is a solid snow base from early in the season. Coronet Peak is a great mountain for the introduction to off piste and backcountry riding with moderate gradient snow lines to select. After heavy snowfalls an endless dimension of backcountry exploring opportunities opens up.
Cardrona near Wanaka
Approximately mid way between the townships of Queenstown and Wanaka is the family friendly Cardrona Mountain Resort. Cardrona has some of the best quality natural snow in New Zealand and caters for Snowboarders and Skiers of all abilities.
Treble Cone near Queenstown
The king of mountains in Southern New Zealand, Treble Cone has the highest and steepest terrain, providing some exciting challenges for advanced skiers and boarders. The steep natural chutes on the backside of the mountain provide some excellent natural half pipe opportunities.
Remarkables – New Zealand
This Ski resort is accessed via an adventurous road which boasts spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu and the township of Queenstown. Just 45 minutes from town, the Remarkables is an old favourite for the local skiers and boarders.
Known for it’s backcountry and touring potential, there is always fresh tracks to be made somewhere in this vast terrain.
Queenstown and Wanaka are both very busy tourist resorts.
Things to do in Queenstown in Autumn
Queenstown is best known as a winter destination being close to many excellent ski fields, indeed it is one of the skiing capitals of the southern hemisphere. It is also well known as a summer destination too when the ski poles are replaced with walking poles for the busy tramping season.
Queenstown though doesn’t really have an off-season. Autumn is a fine time to enjoy much of what the region has to offer. Here are some activities you can do in the fall.
Hiking/Tramping – Even if the tops of the mountains are starting to look a little brushed with snow there is still plenty of hiking options for those who do not fancy putting on crampons and carrying ice-axes!
The Greenstone track which starts approximately 65kms from Queenstown is a low level hike that can be pretty much walked year round. In the autumn it is also possible to make it a circular walk with the ever popular Routeburn track.
Mountain Biking – Queenstown is still very much at the center of mountain biking in the south island and there are heaps of opportunities to ride the many tracks around the regions.
On the Lake – You can take out kayaks and even parascend over The Lake Wakatipui or take a more leisurely trip over to Walter Peak on the Earnshaw that departs from Downtown Queenstown every day of the year.
Things to do in Raglan – Surftown New Zealand
Raglan is a small settlement on the west coast of the North Island known best for it’s excellent and consistent waves and the worlds longest ‘left-hander’.
Thing to do in Raglan
Not everyone comes to Raglan to surf and there is plenty to do aside from ripping up the surf such as bushes to walk, mountains to climb, horses to ride and a decent waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, to oogle. You could learn how to surf, or just laze around and enjoy the colourful and picturesque town.
Places to eat and stay in Raglan
There are a whole range of places to stay in Ragland such as backpacker hostels, camp grounds, bachs, hotels and motels. There are a couple of lively pubs and lots of cool cafes too.
Head to the glaciers for adrenaline action.
Franz Josef is the main tourist stop on the West COast of NZ and many flock there for its stunning vistas and because its one of the few glacier in the World that actually drops all the wy down to sea level.
Fox Glacier is a small township located about 3 hours from Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This area is called ¨Glacier Country¨ as there are 2 glaciers in close proximity – the other being the Franz Josef glacier.
Fed by four alpine glaciers, Fox Glacier falls 2,600m on its 13km journey from the Southern Alps down to the coast, and although retreating throughout most of the last 100 years, it has been advancing since 1985 at an average of about a meter a day.
Kaikoura – The whale watching capital of the World
Kaikoura truly is a special place particularly to anyone who cares dearly about the environment, both on land and sea.
Kaikoura is the first place in New Zealand and the second in the world to be green globe accredited, affirming the community’s commitment to the environment.
Whale Watch is an example of the Maori principle of kaitiakitanga in practice. It implies guardianship, care and protection, making environmental and cultural protection part of the heritage that all New Zealanders share.
Staying true to New Zealand’s 100% Pure tagline is something that the tourism industry in New Zealand works hard at – whether its helping to control pests on conservation land, creating economic opportunities for local communities, or decreasing carbon footprints.
Things you can do in Nelson
Based at Nelson Airport terminal, we’re skilled in most regions of helicopter procedures. We operate 24 hrs, seven days a week. Our friendly team and experienced aircraft pilots can customise a transfer or scenic flight for you personally in our modern helis.
Marhau Ocean Kayaks
We are only a stone’s throw in the golden sands from the Abel Tasman National Park. Our philosophy is concerning you becoming an individual, either on the led excursion, or at the own pace having a freedom hire.
Fly into a couple of from the The almighty from the Rings secret locations. Explore the mystical atmosphere and head to the unknown. Go through the isolation and spectacular rocky landscapes south of Rivendell (Mount Olympus).
Where to go in the Deep South of New Zealand
Many visitors to New Zealand tend to only go as far South as places like Queenstown, Wanaka and in some cases Dunedin. However there is a whole lot more to see in the Deep South of New Zealand and those with time on their hands should definitely check it out.
Like the Southern States of the USA, the southern most regions of NZ are some of the most laid back lands you’ll ever likely to come across, indeed, NZ itself is pretty laid back itself once you leave the suburbs of Auckland behind
There places we are going to focus on in this article are the cities of Dunedin, Invercargill, The Catlins and Stewart Island. These are probably the most popular areas to visit and will have the best tourist infrastructure.
The summer months are from November to April, peak season is December, February and March. This is not only because of foreign tourists but also domestic travellers who have holidays from 20th December to late January when schools close. Easter weekend and late October are also vacation times.
DUNEDIN CITY TRAVEL GUIDE
Dunedin, a twin with Edinburgh is the gateway to this region. It’s a small manageable city with everything you might need to equip yourself to explore further.
The wonderful architecture of old buildings that seem to have been transported from Scotland, the haggis that makes its appearance on restaurant menus and the whisky distilleries around Dunedin seem to be reason enough and you would be forgiven for thinking you are in Scotland!
Dunedin lies on the southeast coast of NZ’s South Island in the Otago Peninsula, the oldest city in NZ and the second most important city on South Island. A small city of roughly 118,00 people, Dunedin is ironically in geographical terms the largest city on South island. Replete with beautiful heritage buildings, Dunedin has a verve to it which is distinctly young. Probably due to the fact that it is a primarily a university town and the youthful propensity comes through in the numerous bars and cafes that line the streets.
Dunedin is the main business centre for the region of Otago, an area long recognized for its spectacular scenery and colourful past.
Some things to do in Dunedin
Activities include swimming in the Tunnel Beach and in the heated outdoor saltwater pool at the end of St. Claire Beach. There are good walks to Mt. Cargill-Bethunes Gully Walkway. The view is amazing. From there you can walk on to the 10 million year old lava flows that left behind a crop of giant granite crystals called the Organ Pipes. Other activities include flight-seeing and horse-riding which are popular.
Taking the Taieri Gorge Railway to Pukerangi and Middlemarch is almost mandatory as it’s a beautiful historic trip like going on the Ghan in Australia.
Some things to do outside of Dunedin
Bike the Otago Central Rail Trail
Bike through old train tunnels and across wooden bridges, explore old mining towns, and enjoy expansive mountain views along the Otago Central Rail Trail. This 93-mile track was once a 19th-century rail line between Clyde and Middlemarch, but today it’s a popular path for biking, walking and even horseback riding. To complete the whole trail by bike typically takes three to five days, depending on how fast you ride and how many detours you make. Travel during the summer months (December through February) for the warmest weather and longest days, or during autumn (March and April) to see the region’s spectacular foliage.
While a reasonable level of fitness is required, the trail doesn’t have any major hills and is suitable for most bikers. If you’re not up for the whole route, you can sample part of it in a half- or full-day ride; the Poolburn Gorge area is one popular choice. Shebikeshebikes can arrange bike rentals, day trips, accommodations and full-route packages.
The Otago Peninsula, stretching along the southern edge of Otago Harbour is an easy drive from central Dunedin. Home to some of the rarest wildlife in the world, it is characterized by lush green pastures, small bays and inlets, sandy beaches, rugged hills and volcanic landforms.
This premier package includes the Otago Harbour and Taiaroa Head wildlife cruise, scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour, and guided tours of the Royal Albatross Colony, the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve and a visit to wading bird habitats.
Taiaroa Head is the only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross in the world. Nearby you can enjoy close encounters with the world’s rarest penguin, the Yellow Eye. On the secluded beaches are sea lions and their pups, fur seals, and blue penguins.
INVERCARGILL TRAVEL GUIDE
The City of Invercargill, capital of the the Southland region of New Zealand. They invite you to experience the warmth, friendliness and hospitality that makes their city such a great place to live and visit.
Invercargill is favourably placed on the Southern Scenic Route and is the gateway to some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery and destinations including the Southland heartland, Stewart Island, Fiordland and the Catlins.
Top Five NZ Museums
1. Te Papa
The MUST SEE man made thing in NZ. Based in the nations capital of Wellington, Te Papa (meaning our place in maori) is one of the World’s best modern museums. Miss it at your peril!
2. KD’s Elvis Presley Museum
Elvis lives! At least he does at Kevin D Wasley’s astonishing museum, which houses over 10,000 of the King’s records and a mind-blowing collection of Elvis memorabilia collected over 50 years. ‘Passion is an understatement’, says KD. Just don’t ask him about the chubby Vegas-era Elvis: his focus is squarely on the rock ‘n’ roll King from the ’50s and ’60s.
3. Auckland Museum
Dominating the Domain is this imposing neo-classical temple (1929), capped with an impressive copper-and-glass dome (2007). Its comprehensive display of Pacific Island and Maori artefacts on the ground floor deserves to be on your ‘must see’ list.
4. New Zealand Rugby Museum
Fans of the oval ball holler about the New Zealand Rugby Museum, an amazing new space overflowing with rugby paraphernalia, from a 1905 All Blacks jumper to a scrum machine and the actual whistle used to start the first game of every Rugby World Cup.
5. Left Bank Art Gallery
This 90-year old former bank houses contemporary NZ jade carvings, prints, paintings, photographs and ceramics. The gallery also fosters and supports a wide society of West Coast artists.
Milford Track guide for solo travelers
Everyone ought to do this great walk that intrinsically receives a really sizable amount of tourists p.a.. The Milford is taken into account by several to be one in all the best hikes within the world because of its superb scenery.
The complete track takes four days — solely on the market to be walked in one direction — from the Te Anau finish to Milford Sound. there’s additionally the choice for sooner or later radio-controlled walks of the primary section of the track.
Cross the Clinton watercourse on this spectacular seventy two m bridge, designed by Fijian engineers in 1978. The bridge could be a excellent place to identify eels and trout within the watercourse
Fiordland parkland is notable for its high annual precipitation however don’t despair! The rain provides a mystical moss-draped forest, energetic streams and rivers, and waterfalls that ar even additional spectacular!
Here are some things to seem for…
Look out for who (blue duck) riding rapids on the Clinton and Arthur Rivers. usually exhausting to identify, their blue-grey feathers offer excellent camouflage among rocks. Males whistle a decision of ‘fee-o’ whereas females build a coffee rattling sound
Follow within the footsteps of early soul Quintin McKinnon WHO discovered the route from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound in 1888 that’s currently splendidly referred to as the Milford Track
Spectacular Joan Sutherland Falls drops 580 m in 3 leaps from Lake Quill. Leave your pack at the shelter however don’t forget to require your waterproof – the falls generate plenty of spray! enable one.5 hours for the come trip
For a close track description, freelance walking guide and places to remain on the track visit the DOC web site.
How to get to the Milford track
Walking the Milford Track needs bus or personal transport to Te Anau Downs, then a ship trip (1 hour fifteen min) to piece of ground Wharf, the beginning of the track. Boat transport (15 min) is additionally needed from sand fly purpose, at the tip of the track, to Milford Sound/Piopiotahi.
Travelling by road: between Te Anau and Te Anau Downs (27 km), between Milford Sound and Te Anau (120 km) and between Te Anau and Queenstown (197 km)
During the nice Walks season (late Gregorian calendar month to late April) there ar regular transport services to and from the Milford Track. Boat transport is needed at each ends of the track. Road transport is needed to the boat departure purpose at Te Anau Downs and from Milford Sound. you’ve got the choice to book connecting transport on-line once you book your hut tickets.
Best time to travel
The best time to steer the Milford Track is throughout the nice Walks season from late Gregorian calendar month to late April once the weather is hotter and there ar additional regular transport services to and from the beginning and finish of the track. throughout the off-season season (May to October) the Milford Track remains open however is subject to weather, track and avalanche conditions
Travelling with children?
The Milford Track isn’t suggested for youngsters below the age of ten owing to the exposed mountainous setting and sometimes adverse atmospheric condition.
Safety is your responsibility
A good level of fitness and therefore the right outside vesture, gear and instrumentation can greatly improve the enjoyment of your trip. Safety is your responsibility – leave your trip details with a sure contact. Intention forms and therefore the outside safety code may be found on the AdventureSmart web site.
Book your trip well before as well as your accommodation, transport and transfers to the start/end of your nice Walk – visit DOC’s web site for a listing of operators.
Pack all necessary instrumentation
Great Walkers got to be self reliant on the track, therefore make certain you’ve got packed your own food and drinks and any private property required for your trip as well as an additional day’s provide of food. Food and drinks don’t seem to be on the market for purchase at nice Walks huts and campsites.