Top 10 Backpacking Experiences in New Zealand

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All of the adventure activities you've ever dreamed of - right on each others doorsteps.

Walk on a Real Glacier

It’s not the cold air at these two world-heritage listed glaciers that will take your breath away – it’s the experience. Do not leave New Zealand without walking on the Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers on the West Coast. Photo by @ruliak on Instagram.

West Coast
The Magnificent Fox Glacier, West Coast

By @ruliak

Hiking the stunning blue ice on Fox Glacier on the West Coast of New Zealand.

West Coast

West Coast

Highlights

  • Walk to the glacier
  • Nearby rainforests, waterfalls and lakes

Proximity

  • By car: 4hr 30min from Queenstown

Take a leap in Queenstown

Get ready to take a leap of faith. Queenstown is the birthplace of the bungy. If you want to push yourself to edge and beyond this is the perfect place to do it; take a deep breath and experience what so many before you have. Photo by @emriga on Instagram.

Queenstown
The original Queenstown Bungy, Queenstown

By @emriga

Taking the plunge in Queenstown at the AJ Hackett Kawarau Bridge Bungy.

Queenstown

Queenstown

Highlights

  • Adventure - bungy, skydiving, rafting
  • Hiking and cycling

Proximity

  • By plane: 50min from Christchurch
  • By plane: 1hr 50 min from Auckland
  • By car: 3hr 30min from Dunedin

Jetboat in Queenstown

Queenstown is commonly regarded as the adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere. It was here that both jet boating and bungee jumping were invented – and both are at the top of most thrill-seeking visitors’ to-do lists. Photo by @iluvnewzealand on Instagram.

Queenstown
The Shotover Jet in Queenstown, Queenstown

By @iluvnewzealand

The ultimate jet boat ride.

Meet the whales in Kaikoura

 A life changing moment can be had in Kaikoura, whose waters are teeming with whales and dolphins. All set against the stunning backdrop of the South Island’s spectacular Kaikoura Ranges. Photo by @kiwivraverra on Instagram.

Christchurch - Canterbury
Whale Watching Kaikoura, Christchurch - Canterbury

By @kiwivraverra

A whale breaches close to the coast in Kaikoura.

Christchurch - Canterbury

Christchurch - Canterbury

Highlights

  • Whale watching and marine encounters
  • Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
  • Catch and eat crayfish

Proximity

  • By car: 2hr 25min from Christchurch

Kayak the Bays in Nelson

With its beautiful secluded beaches, tranquil waters and rich marine life, Nelson offers some of the most awesome sea kayaking in the world. All trips are fully guided and no experience is necessary. Photo by @serenalisney on Instagram.

Nelson
Kayaking Nelson, Nelson

By @serenalisney

Kayakers enjoying the crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches in sunny Nelson.

Nelson

Nelson

Highlights

  • 3 National Parks - beaches, bush & lakes
  • Galleries and museums
  • Local wines and scallops

Proximity

  • By car: 1hr 30min from Blenheim
  • By plane: 1hr 25min from Auckland

Visit Weta Workshop in Wellington

Wellington’s Weta Workshop has produced some of the world’s biggest and best-loved films like The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings, King Kong and others. While in Wellington, also make sure to check out Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum and art gallery. Both are a must-do. Photo by @danniduric on Instagram.

Wellington
Weta's Famous Trolls, Wellington

By @danniduric

The famous trolls at Weta Workshop in Wellington.

Wellington

Wellington

Highlights

  • Museums, galleries, and culture
  • Outstanding cafes, restaurants, and bars

Proximity

  • By car: 20min from Wellington Central
  • By plane: 1 hour from Auckland

Charge rapids near Rotorua

No New Zealand holiday is complete without a trip on one of our rivers. Have the rafting experience of a lifetime on the Kaituna river - whether its grade 4 or 5, we’ll leave up to you. Of course, you could always do both. Photo by @h__olly on Instagram.

Lake Taupo
Kaituna River Rafting, Lake Taupo

By @h__olly

Whitewater rafters brace themselves for a waterfall while rafting the Kaituna River

Rotorua

Rotorua

Highlights

  • Geothermal attractions
  • Maori culture and villages

Proximity

  • By car: 2hr 50min from Auckland Central
  • By car: 5hr 40min from Wellington Central

Pohutu Geyser in Rotorua

Rotorua is famous for its prolific geothermal activity, literally bursting with geysers (including the famous Pohutu Geyser at Te Puia), bubbling mud pools and hot springs. Meet the locals and experience the best of Maori culture from performances to the traditional food.

Rotorua
The Pohutu Geyser, Rotorua

By @te_puia

Take in the beauty of the Pohutu Geyser in Te Puia - an exceptional experience.

Exploring the Poor Knights Islands

With its crystal-clear waters and inquisitive, friendly marine life, The Poor Knights Islands and Marine Reserve on the Tutukaka Coast are rated as one of the top dive areas in the world. Photo by @chrissheath4 on Instagram.

Northland & Bay of Islands
Meet the locals at the Poor Knights, Northland & Bay of Islands

By @chrissheath4

Beneath the waves at the Poor Knights Islands, an ocean of diving has been compressed into a relatively small area.

Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Highlights

  • Explore the Tutukaka Coast
  • Diving, snorkelling and kayaking

Proximity

  • By car: 30min from Whangarei
  • By : 2hr 45min from Auckland

Boarding the Te Paki Sanddunes

Lawrence of Arabia meets Shaun White at Te Paki near Kaitaia and Cape Reinga – where you can surf down the giant Te Paki sand dunes. An absolute must-do. Sorry, no chairlifts. Photo by @alensinmypocket on Instagram.

Northland & Bay of Islands
Ride giants at Te Paki, Northland & Bay of Islands

By @alensinmypocket

Northland & Bay of Islands

Northland & Bay of Islands

Highlights

  • Golden beaches and secluded coves
  • Cape Reinga the top of New Zealand
  • Horse riding Pakiri Beach

Proximity

  • By car: 1hr 15min from Kaitaia
  • By car: 3hr 20min from Whangarei
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