Top 5 places to visit when backpacking in New Zealand

New Zealand has got to be one of those unforgettable destinations every traveler must experience with the most beautiful and diverse landscapes that one nation has to offer. Endless rolling hills, world class alpine regions, natural hot springs and wonderful culture are just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the best places to visit during your travels to NZ.

  1. Bay of Islands

A 3 hour drive from Auckland will present you with the beautiful Bay of Islands known for its rich history and stunning landscape. It is a must of lovers of sandy beaches and water activities.  The region entails 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula where you will find heritage towns such as Paihia, Kerikeri, Opua, and Russell. The Bay of Islands attracts many visitors each year, whether you are looking to enjoy wonderful river and seaside walking tracks, explore on a kayak or take a daily cruise, there is plenty to see and do on your backpacking holiday.

2. Abel Tasman National Park

Known for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs and beautiful Coast Track, the national park is the smallest in New Zealand at 22,530 hectares. Located at the top of the South Island in the Nelson region of New Zealand, Abel Tasman National Park is easily reached from Takaka, Kaiteriteri and Motueka. It will take you 1.5 hours drive from Nelson to reach the beginning of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track and there are plenty of campground areas to help you trek the entire length. You will find some of the most amazing beaches NZ has to offer along the Tasman. The park is home to many native plants and animal species and the three largest islands in the park, Adele, Fisherman and Tonga can be accessed by boat or kayak however camping is strictly not permitted.

3. Queenstown

For those who are after high octane and some adrenaline rush, Queenstown is situated in New Zealand’s Otago region and is world renowned for its adventure. What makes Queenstown great is most of the activities can be accessed all year round including bungy jumping, skydiving, jet boating, white water rafting and a tonne of indoor activities.  If you’re looking to get your heart racing and blood pumping against a spectacular backdrop, Queenstown is the one for you. In contrast, if you prefer a more relaxed vibe, you can enjoy a round of golf, visit some of the best wineries, go hiking or biking or just relax in spa and wellness treatments. Queenstown also transforms into a wonderful resort during winter and enables skiers from around the world to ski during the northern hemisphere’s summer. There something for everyone in Queenstown and is a must visit when traveling in New Zealand.

4. Coromandel Peninsula

Just a short 2.5-hour drive from Auckland you will find the famous Coromandel Peninsula renowned for its natural beauty, luscious valleys, tropical rainforests and beautiful beaches.  It provides a great escape from the daily grind and there are hundreds of hidden treasures to explore in the area. Visit Karangahake Gorge to discover walkways and old tunnels with rich history, take a natural spa at Hot Water Beach to find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Visit Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary or take a highly rated hike to The Pinnacles and be rewarded with spectacular sunset.

5. Rotorua

In the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand’s North Island you will find the city of Rotorua, the name taken from the beautiful Lake Rotorua. This destination is a major attraction for both domestic and international tourists and is known for its geothermal activity and features geysers and hot mud pools.  In addition, you will find clear streams, astonishing forests to explore and an abundance of Maori culture. If you prefer to relax, why not try a natural hot spring to unwind or indulge in a wellness getaway at one of many luxurious spas.  Rotorua is also a haven for mountain bikers and adventurers alike, there is action water sports, treewalk adventures and skydiving all guaranteed to get your heart racing. Rotorua is definitely one to put on your list to experience what New Zealand culture has to offer.