A Gap Year in New Zealand

Why go backpacking in New Zealand?

Okay, so you probably know New Zealand as Middle Earth. But the reality of its scenery is just as incredible, and the endless list of exhilarating activities you can enjoy all over it makes backpacking in New Zealand the ultimate travel experience.

There’s a well-worn backpacker trail here, including group tours, budget accommodation, and transport around and between the North and South Island.

Outside of the natural landscapes, cities like Wellington and Auckland offer plenty of hostels and bars for backpackers to meet up, drink a few beers, and drunkenly plan a New Zealand gap year.

Things to do in New Zealand

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South Island Mountain Bike Tour

from £1025

7 days

New Zealand

The South Island is renowned for its outstanding beauty and adventures. Plant your feet on your pedals as you take...

North Island Mountain Bike Tour

from £1075

7 days

New Zealand

Get amongst some of the finest mountain biking New Zealand has to offer. From the white-knuckle downhills of Rotorua and...

South Island Heli Tour

from £3075

7 days

New Zealand

Welcome to New Zealand’s Ultimate Heli Ski Tour! Over 7 days we will heli 3 different mountain ranges and head...

South Island Snow Odyssey

from £1540

12 days

New Zealand

Forget the mass market commercial ski fields in Queenstown. Our 12 day South Island Snow Odyssey takes you on an...

South Island Snow Safari

from £925

7 days

New Zealand

Welcome to NZ's ultimate guided ski and snowboard tour. We hit 6 different mountains over 7 days and our expert...

North Island Adventure Tour

from £695

7 days

New Zealand

You will see it all in the week-long North Island holiday; volcanoes, beautiful beaches, glow-worm, Lord of the Rings locations,...

South Island Lick Tour

from £695

7 days

New Zealand

Be awed by stunning mountains, fantastic views, and the amazing Queenstown on this South Island trip where you'll experience unbeatable...

South Island Adrenalin Junkie

from £1235

12 days

New Zealand

Get your blood pumping and pulse racing! Or are you someone who would love to see the very best of...

Legendary New Zealand Tour

from £2005

21 days

New Zealand

From Auckland, we make our way down the beautiful and volcanic North Island to the capital, Wellington, before catching a...

Amplified New Zealand Tour

from £1490

16 days

New Zealand

Jam-packed experience across New Zealand's top destinations in just over two weeks. Golden beaches, Māori culture, surreal landscapes and a...

Latest advice and inspiration for New Zealand

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The Cities

Wellington has earned itself the title of ‘the coolest little capital‘ and for good reason. Cuba Street has all the bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and vintage shops you could want, and you can relax afterwards on the beach at Scorching Bay or by heading into the simulated wilds of Zealandia, before hitting the town on a night out.

Auckland has similarly vibrant nightlife, as well as offering beautiful waterfront and beaches, a park based around an extinct volcano, and amazing views from the top of Sky Tower. You can also visit the garden city of Christchurch, wild and pungent Rotorua, or picturesque Dunedin.

The Scenery

It’s impossible to summarise New Zealand’s ridiculous scenery in a couple of lines. There’s Tongariro National Park, home to three major volcanoes, the frozen landscapes of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, the wet and blustery Fiordland (i.e. Middle Earth) and its peaceful, postcard perfect Milford Sound, or Ninety Mile Beach on North Island.

There’s so much to see, and so many ways to see it, that a gap year in New Zealand will offer something completely different each day. On Monday you can go black water rafting through the glowing tunnels of the Waitomo caves, Tuesday and Wednesday can be spent accomplishing a two day hike in Milford Sound National park, Thursday is time for some relaxation in the Ngawha hot springs, picking the pace up on Friday by going skydiving over Lake Taupo.

Adventurous backpackers should also challenge themselves to hike the snow capped Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, bungee jump from the AJ Hackett site – the world’s first bungee spot, go kayaking on the Nelson Lakes, Zorb down steep hills, surf on the waves at Wainui beach, or spend a day or two exploring the sets of Lord of the Rings in Wellington.  We weren’t kidding; the list really does goes on and on.

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