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

Check out our current top picks

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The Next Adventure

from £1,675.00

21 - 360 days

Travel from the plains of South Africa to the bustle of Singapore and then on to beautiful New Zealand before...

The World Escape

from £1,579.00

From 30 days

The best way to see North America and maybe even squeeze in a ski season, before heading to Australia to...

South Island Snow Odyssey

from £1,540.00

12 days

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

Guest Services and Ticket Sales Jobs in New Zealand

from £549.00

182 - 365 days

Accelerate your adrenaline and launch your working holiday in New Zealand. Gap year jobs don’t come much better.

South Island Lick Tour

from £695.00

7 days

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

NZ Ski Instructor Paid Internships

from £5,900.00

77 - 91 days

11 Week Level 1 & 2 Ski Instructor Internship - Train Level 1, Work, Train, Level 2 + Ski Work...

Short-Term University Study in New Zealand

from £7,000.00

120 days

Tester semester allows you to enroll at a New Zealand university for just one term. If you are trying to...

North Island Mountain Bike Tour

from £1,075.00

7 days

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

Cashier in New Zealand

from £549.00

182 - 365 days

Accelerate your adrenaline and launch your working holiday in New Zealand. Gap year jobs don’t come much better.

Grand Traverse – Both Islands

from £1,400.00

15 days

In 2 weeks launching from Auckland you will see the best of both islands with a unique combination of camping...

Latest advice and inspiration for New Zealand

Check out what our writers have been up to in 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.

New Zealand Wellington view

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.

New Zealand mountains

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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