~How to plan a backpacking trip in New Zealand ^_*

hi, I went on a Working Holiday trip to New Zealand and worked and travelled there for 10 months. So I learnt a few things on how to travel as budgetly as possible.

  1. Planning your journey in New Zealand
  2. Finding out the places to visit and things to do in the region you are at
  3. Planning transportation with discount card or buying a car
  4. Finding hostels with discount card or doing couchsurfing
  5. Finding jobs

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1.Planning your journey in New Zealand

New Zealand consists of the North Island and the South Island. I’ve drawn a map that highlights the main tourist towns and some other towns where backpackers usually find work at.IMG_4441

It would be good if you can plan your journey in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction, so it saves bus fares and also travelling time 🙂

I did travelling in some of the tourist towns and have written a summary of the things to do and places to visit in my other blog posts.

It is also good to consider the availability of work in the different towns at different seasons of the year when you are planning your journey. Most working holiday backpackers work on farms e.g vineyards, orchards, dairy farms. So the best time to find work is during the harvest season. Each fruit has a different harvest period, for example,

Cherries harvest is in Decemeber-January (mostly in Otago), Apricots is January – February (mostly in Otago), Blueberries is December – March, Apples is March – April (mostly in Nelson), Grapes is April – May (mostly in Blenheim), Kiwi is June – Sep (mostly in Te Puke).

2. Finding out the places to visit and things to do in the region you are at

If you want to find out on all the information about a certain town, you can visit the i-site of that particular town or just call them. You can also visit the i-site’s website, just google it… 🙂 If you’re interested, I’ve listed the places I have been to, and the things that I know are popular in that region. I think I’ve gone to most of the tourist places, just maybe you can take a look at my posts to find ideas of where to go. For more details and photos of the towns I’ve been to, please check out my other blog posts. 🙂

Starting from the North Island in the downward directions towards the South Island, the towns are~


  •  Cape Reinga day trip (visit the lighthouse, Kauri forest, and do sandboarding)
  • Cream Cruise (cruise from Paihia to an island, see hole-in-the-rock, swim with dolphins, net booming).


  • take a cruise to Waiheke Island
  • walk along the harbour


  • Glowworm caves (I hear it’s the only place where you can see so many glowworms in the cave, google their website… they have really cool pictures…)


  • Hobbiton (the set where the Hobbits were filmed)
  • Geysers and volcanic lakes
  • Redwood forest
  • Ogo


  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing (where Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings was filmed)


  • known for art-deco landmarks
  • vineyards


  • capital of the country


  • Queen Charlotte Trek (can do a 1 day trek or a the whole thing which is 4 days)


  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • lots of apple orchards


  • whale-watching


  • french town
  • nice hikes
  • especially nice if you drive from Akaroa back to Christchurch at sunset

Mount Cook

  • many nice treks to see the glacier and mountains (e.g Hookers Valley Trek, Sealy Tarns Trek)
  • Glacier hiking

Lake Pukaki

  • the bluest water ever with nice mountainous backdrop (because it is glacier water that melted and flows down to the lake)

Lake Tekapo

  • beautiful lake
  • sky-diving
  • astronomy observation center (you can book a star gazing session through their telescope at the top of Mount Dobson)


  • many adrenaline activities (Bungi Jumping, Jet boating, hydro attack)
  • Gondola and Luge (amazing view at the top)
  • Ben Lomond Trek
  • Many restaurants and shops (Ferg Burgers are really famous, always have really long queues)


  • hikes with spectacular views (Roy’s Peak, Rob Roy’s Glacier)
  • sky-diving
  • nice walk by the lake (especially on the way to Rippon Vineyard, you’ll past by Edgewater Cafe which has really nice al fresco seats overlooking the lake).
  • Rippon vineyard (a really beautiful vineyard with a nice statues and a vintage truck and nice views overlooking the lake at the top of a hill, has nice white wine too)

Milford Sound

  • one of the fjords, you can do a cruise to see waterfalls at the fjords
  • other fjords cruises include Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound

Franz Josef

  • trek to see the glacier from the opposite side
  • Glacier hiking

3. Planning transportation with discount card or buying a car

If you don’t have a car, the only way to travel in between towns is via bus, which is usually Intercity. If you make a YHA or BBH hostel membership card, you get around 10% discount. YHA or BBH are chains of hostels and if you make the membership card, you get 10% off the room rates.

Some other intercity packages include 10hour ride package or 30hour ride package. You can check it out at http://www.intercity.co.nz

But having a car gives you the best chance to get a job. Because if you’re doing farm job, you will need a car to get to the farms and it may be hard to find another backpacker to carpool with you.

4. Finding hostels with discount card or doing couchsurfing

YHA and BBH hostels are popular options because if you have their membership cards, you get 10% off the room rates. Some hostels happen to have contacts and can link you up with jobs.

If you want a free stay, you can do couchsurfing, but I doubt you can stay long term with the same host, so you might have to constantly move around… 🙂

5. Finding jobs

There are some websites where you can find jobs-



or you can look for job agencies or your hostel might have some contacts.

You can also try http://www.picknz.co.nz they have offices in different regions to help you connect to farms who are looking for workers.

6. Insurance

Don’t forget to buy insurance, in case you might get injured or sick. I met some fellow backpackers who fell off the ladder while picking fruits and broke their arm. :X

That’s all. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tips if you find this information helpful

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