The Backpackers Guide to Travelling New Zealand in 2022

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The Backpackers Guide to Travelling New Zealand in 2022

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With its diverse landscape and plethora of activities to enjoy, backpacking Aotearoa New Zealand, while staying at TOP 10 Holiday Parks, is a must-do for any traveller. If you're thinking of visiting New Zealand in 2022, either the North or South Island, read on for the best tips on what to do, where to go and how to make the most of your trip!  

When to visit New Zealand

If you’re looking to explore New Zealand during different times of the year, keep in mind that temperatures may be different to what you’re used to.  As New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, summer is from December to February and has highs around 25°c. From June to August,  temperatures hover between -3°C and 15° C with an increase in rainfall, or if you’re in the Alpine regions you might be lucky enough to experience snow.

Travelling during the shoulder season is a great opportunity to avoid the popular periods of summer or winter in the alpine regions, and can be more affordable (generally). Spring is from September to November with temperatures ranging from 2°c - 17°c whilst Autumn (March to May) experiences milder weather, 15°C to 20°C. 

How to get around New Zealand

Although a small place, travelling around New Zealand on a road trip can take some time. The most common mode of transport is by car or campervan. Roads are well-graded and there are plenty of places to stop for the night with TOP 10 Holiday Parks. A helpful hint, if you travel from South to North, you might land a rental bargain. Generally, more vehicles are being dropped to South Island depots, so to relocate vehicles to the North Island, they’ll offer a cheaper rate.

There are numerous airports located around New Zealand on both the North and South Islands, so you can fly and connect to the local transportation where available. Some bus companies to keep in mind are Intercity buses and Kiwi Experience HopOnHop Off.

Goose Bay, Kaikoura.

Goose Bay, Kaikoura. Image Credit: Graeme Murray

How long to spend in New Zealand

New Zealand is a country that will leave you wanting more, no matter how long you spend exploring it. If you're short on time, the best way to see New Zealand is to focus on one island - either the North Island or the South Island. If you’re wanting to explore both Islands, try to spend at least 3 weeks backpacking the North & South Islands.

What to eat and drink in New Zealand

From fresh fish and chips on our beautiful coastlines to mussels cooked just how we like them at Kaikoura; there is no shortage when it comes to choosing what treat will best suit your taste buds! Discover more of the Māori culture through their traditional Hangi feast where your food is steamed under the ground. You can’t beat that perfect pairing between New Zealand wine located in locations such as Marlborough, Central Otago or Waihiki Island and award-winning New Zealand cheeses.

New Zealand has some of the BEST chocolate you can wrap your tongue around. From the original or deluxe Whittaker's chocolate to the local craft chocolates with ANZAC biscuits crumbled on top. Are you a biscuit fan? You can’t be late or miss out on a Cookie Time Cookie with its giant blobs of chocolate mixed through the batter. 

Known as a hangi, the traditional Maori oven creates yummy food cooked slowly underground.

Traditional Maori food. Image Credit: Adam Bryce

Eat well and cheaply in new Zealand

You can save money by eating cheaply or enjoy company at “home”, with access to communal kitchens and facilities at TOP 10 Holiday Parks. If you’re staying in either a unit, motel or cabin, some of these come with their private kitchens, but you’ll have access to the communal area if you’re without. So whether you're looking to save money or just enjoy the company of others, the TOP 10 Holiday Parks are a great option.

Cheap and Free Activities

Rolling green hills provide the perfect escape from city life while rugged mountains hold surprises for those looking to venture further out into nature's embrace! New Zealand has many short walks, day hikes, multi-day hikes and what are known as New Zealand's “Great Walks

The Lord of the Rings has created the ultimate backpacking itinerary in New Zealand. If you’re a fan, base your trip around this theme with visits to filming locations, Hobbiton and Wellington’s Weta Workshop.  Combine these locations plus an amazing hike through Tongariro National Park, and you’ll have an unforgettable experience. Stay with Ohakune TOP 10 Holiday Park, right up the road, with shuttles to get you to the trailhead.

hiking Tongariro Crossing while backpacking New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing. Image Credit: Graeme Murray

Cruise Milford or hit the beach or mountains in New Zealand

Magic is in the air at Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound down on the South Island of New Zealand. A scenic 1.5-hour drive from Te Anau TOP 10 Holiday Park, this is one of the best places to travel in NZ where you can hike, kayak, sail or cruise on the water. 

Everyone knows Queenstown and most have visited at least one in their lifetime. If you’re after a similar lake destination surrounded by the Southern Alps, and still close to Queenstown, base yourself at Wanaka TOP 10 Holiday Park. With plenty of hikes during the summer, opportunities to cruise, kayak and paddle the lakes or ski Cardona and Treble Cone in the winter, Wanaka should be on your South Island itinerary.

Experience Māori Culture

What better way to get a taste of Aotearoa New Zealand when backpacking than by exploring the Māori culture and history. If you’re visiting the Northland region, learn about the Waitangi Treaty at one of the most historic sites in New Zealand, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Head south to Rotorua and you’ll find an abundance of educational sites and activities such as Tamaki Māori Village, Te Puia and Hell’s Gate. 

If you’re heading to the South Island, there are various sites to explore such as Ko Tāne in Christchurch, Waka Tours Abel Tasman and Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre.

Waitangi. Image Credit Camilla Rutherford

Visit the Glaciers

The West Coast is a must-see for any traveller! From beautiful rainforests to adventures on ice and glaciers, you won’t be disappointed. Take an easy stroll through the rainforests or indulge in a tour that will have you not only standing on the glaciers but hiking across them. TOP 10 Holiday Parks are not only located in both Fox Glacier and Franz Josef, but they’re scattered all up the West Coast, providing you with plenty of options for your backpacking trip.

Bungy Jumping in New Zealand

Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world and it is where the first commercial Bungy site opened in 1988 with A.J. Hackett at Kawarau Bridge Bungy. You can jump off multiple bridges and constructions throughout New Zealand from Auckland and Taupo’s AJ Hackett Bungy to the Velocity Valley in Rotorua. On the South Island, you have Bungy at Hanmer Springs Bungy or three options in Queenstown, Ledge, Nevis or Kawarau Bridge

If you're looking for an unforgettable New Zealand adventure, be sure to backpack your way around the country and stay at TOP 10 Holiday Parks along the way. With locations in some of the most scenic areas of New Zealand, you're sure to have a memorable experience. So what are you waiting for? Book your stays with TOP 10 Holiday Parks today!