Definative Backpackers Experience?
Zealand provides a unique travelling experience for
the thousands of backpackers who visit New Zealand every
year from all parts of the world. We have specialist
backpacker facilities throughout the country, unlike
other regions in which backpackers travel. We have a
spectacular, varied, and accessible natural environment
that invites active participation. We have an excellent
array of activities, facilities and transport to accommodate
Why New Zealand?
Backpackers are overwhelmingly positive about their
time in New Zealand. New Zealand is a seen as a pristine,
beautiful natural world to discover, and one that is
especially easy to navigate and explore. Backpackers
speak about New Zealanders as very friendly people,
far beyond their original expectations welcoming and
genuinely interested in travellers.
Backpackers from the Northern Hemisphere tend to split
their travel time between Australia and New Zealand
in a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio based on the countries� relative
size. The perception is that Australia is larger and
therefore will offer more activities to do and places
to see. However, in hindsight some backpackers regret
this decision. Although New Zealand is geographically
smaller than Australia, its compact size means it can
offer backpackers more to do and see within a small
"I went on Oz Experience � then Kiwi � sometimes
Oz it was just hours and hours on the bus � not the
best country to travel by land. New Zealand, everything
is within an hour or two."
Backpacking is an inexpensive and adventurous way
to travel independently for a long time. It offers opportunities
to meet new people while learning about other cultures.
It lends itself to the outdoors and outdoor activities.
It provides a sense of freedom and independence that
other forms of travel don�t offer. It allows greater
flexibility and choice in travel. Changing plans is
as simple as putting on a pack and heading in another
direction. There are no bookings to change, no places
they need to be.
"When you backpack you are totally self reliant �
can stay anywhere � in a hostel or camp ground �you
can bush walk or take a bus when you feel like it �
you�ve always got a tent for back-up."
Beautiful, Unspoilt, Uncrowded!
Australians see New Zealand as a less exotic location,
low cost and relatively accessible. Some travel to New
Zealand specifically to experience landscapes that Australia
does not have eg, high mountains, ice climbing, glaciers.
Canadians see New Zealand as pleasantly similar to their
homeland, but with much more to see and do within a
relatively small area. They see New Zealand as having
a warmer climate with a more varied and dramatic landscape.
New Zealand�s distance from Canada gives travel an adventurous
feel. North Americans and Europeans tend to see New
Zealand as especially unspoilt and uncrowded, offering
a strong contrast to their homelands as well as having
the appeal of a remote and far away land.
"It�s very far and not cheap � I don�t mind this
now but I had to think about it before I came".
Who are backpackers?
Many are �first-timers�, young travellers away from
home in a break in study between secondary and tertiary
education. �Older� backpackers (aged 25 to 35) are usually
single and tertiary educated with no dependants. They
have worked for two to three years and have chosen backpacking
as an extended break from working life before settling
down. Backpackers� perceptions of New Zealand as a backpacking
destination vary. For first-timers from the Northern
Hemisphere, backpacking in New Zealand seems exotic
while still Western in culture and a relatively safe
place to travel for their first trip away. Older backpackers
see New Zealand as a less challenging backpacker destination,
where they can relax and enjoy nature without having
to struggle with extreme cultural differences.
"I thought it was a beautiful place but didn�t know
that there was so much to do here".
The core drive for independence means that backpackers
have more similarities than differences. They generally
prefer travel that meets their needs to physically interact
with the environment, meet new people, seek renewal
and restoration, be exposed to different cultures. Backpackers
seek a destination that offers physical activities that
provide them with a challenge and/or a feeling of excitement,
such as bungy jumping or sky diving. They may also seek
more traditional but challenging activities such as
mountain climbing, tramping or diving.
"I get up in the morning and know that I am going
to do something new � bungy or skydiving � perfect day
� once in a lifetime � I just can�t wait � feel more
Backpackers also look for social activities that allow
them to feel a general sense of togetherness and sociability,
such as a shared bus trip or the opportunity to join
the party and bar scene. Older travellers tend to prefer
a small group while younger travellers in general prefer
"Rented a car with others � really fun � just laid
back � we got along so well � the perfect group."
For relaxation backpackers need seek out experiences
that allow them to feel relaxed, restored and reflective,
such as cycling through the scenic South Island, bushwalking,
and kayaking through the Milford Sounds. The ideal backpacking
experience embodies an introspective and calm experience
in a beautiful natural environment.
"We just went all silent, lost in our own thoughts
for hours in our kayaks � thought about my life and
Backpackers enjoy learning about other cultures, such
as staying at home-stays, being invited into the home
of a New Zealander, undertaking a working holiday and
hitchhiking around the country.
"New Zealand is easy to get around, is backpacker
friendly, has lots of places to stay, has friendly down-to-earth
people who welcome travellers, is English speaking,
familiar, and safe with a Western culture."
New Zealands Geographical Isolation!
New Zealand�s isolation from the rest of the world
is a real benefit to backpackers who seek a sense of
independence, adventure and escape from home life. Perceptions
of the country�s geographical location relative to Australia
vary considerably, from less than an hour to several
hours. However the two countries� general proximity
is well known and adds further travel options. It means
they can travel to more than just one country, an important
part of making the most of being in the South Pacific.
Overall, backpackers describe the New Zealand landscape
as far surpassing their expectations, especially in
the landscape diversity and proximity of places and
activities. The landscape is described as extraordinarily
varied and remarkably accessible, and exceptionally
"Always something new to see around the corner. Alps
and then beautiful beaches � incredible." "Everything
you want to do is in a small space � climbing and diving
� not far away."
Backpacker hostels in New Zealand are unlike European
or North American hostels that have a 10pm door close,
and in some instances no kitchen facilities. New Zealand
accommodation offers a wide range of facilities for
travellers, such as kitchens, bars, lounges, televisions
and laundries. Some offers extra facilities such as
spa pools and cottages. Generally, New Zealand hostels
cater specifically for backpackers, unlike hostels overseas
which may also host school groups and families. Camping
facilities, also common in New Zealand, are avaiable
to backpackers who want to keep costs down.
"There is so much too do � everywhere you go � something
to see � dolphins, seals � bungy jumping sky diving.
I just thought there would be bungy and walks."
Backpackers unanimously agree New Zealand is a very
easy place to backpack.