A Month in New Zealand on a Budget - The Perfect Backpacking Itinerary
A Month in New Zealand on a Budget - The Perfect Backpacking Itinerary

A Month in New Zealand on a Budget

The Perfect Backpacking Itinerary

51 Comments /

Updated on 12 July 2018: Add more detail links to each destination I went in New Zealand.

New Zealand is one of those countries that everyone wants to visit and yet when it comes to planning as a solo backpacker, the information is surprisingly limited.

For one, New Zealand is an expensive country and it can be a turn off for most backpackers. The fact that New Zealand's towns are so remote also creates a perception that you would need to rent a car to travel around. That is not entirely true and this post will explain how I backpacked my way through New Zealand on a budget without renting a car. Let's begin with the pre-trip planning

Transportation

One of the most misunderstood facts about New Zealand is that you need a car. Yes, having a car is more convenient but it is also more costly and you lose the opportunity to mingle with other people on the bus.

For this trip I went with the NakedBus, one of the cheaper bus service out there that focuses on getting you to your destination fast and cheap. Buy a 15-trip Naked Passport pass when it goes on sale (which is quite often) at 249 NZD and that should be enough to cover almost the whole trip.

Note: With the pass, you will still have to book your trip online beforehand so do plan accordingly, especially during the high season.

If you find yourself stuck in a place because of Nakedbus's schedule, don't sweat. You can go with another service that runs more often (but more expensive), the Intercity bus. The Nakedbus runs less often on the West Coast of the South Island so you might find yourself going with the Intercity bus instead.

To cross from the North to the South Island, go with the Interislander. They run several times a day so you can book it online when you are in Wellington. I paid 57 NZD for a low season ticket.

Accommodation

As a backpacker on a budget, your best bet is to stay in hostels. Camping could be an option if you are willing to carry your gears around. For me, I just went with dorm rooms in hostels. Here are all the hostels I stayed in chronological order:

Auckland: Oaklands Lodge: 28.00 NZD/night

Rotorua: Hotel Crash Palace Backpackers: 19.00 NZD/night

Lake Taupo: Taupo Urban Retreat: 26.00 NZD/night

Wellington: The Dwellington: 25.00 NZD/night

Picton: Hotel Sequoia Lodge Backpackers: 27.00 NZD/night
Free chocolate pudding at 8PM everyday!

Nelson: Hotel Tasman Bay Backpackers: 26.00 NZD/night
Free chocolate pudding at 8PM everyday.. again!

Motueka: Hotel YHA Motueka / Laughing Kiwi Backpackers: 28.00 NZD/night

Westport: Bazil's Hostel: 30.00 NZD/night

Franz Josef: Glow Worm Cottages: 30.00 NZD/night

Wanaka: Hotel YHA Wanaka: 29.00 NZD/night

Queenstown: Adventure Queenstown Hostel: 28.00 NZD/night
The best hostel by far. Free fast & unlimited internet, plugs with USB sockets near every bed. GoPRO and iPad rental. Very well located.

Te Anau: Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers: 28.00 NZD/night

Routeburn Track: Lake Mackenzie Hut: 50.00 NZD/night

Routeburn Track: Routeburn Falls Hut: 50.00 NZD/night

Lake Tekapo: YHA Lake Tekapo: 33.00 NZD/night

Mt Cook: Mt Cook Backpackers: 34.00 NZD/night

Christchurch: Jailhouse Christchurch: 33.00 NZD/night
One interesting looking jail/hostel

Dunedin: Central Backpackers Dunedin: 30.00 NZD/night

Budget

Here comes the most stressful part of pre-planning, preparing your budget. New Zealand is an expensive country no doubt, but it doesn't have to be if you know how to save. Here are tips I used to minimize cost while not sacrificing the adventure I was there for:

  1. Cook your own food: A meal in New Zealand could cost you 15 NZD or more. By cooking your own food, it will cost you less than 10 NZD per meal.

    This is a little harder as a solo traveler but it is possible. My usual go-to recipe is a salad, a canned flavored chicken, and a tortilla wrap. I got a little more creative and mixed & matched a bunch of other things such as hamburgers, spaghetti, and noodles. Or if you are not keen on cooking, go for a Subway's sub-of-the-day sandwich. It should cost you no more than 6 NZD.
  2. Stay in Hostels: It's much more affordable for backpackers and you got to meet a lot of people in the process.
  3. Walk: New Zealand is a beautiful country and the government knows it. That's why they built so many great nature trails both in cities and remote areas. All are free and it makes you healthier, what more could you ask for.
  4. Buy a Bus Pass: You will be relying on buses most of the time so you might as well buy a bus pass before you arrive. Some bus pass is valid for a year so keep an eye out for a discount and buy them when it goes on sale.
  5. Hitchhike: Hitchhiking is extremely common and quite safe in New Zealand. It is free, exciting and you got to experience the country with the locals first hand.

Breakdown of my Budget

  • Flights (1,672 NZD total):
    From Bangkok to Auckland, New Zealand (Qantas) - 1502 NZD
    From Dunedin to Auckland - 170 NZD
  • Buses (570 NZD total):
    NakedBus 25 Trips Passport - 295.00 NZD
    Intercity Bus 15 hours Flexipass - 119.00 NZD
    Tracknet Drop Off and Pickup for Routeburn Track - 86 NZD
    Cook Connect Coach from Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook - 35 NZD
    Cook Connect Coach from Mt Cook to Twizel - 35 NZD
  • Cruises (212 NZD total):
    Interislander from Wellington to Picton - 57 NZD
    Milford Sound Cruise + Pickup & Dropoff coach - 155.00 NZD
  • Accommodation (966 NZD total)
  • Activities(1,108 NZD total optional):
    NZone Skydive 12,500 ft + videos and photos - 568 NZD
    Franz Josef Ice Explorer - 325 NZD
    Tongariro Alpine Crossing Coaches - 65 NZD
    Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi: Seals and Sand - 75 NZD
    Wai-o-Tapu Half day morning trip - 75 NZD
  • Miscellaneous (1,487 NZD total optional):
    5 weeks of Groceries, coffee, and pocket money - 1,389 NZD
    Spark Mobile Internet for 3GB x 2 - 98 NZD

Minimum Cost: 3,420 NZD | 2,445 USD | 2,199 EUR | 85,558 THB

Optional Cost: 2,595 NZD | 1,856 USD | 1,669 EUR | 64,866 THB

Total Cost: 6,015 NZD | 4,536 USD | 4,096 EUR | 146,781 THB

Travel Insurance

If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to New Zealand, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need a travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.

Get a Quote from World Nomads

The Perfect Backpackers Itinerary

Auckland (1 night)

Atop Mt Eden in Auckland

Stay one night in Auckland and get use to the custom. I used my first day to go out and prepare groceries for my trip. If you are staying at the same hostel I did, you could spend half day climbing Mt Eden and mingling with people who live and breath the city.

Rotorua (2 nights)

The Champagne Lake, Wai-o-Tapu, Rotorua

Rotura is one of the most colorful place in the world due to its vibrant thermal and volcanic activities. To see more spectecular thermal activies, go to Wai-o-Tapu, a thermal reserve where the famous Champagne lake is located.

Spend the morning exploring the Wai-o-Tapu landscape and in the afternoon, walk to the Redwoods and immerse yourself in gigantic alpine trees. To tell you the truth, I prefer Redwoods more than Wai-o-Tapu just because it was less touristy and there are several walks for me to choose from.

Lake Taupo (3 nights)

A coast to coast view at the top of Mt Doom on a great day during the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

After Rotorua, head down to Lake Taupo and stay there for 2 - 3 nights. I stayed for 3 nights and dedicated one full day to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (the best day hike in New Zealand). They don't call it the best day hike for nothing. You will go through a variety of landscapes from rugged terrain and volcanos to mountains and lush forest. All can be done in 6 - 9 hours. You will also have the option to summit Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings (Mt Ngauruhoe) which I highly recommended.

The next day, go and take a walk to the Huka Falls. At night, go out and enjoy live music at an Irish pub in the city center. You could also go bungee jumping or skydiving instead since I heard that it is cheaper to do them here.

Wellington (1 night)

My brief stop at Wellington

Stay one night in Wellington and explore the capital city of New Zealand in the morning. Go enjoy a coffee or a museum. Once that is done, take a bus to the ferry terminal in the afternoon and set off to Picton.

Don't make the same mistake I did and dropped my bag at the terminal before exploring the city. As it turned out, the terminal is way outside the city center and going back and forth was not the best use of your limited time.

Picton (1 night)

A grand view of the Queen Charlotte Sound from the Snout Track

Cruising from the North Island to the South Island should give you a glimpse of the beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sound. Sleep in Picton for a day and in the early morning, grab a map, a coffee and walk the Snout Track. You would be rewarded with an infinite view of the Sound streched out as far as the eye can see.

Nelson (2 nights)

I rewarded myself with a fish burger and a Flat White.

Enjoy a laid back day in Nelson Reward yourself with a nice meal and a Flat White at Deville. Go on a walk to the Tahunanui beach or climb a mountain to the Center of New Zealand. At night go out at the Sprig and Fern bar on Hardy street and enjoy a nice live music.

Enjoying a nice cold beer at the Sprig and Fern bar on Hardy Street

Motueka and the Abel Tasman (2 nights)

The shipwreck was illuminated by the light from Nelson and billion of stars in the sky.

After a nice laid back day in Nelson, hop on the bus to Motueka and go for a walk at night to the Janie Seddon shipwreck. The shipwreck will be illuminated by stunnig stars with a flickering light from Nelson as a backdrop.

An empty Onetahuti beach along the coast of the Abel Tasman trail.

Book an Abel Tasman day tour with the AquaTaxi at the hostel and they will pick you up in the morning the next day. You can choose either walking or kayaking for the tour, although the Abel Tasman is well known for its beautiful kayak route along the coast. You will spend the whole day in the national park, enjoying the sight of dolphins, seals and all kinds of birds. This will be the closest to nature you will ever get.

Westport or Karamea (2 nights)

Cape Foulwind Westport

For the west coast, I wouldn't recommend Westport since there was nothing to do and the town had this uninspiring abandoned wild west cowboy town vibe. That said, Cape Foulwind made it all worthwhile for me. To get there, you will have to bike 8 kms from Westport to the cape and then start walking along the cliff. In addition to the stunning view of the cape, the massive seal colony that laid at the end made it quite an interesting sight to see.

For Karamea, you have to time your arrival in Westport carefully as only one bus runs in the late morning each day. If you missed the bus, you can also arrange a hitchhike with backpackers in any hostels nearby. If you made it to Karamea, go cave exploring for a day at the Oparara Basin.

Franz Josef (2 - 3 nights)

The retreating Franz Josef Glacier

Don't bother comparing Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. They are both identical in terms of activities you can do. I went with Franz Josef just because the town seems a little bigger. On your first day, take a walk to the glacier and appreciate its size from the bottom. The next day, book an Ice Explorer tour and go up to the glacier. The tour includes a helicopter ride to the top where you will be walking for 3 hours. It is only when you are at the top that you will realize how massive the glacier actually is despite the dwindling of its size over the years.

The glacier at the top is much more impressive than at the bottom.

Usually 2 nights would have been enough for Franz Josef but with many extreme activties, the Ice Explorer tour relies heavily on nice weather and it is important to leave rooms for when the tour get canceled due to bad weather. It canceled on me the first day and I had to extend my stay to 3 days.

Wanaka (2 nights)

The lone tree in Lake Wanaka

Are you ready for a non stop adventure? Because you will climb mountains after mountains from here on out. As you arrive in Wanaka on your first day, go on a small hike to the top of Mt Iron and get the feel of the surrounding. You will realize why Wanaka is a ski town. It is surrounded by mountains. The next morning go out and climb Roy's Peak to get the full view of Lake Wanaka and the peak of Mt Aspiring.

If you are unlucky like me and was in Wanaka during the first week of November when Roy's Peak is closed for 10 days, you can go for a walk around the lake or go skydiving instead. Lake Wanaka is beautiful beyond words.

Queenstown (2 nights)

Jumping off an airplane at 15,000 ft.

The capital city of adventure, Queenstown gives you the option to do all sort of things and 3 days might not even be enough to some. From going on a luge, mountain biking, bungee jumping, skydiving to eating Fergburger, enjoying Sunday DJ session at the beach, and going in an ice bar, there's endless stream of activities for you to do here.

Fergburger, the best burger in town started at 10 NZD.

But since you have 3 nights here, go climb Mt Ben Lomond for a day, and skydive the next. In between that, eat lots and lots of Fergburger. Again, leave rooms for when the skydive get canceled so you will not be disappointed. The skydive did canceled on me once due to cloudy whether.

Te Anau (2 nights)

The Milford Sound

Go on a cruise to Milford Sound for one whole day. It really does live up to the hype.

Routeburn Track (2 nights)

The last stop on the Routeburn track, one of the great walks in New Zealand

If you are in New Zealand and you did not do any great walks then you have not really experience the true beauty of the country. The routeburn track is one of the most beautiful great walks in New Zealand and the trail began from The Divide in Te Anau and ended at the Routeburn Shelter near Queenstown. You will need to book a Tracknet coach for transfer service from Te Anau to The Divide and pickup service from Routeburn Shelter to Queenstown.

They don't call it the great walk for nothing.

You will be walking in the Fiordland, climbing to the top of the Key Summit, walking along cliffs and waterfalls and sleeping in mountain huts for 3 days. Only gas are available in mountain huts so you need to prepare a stove, a torchlight, a sleeping bag, and enough food for the trip.

Keep in mind that the mountain huts and Tracknet coach need to be booked way beforehand as it can often be fully booked for weeks.

Queenstown (1 night)

Queenstown at night

After the walk, the Tracknet coach will pick you up and drop you off in Queenstown. You will need to stay the night and catch the bus to Lake Tekapo the next morning.

Lake Tekapo (1 night)

Lake Tekapo

Now, we are going up north inland instead of along the west coast. Lake Tekapo is a good place to stop and spend the night. The turquoise colored lake is so vivid you won't believe your eyes. Spent half a day walking along the lake and when at night you can go on a stargazing tour at Mt John Observatory or if you are a cheapskate like me, walk to the Church of Good Shepherd and just look up and stare in wonder.

the Church of Good Shepherd at night

If you are there in late summer you might even see the Milky Way in its finest form.

Mount Cook (1 night)

Hooker Valley Walk

Mt Cook is a no-brainer. It is the highest mountain in New Zealand and one of the most accessible one. Spent 4 - 5 hours and do the Hooker Valley walk. A walk that will take you through many suspension bridges directly to the heart of the mountain range with a grand view of Mt Cook itself. The walk was so easy, you might not even sweat one bit.

At night, go out and have a drink at the bar in the most expensive hotel in New Zealand, The Hermitage hotel.

Christchurch (1 night)

The night I stayed in Jail

Take the Cook Connect from Mt Cook to Twizel and catch a NakedBus to Christchurch.

Christchurch doesn't have the beauty it used to have after the earthquake and even though it's been a few years, the main part of the cities were still under construction. Unfortunately, it is unavoidable because you will have to catch the bus to Dunedin in the early morning.

Dunedin (3 nights)

Saying goodbye to my friends is the worst!

There is so much to see in Dunedin but some area might require you to be a little creative to get there. First, go and walk around its Botanic Garden, the oldest garden in New Zealand. In the evening, take a bus to the Signal Hill and get the overall feel of Dunedin in one go. Go out for a drink or two in the Octagon at night.

It was a peaceful night at St Clair beach.

The next morning, book a coach from the hostel to the Otago peninsula to see penguins and the Albatross. In the evening, go to St Clair beach and enjoy a nice meal or take a walk around the area. It's very nice in the evening.

Aramoana beach, the whitest beach I have ever seen.

Last but not least, spend and hour at the Tunnel Beach or Aramoana beach if you have time. Head to the airport and fly back to Auckland. Sleep at the airport for the night and head home in the early morning.

Holy cow! Did I just dissect my whole trip out in one post? There you have it, the perfect one-month itinerary for poor backpackers like me. If you have any questions about New Zealand, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below. Travel safe and enjoy the world!

The itinerary was inspired by this post by the good people at Findingtheuniverse.com.

P.S. If you are still wondering what camera I used, here it is: Sony RX100 M1.

The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more.


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51 Comments


Hi, thanks for all the tips and itinerary! If I only have 2 weeks to spare (or slightly less), which are the places you would recommend as a must go?


awesome pictures thx pete


Marilyn Kehl

Great post! I coincidentally was using the blog you based this off of as well. Love your photos and style! What program do you use to edit your photos?


Thank you Marilyn. I use Lightroom for all my photos. :)


Priyangi Mehta

Pete, I think this was absolutely wonderful. I hv ALWAYS ALWAYS wanted to go to NZ and was wondering how to go abt with being a budget traveller, the accommodation, travel, et al. This is really amazing. thanx a ton


This would be a great starting point for you I hope. :)


Jan van Dijk

Awesome! I'm planning on making the same trip as you did! Thanks for sharing your adventure.


Thank you Jan! Glad you like the guide!


Hi Pete! Thanks for the information above :) I am going to the south part of NZ only for 1 week. so which places would u recommend that I must go? There are a total of 7 ppl and we hv rented a car. We hv also booked for milford cruise and kawarau bridge bungy. Thanks in advanced!!


Definitely start from Queenstown. Go to the Milford Sound, do some great walks and then Mt Cook and do the Hooker Valley trail. That should be a good week of adventure for you :)


Pedro Esnal

Gd day Pete, Many thanks for sharing your experiences. I´m fm Spain and planning to travel to N.Z. in 2016 most probably October for at least 1 month up to three. My intention is to hira a campervan as I will travel alone. I read u did it by bus which is quite cheaper in compare, but as I´m a disater planning things, guess it will be the best solution.


Haha. It is definitely depend on your taste. Campervan allows you to go places that buses don't go but I find driving alone is a tad bit boring especially long distance so I went with the bus. You will enjoy it either way. NZ is freaking beautiful :)


Felia Sunarga

Having someone to travel with is definitely fun if you're hiring a car. Also, by having a car, I think you can also go to places that are a bit hard to reach on foot. :D


Jenn Muller

I literally just booked my whole trip off your itenary (except activities, a few accommodation places and I did the $1 naked bus tickets). I'm pretty excited. Thanks for putting this together, it was a huge help! :)


Glad you found the blog useful! NZ is definitely a country you need to see for yourself. No blog post can do it justice :)


Claire Dougherty

Hello! I am going to be traveling to NZ for about three months by myself. I am a photographer and loved your photos! I was wondering if you had any advice on the best way to travel with your camera, how to upload your photos without bringing a large laptop, what you did with you camera when it rained etc.?
Thanks!


Thank you for the comment Claire. I used Macbook Air (back then) so the size and durabiliy helps a lot with me carrying them around in my backpack.

For cameras, since I used a point and shoot camera (Sony RX100 M3), compact yet can shoot raw at amazing quality (20mp), I did not have much problems carrying them around so I always have my camera with me ready to shoot at anytime. Due to the size of my camera, the tripod was also light and small enough for me to carry them in my day pack.

This combination helps a lot because when you are in nature and you want to capture yourself interacting with the mountains, you can frame the photo easily with your tripod and shoot with a timer. All done without anyone's help. :)

Rx100 is pretty durable and sealed in pretty well so a little splash is perfectly fine for me but when it rains heavily, then that's a different story. I try not to shoot when it rains.

The key here is the gear. Big cameras are good for professional work but when it comes to traveling, especially traveling light, it can become a pain in the ass. There's no point in bringing a big camera with you if you never take it out and shoot with it.

I hope this helps!


Hello,
If you are new in New Zealand then Queenstown is the best place to live in. finding difficulty to search
hotel, you can prefer rental service. One of the reliable rental service providers that I know in
Queenstown is Room on Rent which provides rooms with affordable price for the people who want to
stay in Queenstown, Frankton or Wanaka for three months or more. Whether you want rent a room in
Queenstown, Wanaka or in Frankton; try rent a room where you can easily accomplish your
requirement. For detail info visit: http://www.rentaroom.org.nz/


Eint Chu Hlaing

Hi, thanks heaps for the post. Do you book all the accommodation in advance ? If so what if you have to extend bec of the weather as you mention.


I booked stuff day by day so extending my stay was not much of a problem. :)


Charlotte Boates

Thank you so much, this is SO so helpful. I'm leaving for NZ in a couple days and it's great to know that you can do it without a car! Cheers!


You are going to love it there! It's one of the most beautiful place in the world!


Sandy C

Great post! Would it be possible do you think to do the trip driving alone? I recently quit my job and want to spent a month in new zealand before i move home to england. i really want to do this trip but noone else is around haha so wanted to drive- wise idea or stick to the busses?


Hey Sandy, Thank you! Of course you can do a road trip there alone but what I don't like about road trip alone is that it gets boring real fast without someone to talk to, especially when you are continuously driving around in remote areas. Bus a good way to meet people and it also take the responsibility of knowing where and how to go off your hands, not to mention cheaper but again, you have more freedom with a car and you can go to some really remote places. :)

In the end, it's your choice. :)


Sandy C

Pete Rojwongsuriya Thanks for getting back to me! I figured it was a long shot writing that message because this post was from so long ago! Yeah i saw that you took the busses. Which bus would be the best to take? I would want more independance whilst I'm in the south island more I feel theres more freedom to chose the activities to do. You don't fancy spending another month in New Zealand do you? :P :D


Sandy C NakedBus is cheap and reliable but it runs less on the west coast of the South Island so you can switch it up with the Intercity bus.

Haha. I'm always looking forward to go back there. There's plenty more to see for me. If i'm not occupied i'll definitely do another 2 months there just hiking etc.


Jack Braithwaite

Hi Pete, have you had any experiences with rental car relocations? I havent havent used one before but it sounds like a good way to cut back traveling and accomodation costs!? rentalcarrelocations.co.nz has a pretty decent list of companies doing it! Great read by the way, Jack


Thank you! Unfortunately, no experience there for me but I heard many do it in NZ so it shouldn't be too hard there.


Adriel Hsu

How did you take the skydiving pic in this post and the other new zealand post?!? They are amazing! Also do you shoot in RAW? I have a sony a5100 and am just gettingn started. Your pictures are inspiring!

Will also head to NZ for 2 weeks next year and this post has mademe excited!


Thank you! Paid the company to have another guy to take a photo and video of me. Very expensive but worth it. :) Yes, I shoot RAW and post processed with lightrooms.


Gireesh Gera

Hey Pete, just wanted to check with you which month did you travel.
I was planning to backpack there for 1 month this July, but I guess it will be very cold. Was wondering if I should wait for a better time - i.e. when it's summer there.


Shoulder season before the summer is great if you are willing to risk it. Trails and hostels aren't as packed. I was there from October to November, right before the summer and it was perfect!


Bailey Stewart

Do you recommend not pre booking hostel accommodation? If not can it be difficult to find vacant dorms? Cheers :)


It will depend on the season there. I was there during the shoulder season from low to high so most places I didnt have to book but at the end of the trip, everything was a little harder to come by without booking. If you are there during peak season, do book in advance!


Bailey Stewart

Ill be there from mid october to mid November. My first time backpacking so im pretty new to it all. Thank you man!


Just read ur adventure, really nice dude, hope i also can be in NZ, travelling solo like u


Definitely worth it! Do it! :)


Lcy Ana

Hey Pete ! Thank you so much for such a great article, which will be of a great help for preparing my 1 month trip in New Zealand:) Cheers from Poland


I'm glad you found the article useful! Enjoy!


Hi Pete, liked your itinerary! So detailed. We are travelling to n.Z. in the end of Septmeber-end October. When was your trip? We also want to do the Tongariro crossing. :)) thanks mate


Around the same time! You will enjoy it! It's a shoulder season so not too crowded but you risk rain. Other than that, it's an amazing time to be in NZ :)


Cool. Thanks a bunch! :)
(: Will keep reading.


If it's not a must for us to see the glaciers and the rest of your itinerary is awesome, where would we continue from Abel Tasman? Of course everything is beautiful, but we only have 3 weeks in the South/Thanks:)
(:


So much information scattered out there. Great to have an itinerary of someone who went there to kind of get a grasp on some of the must sees without spending a fortune. NZ is fairly expensive for backpackers. I'm in the beginning stages of planning my rtw trip and this really helped me get a good starting off point as far as budget and timeframes. Thank you!


Thank you! Glad you like the post!


Rebecca Herbst

Your blog is great! thanks for sharing. I'm thinking about doing one month, and focusing on 4 longer treks (5 days each) with 1-2 days breaks in cities or more relaxed places in between. I'd also really like to loop in the sky diving. Any recommendations on which key areas I can target? Thanks!


Callum Callum

thanks so much info!!
random question , what camera are you using? amazing outcome!


YU Hang Jiang

Hi,Pete,what's the size of the backpack did you bring from Thailand,did you bear it for routerburn track?thanks for answering


65 lt, a normal backpack i used for every trip i've done so far. :) Although while on the Routeburn, i shipped most of the stuff from Te Anau to Queenstown and had only essential things in my big backpack while doing the trail. There's a service you can get in Te Anau and then you can get your stuff in Queenstown.


Hi Pete,
Thanks for all the information, very helpful to plan my trip. I'm going to NZ in Jan'18 for almost 4 weeks.
I want to check few things with you which i could't find online regarding local buses availability to transport specially early morning or late evening to return -
1. Rotorua local buses
2. Taupo ( early moring ard 5 am to meet at my tour point, taxi's are easy?)
3. Plymouth to Lake Mangamahoe transport?
4. Wanaka to Mt Iron and Mount Roy’s Peak any return transport?
5. Queenstown to Mt Ben Lomond
6. Tekapo to Lake Tekapo & Lake Pukaki transport? Astro Café any bus goes?

Also ingenral all local bus transport tickets can be puechase on the spot?


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