Average cost p/day: US$100
Time frame: 1 month +
Currency: New Zealand Dollars
World renowned for being an incredibly beautiful country, New Zealand is an outdoor-lovers dream. You can climb mountains, find perfectly reflective lakes, gaze at impressive glaciers and see whales splashing about. For the thrill-seekers, there’s endless opportunities to get your adrenaline fix: sky diving, bungee jumping, hang gliding, canyoning…just about anything you can possibly imagine. Of course, with these activities, comes a hefty price tag. My budget reflects my travels in New Zealand; I did a few adventure activities but also had some quiet, cheap days just roaming around.
Although the buses make it fairly easy to get about in New Zealand, many choose to hire a car to have a bit more flexibility. This is particularly cost effective if you camp or get a car you can sleep in. However, the hostels are great quality and very social – so it’s all down to your personal preference, time frame and budget!
Winter on the south island can get pretty cold – but it’s the perfect time to go if you’re a skiier or a snowboarder!
WHERE TO GO
I absolutely LOVE this city. The adventure sports and the incredible nightlife give Queenstown a young and fun vibe. The list of activities you can do while here is neverending. Just outside of Queenstown you’ll find the world’s first bungee jump! If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, maybe sky diving? Or skiing? Or hang gliding? Or jet boating so fast and so close to cliff edges that you might just have a heart attack? Personally, one of my favourite activities was canyoning – where you zipline across the canyon first, then swim and cliff jump your way through it. Sooo much fun. Yes, Queenstown will leave you with an empty wallet, but it is so incredibly worth it. If you’re looking for a cheaper day, try walking or bike riding around the lake. Absolutely stunning!
Hostel Recommendation – Base Backpackers
Popular either as a day trip from Queenstown or for a couple of days of hiking, Milford Sound is a fjord in the south west of New Zealand. All the way there, the scenery between Queenstown and Milford Sound is stunning – particularly if you’re lucky enough to catch it covered in snow. A day trip from Queenstown will generally include a little cruise through the fjord, where you might be able to spot some seals!
Wanaka is like Queenstown’s little sister; smaller and a little more tame. All the beauty without the thrills and the madness. Set upon a stunning lake, it’s a great spot for aimless wandering.
Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier
Both glaciers are on the west coast of New Zealand and offer great hiking and adventure opportunities. If you’ve got money to burn, a helicopter ride will take you on to the glacier where you can go ice climbing!
Hostel recommendation – Chateau Backpackers
Dunedin is a cute little university town with one massive attraction: the Cadbury factory! Yum! (Sad news: apparently it’s closing in 2018…) It’s a really nice town to wander around, with plenty of cool shops, bars and restaurants.
A tiny litte town on the north east coast of New Zealand, Kaikoura is famous for its wildlife! Take a boat ride out into the ocean to see whales splashing about or a walk along the coast to find seals lazing in the sun.
Christchurch is a really interesting little city. I imagine it was a pretty cool place before the 2011 earthquake destroyed most of it. Unfortunately, it’s still recovering. In the meantime, they’re doing what they can to keep the city going. Christchurch Cathedral was almost completely destroyed, but the remains have been left somewhat untouched. Not far away, you’ll find the Cardboard Cathedral, a beautiful symbol of Christchurch starting to rebuild. Re:START is a shopping center made entirely out of shipping containers and is probably the most lively area of the city.
Hostel recommendation – Dorset House Backpackers (though, I’ve also heard great things about Jailhouse Accommodation…a hostel in an old jail!)