More than ever, backpacking is a mindset a lot of us need. It’s freedom. It’s adventure. It’s a carefree kind of existence that allows you to enjoy the simple things in life again. Sun in your face, wind in your hair, the clothes on your back and the power of your own two feet – backpacking is guaranteed to be one of the most unforgettable times of your life. So whether you’re fresh out of uni or full of wanderlust at 40, here’s why New Zealand is a mecca for backpackers everywhere.
- No worries mate
Repeatedly ranked by the Global Peace Index as one of the most peaceful countries to live in on earth, New Zealand is a democratic country with a relatively low crime rate and is the safest native English-speaking country in the world. No dangerous animals like poisonous snakes or killer bears around these parts. Which makes sleeping under the stars easy, dreamy even. Just make sure you brush up on your left-side-of-the-road driving skills before heading out on the open roads.
- Friendly people
Kia ora! It’s amazing how these two words have such great meaning for New Zealanders. Kiwis are welcoming, open, easy-going people and their friendliness will help you feel at home here. This simple greeting does go a long way, so find out what kia ora really means to kiwis and see where these words lead you.
- Astonishing natural wonders straight out of the movies
Literally. Although the Lord of the Rings doesn’t really capture the breath and scope of the epic landscapes in New Zealand. Sure, there’s Mount Doom (aka Mount Ngauruhoe), the mystical goblin forest, but there’s also stunning spots where glaciers meet rainforests, magical glow worm caves, volcanic wonderlands, lush native forests that transport you back in time, and of course stunning secluded beaches dotted along both islands. Lucky for you, backpacking makes for mobile travel and allows for spur of the moment whims to explore whichever direction the wind may take you.
- Eat, drink and be merry
For many, New Zealand is truly the land of milk and honey. Everything grows here and in some impressive proportions – you’ll be feasting at the local farmer’s market or at a pick your own farm where you can harvest everything from potatoes, carrots, berries, and cherries. Not to mention the artisan cheeses, craft beers, and world-renowned wines in the country where there are more coffee roasters per capita than anywhere in the world, you’ll always find a good cuppa near you.
- Accommodation overload
From off-the-grid baches to backcountry huts, holiday parks, glamping and freedom camping, you’ll have plenty of options to rest your tired yet happy head. You can even splurge on luxury pods – top to floor glass eco-cabins that lets you feel one with New Zealand nature while basking in all its sustainable glory. And if you find yourself in a charming little rural town, make sure you take the time to explore because they’re often not as sleepy as they first come across and make for surprising, authentic kiwi experiences.
The call of the wild, the great outdoors, and free as a bird without obligations or set plans – backpacking in New Zealand is the stuff that dreams are made of. Little by little you will rise to new challenges, even if you didn’t know you had it in you. You will stand humbled by the vast beauty surrounding you and wonder why you waited so long to get here. You may even come across a beautiful stranger who will forever hold a place in your heart. Are you ready to roam yet?