Contemplating Backpacking New Zealand? These Photos by Bloggers Will Make You Grab Your Bag and Go!

by Viola
Backpacking New Zealand Inspirations

Backpacking New Zealand is perhaps a fantasy adventure on many people’s bucket list. From stunning sceneries, to adrenaline pumping activities, to unique Maori culture, this beautiful country has much to offer. I am lucky to have travel through New Zealand twice, once in the north island and once in the south island. I’ve even written a post about 10 Cool Things to Do in New Zealand. However, this year, I am contemplating yet another trip back to Middle Earth! I want to really uncover those gems that I haven’t yet seen. To get some inspirations for my itinerary, I asked other travel bloggers for photos of their favorite places in New Zealand. Sure enough, my friends did not disappoint! I am super pumped after seeing their responses! Check out these stunning photos of New Zealand by bloggers. You’d want to grab that bag too and book that plane ticket today!

*This post contains affiliate links. Which means at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission for purchases made.


Backpacking New Zealand Inspirations – North Island


Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

backpacking new zealand

“Whilst getting to the Cathedral Cove is a good 75 min hike, it is well worth the effort. Leave early in the morning on a sunny day to have one of New Zealand’s stunning beaches all to yourself! Another option, rent a kayak and head to the beach over sea instead.”

– Odette from Omnivagant  Check out her Instagram


Mount Taranaki

Backing New Zealand“The climb to the Pouakai tarns might seem intimidating, but are well worth the effort. Hike between enchanted like forests, turn the corner and suddenly you will be awed by the beauty of Mount Taranaki. The area of Mount Taranaki is filled with natural pools, waterfalls, forests, and enough hikes to last you for months.”

– Odette from Omnivagant  Check out her Instagram


Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park

Backing New Zealand“The Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park is one of the most colorful attractions in New Zealand, just near Rotorua. Geothermal activity created landscapes with surreal colors and shapes. The one featured in the image is called the Painter’s Palette.”

– Gábor from Surfing The Planet Check out their Facebook page  



Piha Beach

Tide pools covering the massive broad, flat beach. Endless sunsets framed by massive rock formations. Piha Beach is just an hour west of Auckland so it makes an ideal day trip as soon as you’ve recovered from the jet lag, but it’s a place so special that you’ll forget the crowds and traffic and feel like you’ve arrived in the Land of the Long White Cloud.” 

Melissa from The Family Voyage Check out their Instagram

If you have extra time, also check out Kitekite Falls near Piha Beach. This stunning waterfall is just a short hike away and so worth it.


Bay of Islands

backpacking new zealand“The Bay of Islands is a group of islands dotting a large Bay area. Some of them are inhabited, albeit with very few people, others are completely deserted and most have been declared as Reserves or Parks.”

– Mar from Once in a Lifetime Journey  Check out her Instagram


Huka Fallsbackpacking new zealand

“Huka Falls is just a short 2 hour round trip hike or a 5 minute drive from the little adventure town of Taupo. The unreal cerulean blue color of the water alone is enough to put this place on your NZ itinerary.”

– Dave from Dave On Arrival Check out his Instagram 



Motuarohia Island

backpacking new zealand“Motuarohia Island is one f the 140 islands located in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands.  Captain Cook anchored his vessel, the Endeavour, in 1769 in this bay.  For present-day visitors, Motuarohia offers a lagoon for swimming and a hike to the top of the island, where one can enjoy this stunning view.”

-Amy Alton from Out Chasing Star Check out her Facebook page


Maori Culture Experience

backpacking new zealand“At the site of the Waitangi Treaty, the formal treaty signed by both the British Crown and the Māori people of New Zealand, you can experience the culture of the  Māori people.  We enjoyed a live show of Māori warriors, a traditional meal, and historic buildings.”  

-Amy Alton from Out Chasing Star Check out her Facebook page


Hamurana Springs

backpacking new zealand“Rotorua isn’t all hissing fumaroles and bubbling mud pools. At Hamurana Springs, a 30-minute drive away, a stream of crystal-clear water flows through peaceful native forest and redwood groves, reflecting hues of green and blue along the way. Bring an empty bottle; it’s an easy walk to the head spring and the chilly water makes the perfect thirst quencher.”

– Nicholas from Rambling Feet Check out his Instagram.


Kapiti Coast

backpacking new zealand

“The Paekakariki Escarpment Walking Track on the Kapiti Coast is about an hour north of Wellington. The walk takes around 3 hours and provides amazing views of the coast including Kapiti Island.”

– Rohan from Travels of a Bookpacker  Follow on Rohan on Instagram



backpacking new zealand

“Russell is located in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand and is super easy to get to by car ferry or by passenger ferry. It is a quaint little seaside town with an awesome atmosphere, especially in the summer. It is the original capital of New Zealand and holds a lot of history – not all of it good!! The good, the bad and the ugly are all embraced by the locals. Spend your time wandering through the streets, checking out the shops, historic sites and restaurants before visiting the beach for a quick swim.”

– Michelle from Walking on Foreign Chels Check our her Instagram


Lake Taupo

backpacking new zealand“Lake Taupo is located on the North Island and is the largest lake in New Zealand, with a surface area of roughly 616 square kilometres. You can skydive over the lake, which offers stunning views and an adrenaline rush that can’t be beaten.”

– Craig Russell from No Real Plan Check out his Instagram 


The Poor Knights

“The Poor Knights Islands are only half an hour away by boat from Tutukaka, on New Zealand North Island. They’re famous for diving. Jacques Cousteau – who invented scuba diving – placed them on his Top 10 diving spots. Plus, you can dive the world’s largest cave there! The colourful walls and the kelp forest are stunning. Bonus: it’s also a beautiful place outside the water!”

Eloise from My Favourite Escapes Check out her Facebook page


Backpacking New Zealand Inspirations – South Island


Mount Cook

backpacking new zealand“Mt Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, located on the South Island, in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. To get great views of the mountain I would recommend walking the Hooker Valley Track from Mt Cook village, where you can stay overnight in a hotel or hostel (though the village is very small so gets booked up very quickly! The Hooker Valley Track crosses suspension bridges, alpine streams, and follows the valley which ends at Hooker Lake, filled with little icebergs and Mt Cook rising majestically in the background!”

– Rachel from Rachel On Route Check out her Instagram



Backpacking New Zealand“Dunedin is full of stunning beaches and coastal viewpoints, from the wild Otago Peninsula to the many bays and beaches of its southern and northern coasts. This photo was taken at the end of the Otago Peninsula looking back towards Aramoana Beach. You can see penguins and albatross nearby and there are some great beaches on the other side of the Peninsula, including Sandfly Bay and Victory Beach.”

– Jon from Jon is Traveling. Check out his Instagram.



backpacking new zealand“Spotting sperm whales off the coast of Kaikoura on the east coast of New Zealand is simply breathtaking. Kaikoura is known for having a deep ocean canyon so it’s a great place to spot marine wildlife including dolphins and whales.”

– Becky from Becky the Traveller Check out her Instagram


Abel Tasman National Park

backpacking new zealand“Abel Tasman is the smallest national park in New Zealand, located at the northern tip of the South Island. The area is closed to vehicles, accessible only on foot or by boat, and it’s a great spot to sail, kayak, go horseback riding, and hike. The park is especially well known for the Abel Tasman Coastal Track: a 60km track that is among the most popular multi-day hikes in New Zealand.”

– Emily from Emdashed Check out her Instagram


Franz Josef

backpacking new zealand“Probably one of the most unforgettable activities you can do in New Zealand is take a short helicopter ride onto Franz Josef Glacier for a hike on the ever-changing ice. Where else in the world can you walk through lush rain forest, fly for 10 minutes to a glacier as parrots shriek overhead, and then watch the sunset over the ocean as you fly back to town? It’s like a greatest hits tour of New Zealand biodiversity in just one epic afternoon.”

– Savannah from Savvy Dispatches Check out her Instagram


Allan’s beach, Otago Peninsula

backpacking new zealand“Allan’s beach on the Otago Peninsula is a gorgeous white sand beach off the beaten track. The resident sea lions spend a lot of time lounging around, catching some rays. If you’re lucky you might get a glimpse of some baby sea lions playing in the waves. We loved that the beach was so secluded that there were more sea lions than people!”

– Suewan from RTW Families Follow on Instagram


Lake Tekapo

backpacking new zealand

“Lake Tekapo is a stunning turquoise lake surrounded by mountains and rolling hills. There are lupins growing around the edge of the lake in blues, purples and pinks. A lush place to spend a day walking, swimming and taking in the views. “

– Suewan from RTW Families Follow on Instagram


Glenorchy Lagoon

backpacking new zealand

“Glenorchy Lagoon forms the northern end of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island. The drive here from Queenstown is one of the most beautiful in all of New Zealand. Movie fans may recognize it as a filming location from the “Lord of the Rings” films.”

– Jonathan from Everybody Hates a Tourist Check out his Instagram


Golden Bay

backpacking new zealand“Golden Bay is New Zealand’s premiere destination for, you guessed it, golden sandy beaches. Kayaking in the area is a popular activity and not to be missed. And when you’re done exploring the beaches, the Golden Bay area has ample wineries to choose from.”

– Scott & Hayley from International Hotdish Check out their Instagram


Milford Sound

backpacking new zealand

“Beautiful scenery is synonymous with New Zealand.  It’s around every turn!  One of the best day trips is from Queenstown to Milford Sound – the jewel of the South Island. Milford Sound is the top tourist attraction in New Zealand and it lives up to the hype.  A cruise through the sound to see the waterfalls and wildlife is a must!”

– Nicole from Travel Gal Nicole  Check out her Instagram


Doubtful Sound

backpacking new zealand

“Doubtful Sound is the lesser known (and visited) Sound in New Zealand but its an exciting adventure.  You start with a boat ride to a bus ride to another boat where you are the only vessel sailing and get to experience nature’s beauty like no other. It’s stunning everywhere you look that you’ll need to put the camera down just to breathe it all in.”

– Suzanne Wolko from Phila Travel Girl Check out her Instagram


Coronet Peak

backpacking new zealand“Coronet Peak is one of the most popular ski mountains on the south island, just a short half hour bus ride from Queenstown. The terrain is fairly family-friendly, so a good place for beginners and intermediates to learn to ski or snowboard. The views at the top are amazing – especially when the clouds are low, and you can see blue skies and the mountain peaks.” 

– Hats from Hats Off Check out her Instagram


Arthur’s Pass

backpacking new zealand“Arthur’s Pass is the highest pass through the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand. The road itself winds up to more than 900 metres across the mountains, and includes bridges and impressive viaducts. There are plenty of fantastic photo spots along the way, walks to do, and waterfalls to see. Keep an eye out for Kea, the cheeky alpine parrot!”

– Sonja from Migrating Miss Check out her Instagram


Queenstownbackpacking new zealand

“Queenstown is on the South Island, and offers a real mix of stunning scenery, adrenaline activities such as bungee jumping and some great bars. Party, hike, bungee jump from 134 metres, snowboard and relax. You name it, you can pretty much do it here!”

–  Craig Russell from No Real Plan. Check out his Instagram.


The Catlins

backpacking new zealand“Florence Hill Lookout, with its amazing views over Tautuku Bay, is a highlight of a trip to the Catlins. There is lots more to see in this small stretch of coastline in the far south of New Zealand, including deserted beaches, wildlife and some great waterfalls.”

– Gia from See the South Island Check out her Instagram


At this point, you are either crying in delight or crying in sadness knowing that there are too many amazing places in NZ that you probably won’t be able to go to all. I am the former right now as I prowl Skyscanner for the next cheap flight to Kiwi Land. Backpacking New Zealand Round 3 here I come! 

Psst, for extra tips, check out this Ultimate Guide to Backpacking New Zealand by Yana from Beard and Curly.

Which one of these photos/recommendations by bloggers is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!





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Photos that will make you want to go backpacking New Zealand

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Suzanne (PhilaTravelGirl) March 7, 2018 - 4:42 pm

Such a fantastic photo journey of New Zealand! I just revisited favorite memories of the South Island in this post and am sad I wasn’t able to visit the North Island yet.. I can’t wait to go back and think everyone should visit and fall in love with the country’s stunning nature, tasty wines and lovely people/culture. Thanks for sharing my Doubtful Sound photo and memory

Eloise March 8, 2018 - 3:29 am

It looks amazing. I’m glad to find on that list many places I haven’t explored yet! I’m looking forward to going back to New Zealand. It’s such a fabulous place to please all nature lovers – from the beach to the mountains 😀

Becky March 12, 2018 - 11:59 am

Oh wow! These pictures definitely make me want to grab my bag and go to New Zealand. Stunning pictures! 🙂


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