New Zealand is perfect for backpacking. Similar in size to the UK, this is a compact country with vastly different scenery between the main towns and cities. Getting around is easy, whether you choose to drive, walk, cycle or use public transport, New Zealand is a great country to explore.
If you’re seeking the true backpacker experience then traveling by public transport will give you a unique insight into the Kiwi way of life. New Zealand is a safe and friendly place to explore and travelling like a local is a great way to learn more about New Zealand from Kiwis and other travelers like you.
InterCity Coachlines is New Zealand’s largest bus operator with a comprehensive network throughout the North and South Islands. Modern, low emission buses provide multiple daily services from major town and cities nationwide. Fares start from just $1 (+ a booking fee) on all services and a network of agents throughout the country mean there’s always someone local to ask advice. InterCity isn't a backpacker "party bus" - when you travel with InterCity you will get to meet other like-minded travellers, as well as thousands of Kiwis who use the services every day to visit relatives, attend university etc.
You can book just a single journey at a time or take advantage of a range of flexible transport passes, ideally suited to backpackers, students and locals alike.
For total flexibility, InterCity's flexipass provides an hours based pass and access to the entire national network, whereas Travelpass offers a range of national and regional fixed itineraries, with bonus inclusions like the Interislander ferry and a Milford Sound cruise. A trips based pass is also popular and lets you purchase a fixed number of journeys at a heavily discounted price. See flexitrips.co.nz for details.
Whatever style of travel you choose, interact with those around you and remember this ancient Maori whakataukī or proverb:
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!