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 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 and more.
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 that gives you access to its 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, take the time to 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!