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Backpacking in New Zealand
New Zealand is simply a land of wonders. Not only does it own some of the most breathtaking scenery to be found anywhere across the globe, its cities are equally stunning and its people warm and gregarious to boot.

Itís slightly perplexing then, that New Zealand is still off the beaten track in terms of backpacking. Still, that makes a trip here all the more justifiable: enjoy the stunningly dramatic land, the thriving urban hubs, and the many excellent hostels in New Zealand before the masses arrive! Put simply, thereís no better feeling that discovering a gemÖ


Auckland is New Zealandís biggest city. Built on a field of 48 now extinct volcanoes, its inspiring scenery is typical of the country as a whole. But donít be fooled into thinking this is a shy and retiring nature spot; Auckland is a thriving, diverse and multicultural urban hub that can delight even the most committed of city-slickers.

Known as the City of Sails for the yachts that decorate Waitemata Harbor, Auckland is a uniformly impressive type of place. Its historic heart is to be found at Aotea Square, a handsome plaza that boasts an array of impressive buildings. Close by, the Auckland Art Gallery offers exhibitions that cover everything from traditional Maori work to contemporary pieces.

Another excellent tourist attraction is the Domain, Aucklandís oldest, and probably most impressive, park. Here youíll find the pleasant Winter Gardens, and the War Memorial Museum, which is considered one of the best museums in the country.

As with any self-respecting city, Aucklandís nightlife is excellent, ranging from homely bars to audacious clubs. Many head to Ponsoby for its cafes and restaurants come nighttime (it also offers some great boutique shops during the day), while Karangahape Road (or K-Road) is the main drinking and dancing strip.

If that all sounds like too much exertion, you can always choose to spend an evening in one of the many sociable Auckland hostels, where food, drink and conversation flow with happy ease.

Moving Out from Auckland

Once Aucklandís many delights have been exhausted, knowledgeable backpackers tend to spend time exploring the surrounding area before heading off to other parts of the country. The idyll of the Great Barrier Island is only 30 minutes away, for example, while the black sand surf beaches and inland waterfalls of Karekare also make for an excellent few days exploration.

Rotorua is a little farther a field, although at only a few hours drive from Auckland it can still be considered easily reachable from the city. A seething mass of geothermal springs and geysers, Rotorua is simply not to be missed. The headlining attraction here is the Whakarewarewa geyser, which erupts roughly 15 times per day.

And the RestÖ

If Rotorua only whets your appetite for more rural adventure, the Fiordland National Park is a great backpackerís option. Over 1.2 million hectares of largely unexplored land presents itself here, with miles upon miles of trekking tracks to be covered.

If, on the other hand, itís another dosage of Kiwi city life youíre looking for, Wellington is the place to go. New Zealandís administrative and cultural capital spreads out from its stunning harbor. It is, all in all, a lasting testament to the splendid nature of this awesome country.
About the Author
Before settling down and becoming a copywriter for HostelBookers.com Jonny Cooper did a backpacking tour of New Zealand and he checked out a variety of hostels including Auckland hostels.
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