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What to bring

The ability to travel light is an art – especially when you haven’t the slightest clue about the country you’re travelling to. Use the checklist for backpacking in New Zealand below to help you bring the right amount of stuff, and save some space for those mementos to take home with you (not the sheep though, leave the sheep).

Chilling with a book in kaikoura
Surfing in Kaikoura
Scuba diving in Bay of Islands
Dolpin swimming Bay of islands New Zealand
These have done some mileage
St james Walkway Lewis Pass, New Zealand

Checklist for backpacking in New Zealand


Essential if you plan on working here (this may take you a while to obtain so it’s best to get onto it early)
Passport To get on the plane
Travel insurance Before getting on the plane
Bank card/credit card and extra cashSee Money section below
Health shotsYou shouldn’t need any special jabs to come backpacking in New Zealand but it pays to stay up to date with the usual health shots. Always ask your doctor for advice.
Soft bagA sturdy backpack or large bag are most appropriate for adventuring around New Zealand.
Beach gearNew Zealand, especially the North island, is full of plenty of beaches and opportunities for a swim. Remember the SPF30 sunscreen too as our burn time can be very short.
Warm clothesIn addition to the beach culture New Zealand is a country of contrasts so make sure you pack warm clothes especially a jacket.
Warm sleeping clothes/ underwearThermal underwear comes in especially handy if you’re in the deep south during winter or on a mountain top. Hostels generally prefer you use their bedding so a sleeping bag isn’t really necessary.
Walking shoesNormal runners will be fine but if you’ve got sturdy walking shoes bring them for all the wicked walks you’ll be doing.
ID and party gearNew Zealand isn’t just all scenery and outdoor activities you know!
Bikes and surfboardsCan be hired along the way but there’s plenty of room on board if you want to bring your own. Just let us know.
Camera/video cameraTo share your backpacking in New Zealand memories with friends and win cash for yourself

At the end of the day if you’ve left something behind you will always be able to get it here. New Zealand isn’t an expensive place to come backpacking and there’s always a shop and helpful local just around the corner.



At the end of the day if you’ve left something behind you will always be able to get it here. New Zealand isn’t an expensive place to come backpacking and there’s always a shop and helpful local just around the corner.

New Zealand currency

As of Januray 2014 the New Zealand dollar ($ or NZD) was worth about 0.94 of an Australian dollar, 0.83 of a US dollar, 0.60 Euro, 0.51 British pound, and 0 Monopoly money.

Or use Google Currency Converter to convert your currency to New Zealand dollar.


Cash or electronic payment?

New Zealand has more EFTPOS machines (electronic payment by bank card or credit card) and more ATM’s (machines to withdraw cash) per capita than any other country in the world. In fact at every activity and hostel you’ll be able to pay for everything electronically (progressive huh!)

As a result you can leave your travellers cheques at home – they were so 1994 anyway.


How much will I need each day?

Kiwi Experience passes are fantastic value for money so you’ve already made a great start by choosing to travel with us. After that hostel accommodation is usually between NZD $28-$34 a night, a minimum of NZD $10 to $25 a day for food and beverage, and the activity options are almost endless.

New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world and it’s these activities like sky diving that are the most expensive. Some passengers choose to do every activity possible whilst others will make the most of all the free activities on offer and save their money for a few big activities along the way. The great thing about travelling with Kiwi Experience is that where there’s a paying activity there’s usually always a free alternative. There’s also never any pressure to spend anything (we do suggest you pay for a bed and keep eating though).

Check out our activity deals

When you jump on the bus we’ll give you a free Kiwi Experience travel guide book which will also show you what activities cost and what discounts are available to Kiwi Experience passengers.


Money saving tips

Here are a few tips to ensure you have enough money to experience the awesome range of activities on offer:

  • Cook you own meals or cook with a group, instead of buying them
  • If a driver or hostel offers to cook a meal this will usually save you a lot of money too!
  • Buy food from the big supermarkets rather than the smaller grocery stores
  • Put a limit on the cocktail purchases while out in town (instead try winking at a local and working that foreign accent!)
  • Don’t go to the casino