Backpacker haven, solo-traveller magnet and working holiday visa hotspot. We might be a long plane ride from… well anywhere, but you won’t find too many other destinations as safe, or awesome, as New Zealand.
Our serene shores rank second in the Global Peace Index’s list of the world’s safest countries, just behind Iceland. We think it’s no coincidence we’re both stunning countries whose sheep population significantly outnumbers the human population…
With this crazy world we’re living in you might still be wondering how safe it is to travel New Zealand. We’ve got a few tips and ideas to make sure Aotearoa becomes your travel happy-place, read on and rest assured. Travel alone, jump on our bus, jump off planes and bridges with your new buddies, then lap up some of the lushest nature around. Just don’t forget to pack your common sense.
Am I going to be okay travelling alone?
Set foot on the Kiwi Experience bus and you’ll realise you’re not the only one who thinks travelling to the other corner of the globe by themselves is a good idea. You may arrive alone but once on the bus we guarantee this will quickly change. Anyone who chooses Kiwi Experience is usually out to meet new people and maximise their adventures along the way. A bunch of like-minded individuals means you’re never short of someone to head out exploring with. Not surprisingly the majority of our passengers are travelling on their own, along with a few couples and friends travelling together.
Aside from an instant travel-crew, Kiwi Experience also means you’re in the safe hands of the choicest locals around, aka our Driver Guides . This country is both their office and playground, so there’s few people that know it better than they do. In between making sure you see all the best spots, they’ll dish out top tips on what to do with the rest of your days (and nights). They may not be your mum, but they will drop you off for one activity, pick you up for the next and make sure you’ve got a roof over your head at night.
New Zealand Society
A peaceful, multicultural society, we’re a diverse and tolerant bunch. Whether you’re travelling solo or with others, you shouldn’t face any hassles. Kiwis are friendly and helpful - though sometimes a little on the shy side! We want you to love the country as much as we do, so ask away if you need any tips or advice. Also if you’re wondering about traveller scams and the security situation in New Zealand - you probably don’t need to! Credit card fraud is a rarity in New Zealand and gun ownership laws are very strict so incidents are few and far between.
Accommodation-wise, New Zealand is the ideal backpacker set-up. Any town of a decent size will have a good selection of hostels, plus for the ladies there’s often the option of staying in a female-only dorm if preferred. If you’re on the bus with us, it means you can take advantage of our guaranteed night’s accommodation in all overnight stops. We’ll sort out a bed for you and you know you’ll be sleeping somewhere decent with good vibes and clean sheets!
What about going out at night?
We’d go as far as saying your nights out are generally a whole lot safer in New Zealand. Given that you’re often going to be in towns of population 2000-3000, there’s minimal chance of the typical late night big-city mishaps - the kind that often go along the lines of dark alleyway, new ‘friends’ and vague recollections of where you last saw your wallet. Standard safety precautions still apply - leaving your phone, wallet, passport (and anything else that might be difficult to live without) unattended is never a good idea.
If you’re wondering how a night out shapes up on the overnight Kiwi Experience stops, a lot of the time it will probably involve you and the rest of the bus taking over the local pub or hostel bar. Best of all these will probably be some of your most memorable nights - as anyone who’s experienced our legendary “Poo Pub” party in Lake Mahinapua can confirm.
Adventure capital - how safe is leaping into thin air?
If the people and places are ticking all your safety boxes, but the thought of free-falling and jumping from big heights leaves you shaky, New Zealand’s solid safety record will calm those jitters. Safety regulations for all adventure activities are strict in these parts - there’s a reason why alcohol-fuelled river tubing or jumping through “fire ropes" hasn’t taken off here. Plus, the activity operators we work with are amongst the best of the best. Behind all the banter and ridiculous jokes you’ll encounter, you can be 100% sure that our activity partners know what they’re doing - getting you all the thrills without any spills. Here’s the lowdown on some of our travellers’ favourite adrenaline-fixes.
Bungy Jumping: Aotearoa is the birthplace of modern bungy jumping and AJ Hackett are the are kings of the game. Their team love a laugh and know how to get you amped for massive jump, with first-class views to match. They also happen to be especially good at coaxing you along once you’re on the edge, turning second thoughts into scream-inducing adrenaline shots. Their equipment is continually tested, bungy ropes changed every 500 jumps and their safety procedure means you’ll be all strapped up before you even get close to the edge.
Skydiving: for spectacular views of some of our most picturesque spots (try Taupo and Queenstown) it doesn’t get much better than this. Think mind-blowing free fall, bird’s eye views across lakes and mountains, with an awesomely scenic flight to get you up to 16,000ft. The tandem masters you jump with have all done 1000+ jumps (most have a whole lot more), always carry a reserve parachute and know how to get you down in the safest, most fun way possible.
Black Water Rafting: Waitomo is one of the first stops on the route and lives up to its claim of “the most fun you can have in the dark”, or in a cave at least. These guys exemplify why you can feel good about putting your limbs in their hands. They’re all climbing, caving and rafting obsessed, the kind of people who spend their personal time doing the same thing as their day job. They know these caves inside out and have spent a whole lot of time underground perfecting the process - hence why we’re happy leaping into a deep, dark cave with them!
Likewise for white water rafting, kayaking, dolphin swimming and all the hundreds of other outdoors activities. You’ll consistently come across guides that are super experienced and passionate about what they’re doing. Plus they’ll be the ones checking the weather and making sure conditions are right, so there’s no dodgy iPhone meteorology involved!
Nature and animals - anything dangerous going to attack?
If you shuddered at the 100,000 creatures that could possibly attack you in Australia, you’ll be happy to know that just across the Tasman Sea we’ve got a total of three poisonous land-dwellers. All three are spiders, two of which originally come from Australia. Chance of crossing paths with these arachnids are slim to none. All the snake-phobes can stroll in peace too, there are zero snakes in New Zealand. If anything our wildlife is much more reticent than aggressive - our famous Kiwis (of the avian kind) are some of the shyest creatures out there.
Earthquakes. The last few years have seen some shaky moments for New Zealand. Locals in Christchurch and Kaikoura have been working away to get everything back to good shape since their respective earthquakes in 2011 and 2016. Christchurch’s quake damage is still visible in the centre of the city, and has since evolved into one of the city’s key attractions. They’ve also done some cool and quirky things to replace work around the damaged building - check out their container mall and urban art around the city.
We’re working on a solution to get Kaikoura back on our route and in the meantime there’s a great day trip option. Stay tuned for more - we can’t wait to get back to one of the most unique coastal, mountain-fringed, whale watching towns around.