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New Zealand Trade Manual has been designed with travel industry professionals in mind.
  • Selling New Zealand provides you with handy sales tools, quick facts and latest news from the New Zealand travel industry.
  • Travel Planner makes planning New Zealand travel easy. Find itineraries, information on accommodation/transport and more.
  • About New Zealand has everything on New Zealand culture, nature, lifestyle, activities and events that make New Zealand a unique destination.

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It's time to fly! Discover the freedom of free fall in fabulous Queenstown. Image: Tourism New Zealand. Photo by NZONE.

Backpacker Travel

For clients travelling on a limited budget, New Zealand is the perfect destination for getting great value for money, offering plenty of inexpensive accommodation, transport and activity options to suit a range of different age groups and interests.

Making the Sale
New Zealand Trade Manual Backpacking isn’t just for gap years. Increasingly, travellers of all ages choose to stay in budget accommodation in order to spend more money on activities and experiences.
New Zealand Trade Manual Although backpackers may have budget constraints, they shouldn’t miss out on the iconic activities that make this country famous. Encourage them to set aside funds for unmissable experiences.

Long mild summers and the appeal of the great outdoors mean that New Zealanders have a history of exploring their own backyard on no-frills road trips or hiking expeditions. In fact, the family camping holiday is practically a national institution! So the country is well suited to any traveller who wants to get the most out of their money.

Satisfy the independent streak in your clients by suggesting they purchase a tent or hire a campervan and explore the wonderful landscape. For those really wanting to get back to nature, hiking in the back country is something of a Kiwi tradition – the Department of Conservation maintains a network of tracks and low-cost huts and camping areas so that visitors can experience the unique landscape on any budget.

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New Zealand Trade Manual Saving money on accommodation means more to spend on activities.

Quality, inexpensive accommodation is easy to find. From backpacker hostels to camping grounds, complete with cabins and sometimes motel units, there is a wide range of budget accommodation.

Backpacker Hostels
With more than 500 throughout New Zealand your clients are spoilt for choice! Some offer only dorms, others have private rooms. Bed linen and laundry facilities are often available for an extra charge. Bathroom, kitchen and living areas are shared, which contributes to the communal atmosphere. Hostels may offer package deals on activities. Budget Backpacker Hostels of New Zealand (t: +64 3 379 3014, With over 320 members, BBH is the biggest network of independently owned and operated hostels. The BBH Club Card offers ‘Frequent Sleeper’ rates and preferential online bookings. Youth Hostels Association of New Zealand (NZ fp: 0800 278 299, Budget backpacker accommodation that offers a number of five-star hostels. 55 locations means your clients’ YHA passes will take them a long way. Extra discounts for ‘low-carbon’ travellers. VIP Backpackers ( Part of an international network, they have an international discount card for savings on transport and activities. Clients also earn VIP Rewards that can be redeemed for accommodation. Nomads (NZ fp: 0508 NOMADS (666 237), Hostel network offering high-quality accommodation and discounts on transport and activities with the Nomads Mad Card. BASE Backpackers (NZ fp: 0800 BASE NZ (227 369), High-quality budget accommodation in main centres, including deluxe BASE Sanctuary girls-only dorms.

Holiday Parks and Camping Grounds
Some camping grounds have backpacker accommodation and communal lounges. Visitors share kitchen and bathrooms. Top 10 Holiday Parks (NZ fp: 0800 867 836, Budget accommodation in 49 locations. Some parks have cabins and motel rooms. Encourage your clients to join the Top 10 Club for discounts. Department of Conservation ( For back-to-basics camping, DOC operates more than 250 camping grounds. They can be very basic; some have only long-drop toilets and streams for water. On the up-side, your clients can often stay at these sites for free. Others are more comfortable, with hot showers, and visitors pay a small charge to stay.

Self Contained and Serviced
Accommodation in motel studios and suites is easy to find near main driving routes and in cities and is a good option for independence and privacy, especially if your clients are travelling in a group. Parking is usually free and many motels have amenities such as a laundry and sometimes a kitchen. Most are regularly serviced. Motel Association of New Zealand ( Network of over 900 self-contained accommodation providers around the nation.

Farm Stays
Down on the farm your clients can experience the good life, Kiwi style. There are a couple of options offering accommodation in return for helping out on farms. Willing Workers on Organic Farms (t: +64 3 544 9890, Go green in Aotearoa! Backpackers travelling on a Working Holiday Visa can work their way around New Zealand in exchange for full board. Farm Helpers in NZ (t: +64 6 354 1104, Farm stays offering food and accommodation in exchange for a few hours’ work each day.

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New Zealand Trade Manual Self-drive road trips are a popular option for backpackers, but dedicated backpacker bus tours are another good option.

Being a relatively small country with a good network of coach transport makes New Zealand cheap and easy to get around in for budget travellers who prefer not to drive. While renting a vehicle is an economical option for a group of people travelling together, independent travellers have the option of purchasing bus passes for the ultimate convenience and savings or joining a specialised bus network such as Magic Travellers Network or Kiwi Experience for an unforgettable social experience in some of the country’s more unusual regions.

Vehicle Hire
Renting a car or campervan gives maximum flexibility. With a campervan, of course, accommodation is part of the package, so your clients will only need to pay for a site at a camping ground. For a group of people travelling together, renting a vehicle is a particularly cost-effective option. Rental offices are at airports, city depots and ferry terminals, and minimum hire ages vary from 21 to 25. Some companies let hirers pick up a new car on the other side of Cook Strait, saving them on ferry fares. Explore More (NZ fp: 0800 HIRE ME (447 363), Flexible, low-cost camper and car rentals. Backpacker Sleeper Vans (NZ fp: 0800 321 939, Car/van hybrids best described as comfy campers packed into compact vans. Jucy Car Rentals (NZ fp: 0800 399 736, From cheap and cheerful runabouts to lime-green mini-campers. Spaceships (NZ fp: 0800 SPACESHIPS (772 237), People-movers fitted out with campervan features. Wicked Campers (NZ fp: 0800 246 870, These no-frills campers are good value. If your clients are travelling solo but want the campervan experience, they can look for Roadtrip Buddies on their website. Backpacker Campervan & Car Rentals (NZ fp: 0800 422 267, No-frills rentals for backpackers. Escape Rentals (NZ fp: 0800 216 171, Moveable art. Customised campervans with street-style artwork. Easygo Campers (5 Aintree Avenue, Auckland, NZ fp: 0800 808 881, Easygo Campers pack multiple features into their campers, yet still keep prices low. Affordable Car Rental (48 Carr Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland, t: +64 9 630 1567, NZ fp: 0800 454 443, Free maps in all rental vehicles and free pick-up from downtown or the airport.

Air Travel
Daily air services connect larger centres, and many travel from one end of the country to the other by road, returning to the gateway city by air. For the cheapest fares on all carriers check Cheap flights require flexibility and little baggage, and travellers pay extra for any services. Air New Zealand (NZ fp: 0800 737 000, If your clients want the full service, book with the national carrier. They service the most destinations and do offer cheaper fares on sale on Cheap Smart Saver fares must be booked online. Jetstar (NZ fp: 0800 800 995, Cheap flights between Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown. All economy service with snacks for purchase only – but they do have leather seats.

Travelling by bus and rail can be a convenient option for independent travellers. Affordable and convenient buses depart daily from popular destinations. InterCity (t: +64 9 583 5780, The biggest operator gets you to over 600 destinations. Buses are air-conditioned and modern, and overnight ‘Starlighter’ services save travellers a night’s accommodation. Receive a discount on most services with a YHA, BBH or VIP card and watch the website for more bargains. Naked Bus (t: 0900 NAKED (62533), Bargain basement long-distance bus fares. Special fares start from as little as NZ$1 (plus $1 booking fee) and the regular fares are cheap too.

New Zealand’s rail network isn’t comprehensive, but offers some fantastically scenic rail journeys. KiwiRail (NZ fp: 0800 TRAINS (872 467), Operates a rail service between Wellington and Auckland. Special journeys to other North Island destinations are sometimes available and there are good discounts from time to time.

Ferries operate between the North and South Island, to Stewart Island and other places. Advance bookings are essential if your clients are travelling with a vehicle and/or at peak times across Cook Strait. Interislander (NZ fp: 0800 802 802, Up to eleven daily services across Cook Strait for both vehicles and passengers. Ferries have food courts and movie theatres on board. Look online for the latest specials. Bluebridge (NZ fp: 0800 844 844, Slightly smaller operator with up to four daily return sailings for passengers and vehicles. Bluebridge offers free big-screen movies on its Cook Strait services.

Tour Operators
With tour operators, options range from independent to guided or group tours. Independent tours offer maximum flexibility; assistance with itinerary planning, but once in New Zealand, your clients are on their own. Guided and group tours are brilliant for experiencing popular itineraries without hassle. For backpackers, though, there are some great options offering the best of both worlds. Kiwi Experience (t: +64 9 336 4286, Once they’ve chosen a route, your clients can get on and off as much as they like for up to a year. Routes get travellers off the beaten track and there are discounts on accommodation and activities. Magic Travellers Network (t: +64 9 358 5600, National and regional hop-on, hop-off coach tours designed for backpackers. Stray (t: +64 9 526 2140, Hop-on, hop-off travel to out-of-the-way places. With mini coaches your clients will travel in smaller groups. Haka Tours (t: +64 3 980 4252, Guides take travellers off the beaten track and to key destinations. Choose activities and pre-book along the way. Flying Kiwi Adventure Tours (NZ fp: 0800 693 296 Pack as much into the trip as your clients can handle with one of more than ten entirely flexible expeditions. Hiking New Zealand (NZ fp: 0800 697 232, Back-to-basics backpacking to secret spots and wilderness areas. Travellers explore on foot, by kayak or canoe and experience camping.

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New Zealand Trade Manual Make sure your clients have set aside funds to cover the most iconic New Zealand activities.

New Zealand is a destination like no other! Adventure, adrenaline and affordable travel – all set against a fantastic backdrop – make this island nation the perfect place to explore. And there are lots of ways to make money go further when it comes to finding things to do. Walking is a great way to discover the country without spending money – even a simple forest walk can feel like an extraordinary experience for clients who want to get back to nature. And for those wanting to explore the urban lifestyle and local culture, many museums and galleries may be visited free of charge. In all parts of the country there are inexpensive and even free options to keep visitors entertained, including walking tours of significant sights and architecturally noteworthy buildings. But don’t forget that experiences like whale watching or bungy jumping are worth every cent! Help your clients find and use discount cards for deals on these and other activities. BBH Club Card (

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Eating and Drinking

New Zealand Trade Manual Make sure your clients sample New Zealand’s famous fish ‘n’ chips – the ultimate inexpensive treat.

Larger cities and even smaller centres offer budget choices from ethnic cafés through to fish ‘n’ chip shops. Or your clients may prefer to cook for themselves – fresh ingredients are available year-round at farmers’ markets. City supermarkets abound, but country prices may be higher so advise your clients to stock up before heading to isolated places. They should spend a little money on those special Kiwi treats (like a great bottle of wine), though! For those seeking the occasional indulgence, New Zealand’s dining culture offers a range of experiences, from classic ethnic cuisines from around the world to the local style, which draws on the influences of many different cultures to create a national menu that is as vibrant and innovative as it is delicious!

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Quality at a Great Price

Qualmark New Zealand is New Zealand tourism’s official quality agency – and it’s not just for high-end accommodation. There are categories for all kinds of accommodation, including Self Contained and Serviced (motels, apartments and holiday cottages), Holiday Home, Holiday Park and Backpackers. Grades range from 1- to 5-star for all styles. All accommodation that has been awarded a Qualmark has undergone a detailed assessment to ensure that it meets a minimum level of requirements in cleanliness, security and comfort. That means even operators with a low number of stars under the Qualmark grading system offer accommodation that is basic, clean and comfortable. Qualmark also offers Qualmark Enviro, rating businesses Gold, Silver or Bronze according to their sustainability, giving you and your clients the ability to choose from a range of green accommodation and activity providers.

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Purchasing a Vehicle

If your clients are planning a longer road trip, then buying (and re-selling) a car is an option. Remember that vehicles require a Warrant of Fitness and Registration. Turners Auctions ( Catch a no-reserve auction for a bargain. Trade Me ( The Kiwi version of eBay. AA ( They offer a vehicle appraisal service if your clients are not quite sure what to look out for. Backpackers Car Market ( Travellers can pick up a reasonably priced second-hand car that they can sell again at the end of the trip.

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Dos & Don’ts of Freedom Camping

Freedom camping means parking a camper in a non-designated camping area and staying overnight. Rules on freedom camping vary from region to region, but in all areas, if there is a sign that indicates ‘no camping’, visitors must not park overnight. Campers that are not self-contained (that do not have a toilet, shower and grey water storage on board) must not camp outside designated camping areas. Note that there are some very budget-friendly camping options, such as Department of Conservation camping grounds, where travellers can stay for overnight for a nominal fee.

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Travel Passes

Flexi Pass ( Travel by the hour on the InterCity network. Passes are valid for a year, travellers can jump on and off as they please and add hours as they go, so it’s very flexible. Travelpass ( With Travelpass you pick one of 17 itineraries. But your clients have got a year to use it, so they can jump on and off as much as they like. Ferry travel between North and South Islands is included and some passes have free inclusions to make the budget go further. Nakedpassport ( Buy trips on the Naked Bus network in multiples of five. The pass is valid for a year. The ‘Unlimited’ version is exactly that. Add-on activities available. Scenic Rail Pass ( Offers hop-on, hop-off rail travel across the entire Tranz Scenic rail network.

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Working Holidays

Getting a Working Holiday Visa is relatively easy and cheap, and your clients can apply online on These visas can be extended if your client can prove that they worked in the agricultural or horticultural seasonal sector for at least three months during their working holiday. On you’ll find a list of recruitment agencies, and ski resort websites also publish vacancies. More openings can be found on Before your clients can start working they’ll need an IRD number for tax reasons. They can apply for this at once they’re in New Zealand.

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Internet in a Hurry


Lifestyle & Entertainment

Mobile phones,,


Phone directories,

Short-term internet connections

Tourism New Zealand



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Essential Info

In an Emergency When life and/or property are in danger, dial 111 for police, fire service or ambulance. Hospitals In all major cities; the A&E Department is for serious emergencies only. Medical Centres Often open beyond business hours. Doctors and 24-hour surgeries are listed in regional telephone directories. NZ Healthline freephone: 0800 611 116. Chemists Prescriptions, contraception and over-the-counter medications. Laundromats Many hostels offer laundry facilities. For laundromats check directories such as the Yellow Pages. Phone Home Get an EasyCall phone card for great international rates. Buy a cheap mobile or SIM card from 2degrees, Telecom or Vodafone. Internet Lots of hostels have broadband. Also try internet cafés and public libraries. Luggage Depots Storage is available in all major cities. Check out visitor information centres. Travel Info For information, visit an i-SITE Visitor Centre.

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