New Zealand


looking for some tips + tricks for your next adventure that don't break the bank (or your finally-developed self-care habits)?! i've compiled everything i found during my favorite trips around the globe so you don't have to! 

new zealand is literally my favorite country i've ever been to. the people, the landscapes, and the deep connection to earth's beauty is something that just can't be replicated. the air literally smells sweeter! I always say that it reminds me of how the world was before people inhabited it--so get there before too many people do. 


since i spent almost two months backpacking around the country, i won't give specific recommendations on hostels or hotels - but i will share my favorite spots that you can't miss.

  • kaikora: my literal favorite town of all time. it's situated on new zealand's south island (east side) and at a spot where two tectonic plates diverge deep in the ocean - which makes it ripe for marine life. besides being insanely beautiful, it just has such a perfect charm. do not miss!
  • queenstown: this is the "adventure junkie" town on the south island (where the bungee jump was created). it's beautiful and has a lot more people/food/things going on than most other towns. it's a must do for sure.
  • wanaka: ugh. this place is unreal. it's situated on a huge glacier-lake that is just breathtaking at all hours of the day. i somehow ran a half-marathon here and did not regret one minute. please go!
  • franz josef: this was the first time i climbed a glacier, and it was unreal. the town doesn't have much but if the weather holds out for your glacier climb - splurge and do it. you get sent up there by a helicopter. it's craziness.
  • nelson: beautiful, beautiful spot with artsy galleries, loads of wine and amazing sunsets along the lake. 
  • waiheke island: it's a short boat ride from auckland (new zealand's capital) but it feels like a different world. wineries, beaches and olive groves galore. it's a perfect day trip from the big city.

i could go on forever...



since i was backpacking, i used a bus service called kiwi experience. it was honestly perfect for the time that i was there - it's easy to make friends, they stop at all the necessary places, and help book your hostel each night. 

that being said - if i were to do it again i would 100% rent a car. most people end up sleeping in their cars / hitchhiking is still a thing there (what does anyone have to worry about?!). it's magical.



I will spare us all and avoid giving any food recommendations that I had because I basically ate rice every night (it cost $3 for an entire bag!). I will say though - in queenstown definitely try fergburger. it's not a wellness recommendation but when in rome right!

you would think that with new zealand's landscapes they would have an extremely plant-based diet, but it's largely beef and lamb. look out for fruits and veggies at farmers markets if you can! 



OH where do I begin...

  • swim with wild dolphins at sunrise (kaikora - south)
  • nature hikes to see local sea lions (kaikora - south)
  • climb franz josef glacier! (franz josef - south)
  • bungee jump @ the birthplace of bungee (queenstown - south)
  • kayak in abel tasman national park (kaiteriteri - south)
  • take in the beauty of lake wanaka (wanaka)
  • see milford sound (milford sound - south)
  • hike the tongariro crossing (tongariro - north)
  • touch a glowworm (waitomo caves - north)
  • soak in hot springs (rotorua - north)
  • taste wine on waiheke island (auckland - north)
travelKatina Mountanos