A road trip in New Zealand through a travel agency specialized in trips for backpackers... Discovering North & South islands making the experience of Couchsurfing sometimes.
Du 14 août au 7 septembre 2015
25 jours
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Adrenaline rush for my first stop in New Zealand. I realized in Australia that I met so many French people so I wanted to make the most for my journey in New Zealand, trying to meet locals. So just arriving in Auckland, I was supposed to sleep at perfect unknown people's home. I took a taxi showing to the man the address and when I drove down the vehicle, I noticed that the number written on the address was untraceable! Just spicing up the situation, it was around 11h in the evening so it was totally dark and I could not use my phone because it was an Australian SIM card in it... For few minutes, I really thought I was crazy trying to sleep for free to unkown people place... So New Zealand did not give me a good feeling to start my trip! Hopefully I managed to find the entrance door 15 minutes later and my arrival was well and truly expected!

My first host couple in Auckland 

If you want to experience meeting locals and accommodation for free, you can use Couchsurfing.

I spent few days in Auckland but did not feel so exciting by the city. There is only few things to discover. Hopefully, I was not in New Zealand to discover cities!


If you are young and looking for good deals, want to feel free during your trip but need to be leaded sometimes, I really advise you to travel with Kiwi Experience. Our guide was really funny and always attentive with every traveller needs. When people experienced some activities, he always proposed other things to do for the others. Kiwi Experience proposes different kind of itinaries and they get plenty of accommodation addresses to suggest and also good deals for activities.

On the way to North of Auckland, we stopped in Whangarei Falls.

Whangarei Falls 

Arriving in Paihia, Bay of Islands, a wonderful and quiet place. Not so much to do but perfect for people who are looking for a rest.

Paihia - Bay of islands 

From Auckland to Hot Water Beach, I suggest you a stop in Coromandel & Cathedral Cove.

Coromandel & Cathedral Cove  

I continued my trip to Hot Water Beach, well-known for its dazzling beaches. Specific feature here is to grab a shovel at low tide and dig your own hot water pool in the sand!

Hot Water Beach  

Karangahake Walk just situated on the road between Hot Water Beach and Waitomo.

Karangahake Walk

I then hit the road for Waitomo where you can experience glowworm caves during an outing by boat.


Rotorua was the next step, cradle of Maori culture. Also famous for its geysers and steam from the ground.

If you stay in Rotorua for few days, do not miss Tamaki Maori Village for a cultural unique performance. Hobbiton Movie Set is not too far from Rotorua too.


Huka Falls are something to see on the road to Taupo.

Huka Falls 

In Taupo, Tongariro crossing is a must. I could not experience it as we were in winter but famous for being one of the best New Zealand trekking.

For brave travellers, skydive is one of the renowned activities in Taupo. As I am chicken-hearted I did not dare to try it!

I really suggest Tiki Lodge in Taupo; warm welcome, peaceful place, comfortable rooms and very well-equiped kitchen with 3 ovens, microwave and many kitchen ustensils. The must is with no doubt the amazing view on the mountains from the kitchen!

Tiki Lodge Taupo 

We you have time, you can have a look at Tawhai Falls Walk, between Taupo and River Valley.

Tawhai Falls Walk 

River Valley was one of my favourite spot. A countryside look in the middle of nowhere!

Please if River Valley is on your road, just stay for few nights in River Valley Lodge. So rustic accommodation but so charming too!

River Valley Lodge 

Finishing discovering North Island with a new Couchsurfing experience in Wellington. This time, no stress, address was easy to find! I spent a great time with Alonni. I shared the room with another guy from Poland and we all went to a pub to experience karaoke... funny evening!

 Friends in Wellington
Wellington Botanic Garden  
Glimpse of the city 

I recommend you to visit Te Papa Museum as it offers very good presentation and illustration about the country, fauna & flora and volcanoes.

Te Papa Museum 

Interislander is the ferry company which allow you to join North and South island.

During the crossing between North & South island 

Kaiteriteri is home to Abel Tasman National Park, where you can easily enjoy plenty of activities such as kayaking, sailing, trekking...


On the road till Franz Josef, we made a stop in Westport and Lake Mahinapua, where we found unexpected friends: a dog and a pig!

Lake Mahinapua 

Pancake Rocks is something to do! We had a walk there and we fell under magical views' spell.

Pancake Rocks 

Franz Josef is really worth a visit. Known for its glaciers trekking, you can also enjoy a tour in helicopter.

Franz Josef 

A stop between Franz Josef and Wanaka offered dazzling views from Lake Hawea Lookout.

Lake Hawea Lookout 

Do not hesitate to stop at Thunder Creek Falls.

Thunder Creek Falls 
On the road between Franz Josef and Wanaka  

Wanaka is a small town with a peaceful atmosphere. I really appreciated snowy mountains meeting lakes.


Queenstown was my favourite place in New Zealand offering outstanding view and spots for skiing.


YHA Lakefront Queenstown was one of the best accommodation where I stayed during my trip in New Zealand. The view from the hostel on the lake is a must!

Lake Tekapo is something to visit during a trip in South of New Zealand. You will fall under its magic in no time.

Lake Tekapo 

If you are looking for an accommodation there, I suggest you Lake Tekapo Lakefront Lodge.

Christchurch was the last step in my trip. Not much to see unfortunately due to the earthquake in 2010.


Well, few weeks in New Zealand meeting fantastic people... I am finally happy having tried Couchsurfing. Discovering the country in winter offered so spectacular views particularly in the South with snowy mountains and I have no regret having travelled at this time of the year. The only negative point could be Tongariro Crossing which is not automatically accessible in low season.

To avoid high season and crowdy sites, I suggest visiting New Zealand in October or in April.