15 Travel Tips for Backpacking Australia & New Zealand07:39 PM on Mon 21 Apr 2014

Want to make the most of you Australia & New Zealand Backpacking adventure? Here’s how...


1. Don't be afraid to talk to people

Backpacking is not always about the destination, but about the people you meet along the way. The beauty of travel is that immediately surrounds you with others that share a common interest: the need for something new, an eagerness to explore the unknown & to open themselves to the people and the places around them. Remember that you are never alone and that your fellow travellers are in the same boat. Take our tip: grab a beer at the hostel bar, approach other backpackers and just lay it on the table – “can I be your friend?” – works every time!

2. Chat to Locals

One of the main reasons we travel is to explore the local culture right? Locals are the best source of information and are a great means of finding those secret locations that the tourist trail tends to bypass. Australian & New Zealand locals (the majority) tend to be very friendly – so make the most of it. Note: They may be inclined to ‘take the piss out of you’ (make fun of you). Do not be confused – this is a traditional welcoming.

3. Flip Flops

Flip Flops (commonly referred to as ‘Thongs’ in Australia) will become your most common form of footwear in wet, cold or sunshine... so try not to pack too many shoes. Most nightclubs and bars in Australia & New Zealand (this will be vary in the cities) will allow you to enter whilst wearing them. If the handle pops off from the sole – use the plastic tab used to keep a bread bag closed to hold it in place!

4. Waterproof Camera Bag

Ok so the weather in Australia & New Zealand can sometimes be a tad unpredictable! For those of you happy snappers (aren’t we all?), invest in a waterproof camera bag that can double up as a day pack – big enough to fit your wallet, sunscreen, phone and any other items you may need whilst exploring

5. Travel with a Notebook

Using the internet on hostel computers can sometimes be expensive. Most places have Wi-Fi these days and in many cities in Australia & New Zealand you will find cafes that offer free Wi-Fi if you purchase a coffee or a drink.

Leave your expensive laptop at home and invest in a cheap notebook (I found one on Ebay for $100).

They don’t take up too much room in your luggage and won’t leave you crying and wailing if damaged or stolen. The notebook allows me to write blogs, keep in touch with friends via Facebook and double as a mini TV when hungover or in need of some ‘me time.’

6. Inflatable Pillows

Travelling Australia & New Zealand will sometimes incur long lengths of driving, whether by public bus or tour. Inflatable travel pillows take up little luggage space and trust me – will make the world of difference! On a budget – keep your empty Goon bag and re use as a pillow – Aussies love recycling!

7. Indulge in local delicacies

No visit to Australia is culturally complete without an introduction to Goon – cheap wine which can be purchased by the bag. Mix it up with some OJ.  Also… Vegemite. Do not spread it on bread like Jam, you only need a little dabble here and there because this stuff is strong! Try it with cheese or on toast. Kanagaroo, Emu & Crocodile is also a must!

If in New Zealand make sure you try L&P Soda – this stuff is unique to New Zealand and you will not find it anywhere else!  Every traveller must also try a Hangi – a tradition Maori feast that is cooked underground!

Both New Zealanders & Australians have been in decade long battles as to who invented the Pavlova (a yummy cake like treat) – so no matter which country you are in – give it a whirl!

8. Get up early

The best way to cure a hangover? Get up early and seize the day! By the time you’ve downed a greasy breakfast and found yourself in the next beautiful location – a hangover will seem miniscule.

9. Take Risks

Open yourself to new experiences, trust new found friends, walk un marked paths and don’t be afraid to explore places that aren’t highlighted as a ‘must do.’ Some of the most amazing locations I have stumbled upon have stemmed from an impulsive decision, following the guidance of a trusty local or taking a right turn instead of a left turn.

10. Travel Cards

Always have a back up bank card. Invest in a VISA or MASTERCARD Travel Card that can work in multiple currencies. Most companies will provide you with a second back up card in case you lose the first one, and there are emergency cash replacement services available to ensure that you don’t get stuck in a country or miss a flight!

11. Learn to Surf

Australia & New Zealand are both island nations – hence, lots of surf! Raglan and Gisborne are both popular surf spots in New Zealand. In Australia? Head to Perth, the Great Ocean Road just out of Melbourne, Sydney’s northern beaches or Byron Bay.

12. Prepare for all types of weather

Regardless of what you may think, it does rain in Australia & New Zealand. Do not let the season or time of year influence your packing. Pack a raincoat, trainers & a hoodie.

13. Keep in Touch

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt whilst travelling is the importance of staying in touch with family and friends back home. Although true friends love you for your gypsy like ways and don’t need a constant update – never forget where you have come from. If you are lazy like me and continue to blow off Skype dates – send a postcard!

14. Get off the Beaten Track

Like many countries, the ‘real’ beauty lies off the beaten track. The East Coast of Australia is absolute paradise but to experience the country’s real remoteness plan a trip to the outback, the northern territory or the West Coast. If short on time or on a budget, rent a car and drive inland for a few days and hang out at a local pub. If travelling New Zealand, some of our favourite locations are alone the coastline: think Raglan, Gisborne, Paihia or to the very south: Invercargill

15. Don't be afraid to say good bye

You will meet a whole new group of friends on each of your journeys. Never be afraid to say goodbye to continue your chosen path. One of my biggest mistakes have been forfeiting my own desired travel plans to follow the group. Appreciate the time you had together and endeavour to stay in touch -  but remember, for every ‘good bye’ there is a whole new world of ‘hellos’ waiting at your next destination!

Getting Around Australia & New Zealand


If you are planning on travelling Australia's East Coast... think Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Sydney... most backpackers on a budget will travel by public bus or campervan. Public buses such as Greyhound or Premier offer flexible, affordable, hop on / hop off travel passes that allow you to jump on and off at each major city and tourist destination! 

If you have a lot of time to make your way up (or down) the East Coast - and you have some travel buddies joining the ride - consider a Campervan! Most hostels like Base will let you park your van up for cheap and use the hostel's facilities (shower, toilet, kitchen). This is a great way to explore off the beaten track! 

Either way we recommend booking a BASE JUMPING Pass. You get 10 Nights flexible accommodaion to be used at any Base hostel or Base Mate in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Airlie Beach (Whitsundays), Magnetic Island, Surfer's Paradise, 1770, Cairns and more. You have 12 months to use the pass, save & and book as you go. To book - head to this page

If heading through the Outback, Northern Territory or Western Australia - we suggest booking a Guided Tour! These areas are rich with culture and history - and booking a tour is a great way to learn about the area as well as meet like minded travellers along the way! for advice on Tours, email social@stayatbase.com


New Zealand is a lot smaller than Australia so you can generally see the entire county in less time - this does not mean that it is any less amazing! In fact - NZ and AUS are very different countries! 

We love travelling with Kiwi Experience or Stray. These companies offer flexible hop on hop off bus travel with a Tour Leader / Driver. They are fun and a great way to meet other people. You simply book your travels between each destination as you go - and the tour driver books your accommodation and tours as you travel!

Campervan Hire is also a fantastic way to travel NZ! With loads of 'freedom camping' areas - you can park up in most non city destinations and sleep the night. 

You can also book a BASE JUMPING Pass for NZ here. Kiwi and Stray both stop at Base hostels and you can use your pass in Auckland, Paihia, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Nelson, Dunedin, Queenstown & Wanaka. 

For prices / availability or info on Kiwi Experience, Stray or Campervan Hire email social@stayatbase.com 

Tags: Travel Tips


Max Lines : 02:57 AM, Sat 10 May 2014
Good tips thanks recommend to New Zealand traveller's

marianne: 12:44 AM, Sat 30 Aug 2014
NZ is the Best place in the world for it! Thank you for sharing this blog. Everything I want to know is here already. Also, I found this fantastic deal travellers to New Zealand shouldn’t miss! http://www.gonomad.com/5655

Elliott: 08:04 PM, Wed 03 Dec 2014
23 Signs You've Backpacked Australia http://wp.me/p4g3Gz-lt

shriharinanu: 11:58 PM, Fri 19 Dec 2014
Fine tips..! Great.

Jeff: 08:57 AM, Wed 13 May 2015
Thongs (Flip Flops). The advice about the acceptance of thongs is misleading. Most clubs, pubs and public venues throughout Australia will not admit anyone wearing thongs. Always have a pair of shoes or runners. The greatest concern is with respect to stepping on broken glass in the event of some one dropping a glass. Still thongs are a great and casual piece of footware you should always have in your pack.

Emalyse: 10:23 PM, Wed 24 Jun 2015
Cant wait to go back again. Had so many fun adventures in New Zealand! You can see some here:https://pepperandpomegranates.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/new-zulland/

Nick: 07:59 PM, Thu 06 Aug 2015
Good tips. I spent two years working and travelling around Australia and made the video below telling a narrative of that time. Please have a watch if you're thinking of going and then book that flight! www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DpP4Lk48yk

Christian from Squeeze Pod: 06:47 PM, Tue 11 Aug 2015
I'll keep these tips in mind when I travel to NZ. Thanks for sharing!

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