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The Guys’ Guide to Backpacking in New Zealand

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The Guide for Guys Backpacking in New Zealand

Crazy, men travel alone too! You might have noticed that the Internet is saturated with solo female travel articles, but there are a few travel tips we can give to the guys too! If you’re a male traveller, then you need to read this guide for guys backpacking in New Zealand.

From shaving to packing the right gear to keeping safe on the road, there are plenty of backpacking tips guys could use when travelling in New Zealand on a backpacking trip or working holiday. For more generic tips, check out 30 Tips for Backpacking in New Zealand.

So as a guy on the road in New Zealand, be aware of the travel tips we mention below and you should be sweet!

5 Awesome “Guys” Activities in New Zealand

The great thing about New Zealand activities is that they are not exactly “gender-specific”. However, for the purpose of this male-orientated article, here are a few manly activities to get your bro on!

  • Supercar test drive – Race tracks in Taupo and Cromwell allow you to either get behind the wheel or be driven around by an experienced rally driver around a real race track
  • Shooting – whether it’s clay pigeon shooting or hunting, there are plenty of opportunities to shoot things in New Zealand
  • Brewery tours – ever wondered how beer is made? Well there are loads of brewery tours in New Zealand to share their passions
  • Fishinggo with a tour operator or a local and catch yourself some trout in the rivers or a wealth of fish out there in the ocean
  • Learn the Haka – who doesn’t want to learn a war dance? Learn the Haka in some of the Maori experiences in New Zealand.

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Guys’ Packing List for New Zealand

Choosing a Good Backpack

Most guys backpacking in New Zealand prefer to carry a backpack, especially so they can do multi-day hikes and go to more off-the-beaten-track locations where a wheeled suitcase will not suffice. Saying that, if you are more of a city-to-city guy, then a piece of wheel luggage can prove to be smoother to carry around with you. Get more of the pros and cons of the two types of luggage on Backpack Vs Suitcase: Which should you take to New Zealand.

Nevertheless, it’s important to choose a backpack that you can comfortably carry around, so pick the right backpack for your size. Get more tips in How to Choose a Good Backpack.

What Clothes to Pack for Backpacking in New Zealand

The key is to not over-pack – something guys are pretty good at. Nevertheless, because you are likely to be sharing spaces with other people, whether it be fellow backpackers in your dorm, activities or a campervan, it’s important to have a good rotation of clothes and do laundry regularly. Laundry is available in most accommodations in New Zealand, usually only costing about NZ$8 for a wash and dry.

Pack for different situations you are likely to be in while backpacking in New Zealand. Think casual clothing, work interview/job clothing, hiking/outdoors wear, and summer and winter wear. If you are likely to go on nights out, remember that some nightclubs, especially in the big cities, will not let guys in if they are wearing jandals (flip-flops) or sneakers. You’ll also need something to sleep in too if you are sleeping in a hostel dorm (no, sleeping in your boxers is not usually accepted).

The main thing to remember is layers – the weather is ever-changing in New Zealand even on the same day. Pack a thermal layer and jacket for the change in seasons (that can happen in a day).

For a complete clothes packing guide for New Zealand, check out What Clothes to Pack to Travel in New Zealand.

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Health and Fitness

What Grooming Products to Pack for New Zealand

As for hygiene, what products you use is a personal choice, but soap is usually smaller and easier to carry in your backpack (if you store it in a soapbox or small zip-lock bag, that is) than carrying shower gel. For the same “sharing space with people” reasons we mentioned above, it’s important to stay clean and fresh while on the road.


Now that you are an intrepid traveller, you’re probably going to want to grow a beard that rivals Father Christmas. On the off chance that you don’t want to look like Tom Hanks in Castaway, then consider using a battery-powered electric shaver while travelling New Zealand. Although some hostels, motels and holiday parks do have shaver plug sockets, not all of them do. To be able to shave in any style of accommodation, use an electric shaver that is battery powered. You will still need to charge an electric shaver, but you can just use a New Zealand mains adapter and plug it into mains when they become available.


Another thing you’ll want to pack is condoms, because, you never know… But so you don’t bring home more souvenirs than you bargained for (STIs, babies, that sort of thing…) always wear a condom! Condoms are also easy to buy in New Zealand supermarkets, pharmacies and convenient stores.

Prescribed Medication

If you are using any prescribed medication, make sure you stock up with at least three months’ worth for your travels in New Zealand. That is the maximum amount of prescribed medication you can bring through biosecurity. Otherwise, you will need a note from your doctor. Find out more in Arrival Advice: Biosecurity and Customs in New Zealand. If you find that you need to get medication or prescribed medication while you are in New Zealand, then follow the advice in How to Get a Medical Prescription in New Zealand.

Going to the Gym

New Zealand’s best gym is the great outdoors! However, if you need to pump iron, then there are a few options out there. Most gyms in New Zealand require you to join as a member so that you understand how to use the equipment. However, this is not ideal for travelling. You may want to wait to join a gym once you have settled somewhere for work. Otherwise, look out for local gyms that advertise in accommodations like hostels. This usually means that they are open to one-time customers, as they are advertising to travellers.

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Backpacking Safety for New Zealand

Compared to other backpacking countries, New Zealand is a pretty safe place to be. Saying that there are a few hazards that both male and female travellers need to be aware of. Number one being the environment. Yes, it’s true, there are no animals or insects that are out to kill you (except a nasty bite can be obtained by a white-tailed spider), but the weather just might. First, use sunscreen! The hole in the O-zone layer between New Zealand and Australia means that the sun can seriously burn only within seven minutes of exposure.

Second, be prepared for any weather condition while being in the outdoors. As we mentioned above, the weather can change in an instant so have suitable clothing ready – and don’t set off on a mountain hike if the weather is forecast to be bad. For more tips, check out Outdoor Safety When Hiking in New Zealand.

It’s also worth mentioning to use a little commonsense when doing things like hitchhiking or couch surfing for instance. This does have a risk factor with guys too, so you should follow the precautions outlined in Hitchhiking in New Zealand and 8 Safety Tips for Couchsurfing in New Zealand.

Risk-taking can be a thrill, but don’t push it. Whether you’re surfing, snowboarding, driving, trying to impress people with your fire-dancing, do what’s within your own skillset. We have more tips in Is New Zealand Safe?

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Where to Stay When Backpacking in New Zealand

To stick to a limited budget, many guys backpacking in New Zealand will stay in a hostel. They are a pretty awesome way to meet new people, but you should be aware of how you behave when sharing a dorm with girls too. Basically, don’t be a creep and you should be good. Follow the house rules in How to Live in a Hostel. A limited number of hostels do have male-only dorms, but if you prefer your own space, then there are some great budget accommodation alternatives. Try camping, staying in a campervan or WWOOFing. More information can be found in 10 Damn Good Alternatives to Hostels.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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