34 people found this article useful

10 Islands in New Zealand Every Backpacker Has to Explore

BackpackerGuide.NZ

Explore the islands of New Zealand!

New Zealand is known for its two mainland islands, the North Island and the South Island. However, did you know there are hundreds more islands off the coast of New Zealand? It might just be for this reason why getting out on the water is such a huge part of Kiwi life. There’s so much to explore in New Zealand’s waters.

While some islands have a little population of people of their own, other islands are more likely to be the home of New Zealand’s native wildlife. If seeing the fascinating birdlife is part of your New Zealand bucket list, then exploring these islands is where you will get your best chance. Even if it’s not on your bucket list, you don’t know until you have tried, and we suggest you try!

The islands we have listed below are all reachable by boats and flights operating on the mainland. And once you have explored every island of New Zealand, take a trip to one of the nearby tropical islands in the South Pacific.

Base Hostels

1. Kapiti Island

This huge island off the Kapiti Coast is a wildlife hot spot. The emblematic kaka parrot is playful and will not hesitate to steal your lunch, while the rare spotted kiwi can be seen at night in the wild if you know where to look. For more about Kapiti Coast and Kapiti Island, check out our 10 Reasons Why an Escape to Kapiti is a Great Idea.

Location: Kapiti, Wellington, North Island
http://imgur.com/2Jzcp9z

2. Stewart Island

“New Zealand’s third island”, as Stewart Island is often referred to, is an underrated spot for backpackers in New Zealand. The island is 80% national park and home to one of the Great Walks, the Rakiura Track. Stewart Island is one of the best places in the country to spot a famous kiwi bird in the wild.

Location: Access is via ferry from Bluff, Southland, South Island.
http://i.imgur.com/FDuqMce.jpg

3. White island

The huge active marine volcano is a iconic sight in New Zealand. Visitors are taken by helicopter or boat to explore the crater, the remains of its sulphur factory, and its prehistoric history. It is also a popular dive location too. The island is definitely a must-do when visiting or working in Whakatane or Bay of Plenty area.

Location: Off the coast of Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, North Island.
http://i.imgur.com/0QorHnO.jpg

4. Great Barrier Island

One of the jewels of the Auckland Huraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island features golden sand beaches, natural hot pools, rugged peaks, thick forest and a variety of wildlife. The island has become more popular each year amongst travellers, especially because you can see most of the island’s highlights on the multi-day Aotea Track.

Location: Auckland Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, North Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

5. Ulva Island

This island, just off the coast of Stewart Island, shows what is possible without predators. The result is an abundance of native New Zealand species no longer hunted by introduced predators. See the likes of weka, kaka, kakariki, tui, bellbirds, wood pigeons, fantail, saddleback, rifleman, Stewart Island robin and more! There may be even a chance to glimpse the Stewart Island brown kiwi.

Location: Access via water taxi from Halfmoon Bay or Golden Bay, Stewart Island.
http://imgur.com/iIBZtNX

6. Poor Knights Islands

Located on the Tutukaka coast, the Poor Knights Islands are world renowned for its diving options. The most popular one is a shipwreck dive where you can explore two sunk navy ships, the Waikato and the Tui. When diving to and through the wrecks you will be able to explore the guns, the control areas, the engine room and much more.

Location: Off the Tutukaka Coast, Northland, North Island. Access is by boat from many different ports in Northland and the Bay of Islands, including Leigh, Whangarei and Tutukaka.
http://imgur.com/q0CSeSS

7. D’Urville Island

Lodged in the quiet Marborough Sounds, D’Urville Island (or Rangitoto ki te Tonga in Maori) is a slice of heaven. Featuring campsites, resorts, hiking trails, mountain biking tracks and fishing opportunities, it is the best place to unwind and reflect of your New Zealand gap year. Look for WWOOFing opportunities on the island to stay at low cost.

Location: Marlborough Sounds, off the north coast of the South Island.
http://imgur.com/3Zljo1X

8. Rangitoto Island

Auckland’s most popular volcano is an island of its own. Lava fields, lava caves, a crater, wildlife and stunning 360-degree views of the Hauraki Gulf can all be experienced on a day hike. Catch the ferry from Auckland Central early morning to save money, pack some food and water, then enjoy this volcanic island. You will not regret it! Check out our full guide to Rangitoto Island.

Location: Access is a 25-minute ferry from downtown Auckland, North Island.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

9. Chatham islands

We challenge you to make it this far off the beaten track! Located about 800km from New Zealand’s main islands, the Chatham Islands are know as New Zealand’s fourth populated island. The islands are home to only 600 New Zealanders but compensate with a huge wildlife population of seals, dolphins and many bird species. Also check out its famous basalt columns and tree carvings.

Location: 800km east of New Zealand between Wellington, North Island, and Christchurch, South Island.
http://imgur.com/k2TbUPt

10. Urupukapuka Island

The island is the largest of the 144 islands that make up the Bay of Islands. As it is one of the most popular islands too, it features three equipped camping grounds so you can extend your stay in paradise. Three things to do here: kayak on crystal clear waters, swim in Otehei Bay, and walk the archaeological track.

Location: Access is via water taxi at Paihia and Russell, Bay of Islands, North Island.
http://imgur.com/Hy6Jpqu

TEACHinASIA
Was this article useful? Useful Useless
Nomads Hostels
http://imgur.com/I7fQtWv
Biking

Mountain Biking in Auckland

The ‘wheelie’ best rides in Auckland. What? A city has something to [...]

BackpackerGuide.NZ
Working Holiday Visa

Working Holiday Visa Online Application Guide – Part 1

Registering on the Immigration NZ website. If you already read our article [...]

Eastland Tourism
North Island

10 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Gisborne

Free things to do in Gisborne! You don’t have to blow a [...]

http://www.mikeisaak.com/gallery-images/wharariki-beach-sunset.jpg
Natural Attractions

22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand

Beautiful beaches in New Zealand. With around 14000km of coastline, it was [...]

Search
Popular searches: Budget, Free, Jobs, Travel Tips, Rotorua
Take our survey
Hot on Backpacker Guide
Popular Backpacker Jobs

9 Reasons Why Charity Fundraising is an Awesome Backpacker Job

Make charity work part of your working holiday. Learning about yourself and […]

Adrenalin Activities
http://imgur.com/Icz7jKf

10 Scary Places in New Zealand

The moments in New Zealand that will make your heart pound. New […]

Environment

10 Ways to Protect the Ocean when Backpacking

Simple ways to save the sea. Whether you like dipping into it […]

We're on youtube!
Join us on YouTube!

This year we spend 365 DAYS tackling 365 ACTIVITIES all across New Zealand and posting new videos every day!

Watch the adventure!