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How to Meet People When Backpacking in New Zealand

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Meet new people in New Zealand!

Travelling solo? Then you couldn’t have picked a better country to meet people! There are no holidaymakers hiding in resorts here. Locals don’t often just keep to themselves. New Zealand is a very social country where travellers are usually active, both physically and psychologically, open to meeting new people and sharing travel experiences with “strangers”. Locals are warm and friendly, often happy to meet internationals exploring their land. But if you’re worried about how you are going to meet people while backpacking in New Zealand, then we have you covered with this quick guide!

5 Ways [NOT] to meet people in New Zealand

(Because these things will make it oh-so-hard!) Follow our advice in the section below!

  • Travel with a friend or a partner: couples and groups are harder for people to approach and you’re less likely to want to approach other travellers and meet new people
  • Travel by car: it’s not impossible to meet new people when travelling in a car but it’s is a sure way to make your travel experience more private, therefore more lonely
  • Stay in a hotel: people staying in hotels tend to want to stick to your own holiday groups and have some privacy, so meeting people this way is difficult
  • Rarely leave your accommodation: it’s a no-brainer – get out there!
  • Rely on others to strike up conversations: Sure, other travellers will want to talk to you (especially if putting yourself in the situations we discuss below), but to get the social interactions you want, you need to have the confidence to talk to random people yourself. And trust us, it’s empowering and probably not as weird as you thought!

Now follow the advice below on how to meet people when backpacking in New Zealand!

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Choose the right kind of Accommodation

Staying in the most social kind of accommodation is a sure fire way to meet like-minded people in New Zealand. So what is the most social kind of accommodation? Hostels!

The communal nature of the dorms, the kitchen, lounge and even the laundry room means that you will effortlessly be put in situations with new people all the time! Strike up a conversation while making dinner, invite your roommates for a hike, play cards in the lounge… The social interactions in a hostel are endless!

New to staying in hostels? Make sure you wise up with our What is a Hostel? A Beginner’s Guide to Backpacker Hostels.

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Choose the right kind of transport

By “right” kind of transport, we mean the most social kind of transport. Bus tours around New Zealand are an amazing way to meet people, because, your travel buddies are all sorted out for you!

When hopping on a backpacker bus tour, like any of the ones we list in The Best Backpacker Bus Tours in New Zealand, you are instantly grouped with like-minded travellers who want to do exactly what you’re doing: explore New Zealand. This is where strong friendships are made, as you will be sharing one of the best experiences of your life together!

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Do a group tour or group activity

You came to New Zealand to do some awesome experiences, right?! Doing group tours/activities like white water rafting, caving tours, surf lessons, Lord of the Rings tours, horse trekking, cruises or whatever, means that you will be meeting other travellers with at least one similar interest. Accomplishing an adventure activity or discovering something new together through a tour is a way to make an instant connection with people. Plus, chances are, they are staying in the same area as you for a couple of days, so ask to meet up after the tour!

Need inspiration for activities in New Zealand? Check out Top 10 Things to Do in New Zealand for Backpackers.

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Get a job or Volunteer

For those of you on a working holiday, meeting people is super important since you’re going to be in New Zealand a while! You’ll have the opportunity to meet all kinds of people through getting a job or doing volunteer work like WWOOFing in New Zealand.

Of course, the type of job or volunteer work you do, as well as the town you work in, depends on the sort of people you will meet, so keep that in mind. If you work in a touristy area, like Queenstown or Wellington, you’re likely to be working with other international travellers. Working in a small town that you didn’t know existed before you arrived in New Zealand? Then this is a great opportunity to meet the locals.

Start planning your job search with our How to Quickly Find a Job in New Zealand.

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Join a New Zealand Facebook Group

If all of the above fails, which it won’t but, ya know… You can always fall back on meeting fellow travellers through the Backpacking New Zealand Facebook Groups. Backpackers reach out to others on these Facebook Groups all of the time! For instance, asking if people are in [insert town here] and would like to meet up. And they get a response! The Facebook Groups are also where solo travellers with their own car look to give other travellers a ride or even plan whole trips together! Get started by joining these New Zealand Facebook Groups:

If you’re new to this whole Facebook Group thing, take a look at 15 Simple Tips to Kill It on Backpacking Facebook Groups.

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