It’s no secret, New Zealand solo travel is trending. About time!
You’ve probably noticed on your social media the increase of solo travelers (especially women) with inspiring photos and philosophical captions about how wonderful it is to be on your own. As avid solo travelers at the YA HQ, we certainly get it!
With the help of the internet and the plethora of resources available, it’s becoming easier and easier to make the jump to solo travel.
But man, where to start? Not all destinations are created equal. How do you take the first step? New Zealand solo travel is where it’s at!
Traveling alone gives you the freedom to do exactly what you want without having to comprise for anyone else and as much as I love traveling with close friends or my partner, I always secretly crave a solo adventure where I’m the boss and the world is my oyster.
Whether you’re single or in a long term relationship, solo travel can be a life-changing experience and in 2019, it’s easier than ever.
The hardest part, of course, is picking where exactly you’ll go for your solo holiday.
If you haven’t already considered New Zealand, you’re tripping. Here’s why New Zealand should top your list as a dream destination for solo travelers, and it’s the perfect place for solo travelers. Enjoy!
1. Getting around is so damn easy
New Zealand is a small country that is sparsely populated outside of the biggest city, Auckland.
You won’t find massive freeways and confusing mousetraps or contradicting road signs. We basically just have Highway 1, and depending which way the ocean is, you pretty much always know where you are.
New Zealand has a string of easy-to-navigate highways and clear signs so you really don’t even need to have Google Maps open, and hiring a GPS with your car is a total waste of money.
If you do happen to get lost, simply pop into the nearest petrol station or restaurant and the locals will be happy to point you in the right direction.
2. The native language is English
English is one of two national languages, the other being Māori, meaning that as long as you speak the international travel language marginally well, you’ll be absolutely fine getting around New Zealand.
Can’t make any promises about good ol’ kiwi slang though. You’re on your own there.
3. You probably won’t be alone
There’s a common misconception that traveling alone means you’re destined to be lonely but most solo travelers will tell you that is far from true.
No one wants to approach a big group of travelers but when you’re on your own, you suddenly become interesting, a puzzle that needs to be figured out. People are curious about who you are and what you’re doing and if you don’t have a massive posse, they will be much less intimidated to approach you.
You’ll soon find yourself being included into groups or invited to events solely because you’re on your own. If meeting other people is the goal of your trip, you should definitely go it alone. Traveling with even one other person makes you far more susceptible to staying in your comfort zone and not branch out.
New Zealand solo travel is quite common so as long as you don’t seclude yourself in a quiet hotel room or to only remote camping spots, you’ll likely meet other like-minded individuals if you want to share a beer or want some company on a hike.
4. Expats aplenty
New Zealand’s tourism has been booming over the past decade and with it comes infinite numbers of expats from all over the world, especially with the ease of getting a working holiday visa, many foreigners come to live in New Zealand for a season or a year. New Zealand solo travel is common here.
All mid-size towns have hostels packed with travelers so whether you want a companion for part of the trip or just someone to go to the pub with, you’ll find no shortage of people or tourists to meet.
Expats and travelers flock to New Zealand from all over the world so it’s a great way to make international friends who might just inspire you to add a few more countries to your never-ending list.
5. The locals are real friendly
Kiwis have a reputation for being a little hardened and rough around the edges.
They say what they mean and have no issue telling you what’s what, so it’s no surprise that many visitors’ first impressions of the locals are a bit skewed.
But behind those rough exteriors, Kiwis have hearts of gold.
When it comes to lending a hand, they will always do their best to help out within their capabilities. From giving directions to picking up hitchhikers, Kiwis are generally happy to help out visitors.
6. It’s super safe
I moved to New Zealand from Chicago, a town that has become synonymous with mobsters and gun violence. Street smarts were a must to survive in Chicago, and sirens and ambulances were the soundtrack to the city.
I’ll never forget the first time I realized just how safe New Zealand actually was.
I was a few weeks into my first year in New Zealand, driving south from Auckland. I was listening to the radio and the broadcaster was giving updates on the weather and recent news. The biggest news story of the day was about a young girl who was thought to have been kidnapped but turns out she actually wasn’t. That was it. That was the story: a crime almost happened, but turns out, it didn’t.
It’s not to say that crime is completely absent in New Zealand.
There have been numerous reporting of thefts, especially targeted at tourists but when compared to other countries, New Zealand is stupidly safe to travel in. Feel free to walk around at night and travel about at your leisure without having to worry about sketchy characters approaching you. And violent crime is minimal compared to many other countries.
For the most part, people are happy to leave you alone. New Zealand solo travel is easy.
There have been some tourist thefts especially on the far north of the North Island so if you’re an obvious tourist in a camper van, best keep your valuables on you and not visible in the car while you’re out hiking.
7. No threatening animals that will eat you.
New Zealand’s most threatening animal is a giant carnivorous snail. I’m joking. There is a giant carnivorous snail on the South Island but don’t worry it’s not threatening.
No snakes, no giant spiders lurking in dark corners, no bloodthirsty mammals in the woods. You can camp without having to think about bears and walk through tall grass without thinking twice about slithering reptiles. You can hike alone without worry of being eaten (just be smart about it)
The only thing you have to worry about is the pesky sandflies who are definitely out for blood but are otherwise completely harmless. You won’t contract any diseases from their bite and after a few itchy days, you’ll completely forget about them.
8. It’s the perfect for peace and quiet
If you want to put yourself out there and meet other travelers, you can totally do that, however, if you’re looking for a quiet escape where you see very few humans, you can definitely do that too.
As I mentioned, New Zealand’s population is not exactly what I would describe as “robust” so as long as you can get outside of the cities, you can get as far away from humans as you want.
Reconnect with nature. Breath in the fresh air. Become a woman of the backcountry. Whatever. Go nuts.
Just be sure to check in with your loved ones about your plans because there is no cell service in the wilderness here, and accidents in the bush do happen, especially when you’re unprepared.
9. We’re are way behind the times
This may sound like a negative, and for many travelers, it will be.
New Zealand is perpetually 20 years behind in their infrastructure and technology when compared to the USA or Europe. It’s common to find entire towns without cell reception and wifi and that’s just part of the beauty.
The internet you do find is likely to be slow so if you’re looking for a place where you can stream Netflix all night, this isn’t for you.
Instead, try to embrace the remoteness.
Imagine how it used to be when travelers weren’t perpetually connected to their homes. Live in the moment and engage with the people who actually live there instead of worrying about updating your social media for those at home. There are few developed countries in the world that can offer this so embrace it with open arms.
Trust me, when you’re back home at your desk job, you will wish you had taken the time to be more present. New Zealand solo travel is for everyone.
What do you reckon? Are you keen to explore NZ as a solo traveler? Anything else to add? Spill!