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12 Must-Go Destinations for Solo Travel in New Zealand

Kayak in Milford SOunds NZ

Solo travel in New Zealand is a solo traveler’s paradise, making it an ideal destination for your first solo trip, offering many beautiful places to explore.

Whether you prefer small group tours, or embarking on a solo adventure, New Zealand has something for everyone.

This guide will share everything you want to know to travel solo in New Zealand. Ensuring you are well-dressed to explore this island country.

Top Solo Travel Destinations in New Zealand

1. Queenstown

Why Queenstown?

Queenstown is known for its exciting activities, making it an ideal destination for solo adventure travelers.

Nestled by Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by towering mountains, it’s a playground for solo adventure enthusiasts.

What to Do?

Take a Gondola Ride: Board the cool cable car known as a gondola for panoramic views.

Try Adventure Sports: If you’re feeling brave, consider bungee jumping or skydiving for a wild yet fun experience.

Enjoy the Lake: Stroll along the peaceful lakeside, taking in the breathtaking beauty.

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2. Rotorua

Why Rotorua?

Rotorua immerses solo travelers in Maori culture and unique geothermal wonders.

It’s like stepping into a different world, rich in traditions and bubbling mud pools – a captivating experience for any solo traveler and adventurer, as there are plenty of things to do in Rotorua.

What to Check Out?

Visit Te Puia: Explore Maori crafts and arts, witnessing the intricate process of wood carving and weaving.

See Bubbling Pools: Head to Wai-O-Tapu to witness pools that seem to boil, creating a fascinating albeit aromatic experience.

Walk in the Redwood Forest: Take a peaceful stroll in the vast forest, surrounded by tall trees, offering a magical atmosphere.

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3. Wellington

Why Wellington?

As the capital city, Wellington is friendly and walkable, making it an inviting destination for travelers. The city vibes and artsy atmosphere provide endless opportunities for exploration.

What to See?

Go to Te Papa Museum: Delve into New Zealand’s history and culture at this treasure-filled museum.

Hike up Mount Victoria: Climb the hill for a spectacular view of the city and sea – a rewarding adventure.

Hang Out on Cuba Street: Explore this vibrant street with colorful shops, street art, and cool cafés – perfect for a leisurely afternoon.

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4. Wanaka

Why Wanaka?

Wanaka, nestled by a serene lake and surrounded by towering mountains, offers calm and quiet for travelers looking to unwind and take it easy.

What to Experience?

Hike to Roy’s Peak: Challenge yourself with a hike to the peak, where the view is truly mind-blowing.

Have Fun at Puzzling World: Enjoy a quirky day out with illusions and a giant maze.

Chill by the Lake: Grab a coffee, find a peaceful spot by the lake, and reset your mind amidst tranquility.

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5. Abel Tasman National Park

Why Abel Tasman?

For travelers who love the sea, Abel Tasman is a beachy paradise with clear water and golden sand – a coastal haven on the south island of New Zealand.

What to Do?

Walk Along the Coast: Explore the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, a picturesque walk with beautiful beaches. Consider a cruise for a more relaxed experience.

Try Sea Kayaking: Paddle along the coast, discovering hidden spots and perhaps encountering seals.

Just Relax: Find a nice spot on the beach and listen to the waves – a natural lullaby for solo travelers seeking relaxation.

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6. Dunedin

Why Dunedin?

With its Scottish influence and diverse wildlife, Dunedin offers a unique blend of old-world charm and natural wonders.

What’s Cool to Check Out?

Visit Larnach Castle: Step back in time at this castle, which has great views and intriguing history.

Walk to Tunnel Beach: Explore a hidden beach through tunnels, surrounded by cool cliffs.

See Penguins and Seals: Head to Otago Peninsula for a wildlife adventure, spotting penguins and seals.

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7. Kaikoura

Why Kaikoura?

For travelers who adore ocean experiences, Kaikoura is a haven for whale watching, dolphin encounters, and seal colonies.

New Zealand solo travel

What to Experience?

Go Whale Watching: Take a boat and witness the majesty of huge whales – a real-life documentary experience.

Visit Seal Colonies: Check out seals at Ohau Point, especially the adorable seal pups playing in the waterfall.

Enjoy Coastal Walks: Take a leisurely walk along the west coast, relishing the fresh sea breeze and beautiful scenery.

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8. Tongariro National Park

Why Tongariro?

Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, beckons solo travelers with surreal volcanic landscapes, active craters, and majestic alpine vistas.

Visit Tongariro in New Zealand for a solo travel experience

What to Experience?

Tongariro Alpine Crossing: Embark on one of the world’s best day hikes in Tongariro, witnessing volcanic terrains, the iconic Emerald Lakes, and the power of the Red Crater.

Explore Volcanic Craters: Delve into the park’s heart to witness raw, geothermal energy at active craters.

Geothermal Wonders: Experience the park’s geothermal wonders, including hot springs and fumaroles, connecting with Earth’s natural processes.

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9. Fiordland National Park

Why Fiordland?

Fiordland National Park presents travelers with tranquil fiords, towering cliffs, and untouched wilderness. It’s a must-visit for those seeking solitude and breathtaking natural beauty.

Kayak in Milford Sounds - solo travel in New Zealand

What to Experience?

Cruise Milford Sound: Explore the stunning Milford Sound by boat, surrounded by breathtaking views and cascading waterfalls.

Hike the Kepler Track: Embark on the Kepler Track for a multi-day trek through pristine forests and alpine landscapes.

Stargaze in the Wilderness: Experience the magic of Fiordland’s night sky with a stargazing adventure in the north island, remote wilderness.

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10. Hobbiton

Why Hobbiton?

For travelers enchanted by fantasy and film, Hobbiton offers a unique experience in the heart of Middle-earth. It’s a place where movie magic and the beauty of the countryside collide.

lord of the rings - new zealand

What to Explore?

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: Immerse yourself in the world of hobbits with a guided tour of the iconic movie set.

Green Dragon Inn: Visit the Green Dragon Inn for a taste of Hobbiton’s famous brews and a cozy atmosphere.

Capture Movie Moments: Wander through the enchanting hobbit holes and capture your own magical moments.

Waitomo: Explore the magnificent caves and the lit sky of glow worms.

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11. Napier

Why Napier?

With its unique Art Deco architecture and coastal charm, Napier welcomes solo travelers to a picturesque city by the sea. It’s a blend of elegance and laid-back coastal vibes.

What to Explore?

Art Deco Walking Tour: Take a stroll through the city center and admire the beautifully preserved Art Deco buildings.

Marine Parade: Relax along the scenic Marine Parade, featuring gardens, sculptures, and panoramic ocean views.

Visit Local Markets: Immerse yourself in Napier’s local culture by exploring vibrant markets with art, crafts, and local produce.

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12. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Why Aoraki/Mount Cook?

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park beckons travelers with its alpine majesty, towering peaks, and glacial beauty. It’s a haven for those seeking awe-inspiring landscapes.

Lake and Mount Cook in New Zealand

What to Experience?

Hooker Valley Track: Hike the Hooker Valley Track for mesmerizing views of Mount Cook and surrounding glaciers.

Tasman Glacier Boat Tour: Explore the glacial beauty up close with a boat tour on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake.

Stargazing at Aoraki: Experience unparalleled stargazing opportunities in one of the world’s dark sky reserves.

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Tips for Solo Travel in New Zealand

1. Connect and Explore

Solo travel in New Zealand is a journey of self-discovery and shared experiences. Connect with like-minded people or consider joining a tour company for small group tours to enhance your adventure.

New Zealand’s efficient public transport system makes exploring this stunning country convenient and cost-effective.

As a solo traveler, embracing connections with others on a similar journey can amplify the richness of your experience.

Whether sharing stories on a scenic train ride or embarking on an impromptu hike with newfound new friends, the opportunities to connect are as diverse as the landscapes themselves.

2. Safety First

Prioritizing safety is paramount for any solo traveler. Secure comprehensive travel insurance to cover unexpected events and emergencies during your New Zealand solo adventure.

Stay informed about local cultures, customs, and safety guidelines to confidently navigate diverse environments.

New Zealand is famous for its warm hospitality, but being well-prepared ensures a seamless and secure solo travel experience.

3. Plan for Adventure

The essence of solo travel lies in the freedom to plan your adventure. Allocate free time in your itinerary for spontaneous exploration, allowing room for unexpected discoveries.

Consider including solo-friendly activities like hiking through lush landscapes, camping, or kayaking in pristine waters.

camping spot

New Zealand’s diverse terrain caters to various adventure preferences, allowing solo travelers to tailor their experiences to match their interests.

4. Accommodate Your Way

Accommodation options can greatly impact your solo travel experience. Choose places that offer single supplement options, ensuring you have the flexibility to enjoy a private room without additional costs.

Alternatively, consider renting a car for the ultimate flexibility in exploring well-known destinations and off-the-beaten-track gems.

Opting for a rental car or a camper van as a solo traveler in New Zealand offers unparalleled independence, allowing you to visit locations at your own pace and on your terms.

eating while camping - solo travel in New Zealand

Read my guide on the perfect road trip in New Zealand to learn more.

However, be mindful of the costs, as a rental car can be more expensive than other transportation options like public buses or tours.

Despite this, the benefits of having a rental car, including the ability to engage in camping and freedom camping, make it a compelling choice for those seeking a solo adventure on the road and outdoor adventures.

Having the freedom to set your own pace and choose your accommodations enhances the autonomy of your solo journey in this wonderful and peaceful country.

5. Meet and Mingle

Solo travel doesn’t mean being alone; it’s an opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow adventurers.

Opt for hostels or budget accommodations that attract solo travelers, creating a social atmosphere where you can make new friends.

Participate in group tours or activities designed for both solo travelers and adventurers, fostering a sense of community during your travels.

Shared experiences with other travelers and like-minded individuals can turn strangers into lifelong friends, transforming your solo journey into a collective adventure.

6. Cultural Connection

Immerse yourself in the rich culture of New Zealand by attending local markets and engaging with the vibrant communities.

Visit local cafés and restaurants to savor delicious cuisine, meet new people, and form connections.

solo travel in New Zealand

Solo travel provides a unique opportunity to interact with locals, gaining insights into their way of life and fostering cultural understanding.

These authentic encounters add depth to your solo adventure, creating lasting memories beyond the typical tourist experience.

7. Travel Light, Stay Connected

Efficiency is key for solo travelers, and packing light is fundamental to a seamless journey.

Traveling with a lighter backpack enhances mobility and flexibility, allowing you to navigate different terrains easily.

Ensure you have a reliable communication device, such as a mobile phone or portable Wi-Fi, to stay connected and informed.

In the digital age, staying connected enhances safety and provides the means to share your solo travel experiences in real-time with friends and family.

Read my guide on how to pack efficiently.

8. Safety for Solo Female Travellers

For solo female travelers, prioritizing safety is of utmost importance. Choose accommodations carefully, avoiding poorly lit areas and opting for secure lodgings.

Trust your instincts and be cautious when making new connections; ensuring personal safety remains a top priority.

New Zealand is generally considered a safe country, but being proactive in personal security contributes to a worry-free solo adventure.

Embrace solo travel’s empowerment while maintaining vigilance for a safe and fulfilling journey.

FAQs New Zealand solo travel

Is New Zealand a good solo trip?

New Zealand is an excellent destination for solo travelers, offering a safe environment, friendly locals, and a well-organized tourist infrastructure that makes exploring both islands convenient and enjoyable.

Where is the best place to travel alone in New Zealand?

The best place to travel alone in New Zealand is Queenstown, ideal for adventurers seeking thrilling activities like bungee jumping, skiing, and hiking, along with stunning landscapes and a vibrant social scene.

What’s the best month to visit New Zealand?

The best month to visit New Zealand is February, as it offers warm, pleasant weather with lower tourist crowds, allowing for a more enjoyable exploration of its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities of both the North and South islands.

Is New Zealand safe for solo female travelers?

New Zealand is known for being a safe and welcoming destination for solo female travelers. New Zealand ensures a secure environment with a supportive network for vulnerable girls and comprehensive guides for first-time solo travelers. Recommendations for solo activities and transportation advice, including hiring a car or joining hop-on hop-off bus tours, further support the experience of New Zealand solo female travel.

What are the options for solo travelers joining group tours in New Zealand?

For solo travelers interested in exploring New Zealand with others, numerous New Zealand tours are designed specifically for solo adventurers. Joining these guided tour group excursions offers a fantastic opportunity to meet new people while experiencing the best of New Zealand. Tour companies offer various options, from adventure tours to cultural explorations, ensuring there’s something for every solo traveler.


With its diverse destinations, New Zealand provides a perfect backdrop for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration.

Whether you prefer a solo road trip, small group tours, a solo hike, national parks, or solo adventures, New Zealand invites you to pack your bag, put on your comfy shoes, and embark on a lifetime journey in its stunning landscapes on the perfect solo trip!

If you liked this post, be sure to read my full guide on what to do in Christchurch.

As usual, feel free to comment below with any questions or comments.


The article may include affiliate links, meaning that I may receive affiliate compensation at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. Read more in my Affiliate Disclosure.


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