Travelling New Zealand Alone
This should build your confidence and kill any fears you may have, because most of the time we fear what we don’t know.
I’ve literally studied all of the countries and places I’ve visited in my life. So much so that everywhere I went, locals thought I was also a local. You need to try to blend in with the locals, not stick out as a foreigner, because the latter will make you an easy target.
Study all of the locations you’ll be visiting. You can find a lot of information by searching the Internet.
If possible, buy a road map of New Zealand before you arrive and start looking at where the places you’ll be visiting are located.
If you’ll be doing walks, go to the Department of Conservation’s website and look up information on the walks.
2. Avoid remote and deserted places
It is always better to have other tourists or groups of people hanging around than it is to walk or be somewhere all by yourself, especially if it is somewhere you don’t know.
So if you choose to go for a walk, choose a popular walking track – one that other tourists or hikers are also likely to be doing – instead of a remote and deserted one.
3. Familiarize yourself with walking tracks
If you’re going to do a walk somewhere, know what kind of terrain you’ll be entering. Carry enough food, water, a rain coat or jacket, and warm clothing with you. Know how long the walk will take. Carry a map and compass and know how to use them.
And don’t forget to let someone know – a motel owner or person where you’re staying – where you’ll be going and when you expect to be back, so that they can raise the alarm, that is, call the police, if you go missing.
If hiking is something new to you, you may want to join a hiking club in your area and do some walks in your own country first before you come over.
4. Follow your gut instincts
If a situation seems life threatening to you, it probably is. Trust your innermost feelings, act upon them, and get out of dangerous or threatening situations as quickly as you can.
5. Do not hitchhike
Hitchhiking is not safe anymore in New Zealand. A few hitchhikers have lost their lives in the past.
The opposite is also true: do not pick up any hitchhikers, because you don’t know who you’ll be carrying in your car.
Photo: Alpine guide, Fox Glacier, West Coast, New Zealand
6. Lock up your car
While this is not a guarantee for thieves not to break into your car if you’ve rented one, it is the most sensible thing to do when you’re going for a walk somewhere or have even briefly stopped and are a few meters away from your car.
In addition, never leave valuables in your car. This includes laptops, iPhones, digital photo cameras, or anything else that can be stolen and exchanged for money.
And as soon as you’re in your car, lock all of the doors and turn up the windows. This might seem a little bit paranoid, but I’ve used this method everywhere I’ve gone – so not only in New Zealand – and have never been carjacked.
I do the same with hotel and motel rooms, by the way. As soon as I’m inside, I lock up.
7. Know how long your drive will take
Some places in New Zealand do not have an abundance of gas (petrol) stations. So if you know that you’re going to go for a long drive, fill up the tank before you leave.
You can easily get a rough idea of how long a drive will take by making use of the North Island distances and South Island distances pages here on my website.
On the West Coast for example, you can drive for miles and miles without seeing another car or petrol station or even a house.
8. Stop and ask for directions but not always
If you get lost, stop and ask for directions. You need to be careful, though, where you stop and whom you ask. Trust your instincts on this one.
If you get lost at night, look for a well-lit petrol station, stop, study your map, and try to figure out where you are.