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Is it easy to travel alone and tourless in NZ on the south island?

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I am a single woman, and will be travelling in NZ and Australia in April. I had some good feedback from others on the initerary. I plan to have 6-7 days in NZ, south island, then the rest of the time in Aus.

I wonder if its easy to travel around on ones own in NZ? I now distances are long. I wasnt too keen to hire a car (not much fun alone...) and I have investigated some packages run by NZ coaches with transport+hotels included but they arent cheap, eg 1500 NZ dollars for 3 nights/4 days or about 2000 for 8 days which is just transport and 3* hotels

I wanted to know - is it cheaper to try to do all this myself? I know there are trains and buses, but it would be a shame to end up either missing something, getting stressed about trying to get trains and buses, or else finding it all cost more doing it alone.
I also wondered if there are pleasant youth hostel-type accommodations in NZ (maybe with single rooms though rather than bunk beds)?
grateful for any advice or help! I am starting to think about ditching the whole idea of NZ and focussing on Aus.

For Aus, I am more relaxed as have travelled there before. I know hotels are expensive but I feel its all more travelled and less of a mystery to me!

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