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If you’re planning on travelling to New Zealand, you’re probably wondering how much you need to budget for your trip. While your travel costs will depend on your travel style, generally speaking New Zealand is best for travellers with some spending money.
Accommodation costs are generally on the high side and food and drinks are relatively expensive. Many of New Zealand’s best attractions are very affordable or even free and, while some activities could set you back a fair amount, there’s plenty to do at lower price points too.
A reasonable budget for two for a week in New Zealand is around NZ$2,350.
This is based on staying in good, mid-range accommodation and having a few meals out per week, while preparing some yourself. It makes allowances for a couple of sightseeing activities, but doesn’t take into account expensive activities like adventure sports or private tours.
Generally speaking, the longer you travel, the cheaper it costs per day, while fly-in, fly-out trips can be more expensive. The average tourist visits New Zealand for 15 days (2-3 weeks) and spends around NZ$185 per person, per day.
You can expect to spend between NZ$160-NZ$240 a night, per couple, on accommodation in New Zealand. This will get you a private room with your own bathroom in a 3-4-star hotel or apartment rental.
Hostels are, of course, cheaper, but a private room with a shared bathroom will still cost around NZ$80 per night. A bed in a dorm room also averages around NZ$40 per night, per person, although there are definitely cheaper options out there.
Many visitors who want to see a lot of New Zealand choose to travel by campervan, combining their accommodation and travelling costs. Weekly campervan rentals in New Zealand range from around NZ$400 for a simple van and NZ$1500 for a newer motorhome.
Camp sites costs can vary – budget between NZ$30-50 per night for holiday parks, depending on location, facilities and whether you choose a site that is powered or unpowered. Department of Conservation camp sites usually cost NZ$15-20 per person.
There are also places in each region where you can camp for free. Ask the closest iSite tourist office for advice about where these are.
Budget to spend around NZ$500 for two for a week in New Zealand. This assumes you’re cooking some of the time and drinking a small amount of alcohol.
If you enjoy eating out, you can expect to pay around NZ$110 for a nice dinner for two, including an alcoholic drink. A meal at a pub is likely to be around NZ$60 for two, with cheaper meals available (especially for lunch) for around NZ$15 each.
Assuming that you’ll be eating out some of the time, budget at least NZ$100 a week for groceries. If you enjoy a few drinks, you’ll need to increase this amount – beer costs around NZ$6 for a 500ml bottle and good bottle of wine is around NZ$20, although you can always find cheaper options in the supermarket. Milk typically costs around NZ$4 for a two-litre bottle and you can expect to pay around NZ$4.5 for a cappuccino from a local café.
Getting around New Zealand is easiest with a car. Transport costs fluctuate depending how much you travel, but budgeting around NZ$300 for two per week is a good starting point. This should allow you to hire a cheaper rental car. If you’re planning on doing any tours or using hop-on hop-off buses, you’ll need to up your budget a bit.
A lot of the best things to do in New Zealand are free. However, there definitely are some attractions that cost money – entry fees to a museum or an art gallery are usually around NZ$20 - NZ$60 per person. If you want to do organised day trips or join smaller tour groups to learn more about some of the sites, budget around NZ$150 per activity per person.
If you’re planning to do any adventure sports, be sure to budget for it, sky diving or bungy-jumping can easily cost a couple of hundred dollars per person.
New Zealand is a beautiful destination to visit and although it’s not cheap, it’s definitely possible to travel there for less. Cooking your own meals, carefully selecting accommodation or limiting meals out will definitely help you to reduce your travel costs. Slow travel is another great way to help your budget to stretch further, while exploring a place in more depth.
Travelling through New Zealand is definitely possible on a budget – just pick your priorities and compromise on the rest or consider travelling in the off-season (Spring, Autumn and avoiding school holidays) to cut down on costs. And, if you’re on the luxury end of the scale or wanting to treat yourself, the sky’s the limit.
Last Updated September 18, 2021