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Prices in New Zealand – how to plan your budget?

New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

New Zealand is considered as a very expensive country. After all these stories, we thought we would leave a small fortune at the other end of the world… Is it true? I admit sincerely that the prices on site surprised us rather positively. It is definitely not cheap, but for example, lodging on the site is much cheaper than on the US West Coast. Try our tips and reduce your New Zealand trip cost! You may find our itinerary here.


Plane tickets to New Zealand

This is probably the highest New Zealand trip cost if you’re flying from Europe… We were lucky and we bought our tickets for 480 EUR per person. Normally, for a ticket from Munich to Auckland, you have to spend about 1200 EUR per person… If you dream of New Zealand, I would definitely recommend you adjusting your trip dates to the availability of promo tickets (not otherwise!). Keep an eye on sites such as or – I subscribed to the newsletter to get hot deals straight to my mailbox 🙂

Tip: Find out more how our New Zealand itinerary looked like and of course, where to see kiwi in New Zealand!
New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

New Zealand’s fellowship of the ring!

Moving around New Zealand

Honestly? I think there is no better way to explore this part of the world than in a car or a camper. This gives you independence, freedom, and access to all places you want to visit. You don’t have to rely on public transport. Unfortunately, renting a car will increase your New Zealand trip cost. It is not very cheap, especially considering the quality. The cars are usually not super fancy, regardless the rental company. We decided to rent a compact car from budget-friendly company Jucy. We got a pretty tattered Nissan Tilda – for the same price in the US we got the brand new Dodge Charger. How much did it cost us?

  • car rental for 14 days – 700 NZD
  • full car insurance – 220 NZD
  • drop off in another location fee – 10 NZD (we left from Auckland with a drop off in Christchurch; if you plan to drop off your car in a smaller city like Dunedin, this fee will be much higher)
  • gas for 14 days: 500 NZD – we drove approx. 4 000 km
  • 1 liter of gas – 1,70 NZD on the North Island; 2,10 NZD on the South Island

Tip: if you wanna save some bucks on gas, go shopping at Pak’n’Save – you will get a discount coupon for their own petrol station (which is cheap anyway!)

  • Bluebridge ferry from the North to South Island – 226 NZD (2 adults and a car)
  • Air New Zealand plane tickets from Christchurch to Auckland – 166 NZD (2 adults), we booked them 4 months in advance, there are plenty of them every day, but they are rather full

Tip: flights between these cities also operated by the low-cost Jetstar airline… Surprisingly, after adding checked-in baggage, tickets were much more expensive than Air New Zealand’s ones. Check it before booking!

New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

Ferrari is not a typical car on the road, but we found couple of them near the Tongariro crossing

Accommodation in New Zealand

This was probably the biggest surprise when it comes to New Zealand trip cost. After paying a lot in the US (usually around $100-120 per night in an average motel), we expected that accommodation will be extremely pricey. Of course, the most expensive accommodation may be found in big cities like Auckland (hotels – from NZD 150 and more, hostels – from NZD 80 per double room), but it is worth booking in advance. You may find “gems” – cheap and really cool places.

New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

Finding sunset over the Queenstown

Campings in New Zealand

The situation outside the big cities is simple. Usually, next to popular spots, there are several camp sites which are often the only accommodation option in the area. Usually, they belong to camping chains like Kiwi or Top 10 Holiday Parks. You can find the whole map of available camp sites here. It’s super useful when it comes to planning your route and accommodation. Usually, we paid 65-90 NZD for a cottage/room on the campsite. The camping itself often looks better than many American motels … 

Tip: New Zealand is more and more popular, and in the high season (November – February), besides foreign tourists, there are also New Zealanders who love camping… I booked accommodation 6 months in advance and in some places, everything was already booked! And we were even not in the peak season! (in March). After you purchase your plane tickets, go and quickly book your accommodation! In addition, if you plan to spend more nights at camps within a respective camping chain, consider purchasing a membership card. It usually gives you 10% discount on accommodation and the Cook Strait ferry crossing (depends on program).

New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

Crossing the Cook Strait

Free camping in New Zealand

If you really want to keep your New Zealand trip cost low… Remember that in some places (only these marked on the map linked above) you can sleep for free! The conditions you have to fulfill are different. Usually, to camp for free, you must have a self-contained camper van (i.e. with a toilet inside). Ordinary, cheapest camper vans don’t have it – and you have to go to the normal campsite. Sometimes (very rarely) you can stay overnight in your car or set up a tent. There is no such thing as “freedom camping”! You mustn’t set up a tent anywhere, if the camping is free for camper vans, only they can stay there.

I felt very embarrassed when we met a Polish couple setting up a tent illegally on the bank of the lakes (the camp was just for “self-contained campers” and they knew it very well). The nearby swans started to chase them and they were trying to escape, losing their stuff on the way… A bit ridiculous, a bit sad image. Even if the New Zealanders are relaxed when it comes to penalties, take into account that these prohibitions are “for something”. New Zealand is extremely clean and pure and lets it stay that way.

New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

On our way to the Queenstown

Prices of food in New Zealand

Pak’n’Save is definitely the cheapest store – you may find it in every bigger city. It is worth to buy supplies for the road and gas there. All imported goods are horrendously expensive (French camembert for NZD 20, etc.). But there is also a large selection of domestic, much cheaper products. Good quality beef is for example much cheaper than in Europe. Some food prices in New Zealand:

  • 0,5 kg chicken breast – 11 NZD
  • 1,5 kg beef steaks – 11 NZD
  • muesli – 5 NZD
  • ham 200 g – 4 NZD
  • local camembert cheese 110g – 4 NZD
  • fresh juice 750 ml – 3 NZD
  • 6-pack of yogurts – 5 NZD
  • big natural yogurt – 6 NZD
  • jam – 5 NZD
  • peanut butter – 6 NZD
  • 8 rolls – 16 NZD
  • cheddar 120g  – 5 NZD
  • 1 kg local cheese- 10 NZD
  • 1l milk – 2,5 NZD
  • famous Whittakers chocolate 250g – 5 NZD 
  • wine – 10 NZD and more, interesting fact: Aussie wines are cheaper than NZ! 🙂
  • small beer – 3 NZD and more
New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

Michal enjoying his daily dose of sweets in Queenstown 🙂

Prices in restaurants in New Zealand

We both love the Indian cuisine (a large selection of veg dishes) and New Zealand was a paradise when it comes to Indian restaurants. Delicious food straight (a lot of immigrants from India live here) and reasonably priced. We have beaten our own record in Dunedin, where we accidentally came across promotion 2 for 1 and we paid NZD 15 for lunch 🙂 We only ate our lunches in restaurants, but to be honest I doubt if we would save a lot if cooking on our own. There are many restaurants – Chinese, Thai, Italian, where you can often get a meal for approx. 10 NZD. Sample prices in restaurants in New Zealand:

  • veggie Indian curry+rice+naan – 15 NZD
  • a burger at the world-famous Fergburger restaurant in Queenstown – approx. 12 NZD
  • cappuccino – 4 NZD
  • cake at a cafe- 4 NZD
  • beer in a bar in Auckland – 10 NZD
  • beer in a small town (Hampden) – 6 NZD 

Tip: while in Auckland, take a walk around the Food Alley. This small street is full of cuisine from all over the world, the dishes are usually prepared by immigrants from other countries. It is also very cheap compared to nearby spots – for the best Indian dish I have ever had in my life (kadhai paneer) I paid 11 NZD – seriously, it was better than in India! And the coolest thing – before you buy anything, you can try which dish fits you best by free tasting! 🙂

New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

Really the best Thai food we ever had, was in a restaurant in Wellington

Prices of attractions in New Zealand

Wherever we go somewhere, we like to see everything (what if we won’t come back?). Tickets for all sorts of attractions influenced our New Zealand trip cost mostly. The advantage is, all “natural” attractions (except geysers) are for free, ie. you don’t need to pay an entrance fee to the national park. Some prices of the most popular attractions per person – whatever you like:

Tip: if you rented a car at Jucy, the driver will get 50% off the Milford Sound Jucy cruise 🙂

Ile pieniędzy potrzeba na wyjazd do Nowej Zelandii? Sprawdź przykładowe ceny w Nowej Zelandii i ustal budżet swojej wycieczki.

Preparing for the Milford Sound cruise

For more our adventures in New Zealand, click here!

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New Zealand trip cost may get really high... Cut down the costs with our hints how to save money during your New Zealand trip!

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  • Reply
    May 14, 2017 at 06:33

    Thats a very useful guide indeed!!! I am planning to visit New Zealand pretty soon and I was get anxious how to do it!! thanks!!

  • Reply
    Agness of aTukTuk
    May 14, 2017 at 13:13

    Excellent guide, Magda! New Zealand is a breath-taking and a must visit place!

  • Leave a Reply

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