Detailed Breakdown of My New Zealand Budget Trip – $2600 for 20 days!

lake pearson, new zealand

“New Zealand is too expensive to go!”

New Zealand is high on everyone’s bucket list, yet the cost of travelling to and around New Zealand puts many off. I visited New Zealand’s North and South island in May 2016 as part of our graduation trip, and was surprised at how little we spent in the 20 days we spent there!

Nobody could believe me when I said I spent less than NZD 15/day for food, lived on NZD 20/day in hostels or that I rented a campervan for NZD 50/day for 4 of us when we did our New Zealand budget trip!

Flying was also less than SGD 400 one way from Singapore to New Zealand. Unbelievable? It’s true, I booked with budget airline Jetstar!

This brought my entire 20-day New Zealand budget trip to SGD 2565/ NZD 2700. We still had a whale of time visiting the classic New Zealand spots such as Hobbiton, and surely we couldn’t miss some of New Zealand’s adventure attractions, like blackwater rafting or Fox Glacier hike? 😉

(SGD 1: NZD 0.95)

North

Total expenditure for 7 days: NZD 623 (NZD 89/day)

South

Total expenditure for 10 days (with campervan): NZD 535 (NZD 54/day)

Total expenditure for 6 days (without campervan): NZD 472 (NZD 79/day)

roys peak, new zealand

Here’s a breakdown of our trip by transport, food, accommodation, attractions and miscellaneous costs!


TRANSPORT in New Zealand

CategoryDetails Amt (SGD) Amt (NZD)
Transport-FlightSG – Auckland Jetstar +15kg $399.06
Transport-FlightWellington-Christchurch Jetstar +10kg $58.79
Transport-FlightChristchurch – Melbourne Jetstar +15kg $176.66 $182.00
Transport-FlightMelbourne – SG Jetstar +15kg $303.62 292 AUD

Total for return flights: SGD 938.13

North Island
Total for bus: NZD 150

South Island
Campervan rental: NZD 500 (NZD 12.50/day/pax)
Petrol: NZD 550 for 272L, 1623km

Road trip New Zealand map | Bel Around The World
Road trip New Zealand map

Car rental in Christchurch: NZD 395 (NZD 39.50/day/pax)
Petrol: NZD 62.39, 31.37L
Parking in Christchurch: NZD 2.50 all day

Read: Driving In New Zealand The First Time?

ACCOMMODATION in New Zealand

North

LocationCategoryDetails Amt (SGD) Amt (NZD)
RotoruaAccomRock Solids Backpackers  Rotorua $17.10 $18.00
Lake TaupoAccomHaka Lodge @ Lake Taupo $24.70 $26.00
HamiltonAccomBackpackers Central @ Hamilton $20.90 $22.00

Average per night: NZD 22

Check prices on Hostelworld, Agoda and Booking.com.

South

LocationCategoryDetails Amt (SGD) Amt (NZD)
Fox GlacierAccomIvory Lodge hostel $24.70 $26.00
HaastAccomNon powered site $11.40 $12.00
Te AnuAccomTe Anu Kiwi Holiday Park $19.95 $21.00
QueenstownAccomMotorhome powered campervan site $19.00 $20.00
Lake TekapoAccomHoliday Park Non powered site $17.10 $18.00
ChristchurchAccomAirbnb 3 + 2 nights $82.25 $86.60

Average per night (with campervan): NZD 19
While we slept in the campervan, we still had to pay a small fee for parking at camp sites.

Average per night (without campervan): NZD 17

Rent Campervan New Zealand Road trip

ATTRACTIONS in New Zealand

North

LocationCategoryDetails Amt (SGD) Amt (NZD)
 MatamataTourHobbiton $76.75
MatamataTourBaggage deposit @ iSite $4.75 $5.00
WaitomoTourBlackwater Rafting $-  * $-
RotoruaTourMaori Whakarewarewa tour $-  * $-
RotoruaTourZorb 350m @ Ogo $47.50 $50.00
RotoruaTourPolynesian Spa $25.65 $27.00
RotoruaTourLocker @ Polynesian Spa $1.19 $1.25
TaupoTourWai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland $30.88 $32.50

fox glacier, new zealand

South

Fox GlacierTourHelihike @ Fox Glacier Guiding Co $-  * $-
QueenstownTourMilford Sound $8.55 $9.00

*Disclaimer: Tours were provided complimentary in exchange for a review. Read more about my experiences:

castle hill, new zealand

Read: 20 Favourite New Zealand Instagram Shots To Swoon Over (& Where To Find Them!)

FOOD in New Zealand

North 

NZD 13 per day

South

NZD 14.50 per day

This includes the occasional splurge on Fergburger, but most of our food were home-cooked since we were living in the campervan.

fergburger, queenstown, new zealand

Restaurants in NZ: ~ NZD 11

The cheapest food you can find would probably in fast food restaurants.

  • McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffin: NZD 4.90
  • Subway’s Meatball Sub: NZD 4.50

You can keep your food costs down by shopping in supermarkets such as Pak’n’Save, which would bring cost to ~ NZD 5 per meal.


MISCELLANEOUS

Laundry: NZD 4

Insurance MSIG TravellerShield: SGD 78.50


church of the good shepherd, new zealand

Fresh out of university, this was our graduation trip. We set out being on a budget while cruising around New Zealand. That being said, we wanted to maximise our experiences, which called for splurging more on attractions. We compromised on Wi-Fi on-the-go, expensive food and comfortable lodging, for eye-opening experiences like learning about the Maori culture and hiking on ice at Fox Glacier.

Part of the reason why flights and car rental was cheaper was also because we travelled during the off periods in May.

If you’re still hesitant about visiting New Zealand, DON’T. The scenery is to kill for. Driving in New Zealand has never been easier. The adventure activities? You’ve got to try them once in your life!

New Zealand budget trip itinerary


Still have questions on how to plan a New Zealand budget trip? Ask in the comments below! 🙂


10 May 2016, Tuesday – 29 May 2016, Sunday

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34 Comment

  1. […] at the crossroads, there were so many possibilities calling to me. I could do a working holiday in New Zealand, volunteer abroad, do a long-term backpacking trip, start freelancing full-time while focusing on […]

  2. […] New Zealand on Budget Guide […]

  3. Hi! May I know what type/brand of camera did you used? Your photos are awesome!!

    1. Thanks a lot, that means a lot! I’m using a regular dslr. Not the most fancy one. I needed a light one for travelling around. It’s a Canon 100D 🙂

  4. Lian Xin says: Reply

    Hi there! Awesome posts, really helps a great deal in my planning for my upcoming 19-day trip in May! Do you think it’s possible to stay in a campervan throughout to save on accommodation fees? Is it worth it for two people to rent a campervan?

    1. Hi Lian Xin, how did you come across this article? I’m happy you found it useful!

      Yes you can stay in a campervan throughout, and it will be more spacious for 2 as compared to squeezing with 4 (although it’s suitable for 4 people for this size). The only time you need to check in at accommodations is probably when you need to borrow their facilities to cook and shower, which doesn’t cost you more than a few dollars.

      1. Lian Xin says: Reply

        Hi Isabel, many thanks for the swift response. I came across your blog via Google and I’m hooked! I’m a fellow Singaporean and it’s always nice to read reviews coming from another fellow Singaporean’s POV! One more thing, does the campervan consume more fuel as compared to a normal car? If we are doing a round trip around South Island, how much would you estimate our fuel costs to be?

        1. Hi Lian Xin,

          That’s just me being excited for your own road trip! Thank you for your kind words – it really makes my day even sweeter. (Happy V’day to you!)

          The campervan runs on Diesel, so fuel is not as efficient as a regular car. Also, don’t forget the campervan’s weight relative to a regular one. I did a road trip on the South Island as well, and mentioned in my post that it costed us NZD 550 for 272L, 1623km. You can roughly work out the cost per km and calculate your total distance and multiply accordingly. I also have a post on driving in NZ. Hope that helps!

  5. Sounds like a really fun trip and it’s great you managed to do it so cheaply! We flew Jetstar internationally a few times and they are ok. It’s not our favourite airline but it’s great when the cost is cheap! Thanks for sharing all those cost details, very helpful!

  6. Impressive. I live in New Zealand, and I can tell you, you did great. My vegetarian teen daughter just moved to Auckland for University and she spends about $50 each week on food. It looks like you enjoyed yourselves. And, I think that was a great price for zorb.

  7. This is just amazing! Bookmarking this, and tweeted as well. Great job budgeting, and the map is super useful.

  8. Wow, you guys budgeted really well for New Zealand. $2600 SGD is incredibly cheap for nearly 3 weeks. I wish I could have organized to be part of your trip! A lot of people are put off New Zealand by the high prices but you just proved them all wrong!

  9. It looks like you were able to see and do a lot on that budget! I’d heard NZ is expensive and it looks like what I heard was correct. I would still love to go.

  10. Carola says: Reply

    Thank you for this comprehensive break-down. It certainly makes budgeting easier…
    I have to say that is still not cheap as a whole. Though, it seems like you can save a ton renting a camper van as a small group and moving/eating/sleeping in there during your stay.

    Thank you & happy continued travels!
    C

  11. $2600 for 20 days is really impressive – Australia and NZ are two of the more expensive regions in the world, so I’ve always found it difficult staying to a budget here! I haven’t managed to get to NZ (apart from 2 days in Auckland which isn’t really traveling the country), but am more convinced to bring it forward now that I know it’s possible to not spend a fortune 🙂

  12. This is totally amazing! NZ has always been in my bucketlist but I’m always to reluctant to go as it will burn a hole in my wallet. Now you’ve inspired me!

  13. Ahh, the good thing about being from Norway. Almost every country I go to seems cheap, so far I have only found Iceland to be more expensive. Your budget and expenditure of the trip is impressive. I wish I was better at saving money on my travels sometimes. I always blow my budget and have to live on almost nothing when I return home 🙂

  14. Danik says: Reply

    Great insight on what to expect when budgeting in NZ. It has put me off about the prices, but now you write it like this, I might be able to do this on this sort of budget. 🙂

  15. Such a detailed post on New Zealand. It is really helpful for all of us. Further your photographs are awesome and seems you had lot of fun 🙂

  16. rhiydwi says: Reply

    $2700NZD including flights is insanely good! And reading your post it doesn’t even seem as if you held back much, which is always a plus. I’d love to go to NZ some day but would likely have to budget a little more only because flights from UK would be more costly!

  17. Awesome job!! I’m totally impressed with how little you spent. New Zealand’s been on my list for quite some time. I’ll have to seriously consider renting a camper like you did. The cost savings is a huge draw. Good for you to pay for the things you really wanted to do. Otherwise you’ll regret it.

  18. Cat says: Reply

    Great job controlling your cost for 20 days in New Zealand! Thanks for detailing how much you spent on the tours and activities – that is very helpful. If I live in Asia, I would totally love to visit!

  19. Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer says: Reply

    What a great trip. Sometimes the expense of a camper van is so worth it. You get your transport and accommodation in one although I do get that you have to pay for your pitch. I have sometimes avoided the more expensive countries as I thought I could not travel on a reasonable budget. I am yet to go to NZ for this reason. Thank for your breakdown as now I believe I can travel their on my type of budget.
    Sounds like you had an amazing time 🙂

  20. Nancy says: Reply

    What an amazing deal! I live in Canada so flights are at least $1500. Many items are reasonable though even with the CDN/NZD exchange change rate.

  21. Jean says: Reply

    Wow great job with the budgeting! Living in Australia we can get the same cheap flights but I’d be spending way more on the amazing NZ wine. Probably as much or more then what you’d budgeted for your daily food.

  22. Loved New Zealand thank you for sharing and reminding me of wonderful memories

  23. travelwith2ofus says: Reply

    Seems like visiting New Zealand is actually affordable after all. You got to do so many things for the 2700. I like that fact that it was quality activities as well. Campervan wasn’t that expensive either. Love how you gave details of every cent you spent.

  24. What an amazing trip! I love the camper van idea for the long trips so you can eat and sleep which are the biggest expense – I guess the price of renting the van pays off in the long run for sure! Great list to help anyone traveling budget and see where to cut costs!

  25. Like Australia New Zealand is high on my to go to list. I really wonder if 2600 would really work for me coming from Canafa lol. Great post though, very detailed and the pictures are fantastic too.

  26. Your trip is amazing! I love how detailed your post is! New Zealand is one of my dream land and I hope to visit it soon.

  27. I loved this post! You’re exactly right, the cost is what has put me off from going to New Zealand as I had always heard how expensive it is. Thanks for sharing how you traveled there on a budget and breaking down your expenses. Super helpful!

  28. Wow this breakdown truly surprised me! I went to Queenstown for a WEEK and spent more than you did :/ but we were in Queenstwon where if you want to do anything adventurous the cost is through the roof. I love the Fergburger! We were lucky and only waited 15 mins for our meal 🙂

  29. The breakdown of your budget trip has amazed me. You have really done a lot of thoughtful research and hence you saved so much without compromising on the travel experience. I am going to bookmark this and follow your footsteps through New Zealand.

  30. Thank you for posting this breakdown of your expenses. It seems to me you did pretty good if you’ve only spent $2,600 in 20 days and you still enjoyed yourself. I have to confess that I don’t like to nickel-and-dime myself when I go on vacation, but sometimes you have to do it if you want to travel more.

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