Prior to arriving in New Zealand my budget for this country was one of the big unknowns in preparing for the trip. This is because we were planning to buy a campervan (rather than rent), and had no guarantees how much money we’d get back when it came to selling. Additionally New Zealand is renowned for being a fairly expensive country to travel in, which given the amazing adventure sports on offer its not surprising costs add up.
Over the 72 days I spent in New Zealand the costs amounted to $5,336 total. And averaged out at $74.11 per day. (All costs are in NZ dollars btw not USD!)
The following is the breakdown of my spending while in New Zealand:
$18.79 per day
I stayed in a variety of accommodation in New Zealand, but the vast majority of my time was spent in campsites. These cost $6-$10 per person per night for DOC campsites, with limited facilities (but usually amazing views!). Or $20-$25 for serviced campsites, including showers, a real kitchen and often a lounge area. I stayed in a dorm in Auckland before buying the camper and this cost $29 per night. And we splashed out on a hotel room in Wellington for my birthday which cost a whopping $220 per night (shared between two).
$17.46 per day
I was worried about the cost of food before arriving in New Zealand, but if you’re prepared to self cater it’s really not too bad. I cooked most my own meals, and admittedly ate a lot of Vegemite sandwiches. This kept my food costs relatively low. I did eat out 1-2 per week, and example costs include ~$30 for dinner, ~$20 for lunch/a nice breakfast, and ~$10 for a portion of fish and chips. I did also treat myself to a coffee and cake every now and then, costing around $10.
$11.50 per day
Most of my transport costs were fuel for the camper. Petrol cost between $1.50 to $2 per litre, depending on location and provider. It’s a good idea to budget at least $2 per litre so you’re not caught out. Other example transport costs include the ferry to Waiheke Island ($36) and the ferry crossing to the South Island ($113)
$22 per day
With all the amazing things to do in New Zealand it’s not surprising this category is quite expensive. In fact it should actually be higher as I was lucky enough to be given some activities for Christmas and my birthday. I would recommend budgeting around $2,000 for two months. The activities add up, but you’ll want to do them, and it would be rubbish to miss out. Some example costs are Kepler Track ($165), Skydive ($510), Bungee Swing ($160), Zorbing ($45) and Adrenaline Forest ($45).
Of course there are also a lot of free things to do in New Zealand, like day walks and beach trips. So these help even out the expensive days. Also it’s important to prioritise what’s important to you. Don’t just pay for an activity because it’s in the guide book – save your money and do the things you enjoy.
$1.70 per day
These are the extra bits and bobs you might need during you time in New Zealand. For example, hot showers at some DOC campsites ($2), inspect repellent ($10) and laundry ($4).
$2398 total (before selling)
$33.30 per day (before selling)
$1247 total (after selling)
$17.33 per day (after selling)
We opted to buy a camper as we planned to spent over 2 months travelling around NZ. This meant it was substantially cheaper to buy than rent, even if we didn’t manage to sell it at the end. Thankfully we did manage to sell, but this was at a loss as we bought in summer and sold in winter.
The initial cost of the camper was $4300 ($2150 each), plus we spent a fair bit in Warehouse decking it out with stuff. In the end we sold for $2300. Before selling we worked out we could afford the rest of the trip even if we didn’t manage to sell the camper. Which took the pressure off, but we were still glad to get some money back. The amounts above indicate how much we actually spent each, and how much it would have cost if we hadn’t been able to sell. These costs include insurance, sleeping bags, cooking stuff, etc.
For more about buying a camper in New Zealand check out this blog post:
In total I spent $5,336 during my 72 day stay in New Zealand. This equated to $74.11 on average per day.
For extra tips on travelling around New Zealand on a budget, have a read of this post: