Budget New Zealand: costs and prices of travelling through New Zealand!

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: “How expensive is travelling in New Zealand?”. The answer to this question depends on the type of traveller you are, the activities you do and how long you will be travelling for. But of course, I can say something about what we spent in New Zealand. Therefore in this blog: how expensive was our trip through New Zealand? Also, we will share with you what a realistic daily budget for New Zealand is and what the price levels in New Zealand are.

How expensive is travelling in New Zealand?

Travel in New Zealand is expensive! A realistic daily budget for New Zealand is 100 euros per person. This does not include flights and is based on average expenses during a trip through New Zealand per campervan. It can always be cheaper or more expensive.

What does a three-week trip through New Zealand cost?

So if you travel through New Zealand for three weeks, take into account a budget of around € 2300 per person. Add to this a flight ticket of approximately € 1100 and you are at an amount of 3400 euros per person for an entire vacation to New Zealand.

Disclaimer: we are not extreme budget backpackers. By this, I mean that we almost never sleep in a dormitory, do not cut down on activities and cook with fresh fruit and vegetables. On the other hand, we certainly don’t travel luxuriously: we sleep in hostels, don’t eat often out and are real bargain hunters. Everyone has different priorities and budgets while travelling. That is totally fine! Just keep this in mind while you read this blog. It’s always possible to travel cheaper or more expensive than we do.

New Zealand: definitely not a budget backpacking destination!

New Zealand is definitely not cheap. Groceries, transport and accommodation are sometimes even more expensive than in the Netherlands. In addition, our way of travelling through New Zealand, with a campervan is expensive, and we have done some expensive activities. Next, to that, a plane ticket to New Zealand from Europe can be very expensive. Click here for the latest flight deals to New Zealand.

All in all New Zealand is not a cheap holiday destination. But if you have the chance to visit it, then you should definitely go because it is a beautiful country. I also loved our way of travelling: camping and having the freedom to travel wherever we wanted to go.

Click here for three New Zealand itineraries for the Northern island.

Our budget facts for New Zealand

Number of days in New Zealand: 25
Total spend in New Zealand: NZ$9.911,70 / €5.537 / $6.386,65
Average daily spendings New Zealand: NZ$396,5 / €221,5 / $255,5
Average daily spendings per person: NZ$198,25 / €110,75 / $127,75
Our budget for New Zealand: NZ$12.325 / € 6.885/ $7.941,50
Stayed within budget: yes!

All expenses are for two people (unless stated otherwise) and calculated on the basis of exchange rates during the trip. This amount is excluding our flights. The currency displayed are New Zealand Dollar (NZ $), Euro (€) and US Dollar ($).

How much money to spend on accommodation in New Zealand? – 9,4% of the total budget in New Zealand

Total spend: NZ$978,45 / €546,60 / $630,45
Number of nights: 24
Average amount per room for 2 pers: NZ$40,80 / €22,80 / $26,30
Price of a budget hotel room in New Zealand: NZ$119,12 / €70 / $76,85

The accommodation costs are a bit strange here: we travelled with a campervan and thus accommodation and transport actually fall under the same heading. Because the campervan was such a big cost item, I named it separately below. The costs shown above are the costs of the campsites and the hostel where we spent our last night in Auckland.

It is possible to camp for free, however, you need to have a self-contained campervan. A self-contained campervan can, therefore, ensure that your accommodation costs are much lower. Our campervan wasn’t self-contained. Keep in mind that often there is no running water at this kind of campsites, neither are there toilet facilities.

Click here for the ultimate three-week New Zealand South Island itinerary.

How much money to spend on transportation in New Zealand? – 14,2% of the total budget in New Zealand

Total spend: NZ$1.410,75 / €788,10 / $909
Costs of gas: NZ$1.052,95 / €588,20 / $678,45
Costs of the Ferry: NZ$307,90 / €172,00 / $198,40
Taxi Auckland – Airport: NZ$50 / €27,90 / $32,20

This amount seems low when you consider that we drove through New Zealand. But it doesn’t include the cost of our campervan, which was our main form of transport.

Tip: When shopping at Pak’n Save, you get a discount on petrol with your Pak’n Save receipt at the corresponding petrol station. Well worth the effort to do your shopping in advance!

What does renting a campervan in New Zealand cost? – 37,7% of the total budget in New Zealand

Total costs campervan: NZ$3.199,00 / €2.090 / $2.061,30
Of which the insurance: NZ$690 / €385,45 / $444,60
Number of days: 23
Average amount per day: NZ$139,10 / €90,85 / $89,60

We rented for 23 days a campervan at Spaceships where we had all-risk insurance. Because we booked almost a year in advance, we received an early booking discount. It’s certainly possible to rent a campervan for less money, however, we wanted to be sure of good quality and therefore chose Spaceships which has very good reviews. And indeed we would recommend Spaceships to you as well!

Buying a campervan in New Zealand?

If your trip is more flexible and you have more time in New Zealand, you can also consider buying a campervan and selling it at departure. This can save a lot of money. Keep in mind that it may take a while before you find a suitable campervan (especially in high season) and before you have it sold again (especially in low season).

Mega budget tip for Early Birds: Currently campervan rental company Spaceships has a great deal where you get a 10% discount, valid for travel in 2024, 2025 and 2026! Click here for more information and to book your campervan.

Click here to read everything you need to know before you rent a campervan in New Zealand!

How much money to spend on food in New Zealand? – 17,5% of the total budget in New Zealand

Total spend: NZ$1.735,10 / €969,28 / $1.118
Of which groceries: NZ$1.012,65 / €565,70 / $652,50
Other expenses: NZ$722,48 / €403,60 / $465,55
Daily food expenses per person: NZ$36,15/ €20,19 / $23,29

We cooked a lot ourselves and therefore spent a relatively low percentage of our budget on food. Other expenses include things such as eating out, buying cappuccinos to go or drinks in a bar, a prepaid SIM card, Wi-Fi and drugstore purchases.

Tip: We saved a lot of money shopping at the cheap supermarket chain Pak’n Save.

How much money to spend on activities in New Zealand? – 20,6% of the total budget in New Zealand?

Total spend: NZ$2.046 / €1.143 / $1.318,39
Visiting vineyards: NZ$225,55 / €126,60 / $146
Helicopter flights: NZ$1.117 / €624 / $719,75
Milford Sounds: NZ$129,25 / €72,20 / $83,30
Hobbiton: NZ$165,85 / €92,65 / $106,85
Other expenses: NZ$407,36 / €227,55 / $262,45

We did a lot of activities in New Zealand. So we visited Milford Sounds, we made two helicopter flights, went golfing, visited Hobbiton and went to a lot of vineyards (where we also bought the necessary bottles of wine). These are generally expensive activities, but there are also plenty of free activities to do in New Zealand. You can make the most beautiful hikes, swim and surf in the beautiful sea, and see a lot of wildlife, all for free. If you have a small budget, don’t be put off by these costs.

Tip: We saved on our activities by buying them with a lot of discount on the website book.me.nz.

Click here to read about our favourite hikes in New Zealand!

Prices of food and general travel expenses in New Zealand.

Below you will find the prices of groceries or general travel expenses in New Zealand.

Metro / bus ticket: NZ$ 3.50 / € 1.95 / $ 2.25
Because we travelled by campervan we didn’t make use of public transport.

Cappuccino: NZ$ 4.50 / € 2.50 / $ 2.90
Thé tip for budget travellers: at Pak’n Save you have very cheap and good coffee for only NZ$ 3!

1 kilo of apples: NZ$ 3.90 / € 2.20 / $ 2.50
Fruit and vegetables are reasonably priced in New Zealand. We often bought the fruit that was on sale.

Beer in a cafe: NZ$ 8 / € 4.45 / $ 5.15
Alcohol is expensive in New Zealand.

Bottle of Coke (2L): NZ$ 3.60 / € 2.00 / $ 2.30

Yoghurt (1L): NZ$ 5 / € 2.80 / $ 3.20
Dairy is expensive in New Zealand.

Bottle of milk (1L): NZ$ 3.50 / € 1.95 / $ 2.25

Bread (2pers): NZ$ 2.50 / € 1.40 / $ 1.60

Bottle of water (1.5L): NZ$ 1.85 / € 1.00 / $ 1.20

Bottle of wine in the supermarket: NZ$ 15 / € 8.37 / $ 9.65
Wine in the supermarket is not very expensive. If you visit a vineyard, you buy a bottle of wine from about NZ $20.

Simple lunch / evening meal (1 person) outside: NZ$ 25 / € 14 / $ 16.10
Even though we usually cooked ourselves, when we ate outside the door, we made sure it was not too expensive.

1 liter of petrol: NZ$ 2.14 / € 1.20 / $ 1.40
With the many kilometres we drove, and are not particularly fuel-efficient car, we used a lot of petrol.

In New Zealand an cheap holiday destination?

No, a trip to New Zealand is quite expensive. In 25 days we spent more than € 5,500 and that’s without the flight tickets. That is €2,750 per person, a huge amount, of which you could easily live two to three months in some countries in Southeast Asia.

Travelling in New Zealand is expensive because of the transport, the accommodations and the cool, but expensive activities. This trip could certainly have been a lot cheaper, for example by deleting some of these activities. But for us, a trip to New Zealand was something very special that we will probably only do once in our lives. That is why we have chosen to get everything out of it and to budget for expensive activities in advance.

What is a realistic daily budget for New Zealand?

Even though it depends on what type of traveller you are, it is certainly possible to estimate what a realistic daily budget is for travelling through New Zealand.

Daily budget New Zealand for a budget backpacker:

Do you like hostels? Do you enjoy travelling by bus and are you planning to make this trip on your own? Unfortunately, your daily budget for New Zealand will still be quite high. Allow approximately €80 to €100 per person per day. This includes some (budget) activities, cheap meals and a bed in a dormitory.

Daily budget New Zealand for travelling by campervan:

Are you travelling through New Zealand by campervan like us? This allows you to cook yourself and save a lot of money on food. You usually sleep on campsites but you do a number of fun activities. Then budget between €100 and €120 per person per day. If you prefer to travel with a larger camper, then budget about 30 euros per person on top of this amount.

New Zealand luxury traveler’s daily budget:

Do you like to go out for dinner, do you prefer to sleep in a hotel or beautiful lodge and do you enjoy an occasional cocktail? Then your trip to New Zealand won’t be cheap. If you travel by car, and don’t often cook yourself, take into account a budget of €200 per person per day. For this you sleep in nice hotels, eat two to three meals in restaurants and you have the budget to do cool activities.

New Zealand

Click here for all my New Zealand blogs!

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Budget New Zealand


  1. by Backpack New Zealand on 14 September 2020  20:27 Reply

    First comment and great tips :)

    I shared you mine privately.

    Thanks guys

  2. by David on 24 July 2022  17:16 Reply

    Do you have an idea what it would cost to buy a used fully contained camper-van ( mini motorhome ) in New Zealand and what you might be able to re-sell it for before you leave.
    What would the car ferry cost between North and South Island for the motor home ?
    What did you insurance cost for the camper ?

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