We spent almost 6 weeks in New Zealand, four on the South Island and a little less than two on the North Island. New Zealand is not a budget destination, nevertheless, we managed to spend 59 Euros per person per day, less than what we had budgeted. This is rather unexpected! How comes we did not spend much more?
First, accommodation is very cheap for a Western country! The type of lodgings labelled “Backpacker” and the BBH association especially offers great value accommodation. Standards can be very different but the rating in the BBH guide is pretty reliable. On average, we spent a little less than 28 Euros per night for a double room with shared bathrooms.
Moreover, car rentals CAN be very cheap: we paid 21 NZ Dollars (11 Euros) a day for a 39 days rental for a big car including basic insurances and the ferry for the car between the South and the North Island. If you start late into the summer, it is crucial to start down south, for instance in Christchurch and return the car in Auckland. Car rental companies indeed struggle with the fact that virtually everyone starts in Auckland and drops off the car somewhere in the South Island. Doing the opposite, we managed to save a lot of money!
Yes, we never ate out, except for a few lunches, because restaurants are as pricy as in Austria. We spent approx. 90 Euros per week on food and drinks per person and cooked delicious meals. Meat and fish are a lot cheaper than back home, but fruits and vegetables can be expensive. Wine is surprisingly pricy in New Zealand, the cheapest selling for about 10 NZ Dollars for okay quality. Better wine was simply out of our price range!
The very expensive part of travelling in New Zealand is all the activities that are offered literally at every corner. We heard young people in some hostels talking about their bungy jumping here and their skydiving there and what not. If you are into these activities, plan enough money, for those activities are REALLY expensive! We hardly bothered, the only crazy thing Gilles did was a Skydive over Lake Taupo, a present from Heidi for his birthday.