Friday, December 4, 2015

How much does it cost to go to New Zealand?

If you are wondering how much it will cost to plan a trip to New Zealand, look no further than this blog - I took meticulous notes on every dollar spent for our trip: flights, food, other transportation, gas for the sleepervan, groceries, even the occasional incidental like a water bottle or cup of coffee.

I kept track of this information not only for our own planning purposes, but also because I knew this information would be valuable for others planning their own NZ trips, or to help others see how they can turn their own NZ dream into a reality.

The following costs are in NZD, and are the costs that a single person would incur if they were traveling alone. (Anything in CAD has been converted to NZD at the rate of $1 NZD = .90 CAD), for ease of calculations.

If you are traveling with another person, you can divide the costs of anything with an * in HALF.


$1827: Return flight from Toronto to Auckland for 1 person
$902: Sleepervan rental (Euro Campers) for 25 days in September*
$966: Gas for sleepervan*
$95: NZ Wifi stick credit*
$20: NZ Phone credit*
$124: Travel medical insurance
$102: Taxi to and from airport in Toronto*

$30: Miscellaneous costs while still in Toronto (phone card; GPS)*
$178: Miscellaneous transportation in NZ (water taxis, ferries, airbus, Interislander Ferry, etc)
$307: Campsite fees per person
$406: Hostel accommodation in NZ*

$570: Activity fees
 $534: Supplies & Groceries*
$26: Showers & Laundry
$153: Eating out

Using the above numbers, a single person traveling to New Zealand could spend around $6240 NZD, and two people together could save on costs and spend around $4712 NZD each.

However, it all depends on a variety of factors.  The flight is obviously the biggest variable, as it depends on where you're traveling from.

Another big variable is which campervan company you rent from.  We chose Euro Camper and can HIGHLY recommend them.  Our little sleepervan was small and yet very cozy and well-maintained.
It is the only self-contained sleepervan in New Zealand (you need that self-contained certification to stay in many of the campsites in NZ).  We saved a lot of money by choosing this particular little sleepervan over any of the larger motorhomes.

Euro Camper also provides an all-inclusive fee which includes the liability insurance and a wifi stick and cell phone that you can add credit to, plus many other necessities and extras (GPS, map book, tourism radio device, inverter to charge your laptop while vehicle is driving, etc) that are not always provided for free with rentals from larger companies.  They were also very friendly, and assisted us by phone with any issues we ran into with the sleepervan.

We also cooked most of our meals in the back of the sleepervan in the little kitchen, rather than eating out, which saved us a lot of money.  If you're the kind of person that prefers to buy prepared meals or eat out more, this cost will run you higher.

The campsite fees are another area that could be more or less, depending on your preferences.  Campsites in New Zealand range anywhere from free to $25+ per person.  We did a mixture of free sites and low-end ($5-$15) ones, but if you prefer hot showers every day and flushing toilets (or any showers at all), you're looking at spending a lot more.

I'm not sure how much gas would cost in a large motor home.  Our sleepervan was a bit of a gas guzzler, but its small size likely counteracts some of what it would cost to fuel a more gas-efficient but considerably larger motorhome.

Activity costs are another variable, and one you definitely don't want to skimp out on.  That being said, many of the incredible things we did and saw in New Zealand were free!  From watching the rarest penguin in the world come out of the ocean, to hiking the incredible Milford Track, to swimming in a hot stream or hiking a magically lit path of gloworms, we used the internet and wrong turns to maximize our free experiences of all New Zealand has to offer.  Still, if you want to do things like Hobbiton, adrenaline sports in Queenstown (I flew a plane!), or take ferry tours of places like Bay of Islands and Milford Sound fjords, the costs can add up.

Another thing to think about is the money you'll save back at home.  For example, you won't be buying groceries or eating out at home, so a lot of what you spend on food in NZ would be money you would have spent on food at home anyway.  You can also put your car insurance on hold, as I did, while you're traveling.  Sometimes, internet companies will let you put your internet on hold as well. 

Taking into account those savings, you can knock off several hundred from your projected NZ costs, and a couple could travel to NZ for as little as $4300 NZD each ($3427 CAD or $2908 USD, at today's exchange rates).

If you have any other advice on how to cut down the costs of traveling to New Zealand, please share in the comments!

To read detailed accounts of our New Zealand adventures, check out the following links to all my blog posts:

Links to all New Zealand & Fiji blog posts

New Zealand

North Island:

New Zealand Bound (intro - why do we travel?)
Auckland, Mt Eden, Rangitoto
Bay of Islands
Driving through remote Northland
Cape Reinga, 90 Mile Beach, Giant Te Paki Sand Dunes
Hobbiton, Geothermal activity at Rotorua
Wai-o-Tapu, Otumuheke hot stream, Huka Falls, Tongariro National Park
Wellington, Ferry crossing to South Island, Gloworms
Interactive map with detailed driving & hiking routes mapped out (North Island)

South Island:
Nelson, living in a sleepervan
Abel Tasman, Buller Gorge Swing Bridge, Seal colony, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
Hiri Hiri Coastal Walk, Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier
Queenstown, Southern Alps, Blue Pools, Lake Wanaka, Lake Hawea
Milford Sound
Moeraki Boulders and Yellow Eyed Penguins (rarest penguin in the world)
Kepler Track (hiking in Fjordland)
Oamaru, Blue Penguins, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Mt. Cook
Interactive map with detailed driving & hiking routes mapped out (South Island)

How much does it cost to go to New Zealand?


Yasawas: Navotua Village (The real Fiji)
Yasawas: Waya LaiLai & Naqalia Lodge
Taveuni: Natural waterslides & Rainbow Reef
Taveuni Treehouse & Bouma waterfalls
Some final reflections