The name of New Zealand inspires images of mountains, glaciers, forests, virgin lands and many, many sheep.
The country is the adventure capital of the world. Hiking, skydiving, caving, bungy jumping, skiing: everything here is geared to get you out and do something amazing.
Traveling backpacking to New Zealand is one of the most popular activities in the world, with thousands of people heading there on their trip around the world (backpackers sweep those work holiday visas!).
Whether you are a backpacker or just a budget traveler, New Zealand will not disappoint you.
I loved all my visits to New Zealand. The people are friendly, the country is more than beautiful (I can see why they shot the Lord of the Rings there), the wine is cheap and here you will find many travelers. It is one of the best countries in the world. I have never heard anyone who does not love their time in the country.
It’s easy to spend money here if you’re not careful.
However, like the land of backpackers, cheap travel in New Zealand is quite easy to do if you know some tips and tricks on how to save money.
History of New Zealand:
The history of New Zealand dates back approximately 700 years to when it was discovered and colonized by Polynesians, who developed a different Maori culture. Like other cultures in the Pacific, Maori society focused on kinship ties and connection to the land, but, unlike them, it adapted to a cool and temperate environment rather than warm and tropical.
The first European explorer known to see New Zealand was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman on December 13, 1642.  He explored and mapped the coast but never landed. Captain James Cook, who arrived in New Zealand in October 1769 on the first of his three trips, was the first European explorer to circumnavigate and map New Zealand. [two]
Since the end of the 18th century, the country was regularly visited by explorers and other sailors, missionaries, merchants and adventurers. In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and several Maori chiefs, bringing New Zealand to the British Empire and granting the Maori the same rights as British subjects. However, disputes over the different translations of the Treaty and the desire of the settlers to acquire land from the Maori led to the New Zealand Wars since 1843.
There was an extensive British settlement during the rest of the century and until the first part of the following century. The New Zealand wars and the imposition of a European economic and legal system led most of the land in New Zealand to pass from the property of the Maori to the Pākehā (Europeans), and most of the Maori subsequently became impoverished.
Beginning in the 1890s, the New Zealand Parliament promulgated a series of progressive initiatives, including female suffrage and old-age pensions. After becoming an autonomous domain with the British Empire in 1907, the country remained an enthusiastic member of the empire, and more than 100,000 New Zealanders fought in World War New Zealand Force. After the war, New Zealand signed the Treaty of Versailles (1919), joined the League of Nations and followed an independent foreign policy.
When to Go to New Zealand:
New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, which means that when most Americans are dealing with snow and freezing temperatures, kiwis enjoy their beaches. The weather is warm. Summer is from December to February, and it is the most popular time to visit the country. (Kiwis also take their vacations during this time, so things get busy!) The days are long and sunny, the nights are soft. The average daytime temperature is 68-77 ° F (20-25 ° C).
Autumn is from March to May, and it is one of the best times to visit. Crowds have dispersed, prices are lower and the weather is pleasant. Some areas still have very hot temperatures, such as Auckland.
Winter is from June to August, and it is a good time to visit if you like snow sports. Queenstown and the central plateau are winter playgrounds during this time, but especially in June and July! Temperatures on the South Island can drop to 50 ° F (-10 ° C). Spring (September-November) is also a good time to visit, especially on the South Island. There really is no bad time to visit, depending on the type of things you would like to do. As New Zealand is so expensive, shoulder season is one of the best times to visit.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in New Zealand:
Fiordland National Park: Fiordland National Park is located in the southwest of the South Island of New Zealand, and houses both Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound. You can walk the beech forest path along the sandy coast of Milford to get perfect views of Miter Peak or take the Chasm Walk on the Cleddau River to get closer to the powerful waterfalls. There are also several multi-day walks here, including the 4-5 day Milford track.
Heli-hiking: Heli-hiking this glacier is quite amazing. With a helicopter hike, you get a panoramic flight over the glacier and you can go to remote areas where you can explore on foot. Although the 2-3 hour walk is exhausting, many tour providers also dive into the hot pools. Expect to pay around $ 460 NZD ($ 315 USD) for a helicopter ride.
Bay of Island: North of Auckland, this area has some of the best opportunities to watch dolphins and whales, relax on the beach, swim, boating and eat seafood. The area is very discreet and is a popular summer and weekend getaway destination for the Aucklanders. Read more…..
Waitomo glows worm caves: Explore these caves in pure darkness with nothing but the brightness of the luminous worms to guide your path. It is an exciting activity while floating down the river, jumping over waterfalls and watching the “starry sky” in the cave. You can also climb and rappel through the caves. Expect to pay around $ 50 NZD ($ 35 USD) for the cave and 150 NZD ($ 105 USD) to go to the pipe.
Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing: Labeled as the best day hike in New Zealand, this hike takes you through where they filmed Mordor in The Lord of the Rings. You walk through volcanic terrain, near high peaks and sulfur lakes, before ending up in a dense forest. The walk takes a full day and is actually quite difficult. Expect to pay around $ 40 NZD ($ 30 USD) per person for a shuttle service to and from the trail.
Other Things to See and Do in New Zealand:
Try to jump in Bungy: Any worthwhile adrenaline seeker will do the 500-foot Nevis Bungy jump out of Queenstown. If that is too high, there are smaller ones in Auckland and Queenstown. However, the price of the adventure is not cheap, with a single jump in Nevis that costs $ 275 NZD ($ 190 USD).
Go skydiving: The best place for this is on Lake Taupo. It provides an impressive backdrop as you dive into Earth from 15,000 feet. A 12,000-foot jump will cost around $ 300 NZD ($ 205 USD), while a 15,000-foot jump that includes a video, photos and a t-shirt is $ 550 NZD ($ 380 USD).
Visit the Abel Tasman National Park: Located on the South Island, this national park looks like something you would find in Asia, with its turquoise blue waters, dense jungles and warm temperatures. Admission is free, although you must pay $ 15 NZD ($ 10 USD) for a camp if you plan to stay. Cabins are also available for $ 40 NZD ($ 30 USD) per night.
Hang out in Wellington: The capital of New Zealand has great architecture, character, fantastic nightlife, restaurants and cultural activities. It seemed to be the most “artistic” city in New Zealand. There are many cultural activities to do here, so don’t be like other travelers and hurry up, it’s worth spending a few days!
Go see dolphins and whales: Whether you go from the Bay of Islands, Auckland or somewhere on the South Island, the country is within the migratory route of many of these creatures and you will surely see many regardless of when you go. Expect to pay between $ 60-150 NZD ($ 40-100 USD) per person for a tour.
Hit the slopes: During the winter months, the South Island (especially the area around Queenstown) has snow-capped mountains that offer some of the best skiing spots in the southern hemisphere. Prices will vary depending on where you go, how you get there, what equipment you rent and how long you go, but expect to pay a few hundred dollars per person for an elevator pass.
Relax in Rotorua: Rotorua is famous for its Maori cultural shows and its smell of sulfur. Around the city, there are sulfur mud wells that give the city a unique smell. But the good thing is that there are plenty of thermal spas in the area to relax!
Go outdoors in Kaikoura: This is a coastal city several miles north of Christchurch. It is located on a peninsula, which makes it an incredible place to enjoy the mountain landscape while searching for whales and dolphins. In addition, there is an interesting museum, a handful of historical attractions and the Maori Leap limestone cave.
Explore the Wellington Botanical Gardens: Of all the beautiful gardens across the country, this is perhaps the most popular. There is a vast native forest, an international collection of plants, a rose garden and a garden area, complete with a duck pond, sculptures, a playground and a cafeteria. Best of all, admission is free!
Travel in the Christchurch gondola: If you are in Christchurch, the gondola ride is highly recommended and fairly fundamental experience. The journey begins on the floor of the Heathcote Valley and takes you to the side of Mount Cavendish. There is a nice restaurant at the top that allows you to look at the landscape while eating. Many people go by bicycle or walk down. Adult tickets cost $ 30 NZD ($ 20 USD), while children pay only $ 12 NZD ($ 8 USD).
Stay awhile in Queenstown: The country’s auction capital, Queenstown, is one of the funniest cities I have visited. There are many outdoor activities and sports (the Bungy jump is the most popular) to do in the area, amazing restaurants and the best nightlife in New Zealand. All who come end up staying more than planned. Don’t skip Fergburger either: they have the best burgers in the country!
Watch a Maori cultural show: Maori culture is important to understand life in this country; You’ll find Maori symbols and words across the country. Watch a Maori cultural show while you are there to better understand the life and history of the country’s native population.
Explore Milford Sound: Milford Sound is such an incredible fjord that it deserves its own mention. Located in Fiordland, Milford Sound is best known for the imposing Miter Peak and its surrounding rainforest environments. Waterfalls such as Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls cascade down the slopes of the mountains, and the fjord itself hosts colonies of seals and penguins. You can also often see dolphin pods frolicking in the waters. Explore by boat and visit the Milford Discovery Center and the Underwater Observatory to see black corals and other species of underwater life. Cruises start at $ 45 NZD ($ 30 USD), while admission to the Discovery Center is $ 36 NZD ($ 25 USD). You can save money by getting a package if you plan to do both.
Visit Wanaka: Wanaka is a tourist and summer ski town on the South Island of New Zealand, located on Lake Wanaka and framed by snowy mountains. From here you can explore the Mount Aspiring National Park of the Southern Alps, with its numerous glaciers, beech forests and alpine lakes. Lake Wanaka itself is perfect for sailing enthusiasts, including jetboats, sailors and kayakers. If you are a skier or snowboarder, you will want to visit the nearby Treble Cone and Cardrona ski resorts. For some peculiar fun, go to Puzzling World on the outskirts of the city. It is an outdoor maze and a gallery of sculptures that is good for laughs! Admission to the maze is $ 18 NZD ($ 12 USD) for adults and $ 14 NZD ($ 10 USD) for children.
Trip to Hobbiton: Journey to Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton movie set that appears in the movies Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This is easily one of the most famous activities in New Zealand, so you can expect crowds. To see Hobbiton, you will have to take a tour. Start with a tour of the owners’ 1,250-acre sheep farm with some epic views over the Kaimai Ranges. From here, you can explore Bag End, stroll through the hobbit holes and visit the Green Dragon Inn. If you are a fan of LOTR, you cannot miss this. Tours start around $ 85 NZD ($ 60 USD) for adults and $ 40 NZD ($ 30 USD) for children under 16 years.
Visit Stewart Island: Stewart Island in the South Island. More than 85% of the island is the National Park, and most people come here for hiking and bird watching. The island has only 28 km of road, but 280 km of trails suitable for short walks, day walks and multi-day excursions. Walk the three-day Rakiura Track and you will get the full experience of the wild beauty of Stewart Island. Stewart Island is a refuge for brown kiwi (or Tokoeka), which outnumber humans on the island and is active day and night. Blue penguins and rare yellow-eyed penguins sway among the rocks. On the high seas, on the island of Ulva, you will find a bird sanctuary free of predators with dozens of native species. Getting to Stewart Island means you must take a ferry or flight. Ferries depart from Bluff and take approximately 1 hour, with round-trip tickets that cost $ 135 NZD ($ 90 USD) for adults and $ 70 NZD ($ 50 USD) for children. Flights depart from Invercargill airport and take approximately 15-20 minutes, costing around $ 215 NZD ($ 150 USD) round trip.
Relax on a panoramic train journey: The challenging landscapes of New Zealand demanded some remarkable feats of the first railway engineers. While its rail network is not wide, thanks to its skill and determination, some incredible train trips are offered. Travel through remote national parks, along beautiful coasts and over rugged volcanic landscapes. Kiwirail routes include Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine. I took the TransAlpine and I loved it every minute. You pass rivers, mountains, gorges and green and vibrant farmland. It was the highlight of my trip to New Zealand and one of the most peaceful experiences I had. I can not recommend it highly enough. It costs $ 199 NZD ($ 135 USD) each way.
Take one of the great walks: New Zealand has thousands of miles of hiking trails, but on them are the nine Great Walks that run through the most magnificent places and emblematic places in the country. On the North Island, the Waikaremoana Lake trail will take 3 to 4 days and take you through prehistoric jungles and beautiful wildlife areas. The famous North Tongariro Circuit is a strenuous 3-4 day excursion where you will see active volcanoes, emerald lakes and epic waterfalls. The South Island also has its own unique routes, including the Milford Track, which makes its way through the Milford Sound fjords.
Explore the wine country: The wine regions of New Zealand extend 1,000 miles from subtropical Northland to Central Otago, home to the world’s southernmost vineyards. Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago are exclusive wine regions of New Zealand and home to several different vineyards. Smaller wine-producing areas include Auckland, Gisborne and Waipara. If you are interested in seeing the best that kiwi vineyards have to offer, take a look at the New Zealand Classic Wine Route, a wine tasting adventure in the heart of the New Zealand grape growing regions. If you do not have your own vehicle, there are many bus (and even bicycle) tours available.
Visit Mount Cook National Park: Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home to some of the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. Here you will find peaks that scrape the sky, glaciers and permanent snowfields. Although it covers 23 peaks over 3,000 meters high, this park is very accessible. State Highway 80 leads to Aoraki / Mount Cook Village, which is adjacent to the picturesque Lake Pukaki. Far from the city lights, the observation of stars here is magnificent: Mount Cook National Park in Aoraki forms the majority of the only Dark Sky International Reserve in New Zealand. Mountaineers consider the area the best region to climb in Australasia, while less qualified adventurers will find many pleasant walks with breathtaking views of the area.
New Zealand Travel Costs:
Accommodation: The hostel’s bedrooms cost between $ 20-40 NZD ($ 15-30 USD) per night, while private rooms start at $ 80 NZD ($ 55 USD). Free Wi-Fi is common, although very few hostels include free breakfast and only a few hostels offer cooking facilities. Budget hotels start around $ 70 NZD ($ 50 USD) per night for a double room. Airbnb is widely available with shared accommodation starting at $ 25 NZD ($ 15 USD) per night and entire houses starting at $ 70 NZD ($ 50 USD) per night. There are also a lot of camps across the country with rates of around $ 15 NZD ($ 10 USD) per night. Couchsurfing is also huge here.
Food: eating out is generally expensive here. A restaurant meal with a table service drink can cost around $ 35-40 NZD ($ 25-30 USD) per person. Of course, you can find cheaper meals if you limit yourself to Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants (sushi is quite cheap). They cost about $ 10-15 NZD ($ 7-10 USD). You can find sandwiches for $ 8 NZD ($ 5 USD) and fast food like McDonald’s or Burger King will cost between $ 7-15 NZD ($ 5-10 USD). Beer in the bar will cost around $ 8 NZD ($ 5 USD). If you choose to cook your food, plan to spend between $ 65-80 NZD ($ 45-55 USD) per week on staple foods.
Activities: the activities cover the entire range and can cost between $ 100-600 NZD ($ 70-410 USD). There are many outdoor activities and tourism here is built around getting people out. Extra budget for activities, as they will be your biggest expense while you are here. For more specific pricing information, visit the specific city guides.
Backpacking New Zealand Suggested Budgets:
With a backpackers budget, get ready to spend $ 80-105 NZD ($ 55-75 USD) per day. That will provide you with a dormitory at the lodge, bus transportation, happy hour drinks, lots of free nature (but one or two expensive activities like bungee jumping or a panoramic flight) and mainly cooked meals (around 70-80% of your meals ).
For a more mid-range budget, expect to spend between $ 290-330 NZD ($ 195-220 USD) per day. This will allow you to travel without worries and basically do what you want (within reason). Fly, take panoramic trains, tours, get private hotel/hostel rooms and enjoy good meals with wine. As long as you don’t get the most luxurious activities, it will be fine.
A luxury budget of around $ 670 + NZD ($ 450 + USD) per day will get you four-star hotels, any activity you want, wine tours, private guides, five-star meals and the best that the country has for offer. You can also fly between cities with this budget, or take a panoramic train journey.
New Zealand Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips:
Costs in New Zealand can skyrocket quickly if you’re not careful. In New Zealand, you must choose your battles or you will exceed your budget in the first few days.
These are all high impact ways to save money in New Zealand:
Learn to cook: I know this is going to sound crazy, but: the food scene in New Zealand is not so amazing. Yes, there are good coffees, modern cuisine and really delicious meals, but nothing left me speechless. There is good food but there is no good food. At least not good enough when you try to save money. Hell, even buying a hamburger and fries costs $ 20 NZD ($ 15 USD). When it comes to buying groceries, the cheapest supermarkets are Pakn’Save or Countdown.
Choose wisely: the tours cost a lot of money in New Zealand. Some of these are enough to break any budget and send it home sooner than I had planned. Choose the ones you really want to do and save the rest for another trip.
Happy hour: backpackers bars have cheap happy hours that offer drinks of $ 5 NZD ($ 3 USD). Hit them and drink for little money.
WWOOF it: In exchange for working on a farm or B&B, you get free food and food. It is a popular activity among travelers because it allows you to stay in a cheaper place and for longer. You can do it for a few days or a few months. Keep in mind that most farms will require you to have some experience, as too many inexperienced workers have caused problems in the past.
Clean in exchange for your room: many hostels allow you to change some cleaning hours and make beds for free accommodation. Ask when you register if this is possible, it could save you some money!
Car sharing: car sharing is a popular transportation option for travelers looking to reduce costs; All you need to do is save fuel. You can find attractions on websites like Gumtree or Craigslist. Applications like Carpool New Zealand and Thumbs Up NZ are also excellent resources. In addition, you will see people requesting transportation on the bulletin boards of the hostel.
Couchsurf: While there are not a lot of options available in the country, there are hosts in all major cities. If you don’t mind sleeping on a sofa or on the floor, this is a great way to save money and meet local people.
Hitchhiking: Hitchhiking is easy in New Zealand and is one of the main ways to get around. There are many people who will pick you up. In addition, you can ask at any hostel and find a trip. Everyone is doing the same circuit. I arrived from Wanaka to Queenstown to Fiordland that way.
Take a free walking tour: there are some free walking tours in New Zealand, such as Auckland Free Walking Tour in Auckland or WellyWalks Limited in Wellington, that offer visitors (and locals!) Information about each city. If you want to dive into the surface of New Zealand, this is a great place to start.
Get a motorhome: motorhomes fill New Zealand, especially on the South Island, where people walk and camp because they serve as accommodation and transportation, all in one. For travelers with a limited budget, that is a victory. Be sure to download the amazing Campermates app, which allows you to find nearby camps, service stations and download stations.
Find cheap activities: the book.me.nz website offers last-minute discounts on activities (and bar tours) throughout the country. Most activities are last minute, but if you are flexible when you want to do things, you can save up to 60% off on attractions!
Avoid backpackers buses: while it’s fun, things like Kiwi Experience, Stray or Haka are expensive, so it’s best to avoid them if you have a tight budget. If your budget is not so tight and you want to check them, be sure to subscribe to their mailing lists.
Enjoy nature. Remember that nature is free! New Zealand, home of the world’s great walks, has tons of free outdoor activities. While adventure sports, wine tours, glacier walks and boat cruises can satisfy your budget, there are many free trails and walks to keep you busy!
Take a bus pass: I tend to buy last-minute transportation, so I never got those super discount rates, which is where bus passes come in. I bought the InterCity FlexiPass for $ 135 for 15 hours. I would buy a FlexiPass since it is based on hours and lasts forever. It will save you a lot of money compared to booking last minute tickets on the bus.
Where To Stay in New Zealand:
The hotel scene in the country has improved greatly since I first came here in 2010. Now there is much more variety and quality. It is a much better time to travel there and many of the hostels have intensified their game in this competitive environment. Here are the places where everyone should stay during their trip:
- Nomads (Queenstown)
- Haka Lodge (Queenstown)
- Ponsonby Backpackers (Auckland)
- Bamber House (Auckland)
- Rainbow Lodge (Taupo)
- Kiwi Paka (Waitomo)
- Urbanz (Christchurch)
- Canterbury House (Christchurch)
- YHA Wellington City (Wellington)
- Trek Global (Wellington)
- Montrose (Franz Josef)
- Mountain View Backpackers (Wanaka)
- Bunkers Backpackers (Stewart Island)
How to Get Around New Zealand:
Public transportation: Most of the towns and cities in New Zealand have buses, and Auckland and Wellington have rail services. One-way fares cost around $ 3 NZD ($ 2 USD) and increase depending on the area you travel to (most New Zealand cities and towns are expanding). Check if transit cards are available. For example, Wellington has an adult Snapper card that will save you almost half of your rate, and the same goes for the Auckland AT HOP card.
Trains: New Zealand has three train lines: Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific (currently closed due to earthquakes) and TranzAlpine. These are panoramic train trips with observation platforms, audio commentary, information packages and large windows for taking photos.
The Northern Explorer (Auckland-Wellington) route is $ 199 NZD ($ 135 USD) one way; the coastal Pacific route (Christchurch-Picton) is $ 159 NZD ($ 110 USD) one way; and the TranzAlpine (Christchurch-Greymouth) route is $ 199 NZD ($ 135 USD) one way.
They are not a good way to travel on a limited budget!
Buses: Buses are the best and cheapest way to get around New Zealand. Buses stop in each city, and there are frequent departures from even the smallest cities. InterCity, the largest public bus network in New Zealand, your only option. Typical rates include Christchurch-Queenstown for $ 55-75 NZD ($ 40-50 USD), Auckland-Wellington for $ 30-40 NZD ($ 20-30 USD) and Franz Josef-Wanaka for $ 45-65 NZD ($ USD 30-45).
Flying: flying in New Zealand is not so cheap, since there are only two companies that dominate the entire market: Air New Zealand and Jetstar, and on most routes, it is only Air New Zealand. While you can find some cheap fares on shorter routes or when booking a few months in advance, unless you really have little time or travel from island to island, I would skip the flight.
One-way routes from Auckland to Queenstown start at $ 250 NZD ($ 170 USD), Queenstown to Church from $ 110 NZD ($ 75 USD), and Auckland to Christchurch from $ 120 NZD ($ 80 USD).
Motorhomes and car rentals: this is a popular way to travel to New Zealand, especially on the South Island, where people walk and camp. There are five main rental agencies:
Hitchhiking: Hitchhiking is easy in New Zealand, and is one of the main ways to get around. There are many people who will pick you up. In addition, you can ask for a ride in any hostel: everyone is doing the same circuit.
How to Stay Safe in New Zealand:
New Zealand is a safe place to backpack and travel, even if you are traveling alone, and even as a solo traveler. There is a relatively low crime rate and the health system is excellent. Take normal precautions as you would at home, such as carrying a cell phone and being aware of your personal belongings at all times. Send your itinerary to your loved ones so they know where you are.
The emergency number is 111.
In general, you are unlikely to find something problematic here.
Always trust your instinct. If a taxi driver seems bleak, stop the taxi and get out. If your hotel is more sleazy than you thought, get out of there. If that driver who picks you up looks strange, don’t get in the car!
If you don’t do it at home, don’t do it when you’re in New Zealand. Follow that rule and you’ll be fine.
Travel carefully. Hope you enjoy it. You cannot think about this trip how amazing this trip is! Exactly you need to be prepared physically, mentally with economically. As it is also a costly trip, for this reason, You have to be prepared a well-economical budget. Stay with us. Hope you like it. Have a nice trip. We are always with you. We will usually help you with the journey. Thanks for having us.