manu bay raglan surf new zealand-2

Stunning NZ Scenery!

I’ve just finished off my second trip to New Zealand where I explored some more of the North Island following my South Island trip a couple of years ago.

The land of the long white cloud is a huge stop off for many backpackers – both as a single destination and as a key part of a round the world trip and as you might expect there’s heaps to see and do. 

However, as a western country it also comes with a pretty solid price tag and there’s heaps to get involved in so if you’re not careful you can loose control of your budget pretty quickly!

Lucky for you guys though I’ve kept tabs on my spending throughout all the key outlays in Kiwi Land and I’ve finally finished up my guide and overview for how much to budget for a month in New Zealand…

So if you’re travelling to New Zealand too this should give you a good insight into what everything will cost!

(Last updated March 2019)


How Much To Budget For A Month In New Zealand (2019 Update)


Accommodation Cost in New Zealand

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Chilling In The Shire!

New Zealand is a backpacker and travel hotspot so there’s heaps of accommodation to choose from – including dorm beds, motels, hotels and campsites – so finding a place to crash in your budget range is pretty easy and there’s a lot to choose from.

In peak summer though you may wish to book ahead to make sure there’s availability as many of the cheaper options and popular hostels/campsite book out pretty quickly.


  • Cheapest Bed – Base Central, Auckland – £10 per night (6 bed, windowless dorm!)
  • Average Bed – Nomads Central, Auckland – £15 per night (6 bed dorm)
  • Most Expensive Bed – YHA Rotorua – £40 per night (double room)
  • Average nights accommodation (dorm room) £15


Estimated monthly accommodation costs =



Food and Drink Cost

Although New Zealand isn’t as much of a culinary destination as the likes of Thailand or Indonesia are there is still a huge variety of restaurants and supermarkets around to make the most of your dinning experience…even if you are on a backpacker budget!

Backpacker bars offer discounted meals and you can eat everything from Mexican to Thai in most places! 

There are of course some more traditional Kiwi delicacies – such as a traditionally cooked hāngi – food baked in an earth oven – through to more modern treats like pineapple lumps and marshmallow fish

…or if you’re feeling a bit more unusual how about a possum pie?!


tamaki village maori homestay overnight rotorua new zealand

Meeting Some Of The Locals!

  • Lunch time meal deal – around £5-8
  • Meal in a more established restaurant/chain (inc drink) – around £12
  • Meal cooked at hostel – around £2-3
  • Average cost of beer (shop) – £1-2 (based on splitting a 6 pack)
  • Average cost of beer (bar) – £4-5
  • Favourite place to eat – Fergburger in Queenstown! Seriously if you’re heading to the South Island it’s worth waiting in line!

Other Top Tips – if you want to eat out on a budget Dominoes do a $5 pizza deal, which is epic! The best option though is to cook yourself, head to Pak n Save for the cheapest supermarket prices.

Also New Zealand tap water is perfectly drinkable, so invest in a water bottle and you’ll save heaps!


Estimated food cost per month (40 cook yourself meals and 20 eat out meals) =



Best Ways To Travel New Zealand And Costs

kiwi experience travel passes new zealand

Big, Green and Covering Most of NZ!

New Zealand is pretty damn easy to get around and you have a few options to choose from. Check out this post for some of the most popular ways to to travel New Zealand.

You’ll probably end up using Kiwi Experience or the Stray New Zealand Bus if you only have a month as it’s usually the most cost effective.

However if you’re there for a while investing in a car or campervan can be a solid shout, expect to send anything from £300-£4000 depending on what you want and the time of year you’re buying.

The simplest way to cover the most in a month would be the Kiwi Experience Whole Kit & Caboodle Pass – which takes in all the major stops on the North and South Island with a minimum travel time of around 30 days, so I’m going to go with that option for costing and transport.


The Whole Kit & Caboodle Pass is £1035RRP.


However they do heaps of deals and discounts and you can grab one at over 50% off, so keep your eye out! You can start it anytime within 12 months of buying one so if you see an epic deal lock it in!

And as an added bonus grab $100 off the Kitchen Sink or Tiki Bus Passes anytime over at RTW Backpackers – just use the code KIWI100


Activity Costs In New Zealand

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Sooooo Much Fun!

Seriously New Zealand is one of the most activity packed places I’ve travelled for along time and you could easily spend £1000’s sampling everything from skydiving to a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour!

With that in mind you’ll need to budget pretty heavily in regards to activities, but here’s some of the most popular ones to get you started;



Ok so if you only had a month in New Zealand you’ll be wanting to smash out most of the things on the above list, which comes in at around £725 (I’ve averaged out some of the prices where there’s a few options to choose from). 


Activity Cost = 



Even though that’s a huge price on activities alone it’s because there’s simply so much to do there!

Keep in mind if you’re spending more than a month in NZ your activity cost will be a lot more spread out, but its good to be aware of the huge range of things on offer so you don’t feel like you’re missing out!


How Much Does A Month Travelling New Zealand Cost?

So, based on my personal experience and estimates a month in New Zealand will set you back the following;


New Zealand Monthly Budget = 

£2,510 – or roughly £83.30 per day. 


franz josef glacier heli hike nz

Glacier Hiking In Franz Josef

Obviously thats a huge budget buster for most people – but that’s based on ALOT of activities and also a travel pass at full price.

If you picked up a deal on your Kiwi Experience Pass you could take around £500 off that total.

This total would include accommodation, meals, transport and some of the key activities.

As with all my monthly budgets one of the key exclusions in this estimate it ALCOHOL though, so if you’re intending on partying expect this overall cost to rise!

In my last month long trip to New Zealand I spent around £180 on booze, although I was splitting crates and not partying too much!

Keep in mind that this is a guide only and costs can vary and you can easily smash it out of the water by jumping on some big day trips or upping your level of accommodation and food. 

And please don’t be put off visiting because of that monthly budget estimate, you can always tailor your trip to suit how much you have to spend.

Those who buy cars/vans can get some of their travel cost back by selling at the end and if you’re splitting the cost of a car it can work out well  too – just keep in mind you’ll also need to budget for fuel too!


Found this post helpful? Check out my other How Much To Budget Posts!


**PLEASE NOTE; This is to be used as a guide only – currency and cost fluctuate depending on season and exchange rates (based on $2NZD to £1). Information was correct at the time of writing**


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21 Responses

  1. Lucy

    Ahhh, thank you so much for this post – unbelievably helpful. I’m heading NZ way later this year and pretty clueless on what to take. I had a look over my spending while here in India and found that I spend more money on cheese and coffee (not together) than accommodation and transport put together. Oops.

    Cheers bud!
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    • Chris

      Hey Lucy, stoked that it helped! That’s crazy on your India budget!haha!

  2. Marjorie

    Nice tips. Cost is something I’ve always had to consider when we go on trips away from home because our currency (Peso) is so small. Against the dollar we’re at 45.00 to 1.00 which makes everything else so expensive relatively.
    Marjorie recently posted..Gear Guide: Exped Air Pillow ReviewMy Profile

    • Chris

      That must be a pain for saving Majorie but I guess it means that you plan a bit better and make sure you get the most for your money!

    • Chris

      Great tip Kirill, perfect for keeping up to date with the latest prices on food!

  3. Sharpy

    Sweet write up mate; what time of year did you travel?
    I have purchased the whole kit and caboodle pass for around £400 when it was on sale a few months ago.. Just waiting to lock in perfect flights from the UK Mid October-Mid December time!

    • Chris

      Glad it helped you out Sharpy and good work on the discounted pass! I’ve been there a couple of times now – usually around Feb-April time which worked out nicely as the weather is still good but its not fully peak season! If you need any help planning your NZ trip check out my other site – :)

  4. Adam

    Hi Chris

    Going to sound quite stupid I know, but was your £2500 estimate for 1 person or 2. Added the transport, accommodation and activities estimate together and it came to £1,275. Going with my gf for a month in October so will be a big help, thanks :)

    • Chris

      Hey Adam,
      That estimate of £2500 was based on one person, but if the Kiwi Experience Bus Pass was purchased at full price. Keep an eye out for their sale fares to nab a discount! If you need any help booking anything let me know and check out my other site at :)

  5. Marta Kulesza

    Hey Chris, I always find it hard to inform people of how much money they’ll need. For example my fiancé, if he’s budget travelling, he’s really budget travelling, he’ll live on baked beans (he’s British) and rice for an entire month but I have other friends who’s idea of budget travel involves going skydiving with NZONE. I really like your idea of doing real costs and breaking it down but with a place on a such a sharp tourism increase such as NZ the prices don’t stay relative for very long and updates need to be consistently made.

    • Chris

      Hey Marta,
      Glad you like the post! Indeed costs constantly change but I do my bets to double check them each year and update everything to keep it relevant. Still it should serve as a good guide to what you’ll need to be budgeting!

  6. Chez

    Hi guys
    All these posts are amazing.
    I’m 27 years old, been on several holidays, but never been travelling on a short budget. Am going for 5 weeks in April 2018 and can’t wait. Am using the whole kit and caboodle pass as managed to get this for around £550 a few months ago. Unfortunately I only have the minimum time allowed (perhaps one extra night stay to be flexible with), I really would like to experience Hobbiton, Rotorua Maori Exp and Black water rafting, can this be all done on the one night stay please? Did anyone book the activities pass with KiwiExp prior to travelling? Was thinking of doing this so to allow budgeting when there, or is it cheaper to book along the way? Looking forward to taking in all the sights. What are the hostels like? How did everyone do their washing (only looking at once or twice for the whole trip), are there lockers for large backpack? What’s the weather like at this time Chris?
    Any extra tips would be more than helpful as although I’m excited I’m slightly anxious about it too.
    Tia :)

    • Chris

      Hey Tia, stoked to hear the posts are helping you out and good score on the discounted Kiwi Pass!
      In theory yes you should be able to do Black Water Rafting, Hobbition and the Maori Experience all in one day, so get ready for a busy 24 hours!haha!
      Personally I’d say book your accom and tours en route as Kiwi Experience get some awesome discounts and its easy enough to sort through your driver between locations.
      As for your other questions – most hostel have lockers, although mainly for smaller valuables, the hostel are pretty epic too actually! April time is their fall/early winter so it could get a bit chillier, especially on the South Island. Still absolutely stunning though!

  7. Terry Wilson

    The whole article is amazing. Contains very good informative content that can help the other travelers who want to visit in New Zealand. Thanks for the sharing

    • Chris

      Hmmmmm tough call Brad – I’d say many of the destination are child friendly to be honest. Queenstown has a whole range of activities for all ages and is also a great spot to be based and you can hit up spots like Wanaka and Milford Sound as day trips from there too


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