Many articles in the internet explains about traveling in New Zealand on a budget, but it actually explains about how you can make little money during your stay, or to earn free accommodation, or to travel in a campervan (but it’s only cheaper when you travel for at least a month). In total I spent less than IDR 18,000,000 or USD 1,285 (I use IDR 14,000 per USD for all the expenses here) for all the essentials for 7 days in New Zealand. In this blog, I will share my the detail of my expenses while traveling in New Zealand in January (which is high season)
I bought the ticket via Traveloka. By far it’s been my favorite flight ticket booking and hotel reservation app. It offers a lot of promotion because they work with many different banks. I flew with Qantas with 12-hour transit in Sydney when heading to Christchurch from Jakarta. But only 4-hour transit in Sydney when heading back to Jakarta. I’d call it a benefit for me who had never been to Sydney before. It gave me the chance to have a quick glance of how the largest city in Australia looks like. My round-trip ticket costs me IDR 7,980,000 or USD 570. Until now it seems almost impossible to get the same price for the same destination during the same season with the same airline. What I did was very simple but it took a constant and committed effort. I checked the ticket price almost every single day, I also turned on the notification when the price dropped.
Accommodation was the hardest part for me. I didn’t book it until I got my visa, which was in October. I’ve researched way before that, but all the places I’ve saved in AirBnB were fully booked on the dates I went there. I tried to find hostels, most of them were fully booked too. It was summer there, and January is always high season. I could’ve gotten cheaper price if I booked it earlier. And if you travel in a group of 3 or more, the accommodation cost can be lower than mine, because many hostels offer a single pod or a family room (3 people or more). I was in a group of two, so it was a bit challenging. Sleeping in a pod is really not convenient, because you just can’t make so much noise at night or early morning as you’re in a room with so many other people. Sometimes you just want to pack or unpack that will be pretty noisy, and you just have to move slowly for everything you do. One night at AirBnB, one night sleeping in a pod, another 6 nights sleeping in different hostels, all costs me IDR 2,954,000 (USD 211) per person. Out of 8 different places, my favorite are the one in Dunedin and in Nelson. In Dunedin, we stayed at a small, clean, comfortable and very nice house with Sandra and Chris. We had a private bedroom and bathroom, and shared kitchen. Sandra prepared the breakfast and she also shared things to do in Dunedin. Very lovely. In Nelson, we stayed at a hostel with private bedroom and bathroom, also with shared kitchen. The bedroom is very spacious, like really spacious! The biggest room we had during our trip there. The bed is very comfortable, they offer spacious parking lot, free bike rental, and a nice lounge area. It’s located nearby everything you need; restaurants, supermarket, bars.
If you want to travel around New Zealand, meaning you don’t only stay in the big cities like Auckland or Christchurch, it’s better to rent a car. Well you can rent a car or a campervan. In my last trip, we rented a car for 7 days and it cost us IDR 2,532,250 each (USD 180,8). It was the Nissan X-Trail (maybe 2017?) from Dollar but, we booked it through HotWire. That car uses 98 octane petrol and it cost around NZD 2 per liter. Traveling (literally) around the South Island cost us IDR 3,724,000 (USD 266) for gas or IDR 1,862,000 (USD 133) per person.
And lastly, food. It really depends on your food preference. New Zealand is not known for its food, there is no super special food that you have to try while you’re in New Zealand. So we really only looked for something easy and cheap. Sometimes, we had sandwich from gas station for lunch, sometimes we had a burger from McDonald’s, a couple of times we had a little fancier food in a proper restaurant. We bought milk and cereal for our breakfast every morning, some chips and crackers to accompany our long drive. All cost me IDR 2,028,000 (USD 144,8) for the whole 7 days.
And here is the easier breakdown for you.
Hope this helps 🙂