New Zealand is not a cheap backpacker friendly country as budgeting can be distinctly higher than your third world countries and some first world countries. The only problem with this place is that it is an absolute must for any traveller to see as the scenery and the amount of stuff available to do is stunning. I will give my overview of the month I stayed there in 2013 below.
Accommodation – Hostel dorms throughout the country will be round the £14-£17 a night mark and there is no way getting around it for hostels. Other cheaper options could be renting a campervan out which could be around £14 a day but shared between two of you is not bad. Couchsurfing would provide you with free if very little options and air bnb might throw a few surprises but ultimately you are looking at £14 for something at least.
Travel – We booked the infamous Kiwi Experience for our transport across the two islands and booked the popular Funky Chicken tour for around £200. For around 22/23 days travel I thought this was good value and is flexible with time and how many times you board a bus within the year of starting it. Campervans are popular for travelling in as you pay for travel and accommodation combined and with research you can hire one for £14-£30 a day depending on how many of you and the type of campervan. A bus from Auckland airport to the city centre is £10 one way. Local buses and trains were not used.
Flights – As part of our multi ticket our flight from KL to Auckland was included in the price. But having looked in to these flights again for this year you can get to Auckland from KL for around £170 one way with Air Asia. Internal flights within NZ can be really cheap for around £20-£30. Flights to Pacific Islands such as Fiji, New Caldeonia, Cook Islands, Tahiti, Samoa and Tonga can be cheap if booked in advance. You are looking at the £120-£150 each way mark for a cheap holiday whilst working and travelling in NZ.
Food and drink – The best way to eat and drink in New Zealand is to go to the supermarket and avoid eating out too many times. Meals out will be Western prices so around £10-£15 for a main meal and alcohol will be around the £4/£5 for a pint. Fruit and veg can be cheap from Countdown supermarket as a lot of it is locally produced. £20 a week could probably get you a lot of pasta, soup, in season vegetables/fruit, bread, eggs, beans and rice. Fast food joints such as McDonalds, KFC, Wendy’s, Burger King and Subway will be within the budget for cheap fast food options.
Activities – On our Kiwi Experience we did some big activities but had I had to prioritize with the budget I had left with what I could afford with Australia to come. Therefore, I booked in a skydive at Lake Taupo which was £200, this was my main activity in New Zealand. The next big activity was the Franz Josef glacier hike which included a helicopter ride, again this was around £200. Luging (£20), Maori Experience (£20), Puzzle World (£10) and a rugby match (£25) were the other activities I booked in. Drinking pretty much took up the rest of my budget throughout New Zealand.
Misc – Wifi is not free in New Zealand so you will need to have £5/£6 to buy some on your phone. Alternatively, you can buy a sim card and get a deal with a NZ network which could be cheaper. Clothes will be the same prices as home.
Summary – Cost per week
Accommodation – £110
Travel – £50
Food – £50
Activities – £125 (average)
Misc – £25
Total weekly budget – £360