We decided to book a Kiwi Experience bus ticket for our travel in NZ and the pass of choice was the Funky Chicken which covered the North and South island. This ticket cost around £200 and can be hop on and hop off for up to a year after starting it so is great for the working visa. People tend to use it for a period of time as part of their NZ trip like us. This is a bit of a party bus with a lot of drinking involved but is great for meeting people and getting to know NZ with some great drivers. The big cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch we walked around and got the bus on some occasions which will cost around £1.50 per ticket.
Accommodation – I would highly recommend a few hostels we stayed at but these were linked to the Kiwi Experience tour we did.
River Valley Lodge – This sensational setting in a valley on the North Island is a great little spot on the Kiwi Experience and a must do on the tour. The recommended activity at this stop is the white water rafting on the fast-paced river between the valley which a few people did but we just chilled out with a few drinks in the evening and enjoyed the massive breakfast in the morning. This will be the best fry up you have in New Zealand. The rooms are very comfortable and the walk around the valley is beautiful.
Nomads, Wellington – You will see plenty of Nomads around the country as this is a chain hostel and the Nomads in the centre of Wellington is in a great location, has clean rooms and a great bar downstairs. We also stayed at Base Hostel which in my opinion is not the best hostel for cleanliness or comfort in the dorm rooms. This hostel will cost around £20 for a 4-bed dorm.
Hot Water Beach – This awesome beach on the North Island which is 175km from Auckland has great rooms for large groups and a great area for campervans. The building we stayed in had a great kitchen, was walking distance to the beach, a nice outside area for eating and spacious rooms with comfortable beds. You can share a cabin for around £10 each if there is 6 of you which there was on our trip.
Lake Taupo on the North Island is great for a skydive and will cost around £200 for the basic package. You will climb 16,000ft and freefall for around 45 seconds taking in the view then you will glide down for 10 minutes after the parachute opens. The lake surrounded by the mountains makes this one of the best places to do it in New Zealand.
Franz Josef on the South Island is a must for anyone interested in breathtaking scenery, climbing through glaciers and helicopter rides. One of the best activities I have ever done will cost again around £200 but this includes your helicopter ride up, clothing, picking axe, boots and a guided tour on the glacier.
Queenstown has a plethora of activities to choose from and a favourite of mine apart from the partying there is the luging. This is not very expensive and will give you that adrenaline rush you might need. You catch a gondola up to the top of the hill which has great views of Queenstown and the surrounding area. Then you are placed in a little kart armed with only a brake as the track is downhill all the way. For the money you pay you get five goes around the lap, then you get a nice cup of tea and cake in the café to enjoy the view.
Phone – A sim card would cost a couple of dollars and would be recommended as wifi is not free in New Zealand apart from a few bars and restaurants.
The exchange rate is roughly around $1.8/£1 and as the pound is weakening now is a great time to be working and sending money home if you so wish. Banks such as TSB, ANZ, Westpac and BNZ are very popular to bank with. ANZ will offer free withdrawals in Australia if you are going to frequent there.
New Zealand is very safe to travel in and equality is one of the best in the world for men and women.
Food and drink
My best tip for food is to get yourself down to Fergburger in Queenstown and delve in to the best burger in the world. At around $16 the options are endless and this place opens all night too. So not only can you get lunch or dinner but breakfast, hangover cure or during a night out are possible options. At the size of a plate you wont be disappointed and it will definitely fill a hole. Due to how expensive eating out is the budget saver is shopping at the local Countdown (main supermarket in NZ) and getting your basic food such as pasta, beans, rice, some fruit, bread etc etc. The best breakfast I had was at River Valley and that was a fry up, highly recommended.
Alcohol can be expensive when drinking out as most places are London prices so your best bet is to get supplies in at a local liquor store and pre drink to the max. Most of my nights out in NZ started with pre drinking and limited the amount I had to buy when out. Wellington has a great café culture in which you can drink coffee until the cows come home at your normal prices. Water is safe to drink from the tap so no need to buy bottled water and coke will come in around your usual price for a can.