How Much to Budget for New Zealand

New Zealand is a very popular place for backpacking and for road trips! I spent 6 weeks travelling through the North Island and South Island in a campervan. 

This post contains information on how much the trip cost me as a solo traveller and how to lower your costs. It includes a full breakdown of accommodation, activities, fuel, groceries and more. This is the total costs for my 6 weeks of travel.

I will start off by saying that this was not a budget friendly trip but can be made budget friendly! I didn’t want to hold back on any experiences while I was in New Zealand and decided to choose comfort over budget in some areas. This is also the costs for one person – a group or couple will be much cheaper.

Budget Summary 

How much do I recommend you budget? Anywhere between $150-$250 per day. This will depend on your transportation, accommodation and lifestyle.

Summary COST
Campervan Rental $3619.44 AUD 
Fuel $1081.80 AUD
Accommodation $1801.81 AUD
Groceries $642.97 AUD
Eating out $265.93 AUD
Shopping $296.14 AUD
Activities $1587.97 AUD
SIM card $104.75 AUD
Visa $0 AUD
Ubers/transport $89.45 AUD

Connection and Visa’s 

As I am an Australian citizen, I didn’t need to pay anything for a visa (yay). I brought a sim card for my time in New Zealand with SPARK and I highly recommend you do the same. I had mobile reception 90% of the time, Spark also has a great package on a holiday sim which gave me 100GB of data for 3 months.


Campervan Rental

I decided to go with Mad Campers and their MAD1 campervan. This was excellent for my travels as a solo traveller, and I highly recommend you consider this company, as my whole experience was excellent. 

You can read my full review of my time in this campervan here. 

Although Mad Campers is on the budget side of campervan rentals in New Zealand – this van was still on the higher end and there are cheaper options out there like Spaceship Rentals. Although if you plan on living in the campervan for an extended period of time, I do recommend you choose comfort over budget (for your sanity). 

Tips to lower costs:

  • Do you research into different campervan companies – also look out for sales!
  • Instead of hiring a campervan or car, you can choose to get around New Zealand on public transport and buses. Just keep in mind this will raise your costs in accommodation – unless you bring a tent and camp everywhere instead.

CAMPERVAN COSTS: $3619.44 aud for 6 weeks.
Full disclaimer – I did work with these guys, so I did get a discount on this price. 


My accommodation costs are rather high, as I chose to stay in some beautiful accommodation during my time in New Zealand. This could have easily gone down if I chose to stay in freedom camps or cheap campsites instead. Do budget a small amount for accommodation as New Zealand has some incredible stays!

New Zealand has heaps of beautiful freedom or cheap campgrounds. I highly recommend downloading campermate to help find these campsites and for more popular ones, book online in advance. 

Tips to lower costs:

  • Stay in freedom or cheap campsites – skip the accommodation all together. 
  • Only stay in caravan parks every 3-4 days.



There is not much you can do when it comes to the price of fuel. Although I did spend a lot less on fuel then I expected to – which is always good! I do think this is because I was driving around in a car (converted into a campervan) and not a motorhome. This significantly lowered the price of my fuel costs. 

Tips to lower costs:

  • Check the fuel economy on the campervan or car you are looking to rent. 
  • Use apps to find the cheapest places to fuel up in the area.  

FUEL COSTS: $1081.80 aud

Groceries and Eating out

I didn’t eat out a lot and decided to make a lot of my food myself. Still treating myself every now and then which I always recommend you do! I mainly shopped at PAK’nSAVE which I found to be the cheapest place for groceries. 

I made the mistake of shopping at Countdown first, thinking it would be the same as Woolworths in Australia – the prices here are much higher than other places! 

Tips to lower costs:

  • Only shop at PAK’nSAVE – I would of saved about $200 if I only shopped here. 
  • Eat out on occasion, opt for making your own meals and morning coffees. 
  • Make a plan of what meals you are going to make for the week – look at the weekly specials.

GROCERIES COSTS: $642.97 aud and EATING OUT COSTS $265.93 aud. 


I didn’t hold back on my activity budget. I wanted to tick heaps of bucket list activities off and always knew this was going to be expensive. My total cost for this section is rather high as I chose the photography packages with a lot of the things I did. You can easily lower the costs by doing the activities and not getting these packages. 

I went skydiving, bungy jumping, on the canyon swing, shot over jet, hot pools, and other unique experiences. 

Tips to lower costs:

  • Don’t buy the photography packages for each activity – I could have saved at least $500 doing this (but I wanted the memories).
  •  Look for cheaper activities or choose 1 high price activity.
  • There are plenty of free activities in New Zealand, hiking, beaches, etc. Fill your itinerary with these. 
  • Look at different tours as an option – some may be cheaper then doing it yourself, or some may be more expensive.

ACTIVITIES COSTS: $1587.97 aud


Could this of been done cheaper? Absolutely. I am very happy with the final budget for this trip which was 2k lower than what I expected to spend. New Zealand has similar prices to Australia, so I wasn’t expecting it to be on the lower budget range. 

You 100% can lower these costs by sacrificing on things like accommodation, transport, and activities. Or simply by backpacking around New Zealand instead of hiring a campervan. I do recommend you consider this though as it makes transport much easier, and you can complete your own itinerary. 

Hope you found this helpful for budgeting your next trip! 

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