What To Budget For New Zealand

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What To Budget for New Zealand

In the newest addition to our ongoing series “What to Budget” we detail our spending during our 32 nights travelling through New Zealand by way of camper van.

New Zealand ushered in the “second chapter” of our travels as we had just finished a year in Asia and were re-entering the Western World. New Zealand had always been a dream of ours to see in person and as I mentioned extensively in my posts about our experiences, I absolutely fell in love with the country. Check out more New Zealand posts here.

If you have a dream like we did to travel to this country and have the budget, go for it! Another fantastic option which lots of travellers go with is to secure a working holiday visa and then work anywhere in the country where wages are usually pretty good ($15-$19 per hour), enjoy the local culture, take weekend trips with friends and then do some cross country exploring after saving up enough. I have been hard pressed to find another country that wowed me as much with natural beauty the way New Zealand did. Now when I think of our epic trip to all four corners of this breathtaking country I am instantly transported to my “Happy Place”!

In this post we provide a category breakdown detailing per day costs and major influencing expenses if any. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the biggest expense for us was the rental van and petrol as we essentially travelled from the northern most point of New Zealand to the southern most point.

We had to really try and pinch our pennies as much as possible as New Zealand is a rather expensive place to travel. One way that we cut our expenses was by looking for free things to do all over the country. Check out our favourite free things to do in the North and South Islands.

Make sure to also check out our fantastic sample itineraries for 2 Weeks in New Zealand for both the North Island and South Island.

Here now is our detailed spending for our camper van adventure in New Zealand and as always, if you have any questions, please let us know in the comments section.


What to budget for New Zealand

This section includes anything spent on accommodation while in the country.

Spending Per Day: $5 USD per person

Digging Deeper: We primarily stayed in free or government campgrounds. Government campgrounds cost roughly $10 NZD per night. We did spend a few nights in a hostel while in the South Island due to weather.


New Zealand coffee

This section includes anything spent on meals, drinks and groceries.

Spending Per Day: $15 USD per person

Digging Deeper: We tried to buy groceries and cook our own food on most days but did spring for the occasional meal here and there. One thing to note is that we would buy a coffee each morning, usually from McDonalds.

Inner Country Transport

Driving by Napier

This section includes any transport taken to travel within the country: Rental van and petrol.

Spending Per Day: $33 USD per person

Digging Deeper: This was by far our highest daily expense due to the high cost of petrol and the amount of kilometres we were driving each day.

Inner City Transport

This section includes any transport taken to travel within a city such as: subway, taxi, & buses

Spending Per Day: $0.50 USD per person

Digging Deeper: The cost per day was attributed to buses and trains in Wellington.


Whale watching New Zealand

This section includes things such as: museums, shows, sporting events, and tours.

Spending Per Day: $4 USD per person

Digging Deeper: The cost per day was attributed mostly to whale watching in Kaikoura which cost roughly $100 USD per person.


This section includes anything spent on laundry, gifts, and miscellaneous items.

Spending Per Day: $2.50 USD per person

Digging Deeper: The cost per day was attributed to laundry and a few misc. items.



Sea Lion New Zealand

The Numbers: New Zealand

Total Nights: 32

Total Spent Per Person Per Day: $60 USD

We hope that after reading by us providing our daily spending totals by category that you will now be better able plan your trip by knowing what to budget for New Zealand.

If you have any specific questions about budgeting, please leave a comment below.


Ross & Alyse



Lover of travel, photography, nature, movies, and nachos. If you love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings we'll probably become best friends.

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