low cost travel in New Zealand

Practical advice for low cost travel in New Zealand

low cost travel in New Zealand

I don’t think New Zealand is that expensive, at the moment the exchange rate is quite favorable and if you come here from Australia everything will seem quite cheap. The Australian shock definitely changes the perception of the costs we will have once we arrive in New Zealand.
The fact that I don’t think it’s very expensive doesn’t mean that you can do it with $500 like in Asian countries, especially because although nature is free, the spaces are large, the activities are many and whatever you want to do is generally he must pay. And coming here without doing some of the activities that New Zealand offers would be a real shame
So here are some tips for travel to New Zealand for less and don’t miss any attractions, in other words: how to have fun and enjoy New Zealand without spending a fortune.


New Zealand is not very big but moving from one city to another can take many hours. One of the most used methods by backpackers in this country is the hitch-hiking. I personally have never done it but those who normally do it have told me that it is practically impossible for someone not to upload it sooner or later.
Often it doesn’t even take too much time. There are those who have found a roof under which to sleep and food. All free. Because as one of my roommates in Nelson told me, the people here are good and help you.
Alternatively you can travel by buses whose prices are really low as long as you don’t rely on them Kiwi Experience, StrayTravel and good company. They offer the same services as independent buses and charge more.

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Read also: New Zealand – South Island Journey Times Map


Eating out can be quite expensive in the long run. Treat yourself to some coffee, sweets, obviously the famous fish and chips cannot be missing but the cheapest solution is to buy food at the supermarket and cook in the hostel. All hostels offer kitchens equipped with multiple stations. I also cooked the ragu which you know how time consuming it takes. So no problem.
The costs will be greatly reduced compared to going to the restaurant for lunch and dinner and having breakfast out.
As for supermarkets, look for i New World rather than the Four Squares which are smaller and more expensive. In fact, the former are real large supermarkets, the Four Square are the creation of Asian 7Elevens (small shops with fairly high prices).


Hostels are the cheapest and ideal solutions for backpackers. Not only for the convenience of having a kitchen but also because it is a place to meet other travelers and above all definitely cheaper than a hotel room
Obviously couchsurfing is always valid and one of the best options and to not pay for where to sleep and to have the pleasure of sharing a bit of your life with the locals.
Another little tactic used by many travelers is to work in hostels in exchange for hospitality. Typically this is 4 hours a day. You’re responsible for eating, but you’re saving at least $20 a day.
Finally I mention couchsurfing which is always one of my favorite options.

Tours and activities

Traveling to New Zealand without living and experiencing some of the activities on offer would be a shame.
But in many cases these tours can be quite expensive. The Bookme.co.uk website offers the best offers, packages discounted up to 70% and is constantly updated. Check the offers every day because suddenly you could find exactly what you were looking for at reasonable prices.
For example, I paid $55 for the seal swim instead of $80 and the Milford Sound tour was $139 instead of $169.
Generally on the site you will find offers for all possible and unimaginable activities except for Skydive (parachuting) which has the same price more or less everywhere. $500/600 which includes flight, video and photos (which I highly recommend taking. It may seem, indeed it is, very expensive but such an experience is worth preserving on a hard format!)


Not all that glitters is gold. The internet in New Zealand is a bit like a needle in a haystack. Most hostels do not provide free connection, even if they say Internet / wifi on websites this does not mean they are free. I always check Tripadvisor or type directly into internet hostel free wifi and start skimming from there. When booking I prefer to call by phone and make sure that the connection is there and above all that it is free. If they tell me that there is a fee and there are no hostels with free wifi in the area, ask for the cost for 24 hours, generally it is around $10 but in others you pay per megabite which could become a real drain.
However, I’ll make a point in favor of it. Unlike Australia where finding bars or restaurants with internet was practically impossible, in New Zealand they are found more frequently so if you need a connection for not too long why not drink a coffee, eat a slice of cake in a nice bar and take advantage of the connections?
The only hostels I’ve had free wifi in at the moment are Absoloot Value Accomodation in Queenstown and The Green Monkey hostel in Nelson

Shopping and books

My limited wardrobe became literally useless as soon as I landed here. Not much to do with bikini, sarong and shorts I needed warm clothes which I didn’t have.
The best thing to do is go to second hand shops, a fairly widespread chain is Salvation Army and buy clothes in excellent condition at very low prices.
Same thing goes for books. Here too, a new book costs a lot, the ideal is to go to the second ones hand bookshops. I bought books in excellent condition and to my liking for $3.

Working in exchange for room and board: Helpex and WWoof

This is the option chosen by most to be able to stay in New Zealand for up to 12 months, with the Working Holiday Visa.
Most hostels accept volunteers, offering accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work. The jobs vary, you can go from cleaning to working at the front desk. You can write to the hostels before arriving asking if they offer this possibility or if they are looking for someone. The turnover is quite high given that everyone is a traveler and sooner or later they leave.
An English guy I met on the bus to Kaikoura also told me that there are various sites, Helpex or WWoof where you can find offers of accommodation/food in exchange for work, working in gardens, countryside where organic products are grown, etc.
Long periods are not always required but there is the possibility of staying for just 2 or 3 days. These ads are worth taking a look at.
Helpex requires a $20 sign-up fee, but it’s money well spent especially if you plan on staying in New Zealand for long periods.

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Read also: Working on the internet and traveling the world. Live from your passions and not from your work

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