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New Zealand On The Cheap

If your from the northern hemisphere, a trip down to New Zealand or Australia can end up costing you an arm and a leg. In reality, it’s something you would have to really plan and save up for.

Then there is me, who used her monthly pay packet to buy a one way ticket to Auckland with no plan whatsoever.

After travelling from the very top of the north island to the nearly very bottom of the south island, I’m here to tell you how to travel New Zealand on the cheap, $800 can last 4 weeks.

Book on to a tour

I pre booked a place on the Kiwi Experience. If you are going to do something like this though, wait until they have a sale, which they often do. Don’t pay full price.

The thing I noticed about the Kiwi Experience is that everybody on the bus, as lovely as they were, had saved money for years and had a YOLO attitude when it came to activities. They did everything!

Don’t do everything. Yes you can skydive, bungy jump, go jet boating, river rafting, horse riding, canyon swinging and so on, you get my drift. These all cost money, sometimes lots of it. Don’t feel like you have to do everything, there is so much FREE things they offer, for you to do as well.

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Do ‘em a favour

Your only here travelling around, so obviously you don’t hold a working holiday visa. This doesn’t mean you can’t wangle some free drinks or food. When the kiwi bus rolled into town, we usually headed for a bar or two and with quite a few rowdy travellers in there, I would offer my bar lady services, in return for free drinks and food.

Just ask them if they need a hand!

Eat well, eat cheap

I used to see so many people while I was in New Zealand eating noodles or pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes this is all very cheap food, but It isn’t good for you. You’ll end up feeling stodgy and run down on a diet like that, without the energy you need to enjoy your experience to it’s best.

Once you get to know people, ask them if they want to meal share. You can go half’s on the shopping and cook for each other on alternative nights. So your eating better food and paying half the price. Bingo.

Tip: Check out what the hostels offer, a lot of them put on events for all your lovely people. For example, a barbeque night, sometimes free or sometimes they will ask you to throw in $5, a cheap way to treat yourself!

Wash your own clothes

Don’t pay the money they ask for washing your clothes. I used to just wash them in the shower with me, then hang them up to dry. You will literally save so much money. If it’s the winter season when you are visiting, still wash them yourself but pay for the drying facilities, which are usually cheaper than the washing ones.

Pre book accommodation

If you are on a tour, they usually sort out hostels for you but If your not, pre book accommodation! I stayed in Auckland twice, at the start and at the end of my journey. I can safely say that I much prefer my stay in the Nomads hostel compared to the Base hostel. Yet in the bay of islands, I really enjoyed my stay at the base hostel.

Shop around, read reviews and pay less.

Activities I recommend you do pay for;-

◾Bay of Islands – Cream Boat Trip. Delivering mail to houses on the islands. With a chance to see wildlife such as whales, dolphins and when I was there, hammer head sharks!

◾Tongariro Crossing – Unfortunately because of bad weather, this was called off twice for me! I do think it is definitely looks worth doing though!

◾Maori hangi – Rotorua – An evening feasting on traditional Maori food followed by a concert, where you get to see them perform the famous haka!

◾Hike the Franz Josef Glacier – one word, amazing.

Important things to pack

◾Obvious I know but don’t forget a New Zealand travel adaptor.

◾SUN CREAM! New Zealand has a thin ozone layer and in the summer, it has scorching temperatures, nothing lower than factor 30 please!

◾A good, sturdy pair of walking/hiking shoes. The best parts of New Zealand are it’s fabulous walks and hikes, you don’t want to miss out because you only have flip flops (thongs).

◾A rain coat, because sometimes you will get wet.

◾A camera, a charger for the camera and a memory card that can hold as many photos as possible, you will get snappy happy, I can assure you!

Not booking yourself on to a tour?

No problem! Hitch hiking is quite easy in New Zealand, as the locals kept telling me. Even if you are only wanting a lift to the lake or up to the mountains, people are pretty friendly and helpful. It’s all about asking! Of course, always be careful, try and go in two’s and try and tell somebody the registration plate number of the car your hitch hiking in.

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Profile photo of Lucie Ondreasz

Travel Writer and Photographer exploring the world bit by bit.

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