The Cost of Backpacking New Zealand

The Cost of Backpacking New Zealand

The one thing that concerned me the most when I decided go to New Zealand was what the cost of backpacking New Zealand would be. Flights, accommodation, transport and activities – would I have enough money? So to save you time trying to source information from all over the web, I have compiled it all for you in one place. Remember that the prices I give are subject to change and costs are in New Zealand Dollars. It’s also better to bring extra as well.

So Lets jump right in and see how much it costs to backpack New Zealand.

Before you arrive


We all know that flights can take up a size-able chunk of your budget. Unfortunately as New Zealand is situated bang smack in the middle of nowhere, the cost of your flight will be no different. There are a few ways to keep the cost down. Depending on what time of year you plan to visit will determine the price of your flights. During the Summer months (December to February) the price of flights will rise but if you decide to fly in shoulder season the cost will be lower. Another option is to have a layover somewhere on the way. Instead of flying say London straight to Auckland, fly London to Singapore, stay a few nights to break up the long journey and then fly to New Zealand from there. You will be surprised by how much you can actually save by doing this. But all in all for a one way flight expect to pay around $1200.


Yes insurance. No-one likes buying insurance but everyone loves it when they need it. Whilst traveling around Southeast Asia last year I got toothache. I ended up needing a root canal. What about when my laptop stopped working? Who was there for me when I needed them? My insurance company. If I can recommend an insurance company to you I will hands down recommend World Nomads. Excellent customer service and will be there to help when you are in a pickle. To get your free quote just fill in the details below.



Depending on where you come from and how long you want to travel in New Zealand will determine the cost of your visa. If you just want to come on a tourist visa there will be no cost but if you want to live and work in New Zealand then you will have to pay a small fee. For prices check here


Take it from me, the last thing you want to do after a 36 hour journey to the other side of the planet and landing in a city you have never been before is to try to find a hotel or hostel. I would advise for you to book your first night or two and take it from there. Typically hostels will cost you $20-30 per night per person.

Once you get there

Getting around

If you want the cheapest way possible to get from city to city, then I would advise you to go by bus. If you plan and book in advance, you can get some awesome deals. I got the bus from Auckland to Wellington for $2. No quarries over that price. There are various bus companies operating within New Zealand. Check out Naked Bus or Intercity for deals.

Although the bus is cheap, it just doesn’t give you the same freedom as having a car or camper. If you plan on only staying for a few weeks then I would suggest just hiring a camper. Just like flights the prices of the rentals will vary depending on the season. For the latest prices head on over to who search all the rental companies to give you the best price.

Staying longer than 3 weeks? Then I suggest that you buy a car. It is possible to buy a car or a van for less than $2000 and you can sell it on when you leave for practically the same price. New Zealand has a huge backpacker scene so because backpackers come and go it is easy to find a vehicle and also easy to sell when you are leaving. Best places to look for buying cars and vans and pretty much anything else you can think of head over to TRADE METhis is the kiwi version of Ebay. Alternatively you can check the backpacker boards for backpackers selling their cars.

I should mention that you will obviously have to factor in fuel for the cars. Fuel is generally around the $2 per liter mark.


Yes activities can eat up your money, but why would you come all this way not to gain new experiences?

Here are some typical prices of New Zealand activities:

  • Bungy jump – NZ$150-290
  • White water rafting -NZ$100-200
  • Jet Boat – NZ$80-120
  • Dolphin swim – NZ$110-160
  • Whale watching – NZ$130-150
  • Day kayak in Abel Tasman – NZ$125-140
  • Glacier Hike – NZ$390-470
  • Cruise in Milford Sound – NZ$40-60
  • Rotorua geothermal park – NZ$30-70
  • Canyoning – NZ$150-300
  • Hobbiton – NZ$75-110
  • Glowworm caving – NZ$125-280

There is a great website that you can get lots of great savings with for booking these activities. You can sometimes save up to 50%. Check out

Fortunately there’s heaps of free stuff to do:

  • Hiking – FREE
  • Visit Lord of the Rings film locations – FREE
  • Natural thermal springs and hot pools – FREE
  • Volcanoes – FREE
  • Beaches – FREE
  • Waterfalls – FREE
  • The best stargazing sights in the Southern Hemisphere – FREE

I hope you can use this guide as a good reference to the cost of backpacking New Zealand

If there’s anything more you would like to know please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

P.S If you know someone who you think this guide will be helpful for please share with them.

Bon Voyage


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