The thought of travelling in New Zealand can be a bit daunting, especially on the old bank account. Fortunately, it is possible to travel around on a budget, if you know where to look.
We know that (unfortunately) money doesn't grow on trees. To help you save that hard earned cash for the uniquely 'kiwi' thrills and spills, we’ve created a list of our simple but precious tips to save money while you are travelling New Zealand so you can focus on ticking things off your Bucket List!
Get crafty in the Kitchen
Not everyone was born to be a chef, but anyone can make eggs on toast, noodles or a sandwich. Believe us: cooking your own meal the majority of the time, instead of going out for dinner every night is the way to go for those who are travelling on a budget. You can make your meal for as little as $5NZD from the local supermarket chains - Countdown, New World and Pak’n Save. If there is not a kitchen where you’re staying, you can order $5 pizzas from Dominos, fish and chips or enjoy weekly’s deals, like Mexicali on Mondays selling Margaritas for 5 bucks (Oops! Is margarita a food?).
It’s a simple rule: the more you learn about where you’re going, the more you avoid unpleasant surprises. It’s important to know your surroundings and stay close to the attractions you want to see. The Kiwi Experience Driver Guides are the best people to chat to for insider tips in each town. Alternatively, visit the local Information Centre - they have knowledge of the top attractions in their town. It’s a good idea to have MapsMe (offline navigation) and Google Maps downloaded on your phone - they can help you out to find your way back home, especially after a Pub Crawl in Queenstown.
Hostel Discounts and Free brekkie
Budget travellers tend to go with the cheapest accommodation option without thinking twice - that’s ok! There are so many activities out there in each town that you won’t be spending much time in your hostel room anyway. However, there are some points to keep in mind before taking off your backpack: does the hostel have a kitchen area? Internet? Lockers? Most importantly, do they offer free breakfast (of course)? One of the biggest chains in New Zealand, YHA hostels, offer discount cards. For $25NZD you get access to the members' rate which is 10% less than the standard price.
Staying Connected to the Internet
New Zealand Wi-fi and phone data can be expensive. Besides hostels, restaurants and coffee shops, you can find free access to the internet in a few shopping centres and local libraries - mostly in big cities such as Auckland and Wellington. If you prefer to have access to the internet more often to share your unforgettable memories with the world, the most effective way is to grab yourself a sim card. The major network companies in New Zealand are Vodafone, Spark, 2 Degrees and Skinny. You can get a sim card for free (or a small cost) and prepaid plan prices start from $9NZD upwards to the moon.
Look out for Freebies
You can go for a walk in Mount Eden (a volcano located in Auckland’s heart), chill out in Whangarei Falls on your way to the Bay of Islands or dig a hole at Hot Water Beach – without even looking at your wallet. If you want to learn more about New Zealand history and Maori Culture, check out one of our free museums. Our top pick is Te Papa museum in Wellington.