After you’ve decided when you want to travel, the next step is to begin budgeting and making your packing list.
There’s no disputing that traveling to New Zealand is a costly venture, nor does it help that the country has so much to offer. My first piece of advice before you go is to have a clear understanding of the activities you want to do so you can better manage your money.
With some of the most expensive activities being bungy jumps, skydives and heli hikes, you could be spending up to $600 NZD on activities. However, don’t worry, because there are plenty of free activities as well. Additionally, you have to take into account transport costs, food and accommodation expenditures. To help give you an idea of how much money you should budget for each day while in New Zealand, here is a rough guide:
Backpacker: The average daily budget for a solo traveler is $70-$85 USD based on accommodation in hostels, happy hour drinks, a few expensive activities, and cooking your own meals.
Mid-range to splurge: Based on private rooms in Airbnbs, $110-140 a day will give you lots of expensive activities and the ability to dine at restaurants most of the time. However, it is possible to go cheaper on a shoestring budget by couch surfing or booking cheap accommodation and choosing mainly free activities. Keep in mind that the cheapest hostel is not always worth it. Additionally, you’ll want to make the most of your time there! Another option is hiring a campervan whicheger acts as both your transportation and accomodation expenses.
What to pack for New Zealand
There are four distinct seasons in New Zealand, and on occasion, you can experience four of them in a single day. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to be prepared for variable conditions at all times of the year. A waterproof jacket is essential!
Whether you’re visiting New Zealand in the summer or winter, I recommend packing clothes that you can layer up, such as t-shirts and leggings. The goal is to have interchangeable capsule outfits so that you can go light. Packing cubes are also a huge help for this. If you want to explore more of that region of the world like Australia, the South Pacific, or Asia, you’ll need warmer clothing.
Sustainable travel in New Zealand
New Zealand is well-known for its sustainable tourism practices. Out of the 10,000+ protected areas in the world, 13 of them are national parks located in New Zealand. The country has set a goal to have every tourism business committed to sustainability by 2025. To sum it up, this initiative strives for an economically sustainable tourism industry that supports local communities and protects the environment.
There are several ways you can help them achieve this objective, such as:
- If you want to help the environment, consider camping and staying at eco-friendly accommodations.
- Volunteering opportunities to assist with wildlife conservation and education in the area.
- Visiting and maintaining eco sanctuaries.
- Reduce your single-use plastic waste with these packing suggestions.
- Make recycling a habit to help keep our planet clean.
- When you’re out in nature, take care of the environment. Take only photographs and leave no footprints!
- Investing in the local community.
Best Things to do in New Zealand
New Zealand, as I previously stated in this travel guide, is a country of adventure with lots to offer for everyone. The following are the finest places to visit and top activities to do in New Zealand:
Go Island-Hopping in the Bay of Islands
Many visitors to Auckland never venture North to the Bay of Islands, but they’re missing out! The Bay of Islands is made up of 144 beautiful islands, with white sand beaches and Maori historicalsites. You can explore the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, go snorkelling or diving, take a cruise through the islands, or even visit Cape Reinga for some sandboarding. For more information on what to do in the Bay of Islands, check out my three-day itinerary here!
Sip wine on Waiheke Island
If you’re looking for a day trip from Auckland with stunning views, Waiheke Island is the perfect spot. With its picturesque vineyards, it’s easy to forget you’re in New Zealand and not Europe. You can spend the day hiking, exploring the town or doing wine tours. And since New Zealand is one of the best wine producers in the world, you know that Waiheke’s vineyards will be exceptional.
You can also try escape rooms as it offers a unique challenge that you won’t find anywhere else, click to learn more.
Stay at Tamaki Maori Village
Tamaki Maori Village is the perfect place to learn about Maori culture and history. Located near Rotorua on the North Island, visitors can enjoy traditional performances, stories, games, and a delicious ‘hangi’ dinner. Dietary options are available for those with special requirements. Day visits cost about $120 NZD per person or you can take it a step further and stay the night for £215 NZD.
Situated on the North Island,Hobbiton is a must-see replica of the movie set from Lord of the Rings, regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of the franchise. After taking a scenic tour around the quaint village, enjoy a complimentary pint at Green Dragon pub. Tours typically cost $75-$195NZD.
See the Glowworm Caves
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves, located on the North Island, are a bucket list attraction in New Zealand for good reason. A variety of different tours lets you choose how to experience them, from a gentle boat ride to black water rafting. You’ll see why these caves are home to a glowworm species found only in New Zealand when you witness them shining like stars against the pitch black backdrop. Prices start at $55 NZD and go up to $254 NZD.
New Zealand has a lot of stunning hikes with jaw-dropping sights to see. Hikers are really spoiled for choice. The Tongariro Crossing, Roy’s Peak, the Milford Track, and Mount Cook are some well-known ones. Ensure that you have the appropriate equipment and follow safety precautions on any trek whether it is a one-day excursion or a multi-day trip. Because of unpredictable weather conditions, certain treks need to be done during the winter season as they may be dangerous.
Food in New Zealand
Here’s a quick overview of some top staples and specialities to try when you’re in New Zealand:
Pavlova: Pavlova is a disputed dessert dish that hails from somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. Australians and New Zealanders will swear they’re telling the truth. It’s a wonderful dessert that’s well worth trying, whether you believe it was created by Australians or New Zealanders! A pavlova is composed of meringue, cream, and berries.
Kumara: Kumara, also known as the sweet potato, is a type of squash grown in New Zealand and popular in Maori cuisine.
Seafood: Seafood is a popular dish in Thailand, and it’s no surprise given the country’s island location. It’s fresh, locally sourced, and delectable!
Manuka honey: The Manuka bush is abundant in New Zealand, and it’s honey is notably one of the most expensive types of honey globally. Aside from its luxury status, Manuka honey also has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Hangi: Hangi is a traditional Maori method of cooking food by slow-roasting it over heated rocks buried in a pit oven. In the past, only fish and kumara (a type of sweet potato) were cooked this way, but today you can also find chicken, lamb, and other vegetables being prepared using hangi. The food is wrapped in flax leaves (oralternatively placed in cloth sacks or wire baskets), then left to cook for 3-4 hours before being served. This long process resultsin tender meat with smoky and earthy flavors that are absolutely delicious!