New Zealand is an undeniably fantastic country to visit, however it is also unfortunately a rather pricey place to be a tourist. This hits particularly hard for us Brits at the moment given the sorry state of the pound. But it is not all doom and gloom! Here are some of my top tips for saving those extra pennies (well, those extra cents):
1) Getting around
Opt for one of the many hop-on hop-off bus tickets offered by Kiwi, Stray and Contiki if you have never travelled New Zealand before and want to meet lots of people. Hire a campervan if you are feeling a little more adventurous or have the time to explore – Jucy and Spaceships rentals are both popular choices. You can also make full use of the local intercity bus services which can be booked in advance online. Hitch-hiking across the country is always an option of you are low on cash and fancy meeting a whole load of friendly locals.
NB: If you are driving yourself, try not to get too distracted by all of the glorious goings-on outside your window as you do not want to be paying to fix your vehicle if you accidentally drive into a tree whilst admiring the view (can’t really blame you though).
2) Getting to sleep
If you are on a budget then hotels are out of the question but don’t panic, because New Zelaand is such a popular destination for backpackers, there are numerous backpacker hostels located all over the islands – Nomads and Base are two of the most common but not always the cheapest. Download Hostelworld and have a browse or try Air BnB if you are in a group. Also, invest in a pair of earplugs, you will not regret this if you are staying in a dorm or anywhere near a lively street.
3) Getting fed
Eating out is super pricey but every hostel has a kitchen (thank goodness), so get yourself down to a Pack’n’Save or a Countdown and channel your inner Jamie Oliver. Try to avoid convenience stores as these will be significantly more expensive. Many hostels will do a dinner deal or even a free dinner and a lot do free breakfasts so definitely do your research here.
4) Getting active
Activities and tours are also a bit of a budget buster, so do your research, choose wisely and don’t just jump on everything – it is hard because everything looks like (and probably is) so much fun, some things are definitely worth the splurge though. Also bare in mind that many places will have endless treks and hikes through breathtaking scenery to priceless views which you can do absolutely free of charge.
5) Getting online
Wi-Fi is not usually free in hostels in New Zealand but if you really need to get online then head to the nearest cafe, maccies or kfc and hop onto their free connection. Also if you are going to be travelling around for more than a month and think you might stay in a few Nomads or Bases then it might be worthwhile buying one of their handy month long wifi codes.
6) Getting out
Hunt down the happy hour spots and make full use of them. There will be at least one hour of cheaper drinks in almost all of the bars located near backpacker hostels, so know your times and use them wisely. Many hostels will also arrange bar crawls or give out various wristbands for cheaper drinks which is always welcome gift given that many of them are now ‘dry hostels’ (also, learn the art of subtle pre-drinking, just don’t be a dick about it).
7) And finally, for if (when) you fall in love with a place
If you want to save some money but really want to spend a little longer in your favourite place then WWOOFing is a very common and doable option. You don’t earn any actual money but work in a hostel or B&B in exchange for your accommodation and food. You can usually do this as long or as little as you like which means having the flexibility of staying for a number of months or even just a few days.
Even though on the face of it things can seem pretty pricey in the world of the kiwis, you can make a trip here very affordable and it is definitely worth every penny. The people are lovely and the scenery is frankly ridiculous so this is definitely not one to be missed.