Finding the best value-for-money options in New Zealand

If you’ve done your research you’ll know that New Zealand is jam-packed full of amazing sights to see, incredible food to eat and heart-stoping adventure activities to be had.

And you’re probably wondering how your budget is going to hold up.

You may find travelling in New Zealand more expensive than many other countries.  But if you can find value for money options, you can have unforgettable experiences and not miss out any good stuff.


We’ve come up with some helpful tips on how to get the best value for money out of your New Zealand travels.

Food & Drink

A coffee will cost you around NZD$4.50, a cooked breakfast around NZD$16 and a main course at a good restaurant will cost around NZD$30.  Visitors are often surprised at the cost of food in New Zealand, both in the supermarkets and eating out.  But, on the plus side you won’t be disappointed with the quality.  


Best Value for money:  Learn to cook!  Pick up local produce and make your own meals whenever you can.


This depends on how luxurious you’d like your accommodation in New Zealand to be.  A night at a Backpackers will cost around NZD$80 for a twin share, or NZD$30 for a dorm share.  A room at decent hotel will cost around NZD$150 per night and prices go up from there.  A tent site in a campground will cost around NZD$30-$40 per night

Best Value for money:  Hire a campervan.  In many parts of New Zealand there is very little public transport, especially if you want to immerse yourself in the pristine scenery.  So, unless you are joining a bus tour, you will need to have your own transport.  Hiring a campervan allows you to drive yourself, as well as provides accommodation and somewhere to cook your own meals!

Franz Josef Glacier is just a short heli hop away


This is the fun stuff.  The only limit to what activities you can do in New Zealand is your budget.  So, let’s weigh it up.  Is there some good value for money options when it comes to helicopters, sky-diving, bungy-jumping, skiing, canyoning, paragliding, surfing, diving, jetboating… phew.. and it goes on!

A Jet boat experience will cost NZD$100-$130 for around 30 mins of thrills.  The ultimate thrill is probably skydiving and a 60 second free fall will cost upwards of NZD$300-$400.  Most visitors don’t want to leave New Zealand without ticking off a bungy jump.  This awesome activity will cost between NZD$190-$290 depending on how high you’d like to fall from.  Fancy getting up in a helicopter? You’re looking at around NZD$200 per person for a 20 minute flight, or a short flight including a landing will cost around $300, and it goes up from there.  A half-day scenic tour taking you to historic locations, wine regions or movie scene locations will cost around NZD$150 - $180.

Best Value for money:  Starting at $325pp an Ice Explorer trip with Franz Josef Glacier Guides has got to be one of the best value activities in New Zealand.  This half-day trip includes a helicopter flight and landing, 3 hours exploring the jaw-dropping scenery of the glacier, good quality alpine gear, an informative commentary and entry to the Glacier Hot Pools!  It’s pretty much unbeatable value.

picnic sml

And before you start booking your New Zealand adventure, we’ve got a few more top tips for you.

Top Tips for travel in New Zealand

  • Choose an affordable option for accommodation - save your money for activities!
  • If your preference is for sampling local food and wine, then limit your activities to just a couple of value for money options.
  • Look out for free Wi-Fi in cafés, shops and some accommodation.
  • Save money on dining out and cook for yourself.
  • Look into the option of hop-on, hop-off backpacker bus trips.  They offer great flexibility, and great value for money.
  • Grab yourself a SIM card for your phone.  There are some good providers who have cheap options for long-distance calling.
  • Less is more.  There is a lot to do in New Zealand, but don’t rush it.  Take your time, savour the natural beauty of the country and pick a few good quality activities to do.  You won’t regret it.