The cost of a trip to New Zealand

Learn how you can calculate the cost of a trip to New Zealand including flights, accommodation, car rental, and food.

In this article, I'll be calculating how much a trip to New Zealand would cost if I lived in Canada, the United States, or Europe.

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You can easily perform such rough estimates for yourself to be able to get an idea of the amount of money you would have to spend if you were planning on visiting New Zealand.

The four basic components of any trip include:

  1. Flights
  2. Accommodation
  3. Transportation
  4. Food

The period I have chosen for the calculation of the cost of a trip to New Zealand is from November 4 to November 20, 2014. These dates are not weekend dates, since it can cost more to fly during the weekend than during the week when everyone is supposed to be working.

I'll be flying from Canada, the U.S.A., or Europe to Auckland and then renting a car. I have chosen to stay in 4- or 5-star hotels around New Zealand.

I've excluded any additional costs for travel between the North Island and the South Island by either flying or catching a ferry.

Finally, to keep the calculation simple, I'll be listing everything in New Zealand dollars, and then converting to other currencies at the end.

So the basic itinerary looks like this:

Travel Period: Nov 4 - Nov 20 with arrival in New Zealand on Nov 7
Accommodation: 4- or 5-star hotels in New Zealand
Transport: Compact automatic car
Food: Eating out for breakfast and dinner. Buying lunch from the supermarket.

The cost of flying to New Zealand

What you will have to pay to fly to New Zealand does not only depend on your location, but also on the time of the year you would be flying, the airline you would be flying with, etc. etc.

Here, I've picked three airlines with which you can fly to New Zealand from Toronto or Calgary in Canada, New York or Los Angeles in the United States, and the Netherlands in Europe.

The cost of fuel in New Zealand

The cost of fuel in New Zealand

Note that you can visit the website of any airline and enter travel dates to find out what airline tickets to New Zealand would cost.

For the travel period of November 4 - 20, it would cost the following to fly to Auckland in New Zealand:

Air Canada:

Delta Airlines:

KLM:

So as you can see, it would cost between $2200 and $2700 New Zealand dollars to fly to Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand. Let's just round that up to $3000 for flights.

Note that sometimes it might be cheaper to book flights through a travel agent than to book them yourself, since travel agencies may have special arrangements with airlines. Just shop around for the best deal, I'd say.

The cost of renting a car in New Zealand

Car rental companies, just like airlines, vary in prices. So again, shop around, and compare them against each other.

Note that you can visit the website of any car rental company in New Zealand and enter travel dates to find out what the cost of booking a car for your trip would be.

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To rent a compact automatic car (for example a Toyota Corolla with 4 or 5 doors) without excess reduction, it would cost the following:

To estimate the amount of money you would have to pay for fuel during your trip, you must know how large the fuel tank is of the car you are going to hire.

The tank of a Toyota Corolla can hold approximately 50 litres of fuel. Such a car would give you about 9 to 11 km per litre in the city and 13 to 15 km per litre on the highway.

At an average usage of 1 litre on 12 km, if you drove about 600 km every day for 13 days, it would cost you $1430 at $2.20 per litre of fuel.

Let's round the total cost of renting a car in New Zealand (without insurance) for 13 days up to $3000 (car plus fuel).

The cost of accommodation in New Zealand

A 4- or 5-star hotel in New Zealand can cost anywhere between $180 and $300.

If you take an average of $240 per night in a relatively luxurious hotel, you would have to pay $3360 for 14 nights.

The cost of eating in New Zealand

Food can be as cheap or as expensive as you would like it to be. Generally when I'm travelling, I cook for myself or eat fast food, and avoid fancy restaurants to keep the cost down.

Let's assume that you would like to eat breakfast and dinner at restaurants, and that you will pack your own lunch by going to the supermarket and buying groceries.

The cost of food would then look something like this:

This comes to a total of $940 in food for 2 weeks.

The total cost of a 13-day trip to New Zealand

To recap, we have:

Motel room in Christchurch New Zealand

Motel room in Christchurch New Zealand

This comes to a grand total of $10300. I always throw in $1000 extra, so the total would then be $11300.

If we translate this to other currencies, you'd get:

Note: Foreign exchange rates are not fixed. The amounts above were calculated when this article was written.

I cannot remember the exact cost of my first solo trip back in 2001, but I think it was around € 5000 or € 6000 for a little bit more than 3 weeks of fun in New Zealand. And I must add that I booked everything myself, so could have perhaps saved a bit on the trip cost had I gone through a travel agent.

Ways to lower the cost of a trip to New Zealand

There are several ways to cut the cost of a trip to New Zealand. Most involve making concessions and downsizing the amount of comfort and flexibility you desire.

To reduce the cost of flights, you may want to consider booking your trip well in advance (for example more than 6 months in advance) and/or choosing a period when it is less busy in New Zealand.

Typically, everyone wants to visit a place when it is supposed to be at its best, so that when the law of supply vs. demand starts to play a role, the prices of airplane tickets are driven up.

The key here is to look for a period when New Zealand is less attractive to others, so the least busy periods in New Zealand.

To reduce the cost of food, you could cook for yourself. But to be able to do so, you must choose accommodation that allows for cooking.

Typically this would mean staying at a motel instead of a hotel. Not all motels offer cooking facilities, though, so make sure you look at the facilities offered.

And also be aware that a kitchenette is not the same as a kitchen, but that it can be enough for you to cook up a meal.

I've previously written an article about the cost of food in New Zealand, so you can refer to that article to get an idea of what food costs in New Zealand.

To reduce the cost of accommodation, you could stay in motels instead of hotels. You could also go as far as staying in hostels, but once you reach a certain age, you tend not to want to settle for that option anymore.

I do not have much experience with hostels, since I have never stayed at any here in New Zealand. However, I have stayed with peers in hostels in France and must say that it is not a bad option if/when you are young.

Another low cost accommodation option would be renting a campervan and staying at holiday parks.

And if you are considering staying for a long time in one place, you may want to look into renting an apartment, which should be more cost-effective than staying in a hotel or a motel.

Holden Viva rented in New Zealand

Holden Viva rented in New Zealand

To reduce the cost of renting a car, you may want to book well in advance.

Just like with flights, the law of supply and demand also applies to car hire.

And the closer you are to your actual travel date, the higher the price will be to rent a car, since the availability of cars tend to go down.

Another component of renting a car is filling it with fuel. Because you cannot reduce the cost of gasoline, your best option would be to reduce the amount of driving you do.

This would mean staying in cities or towns that are very close to the locations you want to visit instead of driving hundreds and hundreds of kilometres every day to reach your destination(s).

Conclusion on the cost of a trip to New Zealand

If you are not travelling alone, but are going with someone else, it might be best to book through a travel agent, since it is highly likely that you would get better deals, since deals are generally valid for two persons.

If you are travelling alone, it would not hurt to enquire about the cost of a trip to New Zealand at a travel agency. If you can book anything cheaper than the travel agent, look whether the travel agent can book part of the trip and you the other.

Unfortunately, solo travellers are not well-catered for in the tourism industry, so you must try to find ways to save money either by going your own way or partially using the help of a travel agent.

For example, on one occasion when I was not able to book flights from mainland United States to Hawaii, I made use of the services of a travel agent in the US to book the flights, since no travel agent in the country where I lived back then was willing to book such flights for me.

Always remember that "Where there is a will, there is a way." And never think that a trip to New Zealand is too expensive for you. It took me 4 years of saving money to be able to go on my first solo trip to New Zealand. And there were many trips thereafter. So do not give up if visiting New Zealand is a dream of yours.

 

Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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