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Budget for Three Weeks in New Zealand

By Littlebckpacker @littlebckpacker

It was a while ago now that the boyfriend and I spent three weeks backpacking through New Zealand on the Kiwi Experience bus. We had an incredible experience and were so grateful of the money we saved up while on our working holiday visa in Australia. New Zealand is a country full of adventures and opportunities and thanks to our hard work (and strict budgeting) we were able to do so much while in New Zealand. It occurred me the other day that I’ve never shared this budget with you. Due to keeping an Excel document of our spendings, I still have this information to share with you now.

Getting Around New Zealand

Before we flew off to New Zealand as part of our gap year we had booked up our transport on the Kiwi Experience bus. We did so directly through their website and chose our bus route based on two things: which routes were on offer when we booked and which ones suited our time scale of three weeks. They have all kinds of bus tickets to suit every budget and time scale.

We chose the Zephyr pass and paid $639 plus $125 each for the Milford Sound add on. 

Kiwi Experience gang in front of the bus

Kiwi Experience gang in front of the bus


For food while we were in New Zealand we set ourselves a budget of $46 for the two of us. This was based on cooking for ourselves in hostels for breakfast and dinner then grabbing something on the go for lunch. We did also allow ourselves a few evening meals out during the three weeks and alcohol was included in this budget. Please note neither of us are big drinkers so this helped to keep dow the costs on nights out.

For the three weeks we spent a total of $800 on food and drink for two (making it $400 each*)

As you can see, we came in under our $46 budget per a day but this could easily have been spent on alcohol or eating out a bit more.

*costs on food will vary if you aren’t sharing the food with others, as it is often cheaper to buy and cook in a group.


As a couple travelling on the Kiwi Experience we liked to mix up private rooms and dorm rooms throughout the trip. These would either be booked through our driver on the Kiwi Experience or through hostel bookers/hostel world as we found this could get us a cheaper price, especially on private rooms. We gave ourselves a budget of $58 for the two of use per a night to help with budgeting beforehand and stop us over spending whilst in New Zealand.

Over three weeks in New Zealand (20 nights) we spent $1144 on hostel accommodation (making it $572 each)

Black water rafting in New Zealand

Black water rafting in New Zealand

Trips and Activities

While on the Kiwi Experience you are offered trips and experiences daily, while we could never have afforded everything on offer, we still took part in a good portion of activities. These included snowboarding, jumping off a canyon, glacier hiking, black water rafting, horse riding, Tongariro crossing and more. Some days we spent nothing on activities and trips while other days were a lot more expensive.

In total over three weeks we spent $1944 on trips, activities and experiences which is $972 each


While travelling there are always things which you end up spending money but don’t fall under any of the above categories. It could be anything from a postcard and stamp, taxi to the airport or a new hoodie. We didn’t spend much money on souvenirs or presents as we still had another six weeks to spend travelling. So this a s very rough guide of the ‘extra’ we spent.

We spent $196 between us on extras over three weeks, this would have been around $98 each

Hanging out by gorgeous Lake Taupo

Hanging out by gorgeous Lake Taupo


Food: $400//£196
Accommodation: $572//£280
Trips/Activities: $972//£476
Extras: $98//£48
Kiwi Experience: $764//£375

Budget for three weeks in New Zealand including Kiwi Experience Pass: $2806//£1375

For those interested this is the exact break down of our excel spreadsheet.

new zealand budget

This is only meant to be used as a rough guide and prices were correct at the time of visiting in 2013 and conversion rates correct when writing in 2015.


Tags:  Advice Budget Kiwi Experience Money New Zealand

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