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How To Backpack New Zealand On A Budget

After over 4 months in the Kiwi land, I believe I’ve earned enough experience, from mistakes and adventures to show you all how to travel and spend your time in New Zealand on an excellent budget. Living in the country is very expensive, do not believe otherwise. Prices here are almost the same with those of Australia, but their minimum wage is considerably lower, you will be amazed by how fast your money seem to fly.

So, to reduce cost on:


The ideal option of accommodation for backpackers is the hostel, and you are sure to find them everywhere. But, these hostels are not so cheap, so for those who intend to stay in New Zealand for an extended period of time, maybe on their working holiday visa, may choose to share a house with someone.

The largest website for searching for accommodation arrangements is TradeMe. It is a recent New Zealand website that sells virtually everything or anything.

The majority of the rooms are not furnished. Yes. Let me guess, you probably wondering where to get the furniture? Well, it’s not likely you will find the odd place furnished, and you will need extra cash to get even a somewhat used futon.  Warehouse and Target furniture are all new and pretty expensive. Once I tried the Red Cross furniture shop located over the road from my house in search for a bed frame, willing to purchase a new mattress. When I went in, I saw a brand new mattress and queen sized bed for $250.  Not a price I had hoped for, but I had to get it. I got a desk for myself from my neighbors who wanted to throw it out and there you have it. I had a walk in the wardrobe, fortunately, and that wasn’t a problem.

With respect to the legality in the area, the majority of the landlords who agree to rent their rooms out to backpackers only ask for the rent in a couple of weeks ahead, sometimes this is accompanied by a bond as well but no contract.


The countdown is your ideal supermarket in the country with several huge stores and supermarkets across New Zealand; you can find totally everything you desire. However, just like other countries of the world, the country has an alternative for anyone who wishes to cut down on their expenses and save some few cash. In New Zealand, this alternative is Pak n Save.

Pak n Save is ideally a massive warehouse stocked with cheap meats and food. However, we noticed that some of the tinned goods are about the same price as those in Countdown.

Locals and Backpacks alike go to Pak n Save for one special reason, and that is the incredibly cheap fresh produce section that they have. However, with their cheap vegetables, cheap meats and cheap cheeses, don’t expect that their vegetables will last so long or the meats to taste so great.

But once when I bought meat from Pak n Save, the smell and the quantity of fat and water that poured out of when I put it in saucepan was awful.

Well, I would advise you stick to countdown for your meats, but the little Asian markets can serve vegetables and fruits. And of course, always get your meats straight from a butcher. You’re sure to find meats of excellent quality, and you can actually request for a sausage which will save you some cash.

Night Life

As I’ve already mentioned earlier, living in New Zealand is a bit expensive. However, if you begin to earn some New Zealand dollar, it wouldn’t hurt your bank account too much if you earn $16 in an hour.

A cocktail of cold beer will get you back on an average of $10 and obviously it is considerably cheaper if you buy your alcohol from a small bottle shop around. But, the Kiwis enjoy their leisure hours so make sure you get some good deals if you really want to save up some cash when you’re out and about. If you want to get the best deals, you should find out some local backpacker bars or try your hostel has a bar before you book it

It’s bad news for smokers because the price of tobacco here is relatively high. It’s even more expensive than in Australia where the government is cracking hard on guys that smoke. The cost of a pouch of tobacco weighing 50g is about a minimum of $70…sit with that.


New Zealand is no doubt endowed with natural beauty… and a land of free thing!

Why spend money inside a museum when you can enjoy some of Mother Earth’s incredible landscapes are just before you? Mountain views, long day walks, and thermal springs are not difficult to come by, and they are all free.


I will be splitting this section into two, long distances and local transport options:

Auckland Local Transport Option:

One of the easiest cities in New Zealand to get around in is probably Auckland; this is because of its size. Using trains, boats, and buses moving regularly throughout the city and its environs. So if you’re planning to spend more time in Auckland, you should ensure you get a Hop Card, because it will save you a lot of cash, plus it’s far more convenient than trying to sort out change for each trip you embark on.

Long distance option:

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, there are several options of moving around and between the two islands. If you choose to go with a fine old fashioned bus, then you get to pick either the NakedBus or the ManaBus. You get unbelievable $1 offers on their seats, and even if you don’t get the $1 deals, then you get charged at their incredibly low normal rate.

Or if you wish to fly then you can get on one of the Google Flights or Skyscanner and check out the best offers, with Jet Star and Air New Zealand offering the lowest charges!

Buying a van or hiring a car is undoubtedly the best way to explore New Zealand. The absolute freedom in stopping wherever you choose to and driving at your own speed. One excellent option for cars beginning at $20 per day is Rent a Dent; I personally don’t use any other one.

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