New Zealand Travel Budget: 4 Weeks in the South Island

by AmyBroad

If you are keen on planning a trip to New Zealand but have no idea how much you need to budget then you have come to the right place. I have tracked our expenses throughout our road trip in the South Island to bring you this four week New Zealand travel budget.

The chart below includes everything we have spent whilst on the road, please bear in mind all of the totals are for 2 people unless otherwise stated. This budget does not include our flights to New Zealand and the cost of our campervan. If you are travelling the whole country in four weeks this budget can still apply, you will just need to add on the cost of the Interisland ferry, which is £109.28 (price per vehicle).

We bought our small van for £2600. If you are also wanting to buy a van in New Zealand I have written blog posts on Tips on Buying a Van and How We Converted It. If you are looking to rent a van instead, this will increase the budget you need drastically. I have found this website where you can compare campervan prices to get an idea of how much this will cost.

New Zealand Travel Budget


Total for 2 people – £463.83

Average daily food cost – £15.99

Even though food has been our biggest expense, we have been eating as cheaply as possible. Cooking your own meals with food you buy from a supermarket is going to be the cheapest way to feed yourself in New Zealand. We have only had the odd fish and chips or McDonalds here and there, so this total is mostly food from the supermarket. But even food from the shop here is pricier than back home! If you are wanting to eat out at restaurants a few times a week you will be looking at upwards of £40 a meal for two people.


Total for 2 people – £375.29

Cost per 100km travelled – £9.65

We knew this was going to be an inevitable large expense before we started our road trip, and one that you really can’t avoid. It is also an expense that will be the same no matter if you are one person or two, as the same miles will be travelled. Throughout the South Island we travelled 3,886km, and have always tried to look out for the cheapest rate at the petrol stations. If you are taking buses around NZ instead of driving, of course you can ignore this section. However I wouldn’t be surprised if the buses came to a higher total than this!

New Zealand Travel


Total for 2 people – £95.40

Average daily campsite cost – £3.29

This is the area we have really saved on! If you have a self-contained van then you should be able to find a free, basic campsite in most places. In our 29 days of travel we have only had to pay for 7 nights, the cheapest being a DOC campground for £3.97 each, with the most expensive being £9.93. We had to stay in a hostel for 1 night in Te Anau, as neither the town or surrounding area had any campsites! This still only cost us £15.82 per person, and we were able to use the facilities to charge our devices and shower for free!

You might think that free campsites would have no facilities, but we have actually only ever had to go one night without a toilet. And we have stayed at so many sites for FREE that have beautiful views across to lakes and mountains. You can download the app Campermate to make finding campsites really easy!


Milford Sound Cruise – £57.82 for 2 people

The Milford Sound cruise was the only paid activity we did in the South Island. The company we went with were Go Orange for the 2 hour cruise, who I would highly recommend if you are looking at doing this too.

Other than that we haven’t paid for any activities! Most of the hikes and things to see here are out in the open and therefore free! If you wanted to, you could easily spend a lot more on tours, water sports and adrenaline activities.

Nugget Point, New Zealand


Total for 2 people – £27.64

On a road trip you have to compromise with how often you can shower, it is definitely not going to be every day! We shower every 2-4 days, pretty gross I know, but everyone is in the same boat and at the end of the day who really cares?! Some places limit the amount of minutes you can shower for, others you have unlimited time. The least we have paid is £0.99 each for 4 minutes, with the most expensive being £2.58 each for unlimited. Someone in Glenorchy was charging £3.48 for 7 minutes, which was way too much so we declined!


Total for 2 people – £23.52

We do our laundry roughly once a week, but so far we actually haven’t run out of clean underwear. So we could leave it a little longer if necessary. The machines are usually £1.99 a load, and we use both the washing machine and dryer.


Total for 2 people – £117.53

Now, this category is made up of everything else that doesn’t fit into the others. I have listed some of the main ones down below, but other things include buying hiking poles, a hat, Christmas decorations for the van and other random expenses. These are expenses that you may be able to avoid, but there are always going to be some odd bits that you need to buy along the way. So allow a little for unexpected expenses!

Parking – £9.64

Gas for cooking – £6.45

Laundry powder – £6.95


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