Is been a while since my last blog, I have finally ended my 1 year of traveling and I have spent a total of around 7 months in New Zealand (around 2 months in South Island of New Zealand). Here to share you some information about it.
For a lot of people, New Zealand may seems to be a really expensive place to travel yet it is still so popular due to its mother nature. But, let me tell you a fact, you really can organize your trip and you won’t have to spend a lot, if you know what you are doing. So, LETS GO!
Getting Around The Kiwi Land
Best way to get around in new zealand (especially if you are going to tour around the south island), driving is your best options. Public transportation and tours operating in New Zealand will be costly and it will definitely not giving you the best moment of time to see New Zealand.
If you are having just a 1 or 2 weeks in NZ, renting will be best and I would really recommend you to go for a Camper van / motorhome rather than a normal vehicles. But if you are going to be in NZ for more than 1 month (mostly relating to those who are on a long break or on a working holiday), I would suggest you to think about buying a second hand car, which is really cheap.
Renting a car
There are quite numbers of renting company in NZ, as driving in NZ is really popular and it will be the best option. It definitely help you to save cost if you are in a group because you can share the car cost , insurance and fuel together. These are the few of the Company that is popular in New Zealand, especially in the south island on their campervan and motorhomes and you can always see them on the road. So, choose what suits your budget, click below to their websites for more information.
I have rented Jucy previously, and I would say, they will be the cheapest and is more popular among the young peoples , backpackers. The others two will be mostly like preferred by a family groups with young children.
One thing to keep in mind, please spend some money to purchase their full insurance while you rent from any of the Company (or if you are going to buy a car, buy the full insurance and also the AA membership). Driving in South Island might be tricky, weather is unpredictable so a full insurance will help you to covered everything you need.
If you are travelling in solo or maybe just 2 people, and you can’t drive or doesn’t want to spend any money on renting a car / buying a car. Hitchhiking might be your another options. Hitchhiking in New Zealand is very popular (Kiwi loves to help) and you can see a lot of hitchhiker on the road side (especially in south island, going towards Queenstown or out from Queenstown) especially during summer time.
There are risk as well, so is all up to you. But if you are traveling in winter, hitchhiking will not be your best choice.
Finding a place to stay in NZ, if you are on a budget, yes, probably is going to cost you. A normal backpacker hostel in a dorm room could cost you from 25 NZD per person person night and above. If you are in a group, try airbnb and that will be a great choice. If you are new to AIRBNB, no worries, register one through here and get some coupon credit for your first travel : AIRBNB CODE
I do recommended Campervan / motorhomes at the first place, WHY?! Because weather in NZ is unpredictable, you travel around according to the weather forecast, you may go anti clock wise or clock wise, it is all depending on the weather. You won’t want a heavy rain to ruin your trip, don’t you? And renting a campervan / motorhomes with the SELF CONTAINED stickers approved on the vehicle, you can freely camp for FREE in most places in NZ and it gives you more freedom on your trip, you don’t have to book any hostel/hotel in advance.
You can just drive and show up to any campsite on your own choice. Some campsite are free, but some request an amount of money, ranging from Free to 30 NZD per person per night on a powersite or non powersite. If you don’t wish to sleep in the car, you can always book in their cabin room, which will be more expensive depending on location wise.
A very good apps that you will definitely need to download to your smart phone before going to NZ : CAMPERMATE . It guides you on the campsite all around NZ with prices and feedback shown and also some others information such as: supermarkets, gas station, showers, water, etc.
Petrol is not as expensive you think it will be and it will be even cheaper to share in groups. South Island and North Island petrol pricing has a gap of differences.
In south island, petrol price ranging from 1.80NZD to 2.20NZD per litter. In North Island, petrol price ranging from 1.70NZD to 1.90NZD per litter. During winter period, the petrol price drop and when summer comes, it will start to increase. The price I shown is the standard price.
There are ways to save on your petrol. Here to show you how.
Few big and well known supermarkets such as COUNTDOWN, PAK N SAVE, NEW WORLD do give out coupon of discount. If you are in a town, you are most likely to see all three of them, but if you are in a very small town, you might not see any or maybe just New World.
Just buy anything in the supermarkets, and upon paying your items, they will give you 2 receipts, one is your item, and the other one will be a 6cents off voucher per litter on the desire petrol station (it will be written on the receipt) and an expiry date.
To hustle free, you may go to Countdown, to grab a FREE countdown card, register it online, then you can enjoy 6 cents off per litter if you pump at least a 40NZD in any caltex or BP station.
There are a lot of things that you can do in New Zealand for FREE. Yes, I do mean FREE. If you like outdoors activities, you are in the right place. Unlike many other country , New Zealand let you to hike and trek for FREE everywhere. You name it , you got it. So New Zealand is really popular for its mother nature beauty and the love of outdoors.
Most museums and art gallery in New Zealand are also open for free. And that’s pretty awesome.
But for extreme and thrill games, you will have to pay for what you want to experience from bungy jump to nevis swing, to Heli experience, to fly a plane and the list goes on. There is some way for trying to pay lessor than the original price. Always check bookme.com . Is like a groupon website which is in New Zealand version. You can search a lot of activities deal inside and probably get the best price compare to the door price. Check them up, few days or maybe 1-2 weeks in advance for some deal available and suits your time and dates.
If you are a winter person and wanted to experience ski/snowboard thrill, New Zealand has it all. Price are depending on where you choose to go, if you are going to do it in Queenstown, you have to understand that it is a tourist favorite destination, so the price is high. I would suggest MT HUTT in south island because they give you very reasonable package and it won’t hurt much on your wallet.
MT HUTT is located in a small town call Methven. It is about 1.30 hours drive from Christchurch or 20 min drive from ashburton. If you have few days to spend, I would recommend you to get their intro to snow package.
Price: $299 per person Ski OR Snowboard (Your own choice)
Duration: 4 days
Price inclusive: 2 Hours of class, 2 times per day
Snow board or Ski rental and shoe rental
Not inclusive: Full set of waterproof clothing (You may bring your own)
Helmet (12$ per day, I did not rent any and most people don’t)
** Goggles are NOT able to be rented out and is only available for purchase from $50. But it is not necessary because you can just wear your own comfortable sunglasses to prevent the sunlight and protect your eyes.
If you get this package, it actually benefits you because you can join the 2 hours class which is included in the package price so that you know the right way to ski or snowboarding. But of course is your own choice, if you don’t want to go for the class, you can just skip it and hang around at your own risk. For other packages, it is not worth comparing to this as one day pass may cost you from $130 without adding in the rental equipment of your ski or snowboard and the shoes.
Stay tune to my next post on a rough itinerary for a 18 days road trip in south island.