In preparation for our trip I have been researching topics such as potential accommodations, activities, landmarks, and transportation methods for each destination. I figure this will give us a better idea of the daily cost, and therefore help determine how long we will want to stay in each country. It will be interesting to see the difference between the ideas I have researched and what we actually do when we are on the road!
Click the small arrow button on the top left of the map header (left of where it says “Potential Destination”) to expand out additional details about many of the locations and activities described below.
U.S. Visa/Travel: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/new-zealand.html
Tourism Site: http://www.newzealand.com/
Other Useful Site: http://www.doc.govt.nz/
Assuming we will be spending plenty of nights in various Airbnbs along our journey, New Zealand is our chance to do something different. Where else on our trip will we get the opportunity to sleep in a campervan! Well maybe Australia, with both countries being known for being backpacker friendly and having great campsites/holiday parks.
- NewZealand.com is a great resource for finding campsites along the way, including Department of Conservation campsites with some sites in the national parks.
- Another helpful resource will be the Camper Mate app, which in addition to giving information on campsites, also directs you to areas with WiFi access and the ever-needed public toilet.
- The site I was most excited to have stumbled upon is Okay2Stay.co.nz. For a small membership fee ($45 for 1 year) you get to park your campervan/RV at various businesses around the country. This is the average cost you are going to pay for just one night at a regular campsite! These business can be anything from a local cheese makers and cafes to vineyards and craft breweries. Sounds great, right?!
We are very fortunate to have friends in Christchurch, New Zealand who have offered to have us stay with them during our exploration of the South Island. This will help tremendously! They are wonderful people with lots of knowledge of the area, avid kayakers, and have already provided us with tons of insight into Southeast Asia, a place frequently traveled by Kiwi’s.
Transportation in New Zealand is a big expense from what I have read, given long distances between destinations and high gas prices. One option is to let someone else do all the driving.
- For point-to-point travel, the most popular option is by bus, such as the Intercity Bus or the Naked Bus, starting around $10NZ.
- For those wanting hop-on-hop-off type of travel or to be part of a group, there are companies such as Kiwi Experience, which have various itineraries to chose from and include staying at different hostels along the way. Prices vary depending on the length of the trip and where you stop along the way.
If going at your own pace is more your thing, and driving on the other side of the road (in our case) doesn’t scare you, either renting a car or campervan/RV are your options (check out a money saving tip below). There are way too may rental companies to list here. All have similar cars and rates, however the big things to watch out for are where your pick up and drop off points will be, and those famous hidden fees. For us, we will need pick up at Auckland Airport and drop off as close to the ferry (which connects the North and South islands) as possible when we rent the campervan for our travels on the North Island. We plan to then rent a car once we get to the South Island since we will be mainly staying with our friends.
- One example I found for renting a compact car (pick up in Picton and drop off at Christchurch Airport) was $525 for 14 days through Discount Car Rental.
- For a Jucy brand campervan (Auckland to Wellington) the cost was $290 for 7 days through websites such as VroomVroomVroom.com and camperchamp.motorhomerepublic.com.
- We can’t forget about the cost of the ferry, of course. There are two main ferry companies, the Interislander and Bluebridge, which each cost around $106 for the two of us.
$$ MONEY SAVING OPTION
There are ways of getting a car/campervan for a very very low cost such as $1-5 per day, or even free! Car rental companies need to get vehicles that have been rented and dropped off at one location to a different location for the next rental opportunity. In some countries, such as New Zealand, these companies will actually rent you the car/campervan for next to nothing with the agreement that you will bring it to the location needed. They give you ample time to get there and occasionally some added perks.
One example we found was taking a campervan from Auckland to Christchurch over 5 days, $100 towards gas, and a free pass for the ferry.
Cost = $0
This sounds like a great option, and most likely is the option we will try. According to some blogs I have read, companies will list relocation requests several weeks in advance, but some only the day before. So it will be interesting as we get closer to our departure to New Zealand whether we will find something in advance, or will we just wing it, show up and see what’s available. Websites to check out that list relocation requests are https://www.imoova.com, https://www.drivenow.com.au/onewayrentals.jspc#/relocations/NZ, and https://www.transfercar.co.nz.
There are many different activities and landmarks to consider in New Zealand. Some of the most visited natural landmarks are the Bay of Islands on North Auckland, Abel Tasman National Park, the Franz Josef Glacier and the Fox Glacier.
Activities that are free are always good. Some free or low cost possibilities are hiking the Tangariro Alpine Crossing, the Mount Victoria Loop, Kaikoura Range, and visiting the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. On days we are seeking water maybe we will kayak some of the gorgeous bays (because our awesome friends have a kayak hopefully we can borrow), snorkeling at Goat Island, and soaking in the Kerosene Creek hot springs, hot water beach, or Wanaka’s blue pools.
Of course there are those activities that will cost us money, but sound like a great time and worth it, such as white water rafting, riding the Christchurch gondola to take in beautiful views of the surrounding area, and taking a tour of Waitomo glowworm caves.
Sure, visiting wineries could fit under “Activities” above, but as HUGE wine lovers we feel that wine requires it’s own category! We are looking forward to is visiting some of the amazing wineries in New Zealand to try some terrific sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, sparkling wine, etc. Particular wineries of interest include the following, but we are trying to keep our options open and let fellow wine-loving Kiwis direct us in the right direction!
- Babich Wines – http://www.babichwines.com/
- Cloudy Bay Vineyards – https://us.cloudybay.co.nz/
- Saint Clair Winery – http://www.saintclair.co.nz/
- Foxes Island Wines – http://www.foxes-island.co.nz/
- Kumeu River Wines – http://www.kumeuriver.co.nz/
- Te Kairanga Wines – http://www.tkwine.co.nz/
- No1 Family Estate – http://www.no1familyestate.co.nz/
- Rippon – http://www.rippon.co.nz/
Any thoughts about our ideas above, or suggestions of “must see” activities/landmarks? Please include those below!