AUSTRALASIA Lifestyle New Zealand North Island Travel Advice Van Life

New Zealand NORTH ISLAND Travel Budget || Breakdown of what I spent in 5 weeks

We spent five weeks (34 days) exploring New Zealand’s North Island and documented everything I spent along the way! After landing in Auckland, we bought a campervan and travelled up to Cape Reinga, back down and around to Hamilton and the Coromandel and then down the coast to Tauranga. We also visited Rotorua, Taupo, Hobbiton and Fielding before finishing our North Island travels in Wellington. The budget doesn’t include the two weeks we spent living in Auckland, looking for the campervan – it starts from our first day on the road.

Looking for my budget for the South Island?

The map below shows some of the main areas we visited:


ACTIVITIES – $14.85 per day

**Although there were two of us travelling, all prices below are what I spent, so are PER PERSON!**

As New Zealand is known for being one of the most adventurous countries in the world, it’s not surprising that activities were our main source of spending. I’d never done a skydive before, so when in Taupo, I went for the full package, complete with photos and video. This set me back $529 – nearly a quarter of my total spend! Excluding the skydive, the rest of the North Island activities (entry fees etc) totalled $527.46, which works out as $14.85 per day.

new zealand north island travel budget

FOOD – $15.51 per day

Our next biggest expenditure was food. Groceries aren’t cheap in New Zealand, so although we shopped smart (gotta love Pak’n’Save), we did spend a lot on food. For me, it worked out as an average of $15.51 a day. This covers all breakfasts in the van (weetbix and almond milk), all lunches (some out, some in the van) and all dinners (mostly made in the van with the occasional meal out). We probably ate out for dinner once a week on average and for lunch about three times a week. I also had a $5 coffee around four times a week and the occasional sweet treat. We weren’t splashing the cash, but we definitely weren’t restricting ourselves to beans on toast every night!

new zealand north island travel budget

DIESEL* – $6.43 per day | ACCOMMODATION – $3.79 per day

Although we had to spend money on diesel, we saved A LOT of money by being able to sleep in our campervan. Most hostels charge around $30 a night for a dorm room of 6-12 people. We stayed for free nearly everywhere, which was great! We did end up having a few more nights in hostels than we’d planned, as our car needed to go in for a repair at one point which meant three paid nights. We also stayed in the centre of Wellington in Base Hostel’s car park so we could hang out with a friend there, which was $15 a night for 5 nights. If we hadn’t have done that, we’d have been able to have travelled the whole North Island and spent ZERO on accommodation!

*The price for diesel also includes paying for diesel tax.

new zealand north island travel budgetEXTRAS (including clothes and van stuff)

Any extra spends that didn’t necessarily fit into any of the other categories – Eg. a new toothbrush or a haircut! I spent some money on clothes as my wardrobe needed a bit of an update after 8 months of travelling. I also spent a small amount on ‘van stuff’ such as a phone holder, so we could use our phones as a SatNav.


I have listed the categories below, the total amount spent, and what this works out to be per day (based on averaging across the 34 days).

Accommodation – $129 / $3.79 per day

Food – $527.46 / $15.51 per day

Activities (excluding $529 skydive) – $505 / $14.85 per day

Diesel (and diesel tax) – $218.86 / $6.43 per day

Extras – $190.99 / $5.61 per day

Van Stuff  – $66.40 / $1.95 per day

Clothes – $171.87 / $5.05 per day

Lastly, here are some fancy graphs for those of you who are better at visualising things!

new zealand north island travel budget new zealand north island travel budget

I hope this comes in useful, so you can see how much you can expect to spend if you are planning a trip to New Zealand! Before we left, we had NO IDEA what we were going to spend and we actually spent a lot less than what we’d read on the internet and budgeted for.

Also doing the South Island? See my travel budget breakdown for the South Island!

If you have any questions about my travels through New Zealand, or how much particular things cost, please let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you 🙂 

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  • Reply
    Paul RYKEN
    December 6, 2018 at 4:32 am

    It’s great to see different actual costs being published regard travels around New Zealand Thanks.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Hey, great to read such details. Wondering how much you spend for the van? Have you bought or rented it? Thanks

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