AUSTRALASIA Lifestyle New Zealand Travel Advice Van Life

New Zealand SOUTH ISLAND Travel Budget || Breakdown of what I spent in 4.5 weeks

After five weeks exploring New Zealand’s North Island, it was time for us to head South! I continued to make a note of everything I spent money on, so I could see just how much our travels through New Zealand cost. We were still travelling and living in Cecil, our trusty campervan, as we drove from Picton to Queenstown. We spent 31 days travelling through Nelson, Marlborough, Abel Tasman, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Wanaka, Franz Josef, Twizel, Omarama, Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Milford Sound, Hokitika, Greymouth and Queenstown.


ACTIVITIES – $38.32 per day

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

As with the North Island, activities were our main source of outgoings. I spent $505 in the North Island plus $529 on a skydive, totalling $1034. We spent a little more on the South Island – $1188.20.

Some of the biggest spends included a dolphin trip in Kaikoura, a stargazing trip in Lake Tekapo, a boat trip on Milford Sound and kayaking at Abel Tasman. The biggest spend by far was our Franz Josef glacier hike which was $449 out of the $1188.20 total, but totally worth every penny!

FOOD – $15.89 per day

With only $0.38 difference in our spend per day on food between the North and South Islands, we were pretty consistent! This remained to be our next biggest expenditure after activities. I’ve written more about what kinds of food we ate and how much we ate out on my North Island Travel Budget.

DIESEL* – $13.73 per day | ACCOMMODATION – $4.77 per day

With longer drives and a sharp increase in Diesel prices as we crossed over to the South Island, our spend per day on Diesel (and Diesel tax) went up from $6.43 per day to $13.73.

We happened to stay in a lot more campgrounds on the South Island too (instead of the Freedom camps) so our accommodation costs also increased slightly from $3.79 per day to $4.77. It was still a massive saving compared to staying in hostels at $30 a night!

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

EXTRAS (including clothes and van stuff)

This covered any extra spends that didn’t necessarily fit into any of the other categories – Eg. a new toothbrush or a haircut! I spent less on clothes and van stuff on the South Island compared to North Island.


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 – $148 / $4.77 per day

Food – $492.77 / $15.89 per day

Activities – $1188.20 / $38.32 per day

Diesel (and diesel tax) – $425.91 / $13.73 per day

Extras – $375.95 / $12.12 per day

Van Stuff  – $60 / $1.93 per day

Clothes – $53.99 / $1.74 per day

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

new zealand south island travel budgetnew zealand south island travel budget

I really hope this comes in useful so you can see roughly how much you can expect to spend on a trip to the South Island. Before our trip, 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 North Island? See my travel budget breakdown for the North 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 🙂

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply