New Zealand travel information Tourleader New Zealand

New Zealand Dollar – money, cost and prices

The costs of a trip to New Zealand really depend on you, even New Zealand luxury can seem affordable, especially if you stay away from the major tourist centres.

How to save money

If you want to limit your spending while you travel, consider the following cost-saving options:

  • Take or share a double room in a backpacker’s or a cabin at campsites
  • Buy a tent for those good weather days in scenic locations, often the experience to be so close to nature outweighs the lack of comfort and turns out to be unforgettable
  • Cook as often as you can, this is possible in self-contained accommodation, backpacker’s or at campsites
  • Eat in cafes and takeaways rather than restaurants, buy snacks from supermarkets
  • Costs in New Zealand: a flat white is always worth it!Choose places with a good breakfast included and skip a big lunch
  • Buy items on special at the cheaper chain stores (like Pak n Save, The Warehouse or Bunnings)
  • Always ask for discounts when you buy something expensive or stay longer in one place
  • Concentrate on the amazing range of free attractions New Zealand has to offer instead of organised ones
  • Refill your water bottles with tap water
  • When you dine out drink beer or soft drinks instead of wine or look for Bring Your Own (BYO) restaurants
  • Good insurance will cover you against unexpected losses

A few typical New Zealand prices

A bunkbed in a backpacker’s

A la carte restaurant main course
from $35
A motel room
from $70

1kg rump steak in supermarket from $23
A B&B with ensuite from $120

330ml beer in supermarket from $3
Luxury accommodation
from $180

Pint of beer in a bar from $5
A tent site at the campground from $12

Bottle of wine in a supermarket from $7
A 2 person tent from $50

Bottle of wine in a restaurant from $20
Backpacker bus round trip
from $1000

Espresso / Short black
from $3.50
Long-term rental car per day $20-150

1l of milk in supermarket from $2
Litre of unleaded petrol
see here

Single (= double) scoop of ice
cream in a dairy
from $2.50
Big 4x4 rental car per day from $100

Packet of cigarettes from $20
Fish n’ Chips takeaway from $4

Bus ticket Auckland – Rotorua 1 way from $30
Indian takeaway from $8

Flight ticket Auckland – Rotorua 1 way from $79
Cafe lunch from $10

Second hand car
from $2000
Bistro style restaurant main course from $18

Taxis are relatively inexpensive

These activities can be expensive:

Budget options are:
• Adventure and adrenaline activities

• Boogieboarding and bush walking
• Luxury accommodation

• Camping at DOC sites
• Dining out every day

• Fish n’ chips or other takeaways
• Night life

• Eating ice cream at the dairy
• Drinking good New Zealand wine

• Tipping – you don’t have to!
• Shopping only New Zealand made

• Shopping at the $2 shop

Calculate your holiday budget

Use our New Zealand Travel Expense Planner in PDF format to help you plan your trip!

International visitors spend an average of 20 days in New Zealand. They also spend an average 3,000 NZD while they are here (= 150 NZD/day). It must be worth it: half of all arriving travellers have visited New Zealand at least once before and came back. (Source:

Travel insurance for New Zealand

  • Before you take out travel insurance you should consider whether you're not already covered by other insurances or your credit card.New Zealand travel insurance: so you can relax in peace!
  • Annual travel insurance can be cheaper than single trip travel insurance.
  • What insurance do you need? Accident/health, baggage, cancellations, legal protection, breakdown services, sports equipment, liability, car rental excess cover, additional travel insurance for stop-over destinations, etc.
  • Before or at least after signing up for travel insurance you should take time to find out the exact conditions for an insurance claim (which forms, reporting deadlines, overseas assistance, necessary evidence of damage, phone numbers, etc.).
  • As an alternative to a domestic travel insurance company you can also find inexpensive online travel insurance in New Zealand after arrival.

Changing New Zealand Dollars

  • New Zealand parliament

    Some banks ask for a 5 NZD flat fee or a commission, others offer bad exchange rates for cash.
  • When you pay with a credit card the exchange rate is usually ok, but when you withdraw money from an ATM machine (pin code necessary) be conscious of the additional fees involved.
  • Traveler’s Cheques are a safe way to carry cash and often receive better exchange rates, however to buy them often incurs a commission fee and you are depending on opening hours and banks.
  • Some countries and banks offer a dedicated ‘travel cash card’ or ‘cash passport’ that allows worldwide withdrawals from ATMs, even after your arrival it’s not too late to buy one here.
  • Or find out if your existing debit cards will work with New Zealand ATMs (eg. through Cirrus, Maestro and Plus networks).

More travel tips:

  • If you plan to visit New Zealand and the exchange rate is good then think about changing early for your holidays.
  • Exchanging money may be more favourable at your home bank where you hold an account than on the counter in New Zealand banks.
  • You can recognise a bad rate when there is a big difference between the buying and selling price, this difference between ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ prices is called ‘spread’, the trading profit of the bank.
The NZD is not an extremely strong and hard currency, generally travellers find New Zealand prices lower than where they come from. However the fluctuations of the exchange rates are quite big, even within months a major shift is possible. New Zealand has also some of the highest interest rate levels of the OECD countries, so sometimes the currency gets an unwanted boost from ‘Carry-Trade’ activities, whereby people invest in the NZD because of its high interest rate (they think the interest difference outweighs the currency risks). This is of course bad for New Zealand’s export industries – and tourism.

Banknotes and coins

Download the Tourleader New Zealand website!The New Zealand currency is easy to tell apart because of their colours and clear numbers, and the bigger and heavier the coins the more value they usually have.

1 NZD (or NZ$) is divided into 100 cents, notes come as 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars, coins come as 10, 20 and 50 cents, as well as 1 and 2 dollars. You can use NZD in the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. The notes are made of plastic polymer, so money laundering is really no problem...

Bank opening times

On weekdays from 9:30 to 16:30, except public holidays. The New Zealand Post Shops with Kiwibank services have longer opening hours.

Tax payable in New Zealand

 A 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is included in most prices, only very small businesses don’t have to charge GST. If you have goods directly sent abroad then most suppliers can drop the GST, but you might have to pay a tax in the receiving country. There is no cash refund for GST when you leave from New Zealand airports.

See other interesting articles to Plan your stay in New Zealand.

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