What do things cost in New Zealand for travellers?

What do things cost in New Zealand

While the journey to New Zealand can take a little longer than getting to some other destinations we can assure you it will be well worth it as you will be blown away with the hospitality, the open spaces, our breathtaking scenery, cuisine and a myriad of activities you can indulge in particularly the outdoors. To boot, we have an economy that’s ‘rocking,’ we’re politically stable, have great health care and infrastructure so when you’re here you’ll be in good hands.

Beautiful New Zealand

What do things cost in New Zealand for travellers?

One of the most important parts of planning for an overseas holiday is knowing how much things cost and therefore how much spending money you will need to budget for. Some are the basic infrastructure costs of a holiday, like transport, accommodation and activities. Then there are the incidental costs such as fuel, meals bought out and supermarket visits which add to the overall cost of a trip.

When organizing any trip it’s important to know what things cost so here are a few facts that will hopefully help you plan your trip.

Food and Drink

The standard of food in New Zealand is high with the majority of our produce locally grown from fruit and vegetables, to sustainable fish, chicken, beef, lamb, pork and venison. We treat our livestock with respect and encourage the grower to provide a free-range life style for them. With a coastline that spans 15,000 kilometres we are also spoilt for choice with seafood on most menus.

So what is the cost of food and drinks in New Zealand?

Fish and Chips

This delicacy is an iconic New Zealand meal, best eaten out of paper near the sea where the local seagulls will be competing with you for every mouthful.

Two pieces of fresh battered fish and a scoop of chips: from NZD$16

McDonald’s, KFC and many other international brands are available as well as our own boutique burger brands including Burger Fuel and Fergburgers. Fergburgers are only available in Queenstown so don’t leave town without having one as they are as iconic as our fish and chips.

McDonald’s Big Mac Combo NZD$15
Fergburgers with chips - NZD$23

The café scene in New Zealand is huge and goes hand in hand with our great coffee. New Zealander’s are obsessed with coffee which is mainly the Italian style of espresso based shots served with steamed milks (everything from cow to oat and nut milks). Cafes typically sell ready-made "counter" food such as sandwiches, muffins to a cooked brunch menu. 
Coffee (flat white) NZD$5
Sandwich NZD $7-$10

Mainstream restaurants
Our restaurant scene is very cosmopolitan. In the cities expect international cuisine including Italian, Japanese, bistro style NZ food, Thai, Indian, Turkish, Korean and more.

Entrée NZD$16+
Main NZD$25+

Fine dining
We have fabulous top-notch, fine dining restaurants in New Zealand in the cities and also many in the provincial areas. Wineries in the Hawkes Bay and Malbourough regions also have excellent restaurants.

Entree NZD$32
Main NZD$40 plus sides which could be $17 ech

We have a number of well-known New Zealand beers and a multitude of craft beers. We also have a thriving wine industry with our Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir well-known internationally. The cost of alcoholic beverages often depends on your selection - smaller boutique brands cost more.

Wine NZ$12+
Beer $11+

Fresh seasonal fruit ranges from $4 to $7 per kg

Tipping is not mandatory in New Zealand, however if you want to thank staff for good service they will be happy.

auckland fine dining


We have public transport systems in our cities, but it does not translate to the whole country because of our relatively small population. If you are wanting to travel around the country here are your options.

* At First Light Travel, Individuals and small groups are our speciality – you decide when and where to go and we custom make your itinerary and bookings to suit your requirements. Whether it’s a backpacker’s bus or a luxury chartered flight we can help you - Just ask

So what is the cost of of getting around in New Zealand?

Vehicle Hire

Hiring a car to get around New Zealand is an excellent choice as it provides flexibility, but remember we drive on the left hand side of the road.

Budget rental cars are reasonably priced, but are typically older vehicles cars with less pickup and dropoff locations available, whereas international brands such as Europcar charge more, but their fleet is younger, with many more convenient locations for pickup and drop off within New Zealand making them the safest option for our clients.

Europcar per day - NZD$100+ depending on vehicle chosen and length of hire.

Fuel Costs

The cost of fuel in New Zealand is approximately $2.50 NZD per litre; it also often more expensive as you travel south. We highly recommend downloading the app Gaspy which allows you to search for gas stations (and bathrooms!) and see current prices. 


New Zealand has an intercity bus system that can get you across the length and breadth of the country.  A trip from Auckland to Wellington will cost around NZD$70 - $120.


The other alternative is to fly. Our national airline, Air New Zealand has a good network covering the country. If you book well in advance, the prices are cheaper.

A flight from Auckland to Wellington will cost approximately NZD$100 - $300 depending on how long in advance you are making your bookings. 

The Lindis Pass


We have the whole gambit from basic accommodation to luxury five-star lodges. Like anywhere in the world you pretty much get what you pay for.

First Light Travel's criteria for choosing which accommodation providers we use are simple. We want to put you in the best accommodation available to suit your budget, whether Luxury Lodges, ‘Boutique’ styled Bed & Breakfasts, Hotels, Motor Lodges or Backpacker Hostels. We have compiled our preferences with the help of invaluable client feedback and from personal experience. They may have been selected for their historic & cultural significance, unique scenery and location, outstanding facilities, or simply because they have a host of true ‘Kiwi’ character. At the least, they will be of a high standard, clean, friendly and comfortable.

B&B: NZD $200 - $450 per night based on two people. You can find some delightful B&B in exquisite location around the country, including farms, vineyards and more. If you are looking for accommodation with a personal touch this is a good option.

Motels: NZD$150-$250 per night based on two people.Motels are plentiful in New Zealand and provide a good standard of accommodation, but they typically won’t wow you.

Hotels: NZD$150-$500 per night based on two people. Hotels too are plentiful with a mix of international chains to boutique hotels.

Luxury Lodges: $500 - $2500 per person / per night. We have some unique luxury lodges in incredible remote locations in New Zealand. 

The Martinborough Hotel

Activities and Sights

New Zealand is a very new country so when it some to history we don’t even try and compete with Europe, but what we do have is scenery that will blow your mind and outdoor activities you can’t experience anywhere else. New Zealand has many great free with hikes, beaches and museums available at no cost. However, like all places there are activities that cost and some should be on your ‘must do’ list because they are part of the culture and what makes New Zealand different.

Activity Operators and Tour Guides In New Zealand there are many operators doing what may appear to be the same sort of activity with no point of difference from the rest. In reality some of these experiences are worlds apart from one another. Like us, the guides and the operators we use make it their uppermost priority to provide you with the finest, safest and environmentally friendly experience on offer in New Zealand. If we don’t do it it’s not worth doing and for good reason!

To give you an idea:

To get to the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower NZD$40 per adult
To jump off the Sky Tower NZD$280
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour NZD$120
Queenstown’s Dart River NZD$300
Milford Sound Fly Cruise Fly NZD$645 

Hobbiton showing the green dragon pub

More articles to help you plan your trip to New Zealand

Getting to New Zealand
New Zealand Passport and Visa Requirements
Smooth as possible on arrival to New Zealand
Travel Insurance for New Zealand
Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound?
Which New Zealand Glacier to Visit?
Driving in New Zealand
Safety in New Zealand's Great Outdoors
What to Pack for a New Zealand Holiday
New Zealand Accommodation Guide
New Zealand's Need to Know Facts
What is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?

Since 2001 we’ve been helping visitors plan their dream New Zealand holiday. We aim to make visiting our beautiful land effortless. Let our expert holiday planners put together an itinerary for you, no obligation FREE of charge, or get some friendly advice on what small group tour would suit - Just follow the link and answer a few brief questions. 

Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price