Budget Breakdown: 10 Days New Zealand South Island

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Budget Breakdown Of 10 Days In South Island

Making a budget when you travel is so important. During our time traveling the South Island, New Zealand, we made sure to always keep track of our expenditures. For that reason, we made wise spending choices. Not only that, we don’t splurge unnecessarily and mostly cook our own meals.

If you have read my comprehensive 10-day New Zealand South Island Road Trip Itinerary, you will know that four of us traveled together during the course of 10 days in an Apollo motorhome. Before that, we made sure to check our budget and found that renting a motorhome was actually cheaper in winter. 

Hence, to ease flexibility and to allow my parents to experience what it’s like staying and traveling in a motorhome, we opted to rent Apollo’s instead of Airbnbs or hotels. With that, check out our budget breakdown below on our 10 days of travel in South Island, New Zealand!

Click on the subheadings to jump to the item:

Flight Ticket

Because Louis and I didn’t need to buy a flight ticket from home, our flight ticket fare will not be included. However, my parents still had to purchase their flight tickets.

KL to AKL ⇄ AKL to KL

RM 4,998 (two adults) = NZD $1828 (approximately)
**NZD $914 (per adult)**

However, certain flights do not offer a direct flight to Christchurch, so another fare was paid to fly from Auckland to Christchurch.


$NZD 366 (two adults)
Inclusive of GST, other fees & seat selection
**NZD $183 (per adult)**

Activities - $8.8 per day per person

Even though New Zealand is famous for its adrenaline activities, I can’t be arranging skydiving or bungy jumping activities for my parents, can I? So, to cater to their needs, we planned our itinerary to include mostly sight-seeing locations instead of adrenaline activities. Clearly, that saved us a lot of money for the trip. Although we couldn’t do most of the adrenaline activities, we still splurged on a worthy Milford boat cruise and a gondola ride up at Queenstown.

Go Orange Milford Sound Cruise

4 adults = $NZD 196
**1 adult = $NZD 49**

Daughter and parents posing at a port with cruises behind

Queenstown Skyline Gondola

4 Adults = NZD $156
**1 Adults = NZD $39**

A top view from Skyline Queenstown overlooking lake and mountains

Food - $20 per day per person

Ultimately, if you’re a foodie and are interested to try everything in NZ, you’ll need to set a higher budget for food. Eating out in New Zealand can burn a hole in your wallet and I’m not even joking. While the rest we spent on some must-try food and drinks in NZ, most of our meals were cooked in our motorhome.


Fairlie Bakehouse Pies: $29
Twizel High Country Salmon: $48.50
Wanaka Erik's Fish N' Chips: $42.22
Queenstown Fergburger: $61.70 (4 burgers)
Fundraising Sausage Sizzle outside Mitre 10: $10
Queenstown Liquor King: $33.98 (beer and red wine)
Canterbury Cream: $17.70
Other grocery shopping: $555.48
Grand total: NZD $798.58
**Per adult = NZD $199.65**

A man and woman putting thumbs up with fish and chips in front
That's probably the universally-agreed hand gesture to show that the Fish N' Chips were finger-licking good.
Hands holding four fergburgers with one already bitten
After a 30-minute wait, we finally got our Fergburger, Little Lamby, Sweet Bambi, and The Bullseye. 
A platter of salmon, bread and crackers.
We ordered Salmon poke bowl, smoked salmon platter, green curry and noodles—all with Salmon in them.
Four pies set on a table with the picture taken from the top
Steak, venison, mince & cheese, and lamb, potatoes, and peas pies. They costed an average of $5-$9 dollars.

motorhome - $27 per day per person

Most of the time, we traveled in our Apollo Euro Star 4-berth Motorhome.

Apollo Euro Star 4-berth Motorhome

NZD $1080.18 (Including liability reduction under value pack)
**Per adult = NZD $270**

A man holding a lady's hand to get off a motorhome

Liability reduction

Let me expand a bit on liability reduction. So, when we booked the motorhome, they gave us an option on whether to purchase liability reduction. Being my cheapskate self, I thought we didn’t need that. Confidently, we thought we would be careful enough and wouldn’t crash into anything. Hence, we didn’t select the liability reduction option when paying for the motorhome. 

A little later, someone more experienced at traveling in a motorhome told us that we really needed to purchase liability reduction. Not only that, we could get the value pack which includes liability reduction, and at the same time get other extras.

The Value Pack can be added for NZD $36 per day and it lessens the Bond to only NZD $250 and liability to NZD $0.

Value Pack includes:

Unlimited Windscreen and Tyres, Undercarriage/Overhead damage (covered for accidental damage), pre-purchased gas bottle, initial set of toilet chemicals, camp chairs and table, and baby/booster seats (with prior request).

Holiday Park - $17 per day per person

As we needed to plug in to a powered site to charge the car, we also spent quite a bit on holiday parks. The plan was to stay in a holiday park every other day. In the end, due to unforeseen circumstances, we stayed in holiday parks for 7 days out of the 10 days.

Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park = NZD $87

Freedom Camp at Lake Pukaki = N/A

Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park (2 days) = NZD $176

Freedom Camp at Twenty Five Mile Stream = N/A

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park = NZD $104

Milford Sound Lodge = NZD $127

Freedom Camp at Lumsden = N/A

Dunedin Holiday Park = NZD $74

Christchurch Top 10 Holiday Park = NZD $87

7 nights = NZD $655

Per adult = NZD $163.75

Fuel - $14 per day per person

We’ve had a heads-up from so many people warning us about the ridiculously expensive fuel prices in South Island. Luckily, our motorhome runs on diesel, so we paid much less than we would pay for petrol 91. However, at the end of our journey, we still had to pay diesel tax (or Road user charges). For that, we paid about NZD $0.07 for every 100km. To start, we had a full tank. Of course, the condition was to return the motorhome at full tank as well. 


Diesel fuel = NZD $401.51
Diesel tax = NZD $147.14
Grand total = NZD $548.65
**Per adult = NZD $137.16**


Even though we didn’t need to change our clothes as often due to the chilly weather, the laundry still pilled up every 3 days. It can pile up quick especially when there are four of us. Hence, we did laundry in the holiday parks using coin-operated washing machine and dryer. As we drove further down South, we also found the price for the laundry service piling up, just like our dirty laundry. The cheapest laundry service starts in Christchurch.


Washing machine and dryer
**Grand total = NZD $30**


We bought 4 beanies because the weather was getting uncomfortably cold in Queenstown, so...
**4 beanies = NZD $28**

Total Expenditure Per Person

It totaled up to about NZD $2014 (rounded up) per person, which will be around RM5.6k per person (flight included).

Everything is just a rough estimation and may not show the actual figure that you would spend. You could go higher or lower depending on your budget and needs. 

Visual chart of our expenditure:

For those of you who prefer visuals over numbers, I got Louis to make a chart for me because I’m terrible at making charts.

The pie chart below is based on expenditure PER PERSON:

A round chart with the title Expenditure

Final Words

We hope you find this budget post helpful for your next trip to New Zealand! If you want to save even more, you can check out our handy tips on how you can travel New Zealand on a budget! Spoiler alert, you might not have to pay for accommodation at all!

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