No matter if you are a backpacker or just want to explore nature on a budget, New Zealand offers plenty of ways to hike on a tight budget. Get lost in its stunning landscapes for an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience!
New Zealand’s backcountry offers some great hiking and backpacking opportunities, with its extensive hut system providing the ideal base for exploring. Here you’ll find plenty of opportunities for relaxation as well as adventure!
1. Book a Tour
New Zealand is a backpacker’s haven, making it easy to find budget-friendly hiking tours here. To book the perfect tour that meets your interests and fits within your budget, read reviews about itineraries carefully and ask any relevant questions beforehand.
For instance, World Expeditions offers the Best of Southern Alps Trek for an epic week-long trek that includes one overnight hike and multiple day hikes through South Island’s stunning landscapes. If you’re searching for an epic hike that will leave you with lasting memories, World Expeditions’ trip is definitely worth considering.
This trip takes off from Christchurch and finishes in Queenstown, offering an array of spectacular hiking opportunities – including a chance to view New Zealand’s highest mountain! You may also spot New Zealand fur seals along Cape Foulwind or venture up a stunning limestone river canyon.
When visiting New Zealand during its shoulder seasons (March to May and September to November), you can often find amazing deals on backpacking trips. The weather is still great and crowds are much smaller, making this the ideal time for a road trip!
Hiking tours offer travelers the perfect way to save money on a vacation while experiencing some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. In addition to hikes, many tours include other activities like cruises or visits to geothermal parks as well.
2. Rent a Car
Hiring a car makes exploring New Zealand’s countryside much simpler. It’s an ideal way to get acquainted with the region and take in all that the region has to offer.
Saving time and money in the long run. If you’re planning to visit multiple destinations during your trip, renting a car from the same company can be advantageous as you can share costs.
When searching for cheap car rentals in New Zealand, it’s essential to do your due diligence and research the company you plan to rent from. Read reviews to determine whether they have a reputation for providing dependable service, plus check their terms and conditions to see if there are any hidden fees.
Additionally, taking your own insurance policy on vacation is a wise idea. This will protect against any unexpected events that may arise while away.
When booking your New Zealand car rental, ensure to select a company offering full coverage. This will save you money and provide peace of mind while driving.
Finally, be sure to inspect the vehicle thoroughly before you leave the parking lot and document any damages on a form provided by the rental company. Otherwise, you could be held accountable unless you have taken out top-level insurance.
When renting a car in New Zealand, be prepared for some heavy traffic on the roads. With narrow and winding lanes, staying within your lane is key in order to avoid being overtaken by other vehicles and preventing any accidents from arising.
3. Check Out Thrift Stores
New Zealand boasts many thrift stores where you can find affordable clothing, accessories and homeware to help you stretch your budget while on vacation. Some are online-only operations while others have locations throughout the country.
There’s an app called The Thrift Shopper that can help you locate the best thrift stores near you. Plus, digital marketplaces like Depop, ASOS Marketplace, Vinted and Etsy offer secondhand treasures too.
Another excellent place to visit is Flotsam and Jetsam in Auckland, which offers unique pieces that will bring character to your home. Their coffee table books, furniture, wooden art pieces and more will give it that special touch. Plus they use recycled materials when packing their orders – making them a great option for eco-conscious shoppers.
Go Jo Recycled Store is an excellent option for affordable clothing. They carry a wide selection of men’s, women’s and kids’ clothes and accessories at reasonable prices – plus you can even drop off your old garments to them!
This family-run store, situated outside Dunedin in a small town, is packed with unique finds. Take the time to browse their collection of vintage kitchenware and tins, vinyl records, retro signs and quirky toys – there’s sure to be something that appeals to everyone!
Salvation Army charity shops have become increasingly popular amongst those searching for quality second-hand goods at reasonable prices. All proceeds from these stores go back to support social services within the local Mission, including men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as accessories and bric-a-brac.
4. Rent a Backpack
New Zealand boasts an abundance of backpacker-friendly hiking tracks and trails. These journeys take you through breathtaking landscapes, often offering campsites or huts along the way for you to pitch your tent for some rest and relaxation.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to save money on your New Zealand backpacking trip. One option is renting gear from local hiking shops – these tend to be found in major cities such as Wellington or Auckland.
Another viable option is hitchhiking around. While this popular and secure mode of transport may present challenges in certain areas, it remains an accessible way to get around.
Hiring a car can be an efficient way to get around, particularly in rural areas. However, this option can be pricey if you’re on a tight budget.
A more affordable option is to join a workaway job. These opportunities are usually provided by locals who will provide accommodation in exchange for assistance with chores around the house, farm or business.
By doing this, you can save money on accommodation and even avoid renting a vehicle. Just remember to do this prior to beginning your backpacking tour in New Zealand.
Fuel is a major expense in New Zealand, with unleaded gas costing significantly more than in other countries.
Before embarking on your backpacking trip to New Zealand, it’s essential to budget for this cost as it will significantly impact the success of your adventure. Diesel costs in particular can be quite high.
According to your itinerary, you may require shuttles between trailheads. Private companies often provide this service for The Great Walks; be sure to check their website before making a booking.
5. Rent a Tent
Camping in New Zealand can be done affordably and easily. Tent rental companies exist throughout the country, as well as free sites where you can set up camp in public spaces without breaking your budget.
Roof top tents offer incredible views and can be set up quickly, making them a great option for couples or groups of friends who don’t want to carry around a bulky tent.
Some of New Zealand’s finest campsites are free or offer both unpowered and powered sites, though these can be quite pricey (especially if you plan to camp frequently). To get around this problem, pick an area and do some internet research about availability and pricing on various websites.
It is essential to be aware that there are various regulations about where you can and cannot camp in New Zealand, so it’s wise to research the local laws prior to leaving. Some areas may be illegal for camping, while others could prove too hazardous or remote for tenting.
Another option for cheap accommodation is hitchhiking or working for accommodation and food. There are plenty of opportunities to do this in New Zealand, and it’s an excellent way to meet people.
For a more budget-conscious option, you can book a guided hiking tour. These are an excellent way to experience New Zealand’s top hiking routes without having to deal with the logistics of camping on your own.