What Do the Basics Cost in New Zealand?

  • 01 of 10

    What Does it Cost in New Zealand?

    A panoramic view of Queenstown, New Zealand
    ••• Ramiro Torrents / Getty Images

    To help plan your budget for your trip to New Zealand, here is a list of the prices of common essentials you might need. Prices are of course approximate and do vary widely.

    In general, prices are higher in smaller towns and rural areas and cheaper in the main cities. For some things, the North Island tends to have lower prices than the South Island.

    For grocery items, supermarkets are usually much cheaper than small convenience grocery stores (called dairies or superettes in New Zealand). Like most western economies, New Zealand has low inflation and stable prices.

    The figures provided here will give you a good approximation.

    All prices are in New Zealand dollars. To convert to your local currency, you can use the XE currency converter.

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  • 02 of 10

    Gas and Fuel (Petrol)

    There are two grades of petrol sold in New Zealand and most cars will run on either. 91 octane is cheaper that 95 octane, although 95 gives better performance. Because of the price, far more 91 is sold than 95.

    Larger vehicles are powered on diesel fuel. Although this is much cheaper than petrol at the pump, there is a Road User Tax payable which increases the actual price per liter to close to that of 91 petrol. The Road User Tax varies according to the weight of the vehicle. It can be paid for at any Post Shop. It must be purchased in advance, with a card displayed on the windscreen.

    Approximate Gas and Fuel Prices (NZ$)

    95 Octane Petrol: $2.20 per liter
    91 Octane Petrol: $2.13 per liter
    Diesel: $1.45 per liter

    Tip: Most supermarkets will give you a fuel voucher over a certain amount of purchase. Do your grocery shopping in bulk at a supermarket and get one of these vouchers, which can save you between 3c and 20c per liter.

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  • 03 of 10

    Wine and Beer

    New Zealand has a thriving wine industry and also has a strong tradition as a beer-drinking nation. The latter is changing, but a few decades ago New Zealand was described as a country of "rugby, racing, and beer."

    Wine prices vary widely, based on quality and reputation. Beer prices are much more stable, especially for the well-known brands.

    New Zealand white wine (sauvignon blanc or chardonnay): $9-$15 per bottle
    Australian red wine: $9-$15 per bottle
    Beer (Steinlager/Heineken or similar brand): $30-35 per 2 dozen bottles or cans.

    Wines on special at the supermarket can give you big savings, although usually only on big name 'bulk' brands from New Zealand or Australia. When buying beer, look out for the specials at either the supermarket or one of the large liquor chain stores (most common are Super Liqour, Liquorland, and The Mill).

    If you want to save big on your wine bill when dining out, choose a restaurant that is BYO. That means you take your own wine, for a small...MORE 'corkage' fee. You can easily save $20-$30 a bottle by buying the same wine at the supermarket rather than from a restaurant wine list.

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  • 04 of 10

    Loaf of Bread

    The huge variety of breads available in New Zealand is reflected in the equally-wide price range. The gamut runs from no-frills unsliced loaves to artisan breads from specialist bakeries. Here are some indicative prices:

    White bread "sandwich loaf" (600 grams) from supermarket: $1.50 - $5.00
    Mixed or whole grain loaf (500g): $5.00 - $9.00
    Specialty loaf: $5.00 - $10.00

    Tip: Many supermarkets and stores now also stock gluten-free breads. Although more expensive, they are often quite tasty and healthier than 'normal' breads.

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  • 05 of 10

    Milk

    A New Zealand company, Fonterra, is the largest exporter of dairy products in the world. Don't expect milk and cheese prices to be low, however, as they are pegged to the high demand for these products overseas.

    Milk is about $2.50 per liter

    Tip: The larger the container, the lower the per liter price of milk. Buy at the supermarket for the lowest price.

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  • 06 of 10

    Restaurant Meal

    There is a vast variety of restaurants throughout New Zealand, ranging from the cheap and cheerful to world-class fine dining. There are also many ethnic restaurants with Thai, Indian, Chinese and Japanese being the most common.

    First course (entree): $10 - $25
    Second course (main): $12 - $45
    Dessert: $9 - $20

    Tip: Ethnic restaurants offer the best value and are usually BYO too.

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  • 07 of 10

    Cup of Coffee

    In a relatively short space of time, New Zealand has become a country of devoted coffee drinkers. You'll find somewhere to buy a coffee virtually everywhere; even mobile coffee stands are relatively common. There are independent coffee houses and the large chains such as Starbucks, Esquires and Robert Harris. Coffee is everywhere and in general the standards are pretty high.

    Cup of coffee in a cafe (long black): $4.50

    Tip: Many cafes offer free wi-fi internet access with a coffee purchase. If there isn't a sign, ask one of the waiting staff.

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  • 08 of 10

    Accommodation

    As you would expect, the range of accommodation in New Zealand is vast. It ranges from campsites, backpacker hostels and budget hotels and motels to luxury resorts and private lodges. Prices vary according to season, with summer (from December until February) generally being the highest. Prices also differ according to location; the most popular resort towns (such as Queenstown) are higher than the national average.

    Average price for a double/twin room (two persons), high season, per night:

    Backpackers - dorm bed (single): $18 - $25
    Backpackers - private room (double): $45 - $65
    Motel unit - double: $90 - $125
    Main city hotel (3-star, standard room): $70 - $120
    Main city hotel (5-star), standard room: $150 - $450

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    • 09 of 10

      Airline Ticket

      Internal air travel in New Zealand can be extremely cheap - if you book ahead and take advantage of online airline specials.

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    • 10 of 10

      Trains, Rail and Bus Travel

      Due to the challenging geography and small population, New Zealand has a relatively undeveloped rail network. However, it can be a good option for travel within Auckland and to other parts of the North Island. New Zealand also has a couple of scenic tourist railway lines that are very enjoyable.

      Buses and coaches are more widely available and can be an economical way to travel between towns and cities.