DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor Destination, DIY Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 9 Comments

Long known to be an expensive place to visit, New Zealand still remains largely unspoilt and visiting this beautiful country will make you feel like you have stepped back in time.

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

With Philippine Airlines (PAL) launching their direct flight service to Auckland from Manila this December, now is a good time to start planning your NZ getaway. Whether you are into adventure sports (think bungy jumping, white water rafting, skiing and snowboarding) or prefer just to chill and take all the serenity in, there is something here to suit every kind of traveler.

This 10-day itinerary would suit a backpacker on a budget hoping to cover as much of New Zealand’s North Island as possible in a short space of time. For Hotel Accommodations, you can check our list here.

Auckland

The most populated city in New Zealand, Auckland, has a population of 1.4 million – more than the entirety of the South Island of NZ. It is a bustling metropolis and melting pot of cultures, with expansive shopping centres, great cafes, restaurants and a buzzing nightlife. The best way to travel to and from Auckland International Airport is by booking the Airbus. Once in the city, your options for accommodation are endless and there are plenty of budget accommodations to choose from.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Auckland.

Matamata

Also known as Hobbiton, it might be easy to guess the main attraction of this tiny rural settlement right in the heart of New Zealand. There is not a lot else to see outside of the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, so a day trip or an overnight farm stay would be enough time to spend here before moving on to the tourist mecca of New Zealand, Rotorua.

For cheap accommodations in Matamata, check these hostels/ hostels.

Rotorua

This is one of the top places to visit in New Zealand and has everything from luging, zorbing, rafting, mud pools, geysers, even sheep shows! It is also one of the best places to experience Maori culture, and try your hand at performing the world-famous haka.  Rotorua is also home to plenty of nature walks and over a dozen lakes to explore- all free of charge. There are plenty of backpacker hostels and a tourist information centre downtown as well as supermarkets, tons of places to eat and grab a beer or two. If visiting in the winter, a soak at a Polynesian Spa hot pool at the end of the day is compulsory.

For cheap accommodations in Rotorua, check these hostels/ hostels.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Rotorua.

Taupo

Taupo is one of the most scenic destinations in New Zealand, and what do Kiwis love to do against such beautiful backdrops? Bungy jump of course! If heights aren’t your thing, however, don’t fret. The majestic Lake Taupo is home to many fishing charter companies if you’d like to try your luck at catching some trout, or if you’re after more geothermal action there are several sites you can visit such as Craters of the Moon and Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. Check out the Huka Falls and go on the Huka Jet jetboat ride if you are feeling adventurous. A swim in the lake is best enjoyed during the summer, but if you’re up for the challenge, an icy winter plunge might be refreshing – just don’t get hypothermia!

For cheap accommodations in Taupo, check these hostels/ hostels.

Wellington

Dubbed the coolest little capital in the world, Wellington is home to the majority of coffee loving hipsters in New Zealand and certainly lives up to its name. A hop-on hop-off bus tour is your best option for sightseeing here and takes you to all the cool spots like the Te Papa, Mt Victoria lookout, Zealandia, Carter Observatory and the Botanic Gardens.  Spend a whole day checking out all the eclectic shops, secondhand stores and the café culture and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

For cheap accommodations in Wellington, check these hostels/ hostels.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Wellington.

Monkey DividersTravel Tips

It is not customary in New Zealand to tip, but feel free to show you appreciate someone’s service by doing so.

  • New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road – make sure you brush up on the local road rules if you are intending to drive.
  • Be prepared for temperamental weather. It is often said that you can experience four seasons in one day in this country. Make sure you pack a jacket even when travelling in the summertime.
  • If you’re visiting the beaches this summer, remember to swim between the flags. New Zealand waters can be very unforgiving.
  • As always, practice common sense and lock your bag or car. New Zealand is a very safe place to travel, but this doesn’t mean people won’t take advantage of you when they can.

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 Trip Highlights

Auckland

Skytower

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

Photo credit: www.newscenter.philips.com

Queen Street

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

Photo Credit: : www.hdimagegallery.net

Britomart

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

Photo Credit: www.newzealand.com

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Matamata

 Hobbiton DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

Rotorua

Te Puia, Skyline Rotorua, Agrodome, Rainbow Springs

DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

Rotorua Geyser

DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

Lake Rotoiti

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Taupo

Taupo Bungy, Lake Taupo

DIY Travel Guide Series: Budget Itinerary to New Zealand

Lake Taupo

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Wellington 

Te Papa

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

Photo Credit: www.travelsketchwrite.com

Zealandia

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

Photo Credit: www.2fortravel.com

Weta Cave

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

Photo Credit: www.nz.timeout.com

Cuba Street

DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

Photo credit: www.eyeofthefish.org

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 Trip Budget: DIY Travel Guide to New Zealand

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Visa Requirements

Check out the link for information on how Filipinos can obtain a visitor visa for New Zealand:

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Itinerary details

Day 1: Catch the flight to Auckland from Manila. Take the Airbus to Auckland City and check in to hostel. Relax, take a walk down Queen Street, check out the Viaduct and grab a bite to eat.

Day 2: Go up the Auckland Skytower, have lunch at “K Road” (Karangahape Road). Head to Britomart for some retail therapy and explore the city by foot.

Day 3: Take the early bus from Auckland to Matamata (2 hours) and arrive at the I-site in time for your booked Hobbiton Movie Set Tour (3 hours). Enjoy a beverage or two at The Green Dragon Inn before returning to the I-site to catch your bus to Rotorua. Arrive in Rotorua and check in to hostel.

Day 4: Learn more about New Zealand’s more famous inhabitants, the flightless Kiwi bird at Rainbow Springs before getting down and dirty at the Agrodome for their sheep show and farm tour. Afterwards, grab a beer at one of the pubs on Eat Street downtown or enjoy a soak in the geothermal pools at Polynesian Spa.

Day 5: Head up the Skyline gondola for a magnificent view of the city and Lake Rotorua before getting your heart pumping on the luge tracks on offer. Afterwards, head to Te Puia and make sure to catch one of their cultural shows to gain an insight into Maori culture.

Day 6: Catch the Intercity bus to Taupo and check into hostel. Go for a stroll around the lakefront, and if weather is good hire a kayak and go for a paddle. Check out Craters of the Moon and the Huka Falls.

Day 7: Taupo Bungy! Enough said. You’ll need a while to recover from this one so take it easy on the bus ride to Wellington. Arrive late in Wellington and check into hostel.

Day 8: Explore Wellington by foot and check out Cuba Street with its famous fountain and Te Papa museum. Do the easy hike up Mt Victoria for astonishing views of the city. Pick a random restaurant downtown for dinner and enjoy the big city buzz once again.

Day 9: Grab a Wellington hop-on hop-off bus ticket and try to visit as many of the stops as you can while taking in Wellington’s famous coffee culture along the way. Grab a good night’s rest for the long trip back up to Auckland in the morning.

Day 10: Most of this day will be spent on the bus, so catch up on your emails, Facebook and blogging and write up a last minute shopping list (Whittaker’s chocolate anyone?). Check into your hostel upon arrival.

Day 11: Fly back to Manila!

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Recommended Budget Accommodation in Auckland

Airport Skyway Lodge

Airport Skyway Lodge is a family owned hostel run with a very homey atmosphere. It is VERY clean, comfortable and close to the airport and shops. It is reasonably priced with varying levels of accommodation from shared dorm rooms, to private rooms with en suite. This is definitely one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Auckland.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Auckland Airport Kiwi Hotel

Auckland Airport Kiwi Hotel is a lovely accommodation offering clean rooms, great location, well equipped and has lot of facilities. Location is close to the airport, staff is very accommodating. A budget accommodation, truly one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Auckland.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Luxury Accommodation in Auckland

SKYCITY Grand Hotel Auckland

SKYCITY Grand Hotel Auckland offers guests with the amazing views and lovely spacious rooms. Room has a great view of the sky tower, location is great and staff is friendly. An impressing place to stay, definitely one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Auckland.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Stamford Plaza Auckland

Stamford Plaza Auckland has a perfect location, with restaurants and bars within walking distance, has very welcoming staff and fantastic amenties. High tea is an amazing experience, a wonderful culinary delight. It’s a classy hotel, affordable and has great quality, truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Auckland.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Budget Accommodation in Matamata

O’Reillys Motel

O’Reillys Motel is great value hotel warm and cosy rooms, very cheap and close to city centre. Hosts are very friendly and helpful too. This is truly one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Matamata.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Horse and Jockey Innd

Horse and Jockey Inn is a good value hotel. Pub down stairs has a great menu, service is good, as well as the rooms. .This is definitely one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Matamata.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Luxury Accommodation in Matamata

Matamata Central Motel

Matamata Central Motel is a clean and well maintained accommodation with friendly and helpful staff. Excellent facilities, rooms are beautifully furnished and great location. This truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Matamata.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Broadway Motel & Miro Court Villas

Broadway Motel & Miro Court Villas is a well appointed accommodation with comfy beds, lovely courtyard, fenced off for privacy. Customer service is exceptional and location is within walking distance to the city centre. This is truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Matamata.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Budget Accommodation in Rotorua

Crash Palace

 Crash Palace is a fantastic hostel. It has  good facilities such as a spa pool, good lockers etc. Hostel got theme nights and a few chilled out common areas throughout the ground floor as well as a cosy outdoor area. This truly one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Rotorua.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

The Backyard Inn

The Backyard Inn is a friendly and affordable accommodation with clean and comfortable rooms, lovely wooden interior and super friendly staff. Common rooms are warm and spacious, a true excellent value for money and definitely one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Rotorua.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Luxury Accommodation in Rotorua

Silver Fern Rotorua – Accommodation & Spa

Silver Fern Rotorua – Accommodation & Spa offers guests with amazing rooms, very clean and spacious. Service is excellent, high quality of service from checking in and out and room attendants. A great place to stay and truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Rotorua.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel

Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel is a cosy hotel with rooms tastefully designed with bold pop colors. Spacious rooms, outstanding hospitality, great quality and comfortable. This is definitely one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Rotorua.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Budget Accommodation in Taupo

Haka Lodge Taupo

Haka Lodge Taupo is a hostel with a relaxed atmosphere. Rooms are wonderful where you got your own curtain, so you can sleep peacefully, and your own power station in the bed. They even have Netflix! . This is truly one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Taupo.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

YHA Taupo – Finlay Jacks Backpackers

This hostel is in a great location, close to all the attractions. From the moment you walk into the reception, you feel very invited, warm and welcome. There is a great community and holiday atmosphere with several picnic tables in the yard and a patio for eating outside the kitchen or enjoying a few drinks with friends in the evening. Definitely one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Taupo.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Luxury Accommodation in Taupo

Le Chalet Suisse Motel Taupo

Le Chalet Suisse Motel Taupo is a clean, comfortable and efficient place to stay. Friendly service, location is good, walking distance to the city centre. This is truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Taupo.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

The Cove

The Cove is a lovely and very relaxing place to stay. It has a spa on deck, magnificent view from the lake, plus great service from the staff. This is truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Taupo.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Budget Accommodation in

Nomads Capital Backpackers

Nomads Capital Backpackers has the perfect location which is right off of Cuba Street. Harbour and the city are just around the corner. Rooms are spacious and clean and the beds are comfortable. Bathrooms are close to the rooms and they are pretty clean, has few stalls which is more private. This is truly one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Wellington.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

YHA Wellington City

It’s a hostel handy for city centre and all tourist attractions – close to local night life and places to eat, big supermarket across the road. It is close to harbour front, shopping areas, Mount Victoria and just about anything you could possibly want to see. Place is surprisingly clean, WiFi works pretty good and the staff is friendly. Truly one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Wellington.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Luxury Accommodation in Wellington

The Thorndon Hotel Wellington by Rydges

The Thorndon Hotel Wellington by Rydges is in a convenient location, very close to CBD, very clean vibe, and staff is friendly too. Decent size rooms, spacious bathrooms, comfortable stay. Definitely one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Wellington.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Willis Wellington Hotel

Willis Wellington Hotel offers guests with spacious and clean accommodation, great location with cafes, shops and restaurants nearby and excellent service from the staff. Exceptional value for money,  truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Wellington.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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About the Contributor:

DIY Travel guide to New ZealandName: Parva Zareie Currently based in North America but originally from NZ, Parva is an avid fan of travelling, music, beaches,  and being in nature.

Name of the Country: New Zealand

City / Places Visited and Number of Nights:

  • Auckland  – 2 Nights
  • Matamata – day trip
  • Rotorua – 3 Nights
  • Taupo  – 2 Nights
  • Wellington –  2 Nights

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Comments 9

  1. Hi Parva, Thanks for sharing this blog. It is really great. I found it very useful and handy. You didn’t mention Mount Eden Summit, do you think it is a nice attraction to visit? I found the view is pretty good from the mount, but I want to avoid my time if there is nothing else to see there. Can you provide some suggestion? Thanks.

  2. New Zealand is Middle Earth, a lot of scenic places, and offers a lot of activities for travelers to enjoy! It’s true that it’s a bit expensive, but nothing is impossible for the budget traveler! Your post will definitely help a lot of people!

  3. Great post! I’ve been to New Zealand twice. Once for an entire year and then for three months on a vacation. New Zealand is definitely my favorite country and it full of beautiful sights. I would personally mention and include many other stunning places 🙂

  4. This is suuuper helpful! Just one question — do you reckon this itinerary works during winter (June) as well? 🙂

  5. Hi,

    I would like to take the time to write, “Great itinerary!!!”
    I was looking for something to do in NZ besides Hobbiton. Your guide is much appreciated.

  6. And also, how were u able to get a booking in Hobbiton tour? Did u do it by your self online or you have it booked through I-site? Thank you!

    1. Hey Joana! If you’re into the beach and summer activities then February and March is the best time to go, and if you’re into skiing and snowboarding then winter time is best – July and August!

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