How to get your New Zealand Dollars

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Where can I use New Zealand Dollars?

You can use the New Zealand Dollar in the following countries and territories:

  • New Zealand – both North and South Island
  • Cook Islands – alongside the Cook Islands Dollar
  • Niue
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Ross Dependency
  • Tokelau

How much spending money do I need for New Zealand?

To help you budget a trip to New Zealand we have researched how much New Zealand Dollar you will need depending on your trip budget.

New Zealand has a reputation of being a relatively expensive travel destination, but visiting NZ doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. If you are travelling on a backpacker budget, be prepared to spend around 90 NZ$ per day (around £50) which should cover your hostel accommodation, bus transport and basic food costs. For those with a medium budget who want to experience outdoor activities and enjoy a lovely glass of local wine with dinner, be prepared to spend 300 NZ$ per day (roughly £150).

Prices will vary depending on where you are in the country. Here’s how much you can expect to pay for things in bigger cities:

  • Three-course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant: 90 NZ$ (around £50)
  • Bottle of beer: 10 NZ$ (£5)
  • Glass of wine: 10 – 15 NZ$ (£5 – 8)
  • Cappuccino: 4.70 NZ$ (£2.50)
  • Bottle of water: 3.10 NZ$ (£1.60)

Find out more in our New Zealand travel money guide

Budget your New Zealand trip

Whether you’re a backpacker keen to explore the natural beauty on foot or a traveller ready to splash out on the best tourist attractions, budgeting in New Zealand is essential. 

Low budget

Medium budget

High budget

Overall budget for 1 week pp: 1000 NZ$ Overall budget for 1 week pp: 2200 NZ$ Overall budget for 1 week pp: More than 3200 NZ$

Food, drink & accommodation in budget

  • Meal per one: 25 – 30 NZ$
  • Cheap hotel room: 50 – 80 NZ$
  • Beer: 8 NZ$
  • Coffee: 4 – 5 NZ$  

Food, drink & accommodation in budget

  • Mid-range hotel: 130 – 170 NZ$
  • Two-course dinner with wine: 80 NZ$
  • Cocktail: 20 NZ$

Food, drink & accommodation in budget

  • Luxury hotel: from 200 NZ$
  • Meal at top restaurant with wine: from 100 NZ$
  • Cocktail: 20 NZ$

Activities in budget

  • Kaikoura whale watching: 145 NZ$
  • 4-hour journey on a national bus: 25 NZ$

Activities in budget

  • Wellington Lord of the Rings locations tour: 210 NZ$
  • Bungy jump: 150 – 290 NZ$
  • 10-ride nakedBus ticket: 245 NZ$

Activities in budget

  • Skydiving: 300 – 450 NZ$
  • Tasman Glacier Heli Hike: 585 NZ$
  • Domestic flight between Auckland and Christchurch: 70 NZ$

There are many outdoor activities you can try out in New Zealand:

  • Bungy jumping – visit the incredible Canyon Swing near Queenstown for the ultimate adrenaline rush
  • Horse treks – especially popular on the North Island near the Lake Taupo, horse trekking is a common way of exploring the breathtaking landscape New Zealand has to offer
  • Mountaineering – whether you are a climbing pro or a beginner keen to learn the basics, make sure to visit Christchurch, where you can find many mountaineering clubs that offer a great range of guided ascents
  • Skydiving – New Zealand is full of skydiving experiences that you can find in every bigger city, especially on the South Island
  • Hiking – hike away alongside the Abel Tasman Coast Track that any photos won’t do justice
  • Skiing Treble Cone near Wanaka offers a great downhill terrain for any skiing or snowboarding enthusiasts

While travelling around New Zealand, make sure to also visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands and Rotorua to learn about the rich history and culture of the Māori people. Malborough, the country’s biggest wine region, is home to the famous Sauvignon Blanc, so a stop here is definitely worthwhile.

What denominations do New Zealand Dollars come in?

The New Zealand Dollar comes in the following denominations:


5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 New Zealand dollars


1 and 2 dollars; 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents

Did you know: New Zealand’s currency is commonly called ‘kiwi’, named after the country’s national bird, which appears on its 1 dollar coins.

Leftover New Zealand Dollars?

No problem. We’ll buy back leftover New Zealand Dollars at excellent exchange rates, leaving you with more cash in your pocket (and a tidier desk drawer).

New Zealand Dollar FAQs

Should I tip in New Zealand?

Tipping is completely optional in New Zealand and generally not expected. If you decide to tip, it is seen as an act of kindness and generosity.

Here are some basic guidelines if you do decide to leave a tip:

  • Tour guides: up to $10
  • Restaurants: reward good service with 5% to 10% (optional)
  • Discretionary tips for extra good service or as a kindness (5-10%)
What kind of currency is NZD?

The code for the New Zealand Dollar is NZD or NZ$, and the currency symbol is $.

Should I use cash or card in New Zealand?

It’s a good idea to have a supply of cash and card for your New Zealand trip. Credit cards are widely accepted in shops and hotels across the country, but debit cards are less likely to be accepted, especially if you are venturing out of the big cities and towns.

For peace of mind, we always recommend having some New Zealand Dollars alongside a card that will give you a competitive exchange rates overseas. The best value option is taking a prepaid travel card which doesn’t charge you any transaction fees, offers competitive rates on New Zealand Dollars, and can be topped up on the go.

How much is a meal in New Zealand?

A three-course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant will cost you around 90 NZ$ (around £50).

Looking for something more budget-friendly? One of the best way to save some extra money while travelling around New Zealand is to cook your own food. Search for Pakn’Save or Countdown supermarkets as those sell everyday food and groceries at low prices. 

Can I use Australian Dollars in New Zealand?

No, you can’t. Even though Australia and New Zealand are very close nations, they are still separate countries and use different currencies.

Read up before you go