Travel tips

New Zealand: a travel money guide

By Tasha Kleeman |

The basics

Currency

New Zealand Dollar

Exchange rate

£1 = 1.89 NZ$ (at time of writing)

For context, £265 will get you 500 NZ$. 

Denominations

Coins: 10, 20 and 50 cents; $1 and $2

Notes: $5, 10, 20, 50, 100

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Overview

Flights

February (cheapest time to fly): £400-500* return to Auckland from the UK 

July (peak season): £600-800 return to Auckland from the UK 

*Flights will be cheaper if you book in advance. Read more about how to save money on a peak season holiday here.

Accommodation

On a budget (£)

  • Bed in a shared hostel dorm: 20 NZ$ (£10.63)
  • Campervan: 40 NZ$ (£21.26)
  • Private room in a hostel: 50-80 NZ$ (£26-43)

Mid-range (££) 

  • Motel room for two: 140 NZ$ (£74.40)
  • Standard double room in a hotel: 130-170 NZ$ (£70-90)

Top end (£££)

  • Double room in an upmarket hotel: 200+ NZ$ (£106+)
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Food and drink

  • Flat white: 4-5 NZ$ (£2-3)
  • Glass of wine in a bar: 10 NZ$ (£5.30)
  • Pint of beer: 8 NZ$ (£4.25)
  • Fish & chips: from 6 NZ$ (£3.19)
  • Average main at a restaurant: 25-30 NZ$ (£13-16)
  • Three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: 80 NZ$ (£45)
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Free activities

If you have an appetite for adventure, activities are likely to be your biggest expenditure in New Zealand. If you’re on a tight budget, though, New Zealand’s beautiful landscape offers plenty of natural wonders you can explore for free. These include:

Getting around

  • City taxi far per km: 3 NZ$
  • Train travel per zone (in cities): 3.50 NZ$
  • Bus travel per zone (in cities): 3.50 NZ$
  • Petrol: 2-2.26 NZ$/litre
  • 4-hour journey on a national bus: 25 NZ$
  • 10-ride nakedBus ticket: 245 NZ$
  • Domestic flight between Auckland and Christchurch: 70 NZ$
  • Domestic flight between Auckland and Queenstown: 100 NZ$
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Money in New Zealand

Cash or card?

Credit card is widely accepted in shops and hotels across the country. Debit cards will be less likely to be accepted than credit cards, particularly in more rural communities. ATMs are also widely available in cities and towns.

If you’re travelling to a city in NZ, you shouldn’t need much cash, but it’s a good idea to have a small amount with you for small purchases like at markets, ice cream stands or roadside fruit stalls. If you’re exploring New Zealand’s natural landscapes outside of the cities, you should definitely take a bit more cash.

ATMs are easy to come by in most banks, shopping centres and high streets in major cities, but if you’re travelling somewhere more remote it’s a good idea to bring some cash with you.

Getting your New Zealand Dollars

To get the best Pound to Danish Krone exchange rate, it’s a good idea to order your currency in advance. You can do this online and have your cash delivered directly to your door, or order it to be collected at a branch near you.

If don't want to carry too much cash, you can load your New Zealand dollars onto a travel money card and benefit from excellent exchange rates and avoid paying transaction fees. 

Find out more about buying New Zealand dollars here.

How much should I tip?

Tipping is optional in New Zealand, and not expected, even at restaurants. Service charge won’t be added to your bill, and you will probably find taxi drivers handing back your change if you round up your fare.

Some exceptions:

  • Tour guides (up to $10)
  • Discretionary tips for extra good service or as a kindness (5-10%)

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