44 nights on the South Island of NZ for around $5 per person/night!

Traveling does not need to be expensive! My husband and I spent 44 nights on the South Island of New Zealand. We spent on average $5.59 US per person/night! It would have been cheaper if we didn’t pay for private rooms in Christchurch. We spent 6 nights in Christchurch while we were finding a car to buy. We bought a non self-contained vehicle. There are many free campsites even if you have a non self-contained vehicle. We used CamperMate (http://www.campermate.co.nz/welcome/index) as a resource. We stayed at a lot of DOC (Department of Conservation) campsites (http://www.doc.govt.nz/campsites).

Below is a list of every hostel and campsite we stayed at. The costs are in New Zealand currency. The most we spent on a private room was $95/night. The most we spent on a campsite was $15/per person.

Nights 1 and 2: Christchurch YMCA (private room $95/night), $190
Nights 3 and 4: Avon City Backpackers, Christchurch (private room $60/night), $120
Night 5: Haka Lodge, Christchurch (private room $79/night), $79
Night 6: free camping at Windsurf parking area, Christchurch, $0
Night 7:
free camping at Waitohi Bush Reserve, near Geraldine, $0
Night 8:
Lake MacGregor campsite near Lake Tekapo ($5/per person), $10
Night 9:
White Horse Hill, DOC campground at Mt. Cook ($10/per person), $20
Night 10 and 11:
free camping at Round Bush Rec Reserve on Lake Ohau, $0
Night 12:
Loch Laird camp on Lake Benmore, $20
Night 13:
Glencoe, DOC campground South of Oamaru ($6/per person), $12
Night 14 and 15:
free camping at Warrington Reserve near Dunedin, $0
Night 16:
Tawanui, DOC campground near Owaka ($6/per person), $12
Night 17:
Parakaunui Bay, DOC campground ($6/per person), $12
Night 18:
Curio Bay campground, $20
Night 19:
free camping at Thornbury Bridge picnic area, $0
Night 20:
Henry Creek, DOC campground near Te Anau ($6/per person), $12
Night 21:
Cascade Creek, DOC campground near Milford Sound ($6/per person), $12
Night 22 and 23:
12 Mile Delta, DOC campground near Queenstown ($10/per person), $40
Night 24:
 free camping at Bendigo along Lake Dunstan, $0
Night 25 and 26:
Albert Town campground near Wanaka, ($14/per night), $28
Night 27:
Pleasant Flat, DOC campground in Mt. Aspiring Nat’l Park ($6/per person), $12
Night 28:
Gillespies Beach, DOC campground near Fox Glacier, $0
Night 29 and 30:
Lake Mahinapua, DOC campground near Hokitika ($6/per person), $24
Night 31:
Hans Bay, DOC campground along Lake Kaniere ($6/per person), $12
Night 32:
Goldsborough, DOC campground ($6/per person), $12
Night 33:
Charleston Holiday Park and Motor Camp near Westport, $30
Night 34:
Marble Hill, DOC campground, $10
Night 35:
Waikari Reserve campground, $10
Night 36:
Puhi Puhi, DOC campground near Kaikoura, $12
Night 37:
Kowhai Point, DOC campground, $12
Night 38:
Kawatiri, DOC campground, $12
Night 39 and 40:
free camping at Uruwhenua near Takaka, $0
Night 41:
free camping at Buxton car park in Nelson, $0
Night 42:
free camping at Alfred Stream Reserve in Rai Valley, $0
Night 43 and 44:
Whatamango Bay, DOC campground near Picton, $24

44 nights on the South Island = $757 NZD ($492 US*) for two people

*At the time (Jan-March 2016) the conversion rate was $1 NZD = .65 US

$11.18 US per night for 2 people
$5.59 US per night for 1 person

Click the link below to see the hostels and campsites on a map:


One comment

  1. Pingback: 38 Day Driving Itinerary for South Island, New Zealand |

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