How to plan for the Ultimate Australia and New Zealand Adventure for under $100 a day
An extensive 2-week trip covering Sydney – Melbourne – Queenstown – Auckland – Gold Coast – Brisbane for P75,000 ALL IN . That’s 6 cities, 6 flights spanning the two countries down under and thousands of miles covered.
I’ve always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand, but always found both too expensive to visit! Tour packages to these countries often cost $4,000 or more for a two week, six city trip. But lucky enough, my friends and I were able to stumble upon promo fares and tickets and found ourselves spending way less than we expected. So for those of you who want to visit the Land Down Under and the Land of the Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth under a budget, then this is for you. So this is how we did it:
How it Started
What started this whole idea of finally travelling to Australia and New Zealand is because of Cebu Pacific’s insanely cheap fares to Sydney. As most of you would know, Cebu Pacific is now flying to Sydney, and when you time your booking perfectly, you’ll be able to score insanely cheap tickets to Sydney. That’s exactly what happened. We were browsing for deals in early February and found Cebu Pacific roundtrip flights to Sydney for only a whopping P6,600 with luggage around September. Once in Sydney, New Zealand is already accessible through either Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas or Air New Zealand, which is only a 3 hour flight away. For budget travelers, Jetstar is the way to go. However, do also look at the other airlines just in case they roll out a promo to New Zealand, who knows!
Plane tickets. We knew that in order to save on costs we’d had to book early and wait for deals online. Jetstar has their weekly Friday Frenzy Sale, which we checked every week for exceptional deals from Melbourne to Queenstown. Same goes with the other fights from Queenstown to Auckland, Auckland to Gold Coast, and Gold Coast to Sydney. Since our trip was in September, we had plenty of time to book and plan our trip. Over the course of the next few months we slowly booked our flights at extremely low costs, making sure we had ample time in each place.
Hostels. We were traveling in a group of 4, so we knew the most cost-effective option was to book a 4-room en suite with a private bathroom, which would cost around P800-1,000 per night per person! Mind you, hostels in Australia and New Zealand are safe and are really clean plus it has free wifi! We stayed in Absoloot Queenstown Hostel, feel free to check their site and the rooms through their site!
Logistics and Transportation. Cheapest way to go around cities was by train in both Sydney and Melbourne, which shouldn’t cost as much. There is also Uber in both cities. We actually took an Uber to Bondi Beach to save on time and divided the cost into the four of us. In Melbourne, trams are actually free within the city, just check out the tram map in the tram stations for more info. In Queenstown, we decided to rent a car (best decision ever) and drive all around the country. Since we were a group of 4, we just split the cost of the car and gasoline between the 4 of us, which saved us heaps of money. There’s no better way to explore New Zealand with your own car and at your own pace, trust me!
Food. Food in Australia and New Zealand can get quite expensive. But in both countries, there’s a wide variety of food to choose from. Most Asian food are cheaper and would cost around P400 a meal. Cuisines such as Vietnamese and Thai are good value for money. Another good option would be to rent out an Airbnb and just cook food yourself!
Activities and Other Tickets. One of the main reasons why we wanted to go to New Zealand was to actually skydive! Skydiving is actually very expensive, but if there’s one place you should do it, then that should be in Queenstown with its breathtaking views. We also climbed up the gondola to the Top of Queenstown, cruised and kayaked along Milford Sound, and even went to Dream World in the Gold Coast. Not much saving here, but if you were able to save on other costs, then it wouldn’t hurt to try out some of these memorable activities.
Still having some doubts? Check out my article on the 5 things that make Queenstown the Adventure Capital of the World as well as the my post on the 5 Reasons why you should plan your next trip to New Zealand.
Travel Tips and How to Save?
- A quick tip will be to search for hostels and Airbnb especially if you guys are travelling in a group! Renting out an apartment if you are 4-5 would definitely come out cheaper than booking 2 hotel rooms.
- In Melbourne always make use of the free trams within the city to save on transportation costs!
- Skydiving with Nzone in Queesntown is a must do especially when the weather is clear! Something I’ll definitely never regret! Also, opt for the tandem skydive where someone shoots your decent from 15,000ft with a Go Pro. Check out nzoneskydive.co.nz/ for more info.
- Renting a car in New Zealand is a must! Imagine being in full control of where to go and where to stop! Can’t imagine a better road trip than that! We rented ourselves a brand new Nissan Xtrail 2015 for only 2,000 a day from gorentals.com. Check them out for amazing deals!
- Australia and New Zealand have very diverse cultures, to save on food try out the different Asian cuisines available (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese)
- Always check for the weather especially in New Zealand, weather is very unpredictable, so don’t over plan your trip.
Photos taken using Fuji XE-2 | 2015