As New Zealand has similar living costs to Europe, you'll need to be sure you have a decent budget to make the most of the two islands. That said, most people come here to discover its natural habitats, go hiking and explore sites that are free of charge.
New Zealand is all about natural habitats and only travelers who expressly seek 'luxury' activities will need a big budget. Globally recognized for its amazing natural sites, the tourist appeal of New Zealand is, therefore, the great outdoors. Vacationers who want to explore its terrain won't need a big budget in order to benefit from the country's natural reserves that are usually free of charge. But, if you're a thrill seeker who wants to parachute over Taupo or bungee jump in Queenstown, be warned that you'll have to pay for the pleasure.
New Zealand is full of stunning, little corners that can be difficult to reach. So, even though the transport system is well developed, you won't be able to reach some of the best sites. You can buy bus passes that allow you to use certain routes around the two islands but they're not cheap. Expect to pay between 600 and 2,000NZD to tour them both, depending on the number of stops you make and for how long your pass is valid.
So, I recommend you hire a vehicle during your trip to New Zealand. As well as being cheaper, you can go where you like and get off the beaten track. It will cost around 40NZD a day and gas is around the same price as in Europe. Don't forget that you'll be traveling long distances - in a couple of weeks you can easily cover 3,000 kilometers.
Most people who vacation in New Zealand hire equipped camper vans. There's a wide choice, from basic (with a bed in the back) that will cost around 30NZD a day, to fully fitted models for about 250NZD a day. It's a cheaper option than having to pay for hostels, hotels etc. Equipped camper vans also mean you won't need to pay for services at campsites. However, there are some areas where you can't park up wherever you like. So, depending on the type of campsite you choose and the services you need, the cost ranges from 6 to 20NZD, per person, per night. A lot of the prettiest campsites are basic, but hidden away in idyllic corners of the country!
If you don't want to go camping there are always hotels and youth hostels. You'll need a bigger daily budget. A dormitory bed in a youth hostel costs around 25NZD per person and a double room from 50 to 60NZD. As for hotels, prices start at roughly 70NZD per night. Don't forget that by staying in hotels and hostels, you'll have to add travel costs to your budget.