Exchange rate The current (official) exchange rate can be found here, when we were in New Zealand, we got for our Euro-cash at the banks about 1 EUR = 1.85 ... 1.75 NZ$
Exchaning It's worth comparing; though we always got best rates at the National Bank of New Zealand. There are no extra fees when chaning cash (it's all included in the exchange rates).
Money transport · Traveler cheques: you get a better exchange rate but have to pay fees when buying them.
· Cash: allows you to exchange only how much you need, no losses when taking “left overs” back home.
· Cash machines: good exchange rates, but fees (at least 4.50 EUR in our case). Use it only to get larger amounts. EC-Card is fine. EDIT: Clients of the Deutsche Bank can use their EC-card in Westpac ATMs at no cost! So it's worthwhile checking out whether your bank has a similar deal!
Flights Yet again, compare. If you fly across the United States, you are allowed to check in 64 kg of luggage, across Asia it's only 20 kg. Round-the-World-Flights are special in a way, but they are more expensive..
To give you an idea: we booked 6 months in ahead and payed for our flights with Singepore Airlines (flying Berlin — Frankfurt — Singapore — Christchurch) including all taxes and fees 1236 EUR per person.
When to travel From a financial point of view it is recommandable to travel during the new zealand off-season, i.e. between may and october. Not only you save money on entry fees campground prices (they vary between 10 and 15 NZ$ per adult) but there are also way less tourists around.
Ferries If you want to travel both islands, you have to cross the Cook Straight. Especially during the season it is very important to book as early as you can (the ships are booked out quite early). Try to keep at least a day up your sleeve for the crossing as they get cancelled from time to time due to rough sea.
There are two major companies:
· Interislander: Faster crossing possible (with the “Lynx”), but they are quite unflexible (bookings without payment in advance are not possible; changing your booking later on is expensive) and you can only save money if you book extremely early. We payed 255 NZ$ for 2 adults + 5.70 m campervan having booked 1 week in advance.
· Bluebridge: Slower ship (takes about 1h longer), but has fiexed prices (no matter when you book) and changing your booking is free. Here we only had to pay 230 NZ$ without having to pay in advance but having changed the date of the crossing twice.
There are, by the way, campervan rentals (e.g. Pacific Horizon oder New Zealand Motorhome Rentals), that have depots in Picton and Wellington. That way you can leave the van on his island and save quite a lot of money not having to pay for it on the ferry.
Fuel Fortunately it's way cheaper then in germany. We payed in average about 0.80 NZ$ for a litre of diesel. Petrol costs about 1,25 NZ$. Even if the population in many parts of the country is all but dense, there is quite a good network of petrol stations. The further away you get from bigger cities the more you have to pay for the fuel though, up to 10 cents per litre on top of the normal price.
For our 6500-km-tour we payed in total 500 NZ$ (diesel).
Food · Supermarkets: prices vary quite a lot. We found “Pak'n Save” and “Freshchoice” to be the cheapest.
· Dairies: you find those small convenience stors just about every where and they are open most of the time. For that they only have a limited choice and you pay more then in supermarkets.
· Roadside: Especially on the country side you find good bargains bying straight from the roadside or a farm (fruits and vegies).
For food you have to calculate with at least 5 NZ$ per person per day.
Entrances Unfortunately you have to pay for quite a lot of things. The prices vary with the season. To give some examples, we payed (per person) for the Waitomo Caves 25 NZ$, for the Hell's Gate Thermal Resort (Rotorua) 20 NZ$, for a visit to the Manapouri Power Station (including a cruise on Lake Manapouri) 55 NZ$. A scenic cruise on the Milford Sound costs at least 46 NZ$.
Departure Tax Don't forget to keep 25 NZ$ per person for the departure tax which you have to pay when you fly back home.