New Zealand is a budget vacation destination with hundreds of amazing sightseeing attractions within a few hours’ drive from one another. Hire a campervan for best value.
Why should someone travel great distances from the US, Britain or Europe to see New Zealand, when so much is available closer? Indeed, why should Aussies ‘cross the ditch’? There are several excellent reasons and one is all-important – money! New Zealand is easy on the pocket and offers sensational value for money.
Compact New Zealand Size and Short Road Distances
One of the great problems of holidaying in the US, Europe or Australia is that major sights are days apart. The tourist either has one of those terrible ‘Germany today, France tomorrow’ hops or makes tough decisions about what to miss. Consider the plight of the visitor to the States who would really like to see NYC, Hollywood, Niagara Falls and New Orleans. Lots of flights!.
By contrast, it is possible to cross New Zealand east to west in a car in from 2 -5 hours. On the North Island, from the capital Wellington to the thermal and volcanic area at Rotorua is just under 7 hours; from there to Auckland a further 3:30. From Auckland to that tourist delight, the Bay of Islands is 236 km (147 miles), just a 3:45 run.
The South island is long and skinny. In many places, it can be crossed from east to west in around 4 hours. From the inter-island ferry town of Picton at the top to the furthest town south, Invercargill, is just 915 km (569 miles) or under 12 hours. As this little trip will take the visitor from sub-tropical beaches and swimming with dolphins, across alpine snow fields and down to the fjordlands and glaciers, it is clear that it is a remarkably compact country. A three week holiday is adequate to see the entire country with all the variety it has to offer.
North Island and South Island Sighseeing Attractions
New Zealand is the whole world scrunched up into two small islands. Tourists can experience ‘frozen North’ landscapes in New Zealand’s frozen south: fiords, glaciers, rugged, snowy mountains, sperm whales, seals, penguins and other exotica. Just a few hours’ drive away there is a fern-locked jungle wilderness, primal forest as it was millions of years ago– what is known as Gondwanaland.
Within a 2 day’s drive, the tourist can experience volcanoes, regions of sulphurous smoke rising from holes in the ground, and hot thermal pools. A lucky few might be around for a 7.5 earthquake, or at least a tremor or two!
On the more temperate North Island, forget sub-Antarctic conditions; the tourist can be surfing, or fishing for snapper in the magnificent Bay of Islands—in general, enjoying sub-tropical conditions. Here, the giant Kauri trees rule, buses can scoot along Ninety-Mile Beach and ancient Maori culture can be explored.
A New Zealand holiday can be a sedate drive to see magnificent scenery and wide variety of wildlife. Even the elderly can enjoy an organized bus trip on excellent roads. However, New Zealand is renowned for adventure and extreme sports for the young and fit. Here, mountaineering, bungy jumping, parasailing, skydiving, whitewater rafting and river boarding are all popular.
Enjoy Budget New Zealand Vacations
This is the clincher! In capital cities, excellent accommodation can be had for $100-130 NZ (twin), and in small towns $80-100 motels are readily available. As well, much cheaper accommodation can be sourced at the many fine Backpacker establishments and camping grounds. Food is also reasonably priced.
Of course, tourists can carry their accommodation with them, by hiring a camper van. Depending on time of year, duration an company, it is possible to get a small camper from $70 -100 per day. Thus, for the price of a motel, you have transport, cooking facilities and somewhere to sleep. In fact, one company, Exploremore, offers a New Zealand campervan for $38 per day.
NZ Exchange Rates
If these rates sound reasonable, then check out exchange rates for the New Zealand dollar. At 26th November 2009, the British pound bought 2.28 NZ dollars. Hence, Brits can effectively slice the prices quoted in this article in half! The US dollar buys 1.36 NZ dollars, also a significant saving. The Euro equals 2.06 NZ Dollars.
Even Australians can benefit from the currency difference: the Aussie dollar buys 1.27 NZ dollars. In fact, it is said that it is cheaper for Australians to fly to NZ to ski than to go to Australian snow fields. As well, British, European and US visitors to New Zealand can get the most value out of their flight by visiting what some tourist T-shirts facetiously show as the West Island of New Zealand … Australia.