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Budget New Zealand Family Travel

Hokitika Gorge


Travelling around New Zealand is not cheap.  Hotels, food and tours are expensive, especially when travelling with Aussie dollars.  So how do you plan budget New Zealand family travel yet still experience everything the country has to offer?  Well one of the great things about New Zealand is many of the activities are free!  Click here for details about free family activities in the South Island.

In March 2016 Thrifty Family Travel took a trip to New Zealand, mainly travelling around the South Island.    Following is the itinerary we followed:

The red lines indicate the driving route we took, whilst the green line shows the internal flight we took.  Following is our itinerary:

2 nights – Christchurch

1 night – Hokitkia

2 nights – Fox Glacier

4 nights – Queenstown

2 nights – Mount Cook

2 nights – Dunedin

4 nights – Wanganui

3 nights – Wellington

I used to find the cheapest location to fly into.  From Brisbane there were 3 locations either Christchurch, Queenstown or Dunedin.  There may have been cheaper flights from Brisbane with stops in other Australian cities –  but I generally always choose a direct flight where possible unless there is a HUGE saving and I mean HUGE!

Check out how I save money when booking airfares here.

Akaroa - South Island - New Zealand

Myla and I with the beautiful Akaroa in the background.

In the end Christchurch worked out best for us – so this is where we flew into and planned our itinerary around.  In our case Virgin Airlines provided us the best flight.

We were originally planning on driving all the way up to Picton to catch the ferry to Wellington rather than fly.  However we soon learned that the ferry is quite expensive and adding the driving time up to Picton we ended up deciding it was better to fly from Dunedin to Wellington.  This actually worked really well with our driving route in the end.  For this flight we booked direct with Air New Zealand.

Tip – Overland is not always the cheapest option – and even when it is – sometimes the extra travel time is not worth it

For more detailed information about  budget New Zealand family travel click on the following links:

Free Family Activities in the South Island



Fox Glacier


Mount Cook




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