How to go on a 10D9N trip in South New Zealand under SGD8,500

Expat life
20 Dec 2022
15 mins read
Written by Team Instarem

New Zealand finally fully opened their borders on 31 July 2022, after 2 years since March 2020. Known for being a place that has everything Singapore doesn’t have, from mountains to glow caves to beautiful blue lakes, New Zealand is a perfect place for a getaway from city life’s hustle and bustle. If you are thinking about heading down to New Zealand for the long holidays, this blog encapsulates all that you need to know on budgeting in New Zealand, giving you that perfect head start to your planning!  

Pre-flight requirements 

Good news! From 20 Oct onwards, travellers flying by air to New Zealanddo not need to complete the Traveller Declaration. Travellers are no longer required to test for COVID-19 upon arrival, prove vaccination status or provide contact tracing information to enter the country.  

All that you need to do is to: 

  1. Complete the Passenger Arrival Card 
  2. Bring a valid passport  
  3. Bring NZ Visa or NZeTA 

When’s the best time to visit New Zealand? 

November to February. November to December is the period of Spring (16-19˚C), and Summer (20-25˚C) follows till March. During these months the weather in New Zealand is bright and sunny, perfect for outdoor New Zealand adventures! Keep in mind that rainfall is more common during the Spring than in the Summer, but there’s higher travel volume in the Summer which may lead to higher transport costs, so there are multiple things you may need to consider before deciding on which is the best time for you to visit. 

What’s the flight ticket price like? 

Here comes the most expensive part of the trip, the plane ticket. Being on a budget, obviously, we won’t be covering anything else but the glorious economy tickets. For your 10D9N trip, we’d recommend for you:

  • head to Christchurch International Airport, and then
  • fly back to Singapore from Queenstown Airport.

We will explain why at the end of the blog, but first, the airfares!  

Singapore to Christchurch International Airport 

Month/Type of flight  Direct  1 stop  2 stops + 
Nov 2022  ~$3,300  ~$1,500  <$1,000 
Dec 2022  ~$3,000  ~$1,500  <$1,000 
Jan 2023  ~$3,200  ~$2,300  ~$1,500

Queenstown Airport to Singapore 



1 stop 

2 stops + 









Jan 2023 




Airfares from Cheapflights, taken on 21 October 2022.

Best way to travel within New Zealand? 

Hands down – by car. Not saying that New Zealand’s public transport is bad, but rather it’s not a good choice in consideration of time and also, it gets really inconvenient if you’d like to go to specific places, especially those which are off-the-road. And don’t forget – you are at the mercy of your luggage. 

Car Rentals in New Zealand 

It’s highly recommended that you rent your car online early, at least a week ahead of time, to ensure that there are cars available for you on the day of arrival, and get the best rates. There’s usually a reasonable extra fee (usually NZD250 or ~SGD200) charged for a one-way car rental from Christchurch to Queenstown, but hey, you just saved 6 hours of your time travelling back to Christchurch and gas fees on the travel back, just to return the car. 

Type of car  SUV (5s)  People carrier (7s) 
Price for 10 days of rent  ~SGD900  ~SGD1,800 

Car rental fees are taken on 21 October 2022.

You may pre-book your rental cars here: 

All you need to do is to choose your desired car, fill in your driver details, select your payment methods, and you’re all set! In the event that you decide to cancel your booking, Snap Rentals allows a 100% full refund for cancellation made 3 days prior to pick up, while Rental cars allow refunds made 48 hours prior to pick up for most bookings. 

Fuel Rates in New Zealand 

As of 24 Oct 2022, the gas price in New Zealand is an average of NZD2.7 or SGD2.22 per Litre. 

Assuming you’ll drive 1000km, that’ll be ~SGD2,200. 

The total cost of transport would be ~SGD3,100 

Where to stay in South New Zealand? 

With the variety of picturesque landscapes that New Zealand has to offer, it makes even budget hotels feel like luxury ones due to the views you can enjoy. There is a variety of hotel types in New Zealand, each carrying its own charm, either in its unique architecture, strategic location or the views they offer. 

 Here is a list of popular places to stay in South New Zealand: 

Place  Accommodations  Price (per night) 
Christchurch  BreakFree on Cashel Christchurch  From SGD100 
Christchurch  Amber Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels   From SGD109 
Lake Tekapo  Tailor Made Tekapo Accommodation  From SGD73 
Lake Tekapo  Peppers Bluewater Resort  From SGD200 
Mt. Cook  The Hermitage Hotel  From SGD410 
Fox Glacier  Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park  From SGD73 
Franz Josef  West Wood Lodge  From SGD307 
Wanaka  Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka  From SGD138 
Haast  Wonderland Makarora Lodge   From SGD28 
Queenstown  Heartland Hotel Queenstown  From SGD172 
Queenstown  Kamana Lakehouse  From SGD274 
Glenorchy  Riverfront Motel & Villas  From SGD103 
Te Anau  Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels  From SGD39 
Te Anau  Tasman Holiday Parks  From SGD96 
Marahau  The Barn Cabins & Camp  From SGD67 
  Total Accommodation cost for 10D9N  ~SGD1,500 

Rates are all taken from on 21/10/2022 

If you’re looking for a more private stay based on your driving route, with a larger variety of accommodation options, Airbnb has all the gems for your finds. If you need any advice or recommendations in your trip, you may even start a nice friendly chat with your local Airbnb host, and they’ll share some tips with you! 

The average stay per night in South New Zealand is approximately SGD100. 

Best places to eat in South New Zealand 

If you don’t know this yet, New Zealand is a country with an abundance of agriculture, for both crops and livestock. Food can’t get any fresher than it is in New Zealand, so you’d better get your fork and spoons up and get ready for some scrumptious diggin’. The quality of ingredients is also in a different league for its price. It’s never a sin to splurge on all the calories in delectable food… Leave the rest of your pennies for Singapore’s ‘meh’ foods. 

By the way, since we’re talking about food, did you know that New Zealanders are also nicknamed ‘Kiwis’? It originated from the extinct bird species, the kiwi, which was native to New Zealand. 

Back to food, here are some popular places to eat in South New Zealand:  

Place  South New Zealand Cafes and Restaurants  Price per pax 
Christchurch  Fiddlesticks Restaurant and Bar  ~SGD20 
Christchurch  Fuse Real Fruit Ice Cream  ~SGD10 
Lake Tekapo  Blue Lake Eatery and Bar  ~SGD30 
Lake Tekapo  Kohan  ~SGD25 
Mt. Cook  Old Mountaineer’s Café, Bar and Restaurant  ~SGD15 
Wanaka  Big Fig Wanaka  ~SGD17 
Haast  The Hard Antler  ~SGD15 
Queenstown  Flame Bar & Grill  ~SGD50 
Queenstown  Ferg Burger  ~SGD15 
Glenorchy  The GYC Restaurant  ~SGD20 
Te Anau  Ristorante Pizzeria Paradiso Da Toni  ~SGD20 
Te Anau  Red Cliff Restaurant & Bar  ~SGD30 
Te Anau  Ditto  ~SGD10 
  Regular meal cost per pax  ~SGD20 
  Total cost for 20 meals for 10D9N  ~SGD400 

What to do in South New Zealand 

There’s an insane number of things to do in New Zealand it’s mindboggling as you get spoilt with choices. Well, here are some of the must-dos that you really shouldn’t miss! 

Milford Sound 

Known as the ‘8th wonder in the world’, it really does live up to its name. Being one of the world’s most incredible fjords and home to many spectacular waterfalls, it’s a place that will never leave your mind once visited. Take a boat to get an up-close view of the Milford Sound’s highest waterfall, Lady Bowel Falls, which is 182m tall. The ticket is priced at NZD10 per adult and NZD5 per child. 

There are many things to do in Milford Sound, such as water-sport activities, like kayaking, diving, and snorkeling.  

Enjoy your day walking about the nature trails with varying difficulties and distances in Milford Sound, and oh! You don’t want to miss going to Seal Point, where you can see adorable, tubby Milford Sound Seals sunbathing on the rocks. 

Things to take note of: 

  • Bring insect repellent and wear long sleeves. You can never hide from the mosquitoes and sandflies during your walks, they’re everywhere.  
  • Be prepared to get wet. Layer waterproof pants and a light jacket on top of your comfort wear.  
Challenge Rafting – Queenstown 

Ready for some thrill and action? Conquer the waves while witnessing the tantalizing beauty of Skipper’s Canyon and Gibbston Valley’s wine region.  

There are two activities – Kawarau Jet Raft (mix of jet boating and white-water rafting) and Shotover River Rafting, both priced at NZ$219 per adult and are each 4.5 hours long.   

Challenge Rafting activities resume from 1 Nov 2022, after Winter ends. It’s highly advisable to pre-book your session online to avoid disappointment. 

Tour Duration: 4.5 hours long 

Price: NZD219 or ~SGD178 per adult 

Wine Tasting – Queenstown 

Oh, this one is a must-go for avid wine lovers. Get groovy in your classy trip to four of Central Otago’s finest wine cellar doors in Gibbston and taste over a selection of 18 cool-climate wines. You may also choose to enjoy their gourmet lunch at Kinross, at an additional charge. Everything from transport and activities are taken care of for you, and all you have to do is sip back and relax.  

This Queenstown Wine Sampler Tour by Altitude has been a consistently top-rated tour loved by many and has been awarded Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Best of Best award in 2020, 2021 and 2022.  

Due to the high demand for this tour, make sure you book your slot ahead of time through  Altitude’s website or through Trip Advisor to guarantee your slot!  

Tour Duration: 6 hours (10 am – 4 pm) 

Price: NZD199 or ~SGD160 on Altitude, SGD130.37 on Trip Advisor  

Hooker Valley Track – Mount Cook 

If you’re looking for the best hiking trails in New Zealand, look no further. Throughout your whole journey, you’ll be bombarded with spectacular views of Mt. Cook, glaciers, icebergs, and illuminating clear-blue river streams.  

This trail is easy to track with its wide paths that are laid out with gravel and wooden boardwalks. A round trip can be easily done in 4 hours, with a distance of 5km to go Hooker Lake (at the end of the track), and 5km back. 

Things to take note of: 

  • Wear comfortable, light clothing, and bring along a waterproof jacket and an extra layer of clothing as the weather may rapidly change. 
  • Bring along sunblock as New Zealand’s sun is pretty harsh, even when it’s cloudy.   
AJ Hackett Bungy – Queenstown 

Home to the infamous Nevis Swing, Nevis Bungee and Nevis Catapult, this is the site that truly tests your ability to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Consider taking up the challenge and earn yourself the privilege to show off to your friends and family back home on how you managed to conquer the Nevis. (p.s. Chinese New Year is right around the corner). 

After booking your session online, ensure that you check-in 30mins prior to your bus departure time. You can only go to the Nevis through the Swing Bus, which departs from Queenstown Bungy Centre.  

Both participants and non-participants are welcome to the Nevis, following the rates stated below: 

Nevis Spectator: NZD50 per pax 

Nevis Swing: NZD245 per adult, NZD195 per child (10-14 years old) 

Nevis Bungy: NZD290 per pax (Min 13 years old) 

Nevis Catapult: NZD230 per pax (Min 13 years old) 

Tekapo Springs – Lake Tekapo 

Feeling like you need a well-deserved rest after such a long drive on the road (and more to go)? Tekapo Springs is the perfect place to go. Offering a wide variety of facilities like hot water pools, steam and sauna, day spa, and café, you and your family would easily be occupied for the day. You can even stargaze while soaking in the hot pools or lying on your floating hammock! Now, this is the epitome of relaxation at its truest…  

The following rates are stated below: 

Price of Hotpools + Aquaplay:  
NZD35 or ~SGD29 per adult,  
NZD30 or ~24 per senior citizen,  
NZD20 or ~SGD16 per child 

Soak in the Stars Tour price (1.5h):  
From NZD119 or ~SGD97 per adult, NZD79 or ~SGD64 per child 

Glacial Day Spa: from NZD70 

Pre-book your tickets online to guarantee your slot. 

Glow Worm Cave – Te Anau 

One word to describe this place – insane. Meet and greet the twinkling glow worms, that only show themselves in complete darkness. Inside, it’s as if you just got transported to the middle of the galaxy, as glow worms in the cave look like constellations in the sky, but brighter, and bluer. No words can truly describe how enchanting this place is, and it’s just one of those rare places that you have to experience in order to understand. 

The Glow Worm Cave Tour (2h15mins) is held in small groups (max 14 guests per guide), which further includes a river lake cruise across the scenic lake Te Anau, and a forest walk.  

Ticket price: NZD99 or ~SGD80 per adult, NZD40 or ~SGD33 per child. 

Pre-book your tickets online to guarantee your slot. 

Mou Waho island tour – Lake Wanaka 

Everybody says: “Mouuuuu~ Wahooo!” It’s the island on a lake, on an island on a lake on an island on the sea! As confusing as it may sound, the views there are nothing less than phenomenal.

Mou Waho is a predator-free nature reserve, used back in 2002 for a breeding programme to introduce the Buff Weka birds which previously disappeared from the mainland in 1920. And its success led to many of those charming birds to be waddling around the island, accompanying you (or pecking you) on your trail. Don’t worry, they’re friendly!  

You are only able to access Mou Waho via Water Taxi’s Mou Waho Island tour (3h long), where you’ll depart from Wanaka Marina, and start on your exciting journey to discovering the rich history and geology of Mou Waho. 

Price: NZD135 or ~SGD110 per adult, NZD60 or ~SGD49 per child 

Pre-book your tickets online to guarantee your slot. 

Franz Josef Glacier – Franz Josef 

This place just HAS to lie in your bucket list. With so much that Franz Josef Glacier has to offer, and so much for you to experience and be at awe by, it’s definitely a must-go. Summer is the best time to visit, with the temperature being the most comfortable. One thing that you can’t miss doing when you visit Franz Josef Glacier is the Heli-Hike, where you’ll hop on the helicopter with an experienced guide and be brought up-in-the-air to view the spectacular glaciers of Franz Josef. After landing on one of the glaciers, you’d then hike through ice caves! The Heli-Hike is up to 4 hours long, bringing you an action-packed adventure that you will not regret experiencing. 

Price: NZD585 or ~SGD476 per pax 

Pre-book your tickets online to guarantee your slot. 

New Zealand is a place full of wonders with just so many places to visit, so many things to do and countless adventures to experience. Although 10 days is not sufficient to get an in-depth exploration of South New Zealand, with wise planning, you’d still be able to experience its highlights. 

Here’s the itinerary we’d recommend for your 10D9N trip: 

Day 1: Christchurch -> Lake Tekapo  

Day 2-3: Lake Tekapo -> Mount Cook  

Day 4: Mount Cook -> Wanaka 

Day 5: Wanaka -> Haast 

Day 6: Haast -> Queenstown 

Day 7: Queenstown -> Glenorchy 

Day 8-9: Glenorchy -> Te Anau 

Day 10: Te Anau -> Queenstown  

With this itinerary, the time you have to spend on each location is really short, but you can always adjust it to your preference. If you decide to take things slower and stress-free, you can skip Day 7 onwards and keep it for next time! 

South New Zealand Budget Breakdown 
South New Zealand holiday budget  Price 
Flight   ~SGD2,500 
Accommodation  ~SGD1,500 
Transport  ~SGD3,100 
Food  ~SGD400 
Activities  ~SGD1,000 
Total cost  ~SGD8,500 

Are you feeling excited about the adventure to come? Ready to pack and leave right now? There’s nothing holding you back, just do it!  

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Don’t forget to bring amaze to New Zealand!

With amaze card, by Instarem, you’ll get to: 

  • Save with fantastic FX rates on every global purchase.  
  • Earn InstaPoints on FX spends and redeem them as cashback or discounts on overseas money transfers.  

Sign up via the Instarem app and get your virtual card instantly! It’s totally free.  

*TnCs apply  


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