New Zealand by the Month: December 2016

I’m recapping every month I spend in New Zealand while here on my working holiday. I’ll be rounding out my thoughts, writing about what I’ve done the past month, and (most importantly) I’ll be posting my monthly budget. Check my previous recaps and then come back here for December!

What Happened:

It’s the end of 2016 (or probably 2017 by the time you read this)! I’ve made it through 9 months in New Zealand thus far, and I only have a short time left in the country. A lot happened in the past month, but I’ll just give you the basic run-down.

I left my job on HWB for the second and final time. I left the Coromandel the first week of December, and set off to start traveling with a couple of friends. We took the ferry to Auckland, and then took the scenic train down to Wellington. It was a really fun experience, and an incredible way to see New Zealand. We then spent about a week in Wellington, just enjoying being in the city.

Then my friends left to go their own way, and I stayed in Wellington for another week and a half! I love that city. There’s so much to do, and it’s just a good place to be. I did a lot of work and research for upcoming posts and guides, so look for those soon. I took the ferry down to the South Island, and finally started visiting some new places. I saw Picton again, and then spent Christmas in Hanmer Springs. It was such a relaxing place to be for the holidays.

I’m currently in Christchurch for New Year’s. I’ve already spent a few days exploring the city, and I’ll be here a little bit longer to get some work done.

Looking Forward:

As I said, I’m currently in Christchurch. I have absolutely zero plans from here. I’m booked into a hotel for a few days to focus on reorganizing myself for the new year. I don’t know where I’m going next, but I’m gonna try to figure that out. I will most likely head to Dunedin next to see friends, and then look for a job ASAP.

I only have 2 1/2 months left on my visa here in New Zealand, so I don’t have much time to work before leaving. After New Zealand? Well, that’s another thing I have to figure out…

I’ll be posting my goals for 2017 in a couple of days! That should give some insight into any “plans” I might make.

Monthly Budget:

Accommodation: $1,545 NZD / $1,075 USD

Groceries: $256 NZD / $178 USD

Restaurants: $205 NZD / $142 USD

Drinks: $259 NZD / $180 USD

Coffee: $45 NZD / $31 USD

Toiletries: $45 NZD / $31 USD

Wifi: $40 NZD / $28 USD

Transportation: $321 NZD / $223 USD

Activities: $33 NZD / $23 USD

Laundry: $28 NZD / $19 USD

Mobile Plan: $20 NZD / $14 USD

Souvenirs: $10 NZD / $7 USD

Total Spent: $2,807 NZD / $1,954 USD

I’ll start my commentary by saying: OH. MY. GOD. Nothing about this past month has been budget, even though I’ve been staying in hostels, mostly sticking to free activities, and feeling like a budget traveler (emotionally). I knew I was spending way more than I needed to, being totally lenient, but adding it all up is embarrassing. I mean, I did have fun this month traveling with friends and going out more than I normally would, so I guess I can’t dwell on it.

Here’s where I went wrong:

Accommodation: I only slept in dorm rooms for a total of 11 nights. The other nights were either in private hostel rooms (8 nights), or in an AirBnB split with my friends (5 nights). I’m also spending the final nights of 2016 in an actual hotel, so…that’s literally 1/3 of my accommodation expenses.

Drinks: I normally spend $0 on alcohol because I normally don’t drink much. I generally prefer to not go out while traveling, but this month was very different. As you can see, $259 on ALCOHOL is a lot…like I said though, I had fun.

Restaurants: I try to cook most of my meals instead of going out to eat. Not just to save money, but because I’m a vegetarian, so it’s often easier to cook for myself. I also prefer the (healthy) foods I can cook over the (less healthy) foods you tend to get at restaurants. I’ve been really lazy though, and this also goes back to the drinking…

I’m pretty happy with my budget in all the other categories. The accommodation expense hurts the most because I could have easily cut that number in half if I had just stayed in dorm rooms instead of private rooms so often. To be fair, my reasoning was that I “needed space to get work done” (*whispers* I didn’t get any work done though).

I’m confident that I can get my spending back on track next month. Now that I’m traveling solo again instead of with friends, I won’t be eating out or drinking (as much).

December Blog Posts:

Westport to Karamea // 3 Short Walks Along New Zealand’s Upper West Coast: I spent a week in the Buller District of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s one of the prettiest areas of the country I’ve seen so far, and there’s lots o opportunity for hiking. If you drive up to Karamea from Westport, you’ll definitely want to stop along the way for these walks.

New Zealand by the Month // November 2016: My recap from the month of November.

*All of the above should explain why I only have two posts for the month of December (oops!). I’m working on a lot behind-the-scenes and will be creating a more consistent posting schedule for 2017.

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By Courtney Minor

Wandering around and writing about it.

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