New Zealand by the Month: January 2017

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

What Happened:

This is the final installment of my monthly recap from New Zealand! My working holiday didn’t quite last the full year as I had planned, but sometimes things change. So much has happened this past month, it’s really hard for me to believe it hasn’t even been a full month since New Year’s. I’m back home in the USA now, but I want to look back at the past month.

I rung in the new year in Christchurch–that’s where I decided it was time to go home. I came across a pretty good airfare deal from Auckland back to St. Louis, so I jumped on it and that was that. It just felt like the right time to end my New Zealand adventures and head back to the States for a bit.

After Christchurch, I traveled down to Oamaru for a few days, and then made a visit to Dunedin to see some friends. After Dunedin, I went to Te Anau and took a tour to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is by far my favorite part of New Zealand now, and I’m so glad I made the time to go before leaving the country. After Te Anau, I spent almost a full week in Queenstown. It wasn’t all that exciting, but at least I know I didn’t miss out on anything! I then made my way back to Dunedin to see it properly and visit the museums & attractions.

From Dunedin I flew up to Auckland for my last 2 days in the country, and on January 23, I flew out of New Zealand and made the long journey home.

Looking Forward:

Now that I’m back home in the U.S. (St. Louis to be specific), I’m just looking to sit still for a bit. As much as I love traveling–and as much as I want to go everywhere, all the time–I think I need a short break. It’s still my hope to make a living out of traveling–or to make a living while traveling. So while I have no plans to stop traveling all together, I do feel that I need to sit still for  a moment in order to get my career in order. When I’m constantly on the move, it becomes really hard to focus on working, or writing, or blogging, etc. Without a routine and some ground-work in place, I know I can’t possibly do what I want while traveling. So this is my time to focus on the next step…

I have no idea how long I’ll be in St. Louis, but I know it’s not permanent. In fact, I can’t truly envision myself being here for more than a few months, but those few months I am here have to be super productive. And you can’t keep me off the road for too long, so it’s likely a road trip (or five) will be had while I’m here.

I have TONS of blog posts from New Zealand to come, and there will definitely be more travels so stay tuned. I’m so glad I could share my NZ adventure with you through these monthly posts. Thank you to anyone who kept up with them! You can expect a full budget review soon.

Monthly Budget:

Accommodation: $627 NZD / $458 USD

Groceries: $185 NZD / $135 USD

Restaurants: $213 NZD / $156 USD

Drinks: $100 NZD / $73 USD

Coffee: $45 NZD / $33 USD

Toiletries: $50 NZD / $36 USD

Wifi: $10 NZD / $7 USD

Transportation: $419 NZD / $306 USD

Activities: $208 NZD / $152 USD

Laundry: $11 NZD / $8 USD

Mobile Plan: $10 NZD / $7 USD

Souvenirs: $230 NZD / $168 USD

Total Spent: $2,108 NZD / $1,540 USD

A few notes for this month’s budget: I was only in New Zealand until the 23rd of January, so this budget covers about 3 weeks of traveling. Also, my budget does not include my airfare from New Zealand to the U.S. It does include all other transportation, including my flight from Dunedin to Auckland to connect to my flight home.

Taking all factors into consideration (even the fact that this wasn’t a full month), I think I did a little better budget-wise than I did in December. My accommodation expenses when down by over 50%, so that was a major help. All other categories seem to be about the same as last month, with the exception of souvenirs & activities. Since it was my final month in New Zealand, I was willing to spend a little more on tours and things I knew I wouldn’t have another chance to do.

A good size portion of my expenses went to gifts and souvenirs for my family, which is obviously a very flexible number based on how many people you want to buy gifts for. For example, I bought gifts for 2 sisters, 2 parents, and 4 nieces & nephews so…there was a lot. But I like to think that makes up for the Christmas & birthday gifts I missed throughout the year.

As I mentioned earlier, I do plan to make a total New Zealand budget review in the near future. I want to combine all of my expense reports and see what the full year (or, almost full year) looks like. I’ll be sharing that with you guys as soon as it’s done!

What did you guys think of these monthly recaps? Did you find them helpful? Would you be interested in reading budget recaps or expense reports like this for future destinations? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

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By Courtney Minor

Wandering around and writing about it.


  1. Hello! I am planning on traveling to New Zealand later this year. Do you mind me asking how much was the one way flight back home? Would you recommend that over a round trip ticket?


    1. My flight from Auckland, NZ back home to the USA was between $700-$800 USD. The only reason I used one-way tickets is because when I flew to New Zealand in March 2016, I had no idea when I’d be returning home or if I’d continue traveling to other countries after. It didn’t makes sense to purchase a round-trip ticket when I had no idea what my next destination would be. Generally, a round-trip ticket is going to be cheaper if you do plan to return to the same place. So if you know you are going to return home straight after New Zealand, and you know when you’re going to return home, then I suggest buying a round-trip ticket.


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