What to do in North Island New Zealand

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TRAVEL GUIDES RECAP – NEW ZEALAND | How Much Would It Cost to Travel New Zealand Like A Travel Guide?

26th May 2023

Jumping off skyscrapers, rafting off waterfalls, and of course a little fantasy escape to Hobbiton: How to travel Vanuatu like a Travel Guide! Learn more about our Travel Guides partnership.

Fourth stop? New Zealand!

In this episode, the Travel Guides got their hearts racing with adrenaline-fuelled road trip through North Island New Zealand.
In case you missed it, Travel Money Oz Currency Pass is the official currency card of this Logie Award-winning show, so we’ve been following the Travel Guides on their worldwide tour to give you the complete itinerary, exclusive clips, and tips on everything travel and money along the way!

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Hold the edge of your seat as the Fren Family (Mark, Cathy, Jono and Victoria), the Boys (Kev, Dorian and Teng), the Snobs (Kevin and Janetta), the Husbands (Matt and Brett), and the Outback Siblings (Stack and Josh), take you on a tour of the best places to visit in New Zealand.

Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes

Because Travel Money Oz is an official sponsors of Channel Nine’s Logie-award winning Travel Guides TV series, we get some exclusive behind the scenes content!
Watch the video below to see the Boys on their quest for the One Ring To Rule Them All… and anything else LOTR-themed.




Best things to do in New Zealand


When you think of the best places to visit in New Zealand, what comes to mind might be the South Island of New Zealand – Queenstown, Milford Sound, and all the stunning nature and wildlife New Zealand is famous for.
But the North Island is a jewel of its own, and in this episode we saw the Travel Guides experience adrenaline-pumping adventure activities on a road trip through New Zealand’s north.
From white-water rafting in the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, to the enchanting world of Tolkien, hot water beaches, sulphuric hot springs and more, the Travel Guides had a week-long holiday they’ll never forget.

Read on for everything the Travel Guides did in New Zealand, and how much it cost...


Day 1 | Auckland – Jump Off A Skyscraper

The first stop was Auckland – New Zealand’s mightiest metropolis. And while it may seem like an ordinary big city, there’s a special heart-stopping activity that had the Travel Guides trembling and bawling their eyes out.
Okay, maybe not the best way to sell it.
But adrenaline junkies will LOVE this experience – and so will anyone called to face their fear of heights.
The Skytower is a 330 metre skyscraper with a beautiful observational deck that overlooks the city. This part is peaceful, beautiful.
What’s scary are the two activities linked to the height: a SkyWalk at 192m above Auckland City (which is terrifying enough), and a SkyJump… where you just, plummet the whole way down to the ground.
My stomach was in knots just watching it.
But the relief visibly washed over the Travel Guides’ faces when they reached the bottom, and they were glowing with pride, sheepishly laughing it off.
Even though the cried, they said they’d do it again. So… will you give it a go?

COST: The AJ Hackett SkyWalk costs $160NZD (about $157.50 AUD), and the AJ Hackette SkyJump costs $235NZD (around $232 AUD).


Day 1 | Auckland – Visit WETA Workshop

If you’re more into fantasy than horror, how about visiting New Zealand’s home of movie magic?
From Lord of the Rings to Avatar, New Zealand’s lush landscapes and stunning natural scenery has been the backdrop you your favourite fantasy realms… which gave rise to the special effects workshop in WETA.
You can try some hands-on activities like special effects makeup, see the intricate details of all the props, and of course, get your hands on your own “precious” souvenirs too.
COST: Weta Workshop tours can range from $59NZ to $99NZD+ (approx. $58 to $97 AUD)… plus of course some extra money for the gift shop.

Day 2 | Road-trip to Kawhia Hot Water Beach

The Travel Guides then headed three hours south through rolling, sheep-dotted hills (because as we know, there are six sheep for every person in New Zealand!), to the geothermal black sand beach: Kawhia.
There is so much nature and wildlife in New Zealand, and the volcanic areas are some of the most spectacular. This particular black sand beach has a special secret- at low tide, the Te Puia geothermal springs bubble up and you can have a spa in nature – by digging your own “hot tub” in the sand!

COST: Going to the beach is free, but you’ll need your own transport! The Travel Guides got their cars from Budget Rental Cars.  How much this costs will depend on the type of car you select and the time period, and of course, always fill up the fuel before you return it to avoid extra fees! For a week-long trip around New Zealand we’d recommend setting aside a budget of $1000NZD for the hire car and insurance (about $984AUD) to be on the safe side, but it can definitely be cheaper if you do your due diligence!

Day 2 | Novelty Accommodation

To rest their tuckered heads, the Travel Guides spent the night in Woodlyn Park Motel, Waitomo. This novelty hotel has you sleeping in planes, boats, trains, and even Hobbit Holes – and has won awards for its inventiveness!
Plus, it’s right near the Waitomo Caves if you plan to see the gorgeous glowworms or go tubing in the dark.

COST: Accommodation at Woodlyn Park Hotel ranges from $190-$265+ NZD (around $187-$261AUD).


Day 3 | Tour The Hobbiton Movie Set

Of course, no trip to New Zealand would be complete without visiting Hobbiton!
On of the most popular things to do in New Zealand, this film set is where both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins embarked upon their adventures.
Unsurprisingly, the Snobs were not interested in Hobbiton at all. They had never seen the movies or read the books. However, in a VERY surprising turn of events, they fell in love with it!
“It was absolute perfection… I didn’t want to leave!” – The Snobs.
So if the unbelievers were converted, you can only imagine how magical the lush gardens and cosy Hobbit Holes would be for lovers of Tolkien’s works – so as devoted Lord of the Rings fans, the Boys had the time of their life.
Even the Fren Family enjoyed themselves – especially the banquet.

COST: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour costs $89NZD ($87.50ish AUD) for adults, $44NZD ($43ish AUD) for children aged 9-16 years, and children below 8-years-old have free entry (with conditions). A Family Pass is $225NZD (about $222AUD) for two adult and two children’s tickets.


You might like our Lord of the Coins Trilogy – everything travel and money in Middle-earth.


Day 4 | Rotarua Geothermal Springs

New Zealand is home to some of the most geothermically active reserves in the world, and nearby is the “Hell’s Gate” – where the volcanic underworld bubbles to the surface.
Like something out of a movie, there are boiling hot springs (up to 122 degrees Celsius) of all different colours, and quicksand-like mud that turns from solid to liquid with just a little movement – so you wouldn’t want to flail about if you fell in it!
The fragrance, if you will, is a bit sulphuric, but you’ll get used to it. And the Medicine Lake’s geothermal mud is said to have beautifying properties used by the local Māori for over 800 years - which you can bathe yourself in at New Zealand’s only natural mud spa.

COST: The Hell’s Gate Mud Bath and Spa costs $85NZD per adult (around $84AUD), the Hell’s Gate Geothermal Walk costs $42NZD ($41AUD) per adult, or you can experience it all with the Hell’s Gate Experience for $105 (about $103AUD) per adult.

Day 5 | Unique Farm Experience

Just down the road is the Agrodome Farm Tour – New Zealand’s most popular farm experience, where you can learn everything you want to know about sheep. With 26 million sheep in New Zealand, it definitely provides some context about it!

COST: Agrodome Farm Tour costs $39NZD per adult. 

Day 6 | White Water Rafting Off A Waterfall

Did you know New Zealand is home to the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall?
Well, the Travel Guides found out, plunging seven metres off a waterfall into the water below. It looked exhilarating.
There are eleven wild rapids and three waterfalls to raft as the water winds through the jungle canyon. If you love adventure and nature, it’s the perfect experience for you.

COST: Kaituna River Rafting costs $115NZD (about $113AUD) per adult. You might also want to set aside a little money for the photos, just to prove you did it! 


Day 7 | Zorbing The Steepest Fastest Track In The World

“Like a washing machine on turbo cycle.” – The Frens

Another fun fact – Zorbing was invented in Rotorua in 1994! And it’s here you can roll down the steepest, fastest track in the world.
There are four tracks to choose from, so if you’re feeling a bit afraid, then you can opt for a gentler slope too.

COST: Zorb Rotorua ranges from $40NZD (roughly $39AUD) for  single ride on the straight track, $60NZD (roughly $59AUD) for a single ride on either the SideWinder or Big Air tracks, or $75NZD (roughtly $74AUD)  on the Mega Track – this one is the longest, steepest, and fastest downhill rolling track in the world. You can also get multiride deals from $120 to $170NZD (around $118 to $167AUD) per person.


Day 7 | Railcruising In The Countryside

Maybe adrenaline isn’t your thing. In that case, like the Husbands and the Snobs, you can go for a gentle railcruising experience through the peaceful countryside as a more relaxing alternative.

COST: Railcruising costs $76NZD per adult (around $75AUD).


And there you have it – everything the Travel Guides did in North Island New Zealand!


How much to budget for a New Zealand holiday?


The official currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).





You’ll want to take a blend of cash and card in New Zealand Dollars ($NZD).
You’ll want to take cash with you, especially if travelling to rural areas where the wifi might be spotty. Cash is accepted pretty much everywhere, and is good to have on hand just-in-case.
New Zealand is one of the most card-friendly countries in the world. It’s pretty similar to Australia, and you’ll find it easy travelling with a prepaid travel card (like our Travel Money Oz Currency Pass)!

However, surprisingly, tap-and-go isn’t really used there – in fact, fees are passed on to the customer. So remember to always insert your card when paying.
Learn more about budgeting for your New Zealand adventures in our Destination Currency Guide.

Not the norm, but not against the rules!

There are 60 ATMs per 100,000 Kiwis – it’s less than half the ratio of Australia, but still very manageable. The bigger cities of course have easier access to ATMs than rural, so do the bulk of your withdrawals when you’re there.
Otherwise, we have Travel Money NZ if you need to top up!


Travel Money Oz Currency Pass – as featured on Travel Guides!

Of course, you can’t travel New Zealand like a Travel Guide without using our Currency Pass – the official currency card used by the Travel Guides!
There’s a reason this card is trusted by the Travel Guides – it makes managing foreign easy.




Make sure to keep an eye out on currency exchange rates for the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), and come and see us before you go!
We have zero fees and zero commission – because we’re travellers too and wouldn’t want that either.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our Best Price Guarantee*, Rate Move Guarantee*, and Cash Commitment* so you leave with the most money in your pocket.


If you were to do all the activities we saw the Travel Guides do on their week-long holiday in New Zealand, it’d look a little something like this…
SkyWalk: $160NZD
SkyJump: $235NZD
Weta Workshop: $99NZD (plus more for the gift shop!)
Hire Car: $1000NZD
Woodlyn Park Novelty Hotel: $265NZD
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: $89NZD
Hell’s Gate Geothermal Experience & Spa: $105NZD
Agrodome Farm Tour: $39NZD
Kaituna River Rafting: $115NZD
Zorb Rotorua: $170NZD
Railcruising: $76NZD

In total, the activities of the Travel Guides New Zealand Holiday comes to $2353 New Zealand Dollars per person!

This equates to about $2315 Australian Dollars (AUD).

Of course, that doesn’t cover any meals, commemorative photos, roadtrip snacks, other transport, travel insurance, visas, flights, accommodation, and more, so factor that into your New Zealand travel budget too!

For reference, the latest data says Aussies usually spend about $5000AUD overseas when they holiday.

Ready to travel New Zealand like a Travel Guide?



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Published May 26, 2023. Prices were sourced May 2023. Prices may vary from time to time, and in different places within New Zealand. This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you.  We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog. Terms and conditions apply to Best Price Guarantee, Rate Guard and Cash Commitment. See travelmoneyoz.com for more details.