Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Budget Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking Winter New Zealand

18 Days Budget Solo Backpacking in Winter New Zealand Jul. 15 to Aug. 03, 2023

New Zealand is my 138th country visited on my personal journey beyond #lakbay100 Countries.
From South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch) to North Island (Wellington, National Park, Hamilton, Auckland) with FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 as the highlight.
Thank you very much Winter New Zealand.  
#livealifeyouwillremember #newzealand #fifa #worldcup #pilipinas #filipino #filipinas #philippines #football #soccer #solobackpacker #winter #oceania #pinoytraveller 

Travel Dates: July 15 to August 03, 2023 (18 Days) 
My Objective: FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 PHI games and Hunt the Southern Lights
Status: PHI passport only Solo Backpacker with flights from/to MNL
Places Visited: From South Island (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch) to North Island (Wellington, Tongariro, Hamilton, Auckland) - pattern based on the FIFA World Cup PHI games

Day 00: Jul. 15 – Manila Departure
Day 01: Jul. 16 – Queenstown 
Day 02: Jul. 17 - Lake Tekapo 
Day 03: Jul. 18 – Lake Tekapo 
Day 04: Jul. 19 – Queenstown 
Day 05: Jul. 20 – Queenstown 
Day 07: Jul. 22 – Dunedin 
Day 08: Jul. 23 – Bus to Christchurch 
Day 08: Jul. 24 – Bus to Wellington 
Day 11: Jul. 26 – Wellington 
Day 12: Jul. 27 – Bus to National Park 
Day 13: Jul. 28 – Bus Auckland 
Day 14: Jul. 29 – Auckland 
Day 16: Jul. 31 – Auckland 
Day 17: Aug. 01 – Auckland 
Day 18: Aug. 02 – Auckland to Manila 
Day 00: Aug. 03 - Manila Arrival 

Budget Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking Winter New Zealand

Budget Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking Winter New Zealand

Budget Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking Winter New Zealand

01. Visitor Visa - Philippine passport holders are visa-fee free for New Zealand Visitor visa (210 NZD). However, there's a tourism fee to pay, 35 NZD (₱1,230). New Zealand visitor visa is an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) just like in Australia, one year validity with multiple entry and 3 months max for every entry. I got mine with an almost 2 days processing only declared myself as retired (jobless) in the application form. 

02. Flight Tickets - Air Asia provides the cheapest flight from/to Manila via Auckland for around ₱20k to ₱25k (might be off-peak rate) but this flight is NOT on daily basis. As what my most horrible heartbreaking travel experience, different Budget Airlines not allowed for Australia Airport transit without visa (TWOV). Avoid any Australia airports as much as possible especially if it's different airline for transit. 

03. Airport Immigration and Security - As PHI passport only Solo Backpacker, NAIA is every Pinoy traveller's nightmare regardless of being a frequent traveller or not. Also, ensure to fill-out PHI E-travel online within 72 hours before departure/arrival in MNL. In NAIA T3, I have a little bit hard time as I think New Zealand is a hot place since there's a lot of Filipinos especially I don't know anyone there and I'm travelling alone. In NZ Airport, even the IO asked me a lot because of this. There's a strict customs officers also. 

04. Hostels - winter is off-season. My average stay in 1 dorm-bed per night was 40 NZD (₱1,400), this was the cheapest. This is not recommended especially for aging (or with signs of aging) travellers like me because of congestion and millennial surrounding. In summer particularly the lodge huts in famous trails like Milford track, the price is doubled or even tripled or 5x. 

05. Bus Transport - I availed the 45 hour Intercity FlexiPass which costs 395 NZD (₱13,980). I saved around 171 NZD (30% savings, my total bus fares was 566 NZD) for all of my bus travels if I purchased those bus tickets individually and sure seat availability. Advance booking is required to be able to have sure seat on preferred schedule. Bus driver will confirm your seat by your name only before boarding (no ID needed). Bus tickets are ONLY purchase online. Free wifi (limited site access) but no charging port inside bus. All bus stations are directly pin-pointed in the website. There will be some stops for drop-off / driver's break though there's toilet inside bus. Always sit on the right side (driver's side) for better road views (journey from South to North Island).

06. My Main Itinerary - first is to watch the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 (all 3 games of Team Philippines) and second, to hunt for Southern lights (Aurora Astralis). I successfully made the first but failed the second despite staying in the South Island for 6 nights. Also, even if I wanted to chase aurora, my winter attire can't stand the freezing temperature to stay outside in late night or early morning. 

07. Cashless - everything is cashless even the bus fares. I paid via BDO Mastercard, just ensure to inform your bank that you're on international travel. Also, I took my souvenir bank note in Auckland money exchange for ₱200 (5 NZD, the lowest bank note). 

08. Winter Attire - I underestimated the weather as I thought it's just the same as Winter Australia and lesser chill than Northern Hemisphere area. I'm just wearing bubble jacket and ordinary hiking pants. Local said the winter in Australia is just summer in New Zealand, they are freaking right. At 7pm, I cannot walk outside (Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Dunedin), it's freezing cold. Even in the hiking area, the windchill is unbearable even the wind gust in just more than 1,000 elevation mountain.

09. Places of Interest - For me, New Zealand is combination of Iceland and Switzerland especially on a bus trip, what a breathtaking view. The major adventure is Hiking (very well-signed trails, no payment, registration and permit needed), there's a lot of adrenalin rush type anywhere but it's hard to stroll because I haven't dress enough for the freezing wind chill.  

10. Cost of Tourist Living - as a country with mix ambiance of Iceland and Switzerland, cost of tourist living is expected to be high. Minimum meal in affordable restaurant costs 14 NZD (₱500) without drinks. I'm not a fan of food trip in a very fancy place, I always eat in fast foods like McDonald's and Wendy's (cheeseburger meal at 10 NZD) and buy some snacks in Supermarket for bus trip snacks.

11. FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 PHI Games - It was last year 2022 during my Southern Caribbean Cruise when my attention was grabbed by FIFA Men's World Cup, how does it feel to watch in world stage stadium cheering out for my homeland. Here it goes for FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, just months after, a dream come true. I brought my huge national flag to provide strong moral support. My itinerary was pattern to the venues of PHI games and surprisingly, the PHI games three stadiums are strategically located from South to North island which is geographically advantageous for a practical New Zealand bus trip adventure.

12. Others - (1) New Zealand has a unique electric outlet, good thing I always bring my universal adaptor but it's big. The moment the adaptor was plugged-in, the next outlet cannot be used. Just be mindful if no one is going to use that other outlet. (2) New Zealand tap water is drinkable. You can save a lot you even help to minimize plastic bottles. I always bring my own water bottle. (3) Even their public toilets are amazing, automated, FREE to use and available in every parks and bus stations. (4) Beware of the 3.5 hour Interislander Ferry drowsy ride between Picton and Wellington passing through the wavy Cook strait, I almost vomited haha! and the ferry fare is included on bus trip from Christchurch to Wellington. (5) Souvenir items are cheaper in Queenstown. I bought my souvenir magnet there for only 3 NZD (discount for more), where this kind of souvenir has selling price in Wellington and Auckland for more than 5 NZD.

Budget Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking Winter New Zealand

Budget Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking Winter New Zealand

Budget Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking Winter New Zealand


Post a Comment

Please support this blog by clicking those ads. Thank you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...