I have been on the road now for over one month! I really cannot believe it has been a month already, but they say time flies when you are having fun! I will be summarize each moth as I go so you all can have some perspective as to what I have been up to, how much it costs, and share any insights I have gathered.
22 January – 21 February 2014*
*I have decided to include the entire month of February so each subsequent month to follow is singular
Days Traveled this Period: 37
Countries Visited: 2
- New Zealand
- Cook Islands
Cities Visited (Overnight stops): 18
- Holleyford Valley
- Mt. Cook
- Tongariro National Park
- Lake Aniwhenua
Number of Flights: 6
- Denver, Colorado (DEN) to Orange County, California (SNA)
- Los Angeles, California (LAX) to Auckland, New Zealand (AKL)
- Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) to Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN)
- Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) to Rarotonga, Cook Islands (RAR)
- Rarotonga, Cook Islands (RAR) to Auckland, New Zealand (AKL)
Distance Flown: 11,890 miles (19,134km)
Time Spent on Flights: 23 hours, 30 min
I have a backpacker bus pass with Stray while in New Zealand and I am loving it! It is a perfect way to get around the country, not have to drive, see all the highlights (and some unique stops), and meet a TON of awesome people. If you are interested in booking with Stray, use this Straymates code: AM7622 for an additional 5% off your bus pass!
Bus Segments: 17
Distance on Bus: 2,514 miles (4,092km)
Time Spent on Bus: 49 hours
Ferry Rides: 2
- Picton to Wellington (South Island to North Island)
- Paihia to Russell (Bay of Islands)
Different Beds Slept In: 23
Number of Top Bunks (ugh!): 8
Number of nights of free accommodation: 6
- Thanks to the Lewins and Wendy for their hospitality!
Worst Hostel: Base Wellington
- Nalgene – I seriously lost this within a day of being in NZ. I just buy and reuse water bottles
- Spork – bummer, but haven’t felt the need to replace it
- Hat – This is seriously such a sad loss for me! I loved this hat it traveled with me across 4 continents and now it is MIA. I think I sadly left it behind at a hostel along the way 🙁
- Hoodie – the South Island was much cooler than I was expecting! ($50)
- Shorts – I am absolutely in LOVE with the Icebreaker brand (merino wool). They are comfy, quick dry, and don’t hold smells 🙂 They are a NZ brand so I sprung for a pair of shorts for the North Island – much warmer and for the Cooks! They were a bit pricey ($90), but worth it.
- 2 Tank Tops – cheapies for the islands ($10 each)
- Swimsuit – got a 2nd cheap bikini before I went to the islands ($30)
- Hat – to replace my beloved hat that I lost 🙁 ($20)
Number of times eating out: 3
Best Meal: Vudu Café, Breakfast
Best Deal: Free drinkable tap water!
Books Read: 7.5
- Divergent, Veronica Roth
- Insurgent, Veronica Roth
- Allegiant, Veronica Roth
- Fluke, Christopher Moore
- Unwind, Neal Shusterman
- Unwholly, Neal Shusterman
- Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
- Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walt (finally finished the last half!)
I have read more books in the last month than I have read in the last 3 years! Loving this. More recommendations are always welcome!
MOST CHOICE EXPERIENCES
- Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and summiting Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom) and Mt. Tongariro
- Scuba diving at the Poor Knights
- Snorkeling the warm waters amongst thousands of tropical fish in the lagoon surrounding Aitutaki
- Caving and rappelling (abseiling) through the Waitomo gloworm caves
- Amazing surf town and beaches of Raglan
- Sleeping in a traditional Maori Wharenui (meeting house), learning about the culture, singing, and dancing
*Watch for blog postings for all of these soon!
Money, Cheddar, Moola, Dough….STATS
Money Spent: $3,933…ouch.
Daily Average: $106
- This is definitely going to be one of the most expensive months for me over the next year. I knew New Zealand was going to be the most costly countries I would be visiting, but leave it to me to throw in some exotic islands too!
- This figure excludes the flight to NZ and the cost of the Stray bus pass used while in New Zealand since these were paid for prior to coming here.
- It does include the cost of flights between NZ and Cook Islands ($511) and the inter island flight in the Cooks ($329)
- Rooms pretty much cost what they cost…dorms average about $28/night in NZ
- My eating out was pretty limited, but it took me awhile to find my groove in buying groceries. I felt like I was spending money everyday on new food. Planning ahead and group meals helped. Try and find grocery stores outside of the main tourist towns…you’ll save a ton.
- Going out and drinking alcohol isn’t cheap in NZ (or the Cooks), but I found a new love for cider while in NZ! Try and have some drinks prior to going out to save a few bucks at the bars. Also, try and buy your alcohol at the supermarket to save.
- Internet is tough in NZ and free wifi is almost none existent. In major tourist areas you can buy 24 hours for $4, but usually it’s pretty slow with heaps of people using the same network.
- Cook Islands is even worse (obviously). It is a good time to just turn off and enjoy being disconnected. I did pay $9 for 60 min of internet time because I needed to shore up some things
Overall, I think I am doing quite well with my spending. We have the option (aka…temptation) for activities everyday that range from $10 – $500. I am pretty selective in what I choose to do, but at the same time I don’t want to miss out on something amazing. I do look forward to the time where I can stop the hemorrhaging a bit soon, though 🙂
I will be posting a more in depth summary for each country I visit as I complete them so you can see what my actual budget turns out to be. It will be more extensive with a breakdown of costs for accommodations, food, activities, etc.
What other things are you interested in knowing? Let me know in the comments below and I will see if I can add that to next month’s summary!