New Zealand Self Drive Adventures

November 11, 2018

New Zealand as a trout fishing destination is very affordable, if you know how to go about it. The main items that can make it expensive are staying at fishing lodge style accommodation and using fishing guides. For visitors to New Zealand that don’t have any local knowledge, guides and lodges might seem like the only realistic solution. After all you wouldn’t want to spend the time, money and effort to get here and then not know what to do or where to do it.

From a cost and convenience point of view, New Zealand has affordable and easy to navigate transport and modest accommodation costs if you stay off the beaten tourist trail. On a modest budget it is easy and inexpensive to rent a car or campervan and stay in campgrounds, holiday parks or modest motels near some very good fishing rivers. Petrol is more expensive in NZ on the surface of it but when you take currency in to account, driving here is still very affordable. If you are very adventurous or want a true wilderness experience there are Department of conservation huts that can be booked for next to nothing. These are in remote locations that usually require a half or full day hike to reach. Many of them are close to amazing fishing locations.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown tourism has been significantly affected. Some tourism related businesses have reacted by offering deals and others have tried to recover through increasing prices. It pays to do a bit of research particularly around campervan hire (which can be very inexpensive now) and holiday park costs. The government has recently introduced an excise tax on petrol which is only a few cents per litre but can add up over a long trip in a big vehicle. Again planning your route properly so you are not backtracking or travelling extra distances can be helpful.


The distances to and between world class fishing rivers is minimal compared to most large countries. A four-hour drive will get you from the main airport to several world-famous rivers. A further two or three hours will get you to the next incredible fishing location. A two- week vacation will cover multiple excellent fishing locations at a cost that is very realistic for almost any fishing enthusiast.

Fishing licenses are easy to obtain and inexpensive even for non-residents. A full license for the entire country except Taupo that lasts for the full fishing season is less than $200 for non-residents and a day license is $34.

As noted, the big issues are; where to go, how to get there and once you arrive, what to use and how to use it. That’s where we come in. We have created several road trip itineraries that give you everything you need to organise a trip that suits your budget and timeframes. We also tell you where to go and what to do once you get there. If you travel like a local and take advantage of our local fishing knowledge, fly fishing in New Zealand on a budget is very realistic. We have Central North Island and Top of the South Island itineraries that cover most of the famous fishing locations.

Check out the rest of our website for tons of information about coming to New Zealand on a budget and then have a look at our itineraries if you are serious about planning a bucket list fishing trip.

Author: Dave Turner