I am driving across / up New Zealand shortly and would like some more information on petrol prices.

Is there a resource available from which I can deduce what the travel cost will be approximately?

We will be driving the following route:
Greymouth - Franz Josef - Queenstown - Christchurch Hamilton - Rotorua - Auckland - Taupo - Wellington

  • (Aside: consider looking into Campervans - very popular in NZ, and saves on accommodation)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 22:46
  • @MarkMayo: in my experience "not any more". Last time I went (2018), they got so ridiculously expensive that it was not competitive against a regular car and a nice motel room.
    – Hilmar
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 20:59
  • @Hilmar depends who you go with - my company is pretty decent (and currently has 20% off for some reason...)
    – user29788
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 22:38
  • @Hilmar yeah, interesting you said that today, they've announced campervans are from $29 a day for the next 5 months :D nzherald.co.nz/business/news/…
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 11:21
  • Fair point, the pandemic certainly has shifted the "supply vs demand" situation and prices are way down. We'll see where it goes when the things (hopefully) return to normal.
    – Hilmar
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 13:48

4 Answers 4


I made a page that does exactly that. It can also take costs for accommodation, car rental and daily food and entertainment budget into account. For the trip you mentioned it might cost you a bit more than NZD 300.

Keep in mind that it will cost you an additional ~NZD 200 your you want to take your own car with you from north to south island on the interislander ferry. If you rent a car, it would be better to drop it of on one side and hire another car on the other island, pretty sure the rental companies have some sort of arrangement for that.

Fuel prices right now are $1.80 (Auckland CBD) or $1.70 (Auckland south) for 91 unleaded, but the pricewatch site gives you a better indication of fuel prices across all of New Zealand. Your fuel consumption depends on a number of factors such as type of car, extra load, speed, terrain (flat vs. hills and mountains) your personal driving style, city vs. highway so it's really hard to come up with an exact number. If you have 2 people in a mid-sized car with lots of luggage I would estimate 9 l/100km, and everything below that is a bonus. The fuel consumption car makers advertise are usually done under ideal conditions, and the real consumption might be up to 20% higher during everyday trips.

  • Wonderful - thank for that handy little page :) We are set for everything hotel/car hire/trips etc already. We will be dropping car off at Christchurch and picking up a new one at Hamilton so all good there :) I think that £250 will be a perfect estimate for the south island (£ not $). I'm also over budgeting £60 for each meal that we have, lunch/dinner, so we should have loads of change left :) Thanks for your help everyone!!!! <3
    – MissSpoons
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 10:12

There are a number of websites where you can check the evolution of fuel prices. Taking a random result from Google yields this one.

With a rough daily price you can then use an online tool such as numbeo to compute and estimate of tour fuel consumption, using miles-per-gallon-type (mpg) metrics, and thus an average price for your roadtrip.

The fuel consumption (mpg-like) measures are highly dependent on engine type, displacement, fuel type, and driving style (urban, highway, mixed). To get a correct estimate you might want to look first at what type of car you are thinking of renting. Then with that information you can find the mpg (or litre-per-100km) on the car maker's website, and you can then make an educated guess of the fuel consumption. To be safe you can always round up towards a higher fuel consumption rating.

  • Unfortunately, it asks me questions I don't know the answer to (fuel efficiency/gas consumed). I just want to know a very rough answer to my very general question - how much fuel will it take to drive 100km in a small/medium sized car? Even if it's just a between 10 - 20 gallons so I can round up and make a guess.
    – MissSpoons
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 16:55
  • 2
    @MissSpoons today's modern cars are around 6-10 liters per 100km - at least that's what I use as a reference when budgeting a road trip (8L/100km). You can check directly a car maker website if you want more precision.
    – Vince
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 17:14
  • Fantastic - thanks Vince!! That's exactly what I was after :) Using the link from JoErNanO, I have based it on 10L/100km so I dont underestimate it ... 1356km of the south island will cost roughly £150 in petrol :)
    – MissSpoons
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 17:23
  • @missspoons I added a few more details in my answer. The estimate from Vince is a valid starring point IMHO.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 18:08
  • Thanks lovelies - I've used highest consumption rating (10l) and rounded up. Gonna have £100 buffer too so we'll have plenty of cash just in case :) You have both been very helpful - thank you!!
    – MissSpoons
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 18:13

Fuel prices are low at present in NZ, but fuel prices will vary from region to region. Tank up in big cities, not small remote country towns if you can help it.

You can check average prices here: http://www.pricewatch.co.nz/Default.aspx?lyr=15&price_type=avg

I would work on an average price closer to NZ$1.75 per litre.

I assume you are driving a smallish model rental car, so will get good fuel economy and with open road running in the South Island you are probably looking at about 1500km, 9l per 100km = 135 litres or NZ$250.

I personally would not worry about fuel prices so much. You need to stay alert when driving long distances and I believe you will end up spending more on food and drink for yourselves. A couple of people could spend more than your petrol budget on one meal at a high end restaurant.


I think the bare minimum km you can connect those dots is 1881km. (See this link for distance derivation)

You'll go over about 3 passes, so that might increase your cost a little. You won't be going much over 100kph due to the high degree of speed enforcement so that may save you some gas money. You'll also find that on the west coast of the south island due to its remoteness that prices can be up to 50% more than in say Christchurch. So in a small car say 9L/100km @$1.40nz$/L that's about ** £116** . I would allow probably 25% more for side trips and running around.

  • Really? I've put all the details into google maps (we're flying from Christchurch - Hamilton). Oh, didn't even think about fuel being different prices in different areas. I'm basing it on 80p a litre and over compensating ... going to have £250 for the south island. Do you think we'll need more??
    – MissSpoons
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 22:38
  • Oh, i guess if you're flying from Chch to Hamilton then u just blew the budget. I would seriously look to do a one way trip from queenstown back to auckland and eliminate the flght unless u have some kind of schedule to keep. you can drive (even hitch) the length of the country in 24 hours. dump the rental in picton and pick up another in wellington. the ferry trip and driving around abel tasman area ought to be a highlight. or do what most independent travellers do and rent a minivan eg wickedcampers.co.nz however that will be more like 12L/100km Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:25
  • Our actual trip is UK - Chiang Mia - Bangkok - Sydney - Christchurch ... Greymouth ... Franz Josef ...Queenstown ... Milford Sound ... Twizel ... Christchurch - Hamilton ... Rotorua ... Auckland (watch Cricket) ... Taupo ... Wellington - Melbourne - UK. Our flights, accommodation, transfers, car hire have all been paid for already and came in at £3100 pp. We just have petrol + food + trips to pay for inside £1000 pp if possible.
    – MissSpoons
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:43

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