To recap, had things not gone horribly wrong because of the flood and road closures, my itinerary of our 16-day trip would have been:-
- Melbourne on 3, 4 and 5 December [Accommodation: Novotel Melbourne South Wharf].
- Christchurch on 6 December [Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Airport].
- Rakaia Gorge, Geraldine, Fairlie, Lake Tekapo and Twizel on 7 December [Accommodation: Twilight on Tekapo Drive in Twizel]
- Lake Pukaki and Hooker Valley Walk (Mount Cook) on 8 December [Accommodation: Twilight on Tekapo Drive in Twizel]
- Arrowtown and Queenstown (Shotover Jet) on 9 December [Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside]
- Glenorchy, Queenstown (Skyline Luge Ride) and Te Anau on 10 December [Accommodation: Blue Mountain Getaway in Te Anau]
- Milford Sound and Te Anau (Glow Worms Cave Tour) on 11 December [Accommodation: Blue Mountain Getaway in Te Anau]
- McLean Falls, Florence Hill Lookout Point, Purakaunui Falls, Nugget Point Lighthouse, Kaka Point and Dunedin on 12 December [Accommodation: City Views on Rattray in Dunedin]
- Dunedin on 13 December [Accommodation: City Views on Rattray in Dunedin]
- Auckland, Pokeno and Taupo on 14 December [Accommodation: The Lake House in Taupo]
- Taupo and Turangi (Whitewater rafting on the Tongariro River) on 15 December [Accommodation: The Lake House in Taupo]
- Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, Rotorua and Auckland on 16 December [Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland]
- Auckland on 17 and 18 December [Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland]
Below is the breakdown of the costs based on the above itinerary:-
1. Flight SQ237 from Singapore to Melbourne: S$411.97 per person one way
2. Flight VA99 from Melbourne to Christchurch S$203.75 per person one way
3. Flight NZ676 from Dunedin to Auckland: S$88.65 per person one way
4. Flight SQ286 from Auckland to Singapore: S$829.03 per person one way
1. Novotel Melbourne South Wharf: S$52.68 per night per person in quad-share room with breakfast x 3 nights = S$158.04 per person
2. Novotel Christchurch Airport: S$53.57 per night per person for quad-share room with breakfast x 1 night = S$53.57
3. Twilight in Tekapo in Twizel: S$49.88 per night per person in 4-bedroom house x 2 nights = S$99.75
4. Novotel Queenstown Lakeside: S$65.83 per night per room for quad-share room with breakfast x 1 night = S$65.83
5. Blue Mountain Getaway in Te Anau: S$56.71 per night per person in 3-bedroom house x 2 nights = S$113.42
6. City Views on Rattray in Dunedin: S$58.82 per night per person for 4-bedroom house x 2 nights = S$117.64
7. The Lake House in Taupo: S$47.34 per night per person for 4-bedroom house x 2 nights = S$94.68
8. Heritage Auckland: S$61.86 per night per room for quad-share room with breakfast x 1 night = S$61.86
1. MEL Express by SkyBus from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne Docklands: S$32.25 per adult return
2. Melbourne Myki Tram Pass: S$10.00
3. 8-Day Rental of Toyota Hiace from Christchurch to Dunedin by Hertz: S$186.71 per person (based on 8-sharing, inclusive of full insurance, unlimited mileage, additional driver and one-way rental)
4. 3-Day Rental of Toyota Hiace from Auckland: S$99.17 (based on 8-sharing, inclusive of full insurance, unlimited mileage, and additional driver)
5. Shared Airport Transfer by Super Shuttle from Auckland CBD to Auckland Airport: S$10.99 per person
6. Diesel: S$40.00 per person based on 8-sharing
Tours / Activities
1. Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour by GoWest Tours: S$99.55 per adult
2. Shotover Jet: S$127.89 per adult
3. Skyline Luge Queenstown: S$53.33 per adult for package with 5 luge rides
4. Southern Discoveries’ Scenic Cruise of Milford Sound: S$53.08 per adult with breakfast
5. Te Anau Glow Worms Cave Tour: S$80.65 per adult
6. Tongariro River White Water Rafting Adventure: S$131.73 per adult (inclusive of pick-up and drop-off from accommodation in Taupo and snack)
7. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland: S$25.45 per adult
Grand Total: S$3,248.99
Based on the above itinerary, the grand total of our cost per adult would have been S$3,248.99, not inclusive of food and shopping. To me, food should not feature as part of the costs as eating is something we have to do regardless of whether we're travelling or not. Furthermore, we prepared quite a few of the meals ourselves and the cost of groceries was actually cheaper there than in Singapore. When we did have to pay more for groceries, the quality was better than in Singapore.
I managed to bring the costs down to less than S$2,500.00 per person by using miles to redeem Business Class tickets on SQ286 from Auckland to Singapore, instead of spending S$829.03 on a one-way Economy Class ticket on the same flight.
I planned the trip almost a year in advance and redeemed the award tickets just before Singapore Airlines' devaluation in January 2019. Using 58,000 Krisflyer miles per person, I redeemed the Business Class ticket from Auckland to Hong Kong, with a stopover in Singapore for up to a year. I paid USD100.00 per person to add the stopover, so after utilizing the Auckland to Singapore leg, I still have another trip from Singapore to (Riotous) Hong Kong to look forward to! The USD100.00 plus taxes on 2 Business Class tickets worked out to be a total of S$215.80.
Even without using miles, my 16-day vacation on less than S$2,500.00 per person is still within reach. Cheap one way tickets from Singapore to Melbourne on budget carriers like Scoot are readily available for less than S$200.00. If you're not insistent on flying direct from Auckland to Singapore, Qantas flies the route with a short layover in Sydney for under S$500.00. On hindsight, we didn't miss out much by dropping the Shotover Jet and Te Anau Glow Worms Cave Tour. I'd done the Shotover Jet in a previous trip to NZ. Though thrilling, it seems an awful lot to pay for a short 30-min experience. Moreover, leaving the lives of the whole family entirely in the hands of the jetboat captain is quite a risk to take. As for glow worms, there is no shortage of places where we can see them for free. For instance, we did that twice before at Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park in Gold Coast, Australia. By paring down on those expenses, the cost will fall below S$2,500.00 as well. And of course, the costs will fall even further should you choose to stay in less expensive accommodation and leave out nice-to-haves like buffet breakfast at the hotels!