Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Word About Costs Down Under

Yikes! Now that we've gotten that off our chests, some examples... informs us that the mid-market rate for the New Zealand dollar is currently around the 87-cent mark USD (in the 60s on our first visit here) while the Australian dollar has dropped closer to par than it's been within recent memory (on our first visit to Oz seven years ago the AUD was in the 80s).

Yes, there's no tipping and all taxes are included (or hidden), but you'll be hard pressed in Auckland to find a restaurant with a "main" on its menu under $20.

Our 12-minute return trip ferry ride cost $11 each (we did get a much-appreciated $2 discount as seniors), and a hotel room can easily approach $300. For that reason, we're checking out of the lovely Auckland Hilton later today, and we will take the return Airbus Express (return trip $28 per adult) back to AKL.

There we will take the shuttle ($5 per person) to the Holiday Inn, where Kathy found a points-and-cash stay that will cost us only $40 plus points - make that $50 if the shuttle is included.

Internet is $30 so we'll skip that for the evening. A typical hotel buffet breakfast can cost $20-30 per person (the Hilton's breakfast buffet - free to us as Diamond members - is an eye-popping $78 for two) so we'll probably content ourselves with coffee, and await our pickup by Gateway/Wilderness Motor homes.

All of the above is definitely not a complaint, just a comment on the relative costs to travel Down Under. It's another reason that renting a vehicle with sleeping and cooking facilities is cost-effective.

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