Staying for Free in New Zealand: My One-Month Home Exchange Trip

Ah New Zealand! What a beautiful country! A definite favourite from our trip around the world!

If you dream of going to New Zealand, or you’re looking for inspiration, this travel article will be perfect to start your research, because I have a secret to tell you that will be very good for your wallet.

I also promise that you’ll be hearing more about New Zealand as I will be sharing with you the most beautiful places we’ve discovered and what we did there. Because I can say it, I have New Zealand tattooed on the heart.

But first, here is my well-kept secret that will allow you to save a lot of money and to make you discover New Zealand in such an authentic way that you will want to stay there forever (that’s a bit what happened to me).


This intrigued you, right?

We were in New Zealand from February 22 to March 18, 2020, one (amazing) month.

During that entire month, we stayed there for free – (yes, you read that right) – by doing a home exchange.

I know, I know, it’s not quite exactly common to do a home exchange in New Zealand.

Because if you’ve already started doing some research about “accommodations in New Zealand,” you’ve probably understood pretty quickly that it’s very popular to travel in a motorhome, campervan, van or to go camping there.

Far from me the idea to denigrate the concept of travelling New Zealand in a motorhome, because I have to be honest and say that it was an idea that made me dream before starting my research about this country. New Zealand is so full of breathtaking landscapes that doing outdoor activities is really ideal there.

But I quickly realized that if we decided to take a motorhome or a campervan for our family of 4, the budget that we had to travel around the world for one year wouldn’t be enough.

Because popularity comes with a price…

So we did some more research and started planning a one-month home-sharing trip with HomeExchange.

I tested this way of staying in New Zealand while travelling, and I can now say that it’s more than approved!

It was really easy to get in touch with the hosts and to start discussions to know who could welcome us.

The New Zealanders are very welcoming with tourists, and we didn’t have to search too much to enter an agreement to exchange houses with people there for GuestPoints.

It really is a great way to experience a beautiful adventure in New Zealand in an extremely authentic way.

So here’s our 1-month itinerary in New Zealand, where we stayed in houses shared with HomeExchange.


As I told you, before leaving for New Zealand, we had studied every possible mode of accommodation/transportation in order to make the best choice for our trip which was going to last one month.

Between the motorhome, the hotel, renting a car, a van or camping, we evaluated the prices but also the pros and cons of each for this family trip.

First of all, I have tested the HomeExchange platform around the world, and I can tell you right away that New Zealand was one of the countries where it was the easiest to trade houses. The response has been more than positive in virtually all my requests and there is a nice selection of houses that are all more beautiful than the others.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to sign up.


During our trip to New Zealand, we were lucky enough to stay in an HomeExchange house in Hamilton, which had a plantation of many different types of fruit trees on its land. My kids and I picked pears, apples, plums and peaches. We also feasted on freshly picked lemons and limes. The house contained 3 bedrooms and a large veranda outside where we gazed at the stars in the evening.

We then stayed in a HomeExchange house with $1 million views. It’s one of the biggest houses we’ve stayed in during our world tour. Spacious, luxurious: this one had 4 bedrooms, a garage and a kitchen that I still dream about at night. In this Tauranga house, we had access to adult bikes, toys for the kids, and the owner even gifted us a bottle of one of his favourite New Zealand wines, so that we could also discover it. There was also a neighbourhood playground close to the house.

Then we went to Lake Taupo where we lived in a country house. There, the kids could observe sheep, cows, horses and wild rabbits every day. It was equipped with 3 bedrooms, a 4-season covered veranda with BBQ and a very large living room where we spent a lot of time resting after our hiking days. At that time, it was starting to get a little cooler in New Zealand and we had access to a fireplace in the living room. So at the end of the day, we would start a small fire and enjoy this activity that is very typical of countries with 4 clearly defined seasons.

After that, we went back up to Raglan for our last week and were able to stay in a beach/surf-style country house that was about 10 minutes away from the ocean – how could you ask for more! With 2 bedrooms, a fully fenced backyard to let the kids run and a well-stocked toy chest, the little ones had a good time there, just as if they were home. Oh yes, we also had horses as rear neighbours as well as an apple orchard. With a little glass of wine, while admiring the sunset overlooking these horses, it was bucolic!


Staying in exchanged homes with the HomeExchange platform while travelling is priceless!

With all the comfort that we had, thanks to fully equipped kitchens, having cable, Internet, space to move around, everyone having their own bedroom, having a washer and dryer, toys for the kids, a BBQ, bikes and much more; it definitely brought our trip to New Zealand to a whole new level.

And not to mention that on a platform like HomeExchange, you get to be in contact with “real people” (like you and me), but who live in New Zealand. So, we were able to ask questions to people who knew the area well when we were looking for good ideas of what to do in the surroundings.

HomeExchange is a great platform to include in your travel organization, and even more if it is to visit New Zealand!

Don’t waste any more time, and create an account to organize your next trip with this platform!

** We stayed for free in New Zeland with HomeExchange. However, all opinions are ours and are 100% authentic as a way to inspire each and every one in our day-to-day lives. The Sparks and Bloom sisters swear by this!

This post was translated from French to English by:

Judith Marcoux
Hi! I’m Judith, lab technician in research for almost eight years now and second-year student in translation. I discovered the joys of travelling in my late twenties, and I now enjoy exploring bustling cities as much as the great outdoors. True animal lover, I appreciate the simple things in life and see no problem in eating sushi with a side of poutine! #dontjudgeme ?

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