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Depending on how you like to travel you can save some money on lodging by staying in hostels. Hostels in NZ are generally great - you can often get a private room, or one with only 2-4 people total in the room. You still get to use the common lounge and kitchen areas, thereby saving on food (I always HATE paying for breakfast, it seems like such a waste when I am happy with cereal)

Also, a good way to meet people to ski with, if you are going alone. Hostels have a wide variety of ages and types of people - after doing it for over a year it got tiresome, but for a week or so it is the best way to meet lots of cool people.

I spent 8 days in Wanaka, a small town near Queenstown. This is the less touristy, smaller and homier version of the very touristy, upmarket and busy QT. Both are great, depends on what you are looking for. I personally preferred Wanaka. Wanaka is very close to the ski hills in Mt. Aspiring area - I was there in summer and used a ski shuttle service to get to hiking trails (their off-season endeavour!)

I am so jealous! I loved NZ, 6 weeks there was not nearly enough.
If you want more info on backpackers' hostels or budget travel in NZ let me know - you could probably even rent a campervan for super cheap at that time of year if that is up your alley.
Your estimate seems very high for costs - how much for your airfare? Once you get there the exchange is about $1 US to 2 or 2.5 NZD, isn't it? I was spending $15-20 per night in a hostel.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Probably some good websites on NZ - for hostel info look under International Youth Hostel Association and Budget Backpackers Network (I don't know if they have a website)
Have fun!
Caroline
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