Budget Honeymoon 1971 Style

8 May, 1971, my husband and I were married and remain so now, 42 years later.

Our honeymoon budget was almost non-existent. A few months earlier we’d moved to new jobs in Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s major tourist and thermal regions and hadn’t yet had time to explore the region. We spent our first two honeymoon nights in a small town close to where we were married, checking out the local sights during the day. On Monday morning we returned to pick up our wedding gifts before driving north to our small Rotorua home. We chose to become tourists in our recently adopted town, at the same time saving money on accommodation.

While scrummaging around in a drawer of containing an assortment of bits and pieces recently I came across an old, long forgotten piece of paper – a docket from the first two night of our honeymoon.


The nightly tariff was NZ$11.50, making the two nights accommodation NZ$23 and a meal for two people in the licenced restaurant cost NZ$8.05, bringing the total cost of our stay to NZ$32.05. To help you understand these figures NZ$32.05 currently converts to US$26.86.

The Avenue, modernised over time, is now the Avenue Hotel. In comparison to the cost of our 1971 stay, the nightly tariff now ranges between NZ$100 – $450. Our meal in 1971, probably steak and including wine, seemed expensive in those days, but it was our honeymoon after all. In comparison, last night four of us ate and drank at an affordable local Cambodian restaurant, the bill coming to NZ$117.

I struggle to imagine what I could purchase for NZ$11.50 today – a glass of better wine at a restaurant, coffee and a tiny light lunch at a café, or maybe a take away meal for one to be eaten at home.

Times change, but to be fair, so do incomes earned. If I could remember what each of us earned back in 1971 I could make a more meaningful comparison of the cost of the first two nights of our honeymoon.

The trip down memory lane has provided us with smiles all these years later. We now live back in the city where we were married, so perhaps we should extend the reminiscing to spending a night back at the Avenue Hotel sometime soon.

8 thoughts on “Budget Honeymoon 1971 Style

  1. What a great keepsake. Isn’t it funny to look back years later and remember what you used to pay for things? I have a cookbook from my great grandmother that lists a bunch of ingredients and their cost then in the back. i have done the same for my boys. The comparison between the two lists is a stark contrast, but it is so much fun to look at.

    • Ha ha, I remember things such as the price of meat at the supermarket. Even worse, I can remember the price of things from the local store when I was a kid in the fifties!

  2. It’s so interesting to see how you spent your honeymoon and how little it cost. We went on a one week house party all inclusive holiday to Austria. It was New Year and very snowy and cold. It cost £50 for the two of us. We took £10 spending money with us and brought £8 back, lol. It was a wonderful experience.

    • Sounds like fun. At least could pretend to be tourists and got to visit all the tourist places locally. And we adopted a cat!

  3. Wedding costs seem to have gotten out of hand. In 1983, (at the ripe old age of 33), our total catering bill for a small reception came to $118 (US). We flew to Disney World and stayed with my honey’s grandparents, on their pull-out sofa; no privacy. And we had a great time with great memories. I love the story of your sight-seeing honeymoon.

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