Queenstown on a budget

9 things to do around Queenstown that won't strain your wallet

Many a traveller faces the same situation while in Queenstown: there is so much adventure on offer, but they are on a budget and can’t do everything.

They could fill a whole week going on adventures of varying shades of crazy, be that bungy jumping, a guided LOTR film locations tour, or speed boating.

Whilst great experiences, these activities come at a certain price, so you need to find other, less costly things to see and do during the remainder of your stay in Queenstown. Here are my 9 favourites.

1. Walk along Lake Wakatipu

Adventure activities promoted everywhere around town can be a little distracting from the very obvious sometimes. Make sure you take some time to walk along the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

You’ll find it the perfect opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful natural scenery as well as parasailers and the TSS Earnslaw, a historic steam boat from 1912.

2. Play frisbee golf

There’s an 18-object frisbee golf course in Queenstown Gardens right downtown by the lake. The gardens are stunning and allow for some marvellous views over the lake and a welcome break from the tourist hustle and bustle.

Bring your own frisbees or rent them at the Shoe Clinic on Beach Street. Cost: free; frisbee rental 7$/day

3. Treat yourself to chocolates and ice cream

Treat yourself to some locally produced, handmade chocolate at Patagonia Chocolates. Rather fancy a scoop of ice cream?

Choose among many a delicious flavour at the same store. Either in Arrowtown or by the lakefront in Queenstown.

4. Drive to Glenorchy and Kinloch

Now, I don't want to put any words into Jeremy Clarkson's mouth, but he would probably call the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy one of the best roads to drive, that’s how stunning the route is.

Stop at the many viewing points and take in the amazing views.

5. Watch paragliders land

Just a wee 5 min walk from the centre you can watch paragliders land in a school field on Robins Road. On a nice day you won’t wait long to see a few!

6. Visit LOTR film locations

There are so many Lord of the Rings film locations all around Queenstown. If you’re a die-hard fan but don’t want to spend money on a guided tour with props and tales about the filming of the trilogy, you may want to head out on your own and discover the sites yourself.

All you need is to do some research on the internet, or take your AA road atlas as guidance, in which you’ll find ring symbols placed all over its maps.

7. Eat at Fergburger

Try a ginormous burger at Fergburger on Shotover Street. It is THE burger place to go to. Even at 3 am. You may have to queue for a bit, but it’s worth it.

8. Watch bungy jumpers at Kawarau Bridge

Don’t have the guts or the budget to try it yourself? You’ll still find it entertaining to watch brave people jump off Kawarau Bridge.

It’s just a 20 min drive outside Queenstown off SH 6. Spectators can watch from several viewing platforms. There’s also the bungy centre offering information and videos on the history of bungy and the AJ Hackett bungy story.

9. Do a wine tasting

Finally, a wine tasting is a fabulous low-cost activity in or around Queenstown. There are plenty of vineyards along SH 6, such as Peregrine winery or Gibbston Valley winery, and several wine shops in town where you can do a wine tasting for free or a small fee. The local iSite should have a map of wineries for you to taste your way around Otago.

For more New Zealand travel info, see The Passport Philatelist.

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