Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world. The city has become famous for its bungee jumps, canyon swings, skydives, and jet boats. While all these death-defying adventures are fun, they tend to put a dent in the wallet, and wreak havoc on a backpacking budget. Many travellers are unaware that there are actually quite a lot of free or cheap things to do in Queenstown as well. If you don’t want to max out your credit card while in Queenstown read on.
Free or Cheap Things To Do in Queenstown
1. Play Frisbee Golf
Queenstown has an excellent Frisbee Golf course (also known as disc golf), in Queenstown Gardens, and it’s a good way to spend a cheap afternoon with friends. Imagine trying to line up the perfect shot over 100 meters away while, at the same time, dodging tree trunks, low hanging branches, and other Frisbees. Frisbee Golf is a bit challenging but a ton of fun. The best part is that it’s completely free, minus the cost or rental of the frisbee’s of course. If you’re looking for a cheap and fun outdoor activity, then Frisbee Golf is a perfect fit.
2. Walk up Queenstown Hill
Are you after a picturesque view of Queenstown? Then one morning grab your camera and take the trail to the top of Queenstown Hill. This trek leads through forest and grasslands for the better part of an hour. The trails are filled with spectacular views of the city. Some areas of the trail are steep but overall it’s not too hard. Just remember to make sure your camera is charged and your phone is Instagram ready!
3. Check out the Ben Lomond Hike
The Ben Lomond Hike is a bit harder going than Queenstown Hill so make sure you go prepared with good hiking shoes, water, snacks and sunscreen (and weatherproof clothing). The views are unbelievable and you’ll be really proud of yourself if you manage to make it all the way to the summit.
There are loads of great walks to do around Queenstown, each different in terms of difficulty and length. Read our guide to Queenstown’s hiking trails.
4. Walk around Lake Wakatipu
An excellent way to see the beauty and grandeur of Queenstown is to take a stroll around Lake Wakatipu. The size and scope of this lake is stunning. The lake is surrounded by massive mountains. It is impossible to look at the lake and mountains without feeling a sense of awe and wonder. Lake Wakatipu is a good place to take a deep breath and take in the beauty that Queenstown has to offer.
5. Visit the Underwater Observatory
Now, that you have walked around Lake Wakatipu it is time to head underneath. Yep, you heard me right. Head to the Underwater Observatory to see the famous diving ducks, trout, and eels that live in Lake Wakatipu. The price of admission is $10 so it won’t break your budget, and the Observatory is always good fun.
6. Get into some thrill seeking action
Queenstown really does live up to its name as the adventure capital of New Zealand. If jumping out of your jeans in fright is up your alley then head to the Fear Factory – Queenstown’s very own haunted house! We won’t spoil the experience – give it a try! XD Dark Ride is another attraction worth checking out – here you can enter a simulated 7D Zombie shooting adventure. So much fun!
7. Eat a Fergburger or Fergbaker Pie
Ah, the world famous Fergburger. It’s a burger that lives up to its reputation and it’s a must do while in Queenstown. However, if you are on a tight budget, the price of a Fergburger every night can seem a little steep. If that sounds like you, then an alternative is the Fergbaker Pie. These mouthwatering pies are filling and cheap. While it might not be a world renowned burger, it’s a close second.
8. Skyline Gondola & Luge
One of my favourite things to do in Queenstown when I have a bit of cash and I want some fun, is taking a trip up the scenic Queenstown Gondola for a cheeky Luge ride. A Luge is like an on road toboggan and at the top of the Gondola there are two tracks that will have you zipping and zooming around as you take in the views of Queenstown. If you want to save a little extra cash – the scenic walking track up the Gondola Hill is well worth the walk, before taking the Gondola back down. It costs $55 for a gondola and 2 luge rides, or for just $5 more you get 3 more luge rides. (Currently there’s a special for a gondola + 6 luge rides for $63). Save some money up and treat yourself, you won’t regret it!
9. Spend the day on the beach
Seems strange to think about spending the day on a beach in the middle of a city but on the shores of Lake Wakatipu there is actually a beach. Chill out, enjoy the view and do a bit of people watching!
10. Go on a scenic drive
Queenstown and surrounding area is one of the most beautiful places on earth, in my opinion. Surrounded by lakes and mountains there are plenty of stunning scenic drives you can do, but I recommend heading up The Remarkables and taking in the views of Queenstown. There are few places you can stop on the way up to take some photos.
With so many Queenstown attractions and adventures, it’s easy to lose track of how much you are spending, and to totally destroy your savings account, so take advantage of the many free or cheap things to do in Queenstown.
- Got a bit of cash? Check out our Top 10 Things to Do in Queenstown
- Bit of a rainy day? Head indoors with these Rainy Day Queenstown Activities
Need a place to stay? Stay at Nomads Queenstown Hostel
Article courtesy of Stephen “A Backpacker’s Tale” – follow his Queenstown adventures here.