7 Tips for Exploring Queenstown, New Zealand on a Budget

Queenstown is filled with beauty, from its landscape of mountain tops, to it’s clear blue lake at the center of it’s core. This dreamy place will have your heart melt not only for its views known to be in various movies like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Xmen’s Wolverine, but for its food and nightlife as well. As your plane is flying through the mountains, or your bus is winding down through valleys, you’ll realize the natural beauty that is New Zealand. There is no wonder that Queenstown is one of the top cities to visit in New Zealand!

My partner and I stayed at BASE hostel for five interesting days, we arrived on March 17th which as everyone knows is St. Patricks day! The bars were booming all night, and BASE was pumping into the early hours of the morning. If you are looking for a party hostel this is it, they offer a lot of freebees at their bar like food, and drinks! Its pretty loud every night so if you are in search of a peaceful place to stay avoid BASE hostel. When we arrived we noticed that Queenstown is an adventure capital, filled with people on the streets trying to sell you different experiences like bungie jumping, sky diving, helicopter rides you name it! For us, these activities were a bit on the pricy side and we were on a strict budget, so below you’ll find 7 ways to still have a wild adventure in Queenstown while keeping it affordable:


1.)Frisbee Golf in Queenstown Gardens

This unique sport is popular in Queenstown, and there is rentals for it right near the Queenstown Bay Beach! Head to Disc Golf Rental, where you can pick up your disk/Frisbee for just $5.00 each, plus a score card for just $3.00. There is no course entry fee to the gardens, you can just walk in and start, just be mindful of those playing ahead and behind you! You’ll get to explore these beautiful gardens, while bringing on a little competition!

2.)Hiking up to Ben Lomond 

Hiking up Ben Lomond mountain is a fun yet challenging achievement. The top of it’s peak offers 360 degree views of Queenstown in all it’s glory! You can start the hike from the top of the Skyline Gondala and make your way towards the moonlight track, then to Ben Lomand Saddle. We did the hike from the Gondala and back in about 5 hours, so make sure to wake up bright and early. You can begin the hike from the bottom of the Skyline Gondala by begining at Tiki Trail, refrence Tip 4 for more info. This is a breathtaking hike that you won’t want to miss out on!

3.)Walk the Te Araroa Trail 

The Te Araroa trail is iconic, it’s path goes through the entirety of New Zealand! Theres a beautiful piece however that goes directly through Queenstown, up into Frankton Beach. We started at Sunshine Bay, and walked to Frankton, its about 2.5 hours roundtrip, and the track is alongside the beautiful Lake Wakatipu the whole time. I highly suggest this walk, it’s easy to do and you will soak in the natural beauty of Queenstown on foot.

4.)Have a Fergburger

Fergburger has a big reputation in not only Queenstown, but all of New Zealand! It’s one of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever had, and it has a line up around the block for a reason. You can dine in it’s restaurant, or take your burger down to the lake and set up a picnic right on the beach! My partner is vegetarian and he claims that the veggie burger was also a hit!

5.)The Luge

The Luge will have you feeling like a real life Mario Kart player. As you ride down the mountain in your cart, you will take in jaw dropping views of the mountainside, its a must do! This activity is paid for but we found to be one of the most affordable yet unique things to do in Queenstown. You can pay for your ticket for the Luge which will cost $61.00 and includes 2 Gondala rides (typically worth $44.00). You can purchase this ticket just about anywhere, there are multiple travel agencies all over the city, some you can even barter with.

6.)Rent Kayaks at Paddle Queenstown

Renting a Kayak is a great way to explore the lake and its surroundings while getting a workout in! You can Kayak right at Queenstown Bay beach, or Sunshine Bay with Paddle Queenstown. The cost is $25 an hour for a single, and $50 for a double kayak. You can also try the very interesting, Aqua bikes (bikes on the water).

kayaking new zealand

7.)Hike up the Tiki Track

Now this one is tough! Tiki Track is challenging and steep, but if your not a professional hiker it’s certainly doable. It is 2.4 kilometres one way and you can start at the Skyline Gondola, we took about 45 minutes to get to the top of the Gondola. Theres a lot of foot traffic, so you’ll want to wake up early and beat out the crowds. The hike is mostly in shade, but at certain points you will get incredible views of Lake Wakatipu and the city.

For more tips, be sure to follow my on all the socials below!

Queenstown Bay Beach

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