Though one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand, Queenstown is also often one of the most expensive. It depends on the time of year, but during the summer and winter peak seasons, high numbers of tourists can push prices up. Because attraction operators are guaranteed a captive audience, they can charge whatever they like. However there are still plenty of things to do without breaking your budget that allow you to enjoy this picturesque town and lake region.
- Drive to Glenorchy. Around 40 minutes drive, the road to Glenorchy from Queenstown is beautifully smooth and flat, and you’re constantly in view of the lake and mountains beyond. Once you arrive, there’s a small charming cafe where you can enjoy tea and baked goods – or else bring a picnic lunch with you to enjoy.
- Watch bungy jumpers. Kawarau bridge is just a 20 minute drive outside of Queenstown, and there are plenty of viewing platforms where you can watch brave souls make their jump. The gorge and river itself are also beautiful, and worth a walk along to take in the splendid scenery.
- Visit Lord of the Rings filming locations. There are a number of scenic filming locations within easy drive of Queenstown – though an off-road vehicle may be of help in most cases. AA road atlas’ come with the locations marked on them, however you can also find access information on the Department of Conservation website.
- Walk along the lakefront and try sweet treats. Not only is the lakefront beautifully developed with walking paths, there’s also a variety of gourmet food stores including chocolate, ice cream and coffee depending on your mood. They’re a little more highly priced than your average supermarket variety, but worth it for a nice day out.
- Hike around the lake. There are many hiking and walking trails around Lake Wakatipu that are well maintained and easily accessible by car.
Queenstown is infamously a touristy place, but there’s plenty to enjoy if you don’t want to spend huge amounts of money on attractions and activities. Make the most of the beautiful natural surroundings and charming local township.