Travel and Culture

Queenstown on a Budget

Queenstown is a fantastic place to go for a holiday where there is something for just about everyone – from shopping to skiing to spa days to adrenaline filled adventures. While this is a lot of fun, it can all add up. Here are some things to do in Queenstown on a budget.

  1. Visit the Queenstown Gardens
    The Queenstown Gardens are on the waterfront of central Queenstown and a really enjoyable visit any time of year. With a park nearby, easy walking track that connects with the Frankton Arm Walkway (this is a 1.5 hour approx. walk so only if you have the time!) Queenstown Gardens however, you can enjoy for as long or as short as you like.
  1. Go for a walk
    There are so many walks in Queenstown and you just cannot go wrong. We mentioned the Frankton Arm Walkway and the Lake Hayes walk is another beautiful walk. There is something for all abilities in Queenstown so enjoy at your own pace
  1. Feed the ducks at the lake
    For $2 you can buy a bag of duck food at the Wakatipu lake front – you just need to put a $2 coin in the dummy ducks with all proceeds going to the local Lions Club. Feed the local ducks with food that you know is good for them.
  1. Remarkable Markets / Creative Queenstown Arts & Crafts Markets
    In the summer around Labour weekend the Remarkable Markets opens for the summer. These are in the red shed near the airport and across from the library. It is a great area for families too with a fantastic playground and huge sandpit. You can buy a coffee in a mug (no paper or plastic cups here) and buy some gifts and food from local artisans. If you’re really lucky there will still be some peonies to buy – these sell out quick!
  1. Second-hand Shopping
    This may not be something you’d think about when planning your visit to Queenstown but the area is an absolute goldmine for second hand shoppers. If visiting in winter look for second-hand children’s and adult ski gear, this is great if you’re just giving the snow a quick visit or going sledding. There are also so many designer clothes, shoes and sunglasses, many barely even used. The Salvation Army near the KFC in town is fantastic and if you’re going further afield try Cromwell and Wanaka too.
  1. Heritage
    There is a huge amount of history in Queenstown so if you’re a history buff, this is the place for you. Did you know the second mayor of Queenstown was Bendix Hallenstein who also started the clothing brand of the same name? The largest Willow Tree in Otago is on the Frankton waterfront and you may also be interested in visiting the Chinese Settlement and Museum in Arrowtown.
  1. Watch the Adrenaline Junkies
    Not everyone wants to do a bungy jump or jetboating but this doesn’t mean that you don’t want to watch it! There are many vantage points across town. One spot you may not have thought of is the Queenstown Rugby Club which is in town. On a good day you can watch dozens of skydivers landing. Grab and ice cream or picnic and set up for the afternoon.
  1. Free Fudge Tasting
    Remarkable Sweet Shop offers free fudge tasting although be warned – you will probably want to buy some after tasting them! Their crème brulee is delicious and they also sell various international lollies so if visiting from overseas, you can get a taste of home.
  1. Book accommodation to cook for yourself
    Much of a holiday budget is spent on food and accommodation but why not mix the two? If you book accommodation that has a view and cooking facilities then buy a box a weet-bix or your regular toast and coffee and some eggs, you’re already saving and making the most of the view. Breakfasts can cost upwards of $25 per day and that can be a saving almost $200 per person across a week.
  2. Make your Own Souvenir
    Many of us have great cameras inbuilt in to our smart phones. Why not take yourself out for a photo shoot of the beautiful landscapes. When you get home print and frame your favourite photo. A photo print can cost less than $1 and a frame around $10. That is an $11 personalised souvenir with special memories attached.

Have you visited Queenstown? What are your favourite things to do on a budget or for free? We’d love to hear what you enjoy doing or what you have experienced.

This article answers:
What can I do in Queenstown for free?
Is there anything to do in Queenstown for free?
What can I do in Queenstown on a budget?
What can I do in Queenstown with no money?

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