Cheap as Chips: Get the Best of Queenstown on a Budget
1. Go for a hike
2. Cycle the Queenstown Trail
The Queenstown Trails are 120 kilometres of meticulously presented walking and cycling trails, linking Queenstown, Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley. The trails are free to use, and can provide hours or even days of exploration. Hiring a bike is going to add significant cost, but the trails can be broken down into easily walked sections, which will cost you nothing.
An ideal walk to start with, is the circuit of Lake Hayes. This is an achievable eight kilometres around New Zealand's most photographed lake, taking in water and mountain views, while following a wooden boardwalk, and passing historic cottages. A handy tip: the walk is easier if you walk in an anticlockwise direction.
3. Visit Glenorchy
You can make the most of your rental car by taking one of the world's most scenic drives, from Queenstown to Glenorchy. This 45 minute drive follows the edge of Lake Wakatipu, and will take you deep into the heart of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie locations.
4. Enjoy a taste of Gibbston Valley
Visiting wineries, and cellar-door tastings are perceived to be expensive pastimes. However, many of the wineries in the Gibbston Valley will only charge a nominal fee to taste a small selection of wines. By paying the tasting charge, you may feel more comfortable, and less obliged to splurge on buying bottles to take away… although the wines are so divine, you will require willpower. A great value experience, for just $15 per person is to tour the unique wine cave at Gibbston Valley wines. You will learn a lot from Gibbston's knowledgeable guides, and be able to taste three wines, straight from the barrels.