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Cheap as Chips: Get the Best of Queenstown on a Budget

stunning view of lake wakatipu between queentown and glenorchy in new zealand

We know what you are thinking: How can anything be as cheap as chip in the beautiful Queenstown region, known as the playground of the rich and famous? Well, you may be surprised! To help maximise your time while minimising your budget, here's our top five list of free and cheap things to do in Queenstown sure to give you entertainment and pleasure.

1. Go for a hike

Surrounded by majestic mountains, this paradise has an outstanding stature for hiking enthusiasts. If you are looking for easier walks, you can begin hiking at Queenstown Hill, the Arawata Bridle Track, Bob's Cove Track & Nature Walk. But if you want a longer and challenging walking trail, the Jack's Point Track or the iconic Ben Lomond Track are just right for you.

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. 

5. Do a bungy jump

Widely known as the “Adventure Capital of the World”, Queenstown is also recognised as “World Home of Bungy Jumping”. Hence it's only fitting that bungy jumping should also be on your to-do list. Offering stunning views mixed with adventure, thrills, and screams, the Kawarau  Bridge is situated just 20-minutes from the centre of Queenstown. But if you're not brave enough, which is pretty acceptable, you can just watch on as people line up to jump while you enjoy a bite to eat or drink from the on-site café.

If you have other suggestions or recommendations for things to see and do in and around the beautiful Queenstown region, make sure to let us know in the comments below!

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