Looking for cheap and free things to do in Queenstown? You’ve come to the right place. We know that there are plenty of people exploring New Zealand on a budget and as well as offering some of the best value rental cars in New Zealand (shameless plug), we also have some amazing tips to make your budget go that bit further, no matter where you are exploring. This post is all about Queenstown and the amazing things you can do in Queenstown that are free or super cheap. Don’t forget, you can also get cheap car rental in Queenstown with GO as well!

Queenstown is known as the ultimate tourist destination and is a town that’s made to entertain. Because of this, you could be forgiven for thinking that the only holiday you can have there is an expensive one but that doesn’t have to be the case.

To prove it, we’ve found 14 free and cheap things to do in Queenstown that will make your next holiday not only an unforgettable one but also an affordable one! Let’s check out those cheap activities in Queenstown so you can get planning your next trip.

1. Play Disc Golf

Disc golf is a super fun activity that’s been played in Queenstown since the 1980s. Its home in the city is the beautiful Queenstown Gardens which has its own 18 basket tournament course. Entry into the Queenstown Gardens is free and if you have your own frisbees you can play for free too. If you don’t, you can hire them for $5 a pop and get yourself a scorecard and a map for $3. That makes it quite a bit cheaper than playing regular golf that’s for sure!


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2. Queenstown Hill Walk

The Queenstown Hill Walk is one of the most popular trails in town. It starts from Downtown Queenstown and lasts 2 hours, following the loop all the way around. It’s a very pleasant walk though it does get steep in a few places, however, the great sights to see along the way make those short uphill bursts all worth it. The highlight of these has to be the ‘Basket of Dreams’ monument near the summit where you can strike some great poses for some Insta-worthy photos.


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3. Explore the Queenstown markets

Every weekend the Queenstown marina comes alive in the morning with markets set up selling all sorts of yummy foods and unique local treasures at great prices. If you’re not looking to spend any money, then you can still stroll through for free, and enjoy the live music played by local artists much adored by locals and tourists alike.


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4. Enjoy sunrise/sunset across Lake Wakatipu

Queenstown is a picturesque place at any time of day, but it becomes particularly mesmerising at sunrise and sunset. There’s arguably no better spot to appreciate it than Lake Wakatipu. The purple skies, the calm and peaceful waters, the snow-capped mountains – it’s a sight that’ll leave you lost for words and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


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5. Join a Pub Crawl

If you’re looking for a great night out without breaking the bank, a fun and affordable way to do it is to join a pub crawl. There’s no shortage of pubs and bars in Queenstown and pub crawls are an awesome way to experience them. Not only will you meet fellow locals and travellers, but you’ll also get some great discounts and specials that the pub tour travel guides are able to get.


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6. Eat a Fergburger

If there’s one culinary delicacy you need to treat yourself to when visiting Queenstown it has to be a Fergburger. Fergburger is an iconic award-winning burger joint that has become an attraction in itself for its delicious burgers with witty names. Some examples include the fish burger called ‘The Codfather’, a chicken burger called ‘Cockadoodle Doo’ and a lamb burger called ‘Little Lamby’. You’ll see the queues well before you see the shop but it’s well worth the wait.


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7. Hike the Ben Lomond Track

Queenstown isn’t short of walks and the Ben Lomond Track is one of the best Queenstown trails you can do. If you have enough time to set an entire day aside, then we highly recommend you do so. The whole track from start to finish takes you to the summit of Ben Lomond at 1,748 metres and back again at around 6-8 hours. It gets quite steep near the top, but the views are nothing short of spectacular. If you can only manage a half-day, then the shorter walk (to the saddle of the mountain) will be your go-to which takes around 3-4 hours return and still offers some wonderful views.


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8. Visit the Underwater Observatory

One of the best value-for-money attractions in Queenstown has to be the Underwater Observatory. For just $10 per adult and $5 per child, you can enter the subterranean world of Lake Wakatipu and witness the life that exists there. The local inhabitants include Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Long Finned Eels and more. Open 365 days a year, it’ll always be there to treat the kids to an affordable immersive experience. You’ll also learn about the history of the lake and its Maori mythology from the informative displays.


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9. Conquer Bob’s Peak

One of the most popular walks in Queenstown is the Tiki Trail to Bob’s Peak. It’s actually the home of the Skyline Gondola which is another way to get to the top. If you did that though you’d then miss out on the lovely 45 – 60 minute stroll through the picturesque pine forest teeming with birdlife. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be able to get great shots of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.


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10. Take a Scenic Drive

Given you’ll be travelling in one of our fantastic GO Rentals cars, you’d be silly not to use it while you’re there and a great way to use it is by going on a scenic drive. There is no shortage of beautiful drives to choose from which include the Glenorchy – Queenstown Road lookout, Crowne Range Road lookout and the road to the Remarkables lookout. They all offer amazing vantage points and have some incredible scenery to admire along the way too.


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11. Cycle around Lake Hayes

Lake Wakatipu gets a lot of attention in Queenstown (many would say quite rightly) but there are a number of other lakes nearby that are well worth your time too. Lake Hayes is one and as an added bonus, has an 8km cycle trail that loops around it. It’s a lovely little circuit that looks especially picturesque in autumn when the landscape turns golden with the trees’ autumnal leaves. There are many places in Queenstown to hire a bike for half a day, or the entire day, which will set you up for an epic adventure.


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12. Visit the Lord of the Rings Filming Locations

Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was an epic cinematic undertaking that took the world by storm. The way he brought Middle Earth to life utilising New Zealand’s stunning landscapes was a phenomenal achievement and fans are able to visit many of these locations themselves. From Skippers Canyon on the Shotover River (Arwen’s River of Horses) to Lake Alta (Dimrill Dale) and the Twelve Mile Delta (Ithilien Camp) – there are plenty of places to relive the action and magic from the films. You’ll feel like you’re right in amongst the world of hobbits and orcs.


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13. Camping at Moke Lake

Camping in New Zealand is great fun and one of the best places to do so is at Moke Lake. It’s a scenic Department of Conservation campsite that offers a whole range of outdoor activities. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, biking, fishing, boating – the list goes on with plenty to keep everyone occupied. New Zealand values their clean, green environment, and so if you do decide to go camping, make sure to leave the campsites the way you found them – taking all rubbish and non-biodegradables with you.


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14. Indulge in some Treats and Sweets

It’s always nice to treat yourself on holiday and if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth then The Remarkable Sweet Shop is definitely a place for you. Inside you’ll find a world of wonderful delectable treats that will tantalise the taste buds. Their fudge is especially good with a whole range of interesting flavours like Creme Brulee, Cookies n Cream and Kiwifruit Sorbet. Their nougat is a real delight as well.


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Fantastic cheap and free things to do in Queenstown!

As you can see, there are some great cheap and free things to do in Queenstown that shows you can have an awesome time without spending too much at all. We hope you’ve enjoyed the read and plan your trips soon – the ‘adventure capital of the world’ is waiting for you!!

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