Written by: Jaii Fredregill
Destination: Queenstown, NZ
Visited: April 2019
When we arrived in Queenstown there was a storm right on our heels; by bedtime the rain was pouring down on our Escape Rentals campervan. We listened to it fall from the warmth of our cozy bed inside the van as we searched the web for activities to busy ourselves with the next morning while we waited for the storm to pass.
We are only about 6-weeks into our year of travel, so budget is a concern in New Zealand, where tours and even simple things like kayak rentals can carry an inflated price tag for travelers. Hiking, which is what brought us to the area, is free but was not advised due to weather and falling forest debris, sliding rocks, etc., so there was nothing we could do but wander around the area looking for fun ways to pass the time.
Here are some affordable things to do around Queenstown that are perfect for waiting out turbulent weather, or for when you just feel like taking it easy for a while. You can also save money on https://www.bookme.co.nz on all sorts of activities, but their best discounts are for those with a flexible schedule, who can book during their deeply discounted times.
Fill up with Fergberger. The burger made them famous, but their bakery and gelateria make equally satisfying fare for hungry travelers.
Eating a burger for breakfast may not appeal to everyone, but since we have been camping for over a month, anything that has not come out of a box or a can sounds amazing for any meal. The Fergburger has become simultaneous with Queenstown, and for good reason, it’s delicious. Starting at NZD 12, this meal does not have to break the bank either. Pie lovers, and those looking to spend a little less should stop in to Ferbaker next door, where the large selection of pies starts at around NZD 6. If the lamb and kümara (sweet potato) is available, I recommend you start there.
42 Shotover St, Queenstown 9300
Ducks, fish and eels dive for food at the Underwater Observatory
Our next stop was this kooky underwater observation room below the KJet kiosk at Lake Wakatipu . It cost NZ 10/USD 7 and you can put dollar coins into a machine that releases food pellets to feed the local fish, eels and ducks who gather around the observation window to eat and be filmed by the phones of what must be thousands of tourists each year.
Main Town Pier, Marine Parade, Queenstown 9348
Fudge...so much fudge.
These clever candymakers offer free tastings of their generous selection of fudge. With so many creative and tasty options, you will have a tough decision to make. Luckily each hearty chunk is sold by the kilo and for just NZD 7/USD 5, you can buy a hunk that will keep even the sweetest tooth satisfied for at least a day or two.
Historical buildings preserve the charm of Arrowtown, a former mining town located just 20-km from Queenstown.
Arrowtown Village on Buckingham Street is the main heritage area of this little town, and where you will find the bulk of its shops and restaurants. You can also visit the Lake District Museum at 49 Buckingham Street, for NZD 10/USD 7. Discounted rates are offered for seniors, children and families.
Just a short walk from here, structures still stand from the Historic Arrowtown Chinese Miner Settlement, offering some insight into the plight and accomplishments of these miners, who were originally recruited by provincial authorities to work in the mining industry in the mid-1860s.
Should you arrive here during good weather, you can rent a bike for the day and follow the trail along the Kawarau River to nearby wineries. In town rentals were around NZD 50/USD 35 per day, but with a little online research you can probably find a better price.
Peregrine Winery, Queesntown, NZ
Just because you are traveling on a budget doesn't mean that you can't go wine tasting. Buying a bottle from each winery can get expensive, but you can taste at most wineries for NZD 10/USD 7 or less. If you hit them all the cost will get hefty, but stopping at one or two is not really astronomical.
Peregrine Winery offers a free tasting, and a few of their wines are under NZD 30/USD 21. This region is known for its pinot noirs, one of my personal favorites, so an opportunity to taste for free was greatly appreciated, and helped me a great deal in deciding which wine to buy.
2127 Gibbston Highway, Rd 1, Queenstown 9371
Those with more funds allotted to wine and spirits might also enjoy a visit to The Winery in Queenstown. Here you can taste over 80 New Zealand wines and an range of local and international spirits, because sometimes a little day drinking is just what a rainy day calls for.
14 Beach Street, Queenstown
Be sure check out these handy taxi apps to find a taxi in Queensland, Green Cabs Go Green
Queenstown Taxis and iHail. Yes, they will pick you up and take you back to hotels, resorts and most campsites.
Once the weather lets up and you're feeling rested, don't forget to get out in the incredible nature that can be found in and around Queenstown.