How to Budget Travel New Zealand Like A Lord

How to Budget Travel New Zealand Like A Lord

From trekking and cycling to wine tasting and luging, there are actually a lot of great things to do in New Zealand without having to spend too much.

“New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep, three million of whom think they are human.” – Barry Humphries

No country thus far can compete when it comes to the vast wonder of New Zealand’s landscapes.

Rolling hills, lakes of magical hurls of blue and green, and icy snow-capped mountains. The colours of the landscapes are saturated beyond what the eye can fathom.

Amidst the clouds with the sun rays seeping through as we trot along to Milford Sound.

The majestic Lake Wakatipu line the entire winding road out of Queenstown.

So to kickstart the post, I will share the best things to do in New Zealand that won’t take such a heavy toll on your already-very-thin wallet.

The affordable must-dos

1. Trekking

The best way to breathe in New Zealand ‘s gorgeous landscapes is by hiking. On this trip, we covered Kepler trek, one of the “Great Walks” of New Zealand. Not recommended for the faint-hearted, the trek entails a 4-hour uphill route to the first pit stop, but the view at the top is so worth it. Small piece of advice: come prepared with waterproof jacket, pants, bag and shoes. The weather here proves volatile, even in summer.

Group shot!

new zealand

Camera moments all the way along the trek. Cloudy day blocking out the beautiful view

Trekking forward into the wild…

2. Playing frisbee in the park

Broke from spending a bomb on your air ticket and car rental? Set aside a chill afternoon just lazing in a field with a book, frisbee and speaker. There are recreation shops in the vicinity of Queenstown that loans frisbees at a simple fee if you didn’t bring yours.

Gorgeous blue sky and sunny days, perfect for Frisbee!

A bunch of teens playing “Bubble” Football. Looks like a whole lot of fun!

3. Luge at Queenstown

For a good mix of thrill and scenery, try Queenstown Skyline Luge. The price varies depending on how many rounds you want to go. Take the cable car and chairlift up while you enjoy the view of the breathtaking surroundings, then whiz down the curvy routes while racing your friends. Guaranteed to thrill the very young, young and not so young. Preview of one of the routes here.

Also read: Skydiving New Zealand: Plummeting through the skies of Abel Tasman

Chairlift with spectacular view!

Group shot before our turn to ride. Check out the view behind!

Quick photo before we set off down the crazy route!

End of the luge ride and queuing up to disembark.

4. Wine tasting

New Zealand has plenty of vineyards, and we visited one just outside of Queenstown – Gibbston Valley Vineyard. Though rather commercialised with quite limited vineyard area to roam, the Gibbston Valley Vineyard offers personal guide services to bring you around the vineyards and wine cellar, including an introduction to their key specialty, the Pinot Noir, at a small fee.

Wildflowers with the Vineyards in a distance

Wine cellar with a consistent nice chilly temperature all year round.

5. Cycling around the lakes

The one thing that every tourist rambles on and on about New Zealand is the country’s stunning blue lakes. Find yourself admiring the beauty of nature and basking in various shades of blue from turquoise to sapphire at famous lakes such as Wakatipu, Wanaka, and Tekapo. And the best way to enjoy the views is via a wonderful bike trip around the area. Cool breeze in your hair and gentle sun in your face with the backdrop of lakes and mountains as you cover those bicycle routes. Worth it? Definitely.

Also read: Blue Lake – World’s Clearest Lake is in New Zealand

View of Lake Wanaka. Check out the crystal clear waters!

Another view of Lake Wakatipu from a lookout point

Lake Wanaka… sigh…

Wild flowers line the coast, contrasting so beautifully with the deep blue of the lakes

6. Breathe in the scent of lavenders and practise yoga

Stuck in the vehicle all day and need some fresh air and blood circulation? Do yoga and stretch amid the aroma of lavender and lupins. You can find these gorgeous flowers everywhere along your drive and they make for perfect pit stops and backdrops for lots of photo-taking and stretching.

Spectacular tones of purple and fuchsia lining the road.

Yoga headstand pose in the middle of the road

Sit here and take selfies all day!

Group jumpshots with the view of Milford Sound.

The not so affordable must-dos

1. Whitewater rafting / jetboat

We picked whitewater rafting over jetboat due to limited budget. Funny rapid names such as Toilet, After Shock, and Jaws give you an idea of the type of rapids to expect. They are not necessarily the most thrilling and rough rapids in the world, but the sceneries that accompany the route are so breathtaking you won’t be able to fully focus on paddling. Make sure to capsize the raft and throw yourself into the river during the gentler parts of the stream, with the go-ahead by the instructor of course. Even during summer, the water still has a nice, icy chill to it.

2. Campervan / road trip experience

Renting a campervan / caravan to get around isn’t the cheapest way to cover New Zealand, but it is definitely a must-try. We got ourselves a 6 berth campervan carrying our entire troop’s 15 days worth of bags. Each day of the 6 man campervan in the summer peak season costs us as much as NZD510 (approx. SGD519), including fuel and campervan site rentals. Hence, I will not recommend staying in one throughout your trip, but worth the experience for a segment of it.

3. The Lord of the Rings tour

For all avid fans of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – Welcome to the heart of Middle Earth. Acres of fields where the battles were fought, look-out points where the fellowship crossed, the haunting mountains in the backdrop, all these just make you feel right in the heart of the movie set. However, be prepared to spend at least USD100 (approx. SGD138) onwards for a half-day guided tour.

Also read: Travel Like You’re the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand’s Middle Earth

Two little things you can prep in advance for this tour:

1. Watch all your Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogy on the plane.

2. Play the sound track as you get driven into the lands of Isengard and Misty Mountains. All these little things make the experience a whole lot more magical.

Also read: Creative Air New Zealand Releases The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made

The Dead Marshes

Forest of Lothlorien.

To sum up, hope these titbits on things to do in New Zealand South Island will help you with your trip planning if not trigger you to make that first ticket purchase to this amazing country.

To end off, quoting Bear Grylls –

“There is only one word for New Zealand – EPIC.”

Contributed by Lydiascapes.

About Author

Lydia Yang

Lydia is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to travel and indulge in all things extreme - from rock climbing to skydiving. Last year alone she achieved a pinnacle in her travel log when she covered exotic lands such as South Africa, Dubai and New Zealand. She is also the author of Lydiascapes, a travel blog dedicated to sharing travel tips and adventure stories with people who have the aching desire to explore and venture forth.


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