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, icy snow cap mountains. The colours of the landscapes are saturated beyond the eye can fathom. Situated at the obscure corner in the world map, it is a wonder how secretly preserved this country is. To kick start the post, here’s sharing the 9 affordable and unaffordable must-dos in New Zealand South Island that won’t take such a heavy tool on your already-very-thin wallet. Some of them are even free!
So are you ready?
‘New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand sheep, three million of whom think they are human’
– Barry Humphries
AFFORDABLE AND UNAFFORDABLE MUST-DOs
The Cheaper and Free Activites:
Presenting the cheap and fun things to do in New Zealand, that is worth it!
1. New Zealand Trekking Trails
The best way to breathe in New Zealand ‘s gorgeous landscapes – hiking. In this trip, we covered Kepler trek, one of the ‘Great Walks’ of New Zealand. Not recommended for the faint-hearted, this route is a 4 hour uphill to the first pit stop, but the view at the top is so worth it. Small piece of advice, come prepared with a waterproof jacket, pants, bag and shoes. The weather here proves volatile, even in summer.
New Zealand has so many stunning hiking trails in North Island as well as South Island. So make sure you set aside enough time to experience all its beauty. Perfect scenery regardless of what season you come in, though I do admit Winter may be the least popular.
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 nearby vicinity of Queens town that loans Frisbees at a simple fee if you didn’t bring yours.
Want to do a campervan trip around New Zealand. Read about our epic road trip – 3 girls 3 guys 1 campervan.
3.Luge Ride at Queenstown
For a good mix of thrill and scenery – try Queenstown Skyline Luge. There is varying price range depending on how many rounds you would like to go. Take the cable car and chairlift up while – enjoying the view of the breathtaking surroundings. Then wheez down the curvy routes while racing with your friends. Guaranteed to thrill the very young, young and not so young.
4. Wine Tasting
If you are a fan of wine tasting and New Zealand home grown wine, this is a must try activity here in New Zealand.
New Zealand has plenty of vineyards, and we visited one just outside of Queenstown – Gibbston Valley Vineyard. Though rather commercialized with quite limited vineyard area to roam, a small fee entitles you to have a personal guide to bring you around the vineyards and wine cellar, with an intro about the Gibbston Valley key specialty – Pinot Noir.
5. Cycling around the Lakes
The one thing that every tourist rambles on and on about New Zealand is – their Stunning Blue Lakes. From Wakatipu to Wanaka to Tekapo, every possible hue from baby blue to turquoise to deep sapphire, the lakes have it. And the best way to enjoy the views is a wonderful bike trip around it. 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.
6. Breathe the Lavenders and do Yoga
Being stuck in the vehicle all day and need some fresh air and blood circulation? Do yoga and stretch out with the aromatic smell of lavender and lupins. This gorgeous flowers are everywhere along your drive and the perfect pitstops for a lot of photos and stretching.
The Not So Affordable Expensive Must-Dos in NZ
1. Whitewater Rafting/ Jetboat
We picked Whitewater Rafting over Jetboat due to limited budget. Not necessarily the most thrilling and rough rapids in the world, but the scenery as you throttle down those river rapids are so breathtaking, you can’t fully focus on paddling. Rapid names from Toilet to After Shock to Jaws can give you an idea what funny type of rapids you get to experience.
ake sure to topple yourself overboard into the river during the gentler parts of the stream, with the go ahead by the instructor of coz. Even in summer, the water still has a nice icy chill to it. Just always be mindful what you step on while walking in ths shallow waters. For a better grip of your feet, you can wear canyoning shoes with rubber soles.
2. Campervan/ road trip experience
Renting a nice and spacious campervan or caravan to get around South Island isn’t the cheapest way to cover New Zealand, but it is definitely a must-try. During our time there over Christmas and New Year, we got ourselves a 6 berth campervan carrying our entire troop of 6 as well as our massive suitcases.
For the rental of this wonderful 6 man campervan in the summer peak season ( Dec to Jan), it costs us as much as NZ$510 per day, including fuel and campervan site rentals. Hence if you are on a budget over in New Zealand, I will not recommend staying in one throughout your trip in the high season, but worth the experience for a segment of it.
Pro tip, if you are looking to save a bit more money, it might be worth considering trying freedom camping. However, make sure you do more research about it whether are the allocated and assigned segments, as well as things to note and be mindful off before you embark on it.
3. The Lord of the Rings NZ 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 makes you feel right in the heart of the movie set. However, be prepared to spend at least US$100 onward for a half day guided tour.
2 little things you can prep in advance of 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.
The Dead Marshes
Drive around with full convenience, so even if you are traveling around New Zealand with young kids, not an issue.
Forest of Lothlorien.
To sum up, hope these little tidbit size Affordable and Unaffordable Must-dos to do in New Zealand South Island have helped you with your trip planning, if not trigger you to make that first ticket purchase there.
To end off, quoting from Bear Grylls –
‘ There is only one word for New Zealand – EPIC ‘
We hope you enjoyed this piece about all the best memories we had in New Zealand. It was truly magical and left a lot of nostalgic memories that I hope to come back again!
New Zealand | 9 Affordable and Unaffordable Must-Dos