We’ve heard the complaint a few times in recent history – Queenstown is expensive.
Now, we’d like to stop you right there. Firstly, Queenstown is no different to any other town/city in the western world; If you have expensive tastes, then yeah, your wallet is going to cop a hit.
The big difference though, is unlike Singapore, Sydney and New York, we actually have PLENTY of cheap options for food, drinks, and activities. Don’t want to pay $40 for a main meal? Fine! Want to find a pint of beer that leaves you more than chump change from a $20? Easy. Need some entertainment but trying to avoid letting tour operators see the moths fly out of your wallet? Then this next section is for you.
Drink: This one is a no-brainer. Anyone who complains about the price of a drink here – particularly if you’ve ever been to Australia – needs to check where they’re drinking. Rhino’s Ski Shack, Harry’s Pool Bar, 1876, Loco’s and Searle Lane and Social all have pints starting from $6. Thereafter, any one of the bars in town offers pints etc. for a still very reasonable $7 or $8. Sure, there’s a few bars where you’ll pay a premium. But hey, if money is an issue, maybe don’t go to them? Also, if you want to have a cheeky bevvy by the beach, go to Henry’s liquor store, or any of the supermarkets for that matter (other than alpine). The same price of a 6-pack in Australia will get you a 12 pack here – Booyah!
Food: We covered this a little bit in a previous post – Food, food, FOOD! – but ‘quality’ and ‘cheap’ can actually go in the same sentence in this town. Pub on Wharf, Atlas, Yonder, World Bar, Habebes, Tham Nak Thai, Searle Lane and Social, Wild Thyme, Loco Cantina, Smith’s Craft Beer Bar, etc. etc. etc. The list of $20 or less mains and even cheaper lunch options really does just keep going. And we haven’t even gotten started on all the take away options yet (think Fergburger). We’ve been to just about every eatery in Queenstown, and the funny thing? The only ones we’ve walked away from questioning the value and quality are – you guessed it – the expensive options. You don’t need to worry about quality of fare in this foodies paradise.
Activities: Okay, we’ll admit, it does get a little harder in this section. Let’s face it – you’re not going to find a bungy or a skydive anywhere in the world for $50 or less, and we know that’s why you came here to read this part. There are plenty of cheaper options of things to do here though, so bare with us here. We’re not going to say go for a hike – you should be considering doing that anyway in our beautiful neck of the woods anyway – plus we already covered that in other blog posts. We have an amazing frisbee golf course here on the lakefront, and if you grab a couple of free frisbee’s from reception at your favourite hostel, then guess what? It’s free! Alternatively…
Go for a round of actual golf at the Frankton Golf Course for $15 if you’ve gotten a taste for golf that throwing a frisbee didn’t suffice. Or mini-golf at Caddyshack City mini golf for $22 if you want to keep it fun and miniature.
Reading cinema’s in the Mall has cheap Tuesday, where all films are $13 ($17 normally), or treat yourself to a Dorothy Brown’s experience in Arrowtown from $18 for big comfy chairs and alternative films.
Take a cruise on the lake for an hour and a half with Million Dollar Cruises from $39, or head over to Mt. Nicholas Station – the side of the lake you can’t get to without a boat – for the same price.
Jump on a bar crawl with Kiwi Crawl for $35, or if you stay at the best accommodation in town on a Wednesday night, that crawl is only $25 – don’t say we never do anything for you!
Check out Minus5 IceBar from $35, or if you jump on that same pub crawl we mentioned above on a Wednesday, Minus5 is actually included!
Head up Skyline Gondola from $42 return, and add a luge for $49 total. Or walk yourself to the top and enjoy the same view everyone else just paid for, and spend that money on a well-deserved beer for your effort.
Hit Fear Factory for a scare from $35, Kill zombies in virtual reality at Thrillzone from $32, and get lost in Escape Quest from $44 – just remember to bring a friend.
That just about covers it really. There are more we could go into, but we think that should just about keep you entertained, fed, and watered during your time with us. Just remember: Don’t call us expensive! If you’ve just come from South East Asia, then everything is expensive in comparison, but if you compare us to the rest of the western world, then we’ll start looking like bloody good value! 😉