Cheap Things to Do Around New Zealand for Under NZ$30
Looking for cheap weekend getaway ideas or travelling the whole of New Zealand on a tight budget? Get your eyes on this list of 30 activities in New Zealand for under $30! We’ve been sure to include something for all ages and interests between wine tastings and visiting geothermal parks. Combine these with the 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand and you’re sure to have plenty of budget to spare for the other 101 Things to Do in New Zealand.
1. Have a Kiwi Bird Encounter
See New Zealand’s iconic flightless bird, the kiwi, at one of the many affordable conservation centres around the country, including Kiwi North and the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre in Whangarei and the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Whangarei, North Island or Franz Josef, South Island. Check out all of the locations in Where to See Kiwi Birds in New Zealand.
2. Visit the Wineries in Marlborough
Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine region, famous for its sauvignon blanc. To keep the wine tasting experience under NZ$30, simply appoint a designated driver and enjoy tastings at the wineries for free or very cheap.
Location: Blenheim, South Island. Check out more wine regions in the 10 Best Wine Tours in New Zealand.
3. Wander Among Hot Springs and Geysers at a Geothermal Park
New Zealand is literally a hotbed of activity, especially in the North Island with several geothermal parks – some for under NZ$30! Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley in Rotorua (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Craters of the Moon in Taupo.
Location: Rotorua – Taupo, North Island. See more geothermal hotspots in the 8 Best Geothermal Parks in New Zealand.
4. Take the Ferry to the Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary
Experience what New Zealand could have been like before human migration by visiting Ulva Island. Take the NZ$20-return ferry from Golden Bay on Stewart Island to the island sanctuary with native parrots cackling in the trees and kiwi birds running across your path.
Location: Stewart Island. See more Stewart Island experiences for cheap in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Stewart Island.
5. Soak in Some Hot Pools
Thanks to New Zealand’s many natural mineral hot springs, it’s not too difficult to find an affordable hot pools complex. Hot pools for under NZ$30 include Taupo DeBrett’s (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Waikite Valley Thermal Pools in Rotorua and Tekapo Springs in Lake Tekapo.
Location: Taupo and Rotorua, North Island or Lake Tekapo, South Island. See the locations of hot pools in the 10 Best Hot Pools in New Zealand.
6. Visit the Sanctuary in the City at Zealandia
More wildlife encounters await, even in the heart of Wellington at Zealandia. Visit this eco-sanctuary for under NZ$30 to see native parrots, tui, robins and the colourful flightless takahe.
Location: Wellington, North Island. Plan more of your trip to the capital on a budget using the 21 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Wellington.
7. Eat a Classic Kiwi Pie
A staple of every gas station and bakery, New Zealand’s small savoury pies are a must-try. What’s more, they won’t even touch NZ$30! Our favourite pie shops are the Fairlie Bakery and the Turangi Bakery.
Location: Fairlie, South Island or Turangi, North Island. See where to try more traditional New Zealand food here.
8. Tour and Taste Beer at the Monteith’s Brewery
Discover New Zealand’s passion for beer making on an affordable brewery tour, such as the Monteith’s Brewery in Greymouth (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Alternatively, tour the Speight’s Brewery in Dunedin – one of the oldest in the country (Viator/Tripadvisor).
Location: Greymouth or Dunedin, South Island. More brewery tour locations can be found in the 10 Best New Zealand Beer Tours.
9. Tour the Behind-the-Scenes of the Weta Workshop
See how the movies are made in the Wellington version of Hollywood, “Wellywood”! Take the Weta Workshop to learn about the props and special effects for The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Marvel movies and more (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Wellington, North Island. Check out more affordable movie locations to see in the 15 Best Film Locations in Wellington.
10. Check Out Wacky Art and Inventions at Steampunk HQ
One of the quirkier attractions in New Zealand, Steampunk HQ is a steampunk museum and art gallery with all sorts of creative sci-fi inventions. A visit is well under NZ$30!
Location: Oamaru, South Island. Check out more attractions on the cheap in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Oamaru.
11. Witness the Vivid War Displays at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
A museum like no other, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre showcases warplanes and memorabilia in realistic static displays made by movie studios. Visit one of their two exhibitions for under NZ$30 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)!
Location: Blenheim, South Island. Explore more of Blenheim’s cheap activities using the 10 Best Things to Do in Blenheim.
12. Take an Art Deco Tour in Napier
After a devastating earthquake in 1931, the city of Napier rebuilt with characterful art deco architecture. Learn about the city’s history and most noteworthy buildings on a walking art deco tour for under NZ$30 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Napier, North Island. See more cheap experiences in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Napier.
13. Find the Hidden Gem of Canterbury, Washpen Falls
Hidden at the edge of the Canterbury Plains is the cheap and cheerful outdoor attraction, Washpen Falls. See volcanic remnants, Maori archaeological sites, viewpoints, a lagoon with a rowing boat and, of course, a waterfall on this private walking trail.
Location: Methven, South Island. Plan more items for the itinerary in the 10 Best Things to Do in Methven.
14. Try Manuka Honey, L&P, Whittaker’s and More
Trying some local snacks certainly won’t send you over budget! Pick up the local soft drink, L&P, or the local chocolate bar, Whittaker’s, from any supermarket. Additionally, head to one of the honey centres like Arataki Honey Visitor Centre in Havelock North and the Huka Honey Hive in Taupo for free tastings of New Zealand’s famous superfood, manuka honey.
Location: Havelock North or Taupo, North Island. See more food to try in New Zealand here.
15. Do a Hop-on Hop-off Tour on the Christchurch Tram
See the sights of Christchurch in style on the Christchurch Tram (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). There are 17 stops to hop-on and hop-off with driver commentary in-between. What’s more, kids under 15 go free!
Location: Christchurch, South Island. See more cheap ways to see the city in the 17 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.
16. Experience -5°C at an Ice Bar
Step into a bar entirely made of ice, from the sculptures to your cups to the bar itself, at the Minus 5° Ice Bar in Queenstown (more info on Klook). The experience lasts for approximately an hour and includes one drink.
Location: Queenstown, South Island. After the ice bar, try these 16 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Queenstown.
17. Head Up the Port Hills on the Christchurch Gondola
Yes, another cheap experience in Christchurch, the Christchurch Gondola takes you up the Port Hills for rewarding views of the city, Canterbury Plains and Lyttelton Harbour (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Christchurch, South Island. Plan more of your visit using The Travel Guide to Christchurch on a Budget.
18. Check Out the Auckland Museum
Location: Auckland, North Island. See more affordable activities in the 17 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Auckland.
19. Tour a Cheese Factory in Oamaru
Location: Oamaru, South Island. Plan more of your trip with The Travel Guide to Oamaru on a Budget.
20. Hook a Prawn at the Huka Prawn Park
Fun for all ages, the Huka Prawn Park offers a tour of a prawn farm heated with geothermal waters. There are also prawn ponds to enjoy fishing all day, as well as waterpark features and a restaurant. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Taupo, North Island. Complement your visit with these 12 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Taupo.
21. Have a Classic New Zealand Farm Experience at a Farm Park
Farming is a way of life for many in New Zealand, so it’s no surprise that you can find a farm park or two. Almost all that we can think of are under NZ$30, such as Bullswool Farm Park (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Paeroa, North Island. See more cheap experiences nearby in the 5 Best Things to Do in Paeroa.
22. Ride the Wellington Cable Car
Make your way from the capital’s streets to the top of the beautiful Wellington Botanic Garden on the bright red Wellington Cable Car. Rides are under NZ$10 and also take you to a free museum.
Location: Wellington, North Island. Learn more about the Cable Car Museum in the 12 Free Art Galleries & Museums in Wellington.
23. Sample Some Fresh Fish & Chips
It certainly doesn’t cost you more than NZ$30 to sample some of New Zealand’s fresh fish and chips! You need to try this Kiwi staple at least once while visiting.
Location: Check out the best places to try fish and chips in Where to Try Traditional New Zealand Food?
24. Meet the Bearded Miners of Reefton
For one of New Zealand’s quirkier attractions, the Bearded Miners of Reefton will show you gold panning, take you on a tour of their shack, or share stories over a cup of tea for a gold coin donation.
Location: Reefton, South Island. Learn more about the experience in the 15 Best Things to Do in Reefton.
25. Cruise Lake Rotorua in a Paddleboat
Enjoy a one-hour sightseeing cruise and either a buffet lunch or breakfast for under NZ$30 with Lakeland Queen in Rotorua. The replica of a Mississippi River paddleboat takes you to see Sulfur Bay, Kawaha Point and Mokoia Island. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Rotorua, North Island. Add more to the itinerary using the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Rotorua.
26. Tour the Buried Village of Te Wairoa
Speaking of Rotorua, you can also enjoy an affordable cultural and historical experience visiting the archaeological site of Te Wairoa (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). The village was buried after the devastating Mt Tarawera eruption in 1886, which you can learn about on a guided tour of the museum and geothermal waterfall trail.
Location: Rotorua, North Island. Plan more of your trip using The Travel Guide to Rotorua on a Budget.
27. Visit Dunedin’s Olveston Historic Home
Dunedin is a city full of history and grandiose architecture signifying the city’s wealth from the New Zealand gold rush. One of the popular buildings to explore is the Olveston Historic Home (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) offering tours for under NZ$30.
Location: Dunedin, South Island. Check more affordable activities in the 18 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Dunedin.
28. Tour a Distillery in Golden Bay
While wine and beer tend to take all the limelight for drinking tours in New Zealand, something a little different awaits in Takaka in Golden Bay. Take a tour of the Dancing Sands Distillery with an in-depth tasting included (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Takaka, South Island. Plan more activities with the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Takaka.
29. Ride the Chairlifts and Explore the Walks at Christchurch Adventure Park
Ride the longest chairlift in New Zealand to enjoy the views of the Lyttelton Harbour, Christchurch city, the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Alps. Christchurch Adventure Park offers a number of short walks to make the most of your time there. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Christchurch, South Island. Plan your visit with The Travel Guide to Christchurch on a Budget.
30. Enjoy an Island Escape from the City
Finally, whether you’re in Christchurch or Wellington, you can enjoy an island escape for under NZ$30. In Christchurch, take the ferry from Lyttelton to Quail Island or in Wellington, from the city to Matiu Somes Island. Both have similar stories of being historic quarantine islands turned into birdlife havens.
Location: Wellington, North Island or Christchurch, South Island.