Cheap Things to Do Around New Zealand for Under NZ$50
Looking for cheap weekend getaway ideas or travelling the whole of New Zealand on a budget? Get your eyes on this list of a whopping 50 activities in New Zealand for under $50! We’ve been sure to include something for all ages and interests between relaxing in hot pools and rolling down a hill in a Zorb ball. Mix these ideas with our 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand and you’ll have yourself a fun yet super-affordable holiday.
If you need more activity inspiration, however, don’t miss the 101 Things to Do in New Zealand: The Ultimate List.
1. Encounter New Zealand’s Icon, the Kiwi Bird
See New Zealand’s iconic native bird, the kiwi, at one of the many conservation centres around the country for under NZ$50, including The National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua (more info and book tickets on Viator and Klook) and Kiwi Park in Queenstown.
Location: Rotorua, North Island or Queenstown, South Island. Check out all of the locations in Where to See Kiwi Birds in New Zealand.
2. Sample Some Wine in Marlborough
Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine region, famous for its Sauvignon Blanc. It’s easy to keep this activity under NZ$50 if you visit wineries independently for tastings, which are either free or have a small tasting fee. Alternatively, bicycle hire to visit the wineries is available for under NZ$50 with Explore Marlborough.
3. Walk Among Geysers, Hot Springs and More at a Geothermal Park
4. Hike Over a Volcano on the Tongariro Crossing
Enjoy a day hike crossing the volcanic terrain of Mt Tongariro complete with rich red craters, vibrant green lakes and steaming vents. Transport to/from the one-way trail costs under NZ$50, which you can learn more about in our Tongariro Crossing Accommodation and Transport Guide.
Location: Tongariro National Park, North Island. See more ways to experience these volcanos for under $50 in the 10 Best Things to Do in the Tongariro National Park.
5. Take the Ferry to the Sanctuary of Ulva Island
Experience what New Zealand used to be like before human migration at Ulva Island. Native parrots cackling in the trees and kiwi birds running across your path are not uncommon. The ferry from Golden Bay on Stewart Island costs approximately NZ$20 return.
Location: Stewart Island. See more Stewart Island experiences in the 10 Best Things to Do on Stewart Island.
6. Soak in the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools
Thanks to New Zealand’s many natural mineral hot springs, it’s not too difficult to find a hot pools complex for under NZ$50. One of the most famous is the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools, the largest in the country. Don’t worry, there are plenty on the North Island too, such as Taupo DeBrett’s.
7. Give Surfing a Go in Raglan
Surfing is extremely popular in New Zealand, even at the depths of the South Island. The most famous surf town, however, is Raglan on the North Island where there is plenty of gear hire available costing around NZ$50. Alternatively, you can fork out another NZ$30 for lessons with Raglan Surf School.
Location: Raglan, North Island. For more places to surf, see The Best Surf Regions in New Zealand.
8. Enjoy a Unique Forest Walk on the West Coast Treetop Walkway
While we know there are many free walks in the forests of New Zealand, you might want to pay a little to it from a unique perspective on the West Coast Treetop Walkway.
Location: Hokitika, South Island. See more activities nearby in the 10 Best Things to Do in Hokitika.
9. Take the Ferry to Rangitoto Island from Auckland
From the heart of Auckland city, escape to Auckland‘s youngest volcano, Rangitoto Island. After a ferry journey costing no more than NZ$50 return, hike through lava fields and explore lava caves on your way to the crater summit. Check out more islands in The 10 Best Islands in Auckland to Visit.
Location: Auckland, North Island. For more Auckland highlights, check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Auckland.
10. Experience History at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the site where New Zealand became a nation. It offers a museum, carving studios, bushwalks, a historic homestead and Maori culture performances – not to mention these 5 More Reasons to Visit – all for under NZ$50 (more info on Klook and Viator).
11. Meet Rare Birds at Zealandia
Even in New Zealand’s capital city, you can easily find wilderness areas where birds thrive thanks to state-of-the-art predator-proof fencing. Zealandia is such an eco-sanctuary where it’s easy to see native parrots, tui, robins and the colourful flightless takahe – all for under NZ$50!
12. Tour the Shamarra Alpaca Farm
A surprising find for many visitors to New Zealand is the alpaca farms! Feed, stroke and get a photo with these adorable animals at the Shamarra Alpaca Farm in Akaroa, for instance. On the North Island, there’s Cornerstone Alpaca Farm in Hamilton. Both offer experiences for under NZ$50.
Location: Akaroa, South Island or Hamilton, North Island. Plan more of your trip to Akaroa using the 10 Best Things to Do in Akaroa.
13. Try a New Zealand Pie
A staple of every gas station and bakery in New Zealand, these small savoury pies are a must-try. Our favourite pie shops are the Fairlie Bakehouse on the South Island and Gold Star Bakery Patrick’s Pies on the North Island. Pies only cost around NZ$5-$6 each!
14. Tour the Monteith’s Brewery
Location: Greymouth or Dunedin, South Island. More brewery tour locations can be found in the 10 Best New Zealand Beer Tours.
15. Catch a Game of Rugby
Don’t miss a game of the most popular sports in New Zealand! The atmosphere is electric at live rugby matches at stadiums, such as the Westpac Stadium in Wellington or Eden Park in Auckland. Depending on where you sit and which teams are playing, tickets can be purchased for around NZ$50 each.
Location: Wellington or Auckland, North Island. Check out more stadiums in The Best Places to Watch Rugby in New Zealand.
16. Play a Round of Golf
On the subject of sport, New Zealand’s highest participation sport is golf. Although there are prestigious golf courses that you’ll have to pay top dollar for, some excellent affordable courses include Wairakei Resort Nine-Hole Golf Course in Taupo and the Cromwell Golf Club.
Location: Taupo, North Island or Cromwell, South Island. Find more golf courses in the 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
17. Learn How Movies are Made at the Weta Workshop
Welcome to “Wellywood” where the New Zealand film industry functions including the Weta Workshop. Go on one of their props and special effects tours with stories from The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, the Marvel movies and more (more info on Viator and Klook).
18. Become Part of an Alternative Reality at Steampunk HQ
One of the quirky-yet-cheap attractions in New Zealand, Steampunk HQ is a steampunk museum and art gallery with all sorts of wacky inventions. Trust us, you’ll want to check it out.
19. Visit Larnach Castle
There are no castles in New Zealand except for the one dominating a hilltop on the Otago Peninsula. Larnach Castle is open for tours for under NZ$50.
20. See Vivid World War Scenes 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 New Zealand movie studios. Visiting both of their World War exhibitions is under NZ$50 (more info on Viator and Klook).
Location: Blenheim, South Island. Explore more of Blenheim using the 10 Best Things to Do in Blenheim.
21. Tour the Art Deco City Centre of Napier
After a devastating earthquake in 1931, the city of Napier was rebuilt with characterful art deco architecture. Learn about the city’s history and most noteworthy buildings on an affordable walking art deco tour with the Art Deco Trust.
Location: Napier, North Island. This activity is one of the 15 Best Things to Do in Napier.
22. Discover the Hidden Gem of Washpen Falls
You wouldn’t think there’s much to see among the Canterbury Plains, but Washpen Falls shows that’s not the case. More than just a waterfall walk, this attraction on private property (that only costs around NZ$10 to visit) features volcanic remnants, Maori archaeological sites, viewpoints and a lagoon with a rowing boat.
Location: Methven, South Island. Plan more items for the itinerary in the 10 Best Things to Do in Methven.
23. See the Underwater World in Clear Kayaking
Admittedly, snorkelling in New Zealand’s cool waters isn’t for everyone. That’s where clear kayaking comes in! Observe the thriving fish and kelp forests from your kayak without getting wet. Hire a Clearyak at the Goat Island Marine Reserve for less than NZ$50.
Location: Leigh, North Island. See more stuff to do in the 10 Best Things to Do in Leigh.
24. Race a Go-Kart at Highlands Motorsport Park
If you have the need for speed then get yourself down to Cromwell where the Highland Motorsport Park is located. Race your family and friends at their outdoor go-karting track for less than NZ$50 each.
Location: Cromwell, South Island. You can do some of the 10 Best Things to Do in Cromwell for under NZ$50 too.
25. Try Manuka Honey and Take a Honey Tour
Yes, the internationally renowned superfood manuka honey comes from New Zealand! While tastings are usually free, honey tours at the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre in Havelock North and the Huka Honey Hive in Taupo are under NZ$50 each.
Location: Havelock North or Taupo, North Island. See more food to try in New Zealand in Where to Try Traditional New Zealand Food?
26. Roll Down a Hill in a Giant Ball
A, quite frankly, ridiculously fun thing to do in New Zealand for under NZ$50 is Zorb. Jump into a hollow inflatable ball with some shallow water and let gravity do the rest as you roll down your choice of track. Note that more than one ride will cost you over NZ$50, which you’ll no doubt be tempted to do once you’ve tried it!
27. Tour New Zealand’s Only Tea Plantation
Outside of Hamilton is New Zealand’s only tea plantation, Zealong. Take a tour of the plantation, do a specialised tea tasting or join them for high tea, each for around or under NZ$50.
Location: Hamilton, North Island. Make sure you do some of the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Hamilton while you’re visiting.
28. Hop on the Christchurch Tram
See the sights in Christchurch in a unique way by taking the Christchurch Tram (more info on Viator and Klook). There are 17 stops to hop-on and hop-off and driver commentary is included. What’s more, kids under 15 go free!
Location: Christchurch, South Island. See more ways to see the city in the 10 Best Things to Do in Christchurch.
29. Experience -5°C at an Ice Bar
Step into a bar entirely made of ice, from the sculptures to your cups, at the Below Zero in Queenstown. The experience is for approximately an hour and includes a drink.
Location: Queenstown, South Island. After the ice bar, head to these 5 Best Bars in Queenstown.
30. Cruise the Lake in Queenstown
Enjoy smooth sailing on the luxurious catamaran cruise of Southern Discoveries in Queenstown (more info on Viator and Klook). The cruise for around NZ$50 includes commentary and sightseeing around Lake Wakatipu.
Location: Queenstown, South Island. Plan more of your visit using the 10 Best Things to Do in Queenstown.
31. Tackle a High-Wire Obstacle Course at Adrenalin Forest
For under NZ$50, you can spend a good few hours climbing, ziplining, jumping and scrambling at Adrenalin Forest. There are four obstacle courses in New Zealand: Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.
32. Cycle the Ohakune Old Coach Road
With bike hire and transport to pay for many of New Zealand’s bike trails, this usually sends you over the NZ$50 mark. The Ohakune Old Coach Road, however, is one of the best-value bike trails.
33. Check Out the Views From the Sky Tower
Something to do for under NZ$50 in Auckland is to take the elevator to the Observation Deck of the Sky Tower (more info on Viator and Klook). With glass panelling all around the deck along with interpretation signs, it’s easy to get orientated with the city, harbour and outer islands.
Location: Auckland, North Island. See more activities in the 20 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Auckland.
34. Sail or Cruise to the Taupo Maori Rock Carvings
Not only can you cruise in the crater of a supervolcano at Lake Taupo but you can see giant Maori carvings in the cliffs of Mine Bay. Choose from a sailing cruise (more info on Viator and Klook) or a boat tour (on Viator and Klook) for under NZ$50.
35. Ride the Christchurch Gondola
Another cheapy in Christchurch, this time you can take the Christchurch Gondola up the Port Hills for rewarding views of the city, Canterbury Plains and Lyttelton Harbour (more info on Viator and Klook).
Location: Christchurch, South Island. Choose more affordable activities from the 30 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.
36. Tour a Queenstown Winery
37. Visit the Auckland Museum
38. Join a Cheese Factory Tour in Oamaru
Oamaru is the home of the popular New Zealand cheese brand, Whitestone Cheese. Tour the factory and taste the good stuff on a guided factory tour.
Location: Oamaru, South Island. For more experiences to accompany your cheese tour, see the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Oamaru.
39. Tour a Geothermal Maori Village in Rotorua
One of the most affordable Maori geothermal tours in New Zealand, the guided tour at Whakarewarewa – The Living Maori Village includes cultural commentary, views of geothermal formations, and a quick snack cooked in a hot pool. Find out more on Viator or Klook.
40. Step Back in Time at Shantytown Heritage Park
Explore a replica village from New Zealand’s 19th-century gold rush at Shantytown Heritage Park. Ride a steam train, pan for gold, see gold mining equipment and plenty more. Note that some attractions have an additional fee.
41. Enjoy Family-Friendly Fun at the Huka Prawn Park
Fun for all the family, the Huka Prawn Park offers a prawn-themed fun park with geothermally-heated water playground equipment and a restaurant. The park is looking to reintroduce prawn fishing in the near future.
42. Check Out Immense Vintage Vehicle Collections at Transport World
Whether you’re a petrolhead or not, it’s difficult to not be impressed by the humongous collection of vintage vehicles at Bill Richardson’s Transport World. Also in Invercargill is Classic Motorcycle Mecca.
Location: Invercargill, South Island. See more affordable experiences in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Invercargill.
43. Meet the Animals at a Farm Park
With farming being the top industry in New Zealand, it’s no surprise that you can find a farm park or two. Almost all that we can think of are well under NZ$50, like Bullswool Farm Park.
Location: Paeroa, North Island. See more cheap experiences nearby in the 5 Best Things to Do in Paeroa.
44. Experience Rugby History at the Rugby Museum
As mentioned earlier in this listicle, New Zealand is nuts about rugby. Trace its history and try out some of the challenges at the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North. Alternatively, head to the All Blacks Experience in Auckland (more info on Viator and Exploring Auckland).
Location: Palmerston North or Auckland, North Island. Find more cheap stuff in the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Palmerston North.
45. Hire a Kayak
With some 15,000 km (9,320 mi) of coastline, New Zealand has plenty of places to hire a kayak to explore its intricacies. NZ$50 will typically get you an hour or two of kayak rental, such as with Auckland Sea Kayaks.
Location: Auckland, North Island. Plan more of your visit with The Travel Guide to Auckland on a Budget.
46. Ride the Historic Wellington Cable Car
Make your way from the streets of the capital to the top of the beautiful Wellington Botanic Garden on the historic Wellington Cable Car. Rides are under NZ$10 and also take you to a free museum.
47. Indulge in Fresh Fish & Chips
It certainly doesn’t cost you more than NZ$50 to sample some of New Zealand’s fresh fish and chips, even to feed a family! 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?
48. Scare Yourself at Fear Factory
Get your heart pumping with a different style of adrenaline in either Queenstown or Wellington with a trip to Fear Factory. Navigate the live-action haunted house and maze at your own pace for under NZ$50! Check the details for Fear Factory Queenstown on Viator.
Location: Queenstown, South Island or Wellington, North Island. See more indoor activities like this in the 20 Things to Do in Queenstown on a Rainy Day and the 20 Things to Do in Wellington on a Rainy Day.
49. Explore Urupukapuka Island
Step on one of the 144 islands in the Bay of Islands by taking the Explore ferry to Urupukapuka Island. On the island are walking trails to see an array of birdlife, as well as sheltered swimming beaches and a cafe.
Location: Paihia, North Island. See more activities in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.
50. Meet the Bearded Miners of Reefton
Finally, for one of New Zealand’s quirkiest 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.
More Activities Under $50 in New Zealand
That’s it for the best activities under $50 in New Zealand. Now check out all of these other things to do for under $50 in New Zealand:
- 30 Activities Under $30 in New Zealand
- 20 Activities Under $20 in New Zealand
- 10 Activities Under $10 in New Zealand
- 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand
Finally, plan your budget trip around the country using the New Zealand Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 2 Weeks and New Zealand Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Weeks.