The Travel Guide to Invercargill on a Budget©
The Travel Guide to Invercargill on a Budget

The Travel Guide to Invercargill on a Budget šŸ¤‘ [2024]

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How to Plan a Cheap Trip to Invercargill

Spoiler alert: It’s difficult to visit Invercargill any other way! Invercargill is a city where the parks, estuary landscapes and Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco buildings speak for themselves, so all you’ll need is your best walking shoes and camera to enjoy them. Most of the attractions of New Zealand’s southernmost city are affordable enough, whether it’s one of the magnificent vehicle collections or the quirky “Demolition World”. Admittedly, you don’t need a long stay to experience the kind heart and welcoming vibe of the largest city in the Southland region. And it will be an affordable one thanks to the array of budget hostels, motels, holiday parks and homestays available.

So, find out how to visit Invercargill on a budget with this complete budget travel guide!

Tips for Visiting Invercargill on a Budget

  • Some attractions are spread around the city, meaning that your own transport will be helpful. There are public buses available in the city for a cheaper alternative, taking you to Bill Richardson Transport World, Thomsons Bush, Donovan Park and more
  • Stay in budget accommodation in Invercargill to save money on accommodation – the hostels are the cheapest stays
  • Stay in self-catering accommodation to save money on food by making your own meals – there are Countdown, PAK’nSAVE and New World supermarkets in the city
  • Most of Invercargill’s main attractions are free or cheap, so fill up your itinerary with the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Invercargill.

For more general budget tips, check out the 11 Ways to Save Money When Backpacking in New Zealand.

The Guide to Invercargill on a Budget©

Free Activities in Invercargill

Walks, city parks and beaches pretty much make up the free offering in this city of the south.

Queens Park

A great place to start is exploring Invercargill is at Queens Park. This 80-acre (32ha) park has plenty to discover, not only its surrounding attractions like the 40m (130ft) high Victorian brick water tower, but all sorts of themed gardens. See exotic plants year-round in the winter garden, picturesque displays in the Japanese garden and the creativity of the rock garden. You’ll find all sorts of sculptures and even an aviary in the mix.

Oreti Beach

For beach lovers, enjoy a drive or a long stroll on Oreti Beach. This long flat beach almost seems endless, especially when walking the 32km (20-mile) Oreti Beach Track that follows the beach across streams and dunes. Or you can just park up and have a picnic; whatever it is you like to do at the beach.

Sandy Point

The rest of Invercargill’s free attractions consist of walks, of which there are many! Sandy Point is a popular recreational playground with around 13.5km (8 miles) of trails to choose from, ranging from five minutes to 45 minutes! Head to scenic lookouts, walk through native forest and an estuary, bike trails through a pine plantation and more.

Invercargill Estuary Walk

Another popular walk is the Invercargill Estuary Walk, a 30 to 40-minute walk taking in the Pleasure Bay Lagoon along with its rich history and eco-system that is told through the interpretation panels along the way. For more walks and location details, check out the 10 Best Walks in Invercargill.

For more free activities, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Invercargill.

The Travel Guide to Invercargill on a Budget©

Cheap Activities in Invercargill

If you have a bit of cash to spare in your budget, then these cheap attractions in Invercargill are worth discovering.

Bill Richardson Transport World

Bill Richardson Transport World has become an icon of Invercargill in recent years, which is the largest collection of vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere. While the displays of beautifully restored and preserved vintage vehicles are an impressive sight, there’s also the World of Wearable Art exhibition and LEGO Room to keep non-petrolheads entertained too. General admission for adults is around NZ$35 each and NZ$20 for children.

Classic Motorcycle Mecca

And if the largest collection of vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere wasn’t enough, there’s also a classic motorcycle museum in the centre of Invercargill! Classic Motorcycle Mecca (learn more on Viator and Tripadvisor) is the largest collection of motorcycles in New Zealand, boasting collections of John Britten and Ivan Mauger bikes, as well as a whole range of American, British, Japanese and European bikes. There’s also an on-site cafe and a motorcycle-themed art gallery. Admission is around NZ$35. Note that “Turbo Passes” are available to see both Bill Richardson Transport World and Classic Motorcycle Mecca for a cheaper price than paying individually.

Demolition World

And finally, for something non-vehicle related (except for a few random boats here and there), Demolition World is the quirkiest attraction in Invercargill and maybe even the whole of New Zealand! For a gold coin donation, you will enter a village that has been salvaged from the scrapyard, complete with a church, doctors, school, sweet store, a haunted theatre and more. The only residents are some mannequins, chickens and alpacas.

For more affordable experiences, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Invercargill.

The Guide to Invercargill on a Budget©

Cheap Eats in Invercargill

The good thing about being back in the city, especially if you’ve been exploring the remote Stewart Island, Fiordland National Park or The Catlins, is that you’re back to where the food is cheap and flavourful!

The first thing you need to eat in Invercargill is a Southland cheese roll, also known as Southland sushi! You can pick them up for cheap at just about any cafe in town, but some recommendations include The Batch Cafe (173 Spey Street), Tuatara Backpackers & Cafe (30-32 Dee Street) and Industry Cafe (33 Arena Avenue). Find out more about this Southland speciality and others in the 25 Foods You Have to Try in New Zealand.

There’s nowhere in New Zealand where you can’t enjoy a classic Kiwi pie! Fat Bastard Pies (158 Tay Street) is the place to get them in Invercargill.

When it comes to other cheap eats in Invercargill, you can always rely on Asian meals to keep you fed for a small fee, such as the NZ$10 lunches at Curry Guru Malabar Kitchen (356 Tay Street) and the Wednesday NZ$15 large Indian curry specials at Bombay Palace (68 Forth Street).

Can’t find something to suit your tastes here? We have much more recommendations in the Cheap Eats in Invercargill.

More About Invercargill on a Budget

That’s it from the travel guide to Invercargill on a budget. Check out even more money-saving tips in The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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