21 April 2014

How to have a cheap family holiday in Queenstown

You would expect that travelling to NZ's premier tourist attraction which attracts 2.7 million visitors every year would end up being a major outlay, but that was not the case. Here's how we had a cheap family holiday in Queenstown on a budget:


We were fortunate to have enough airpoints from our trip to England last year to be able to get flights Wellington-Christchurch and Queenstown-Wellington for four of us for FREE. However, if you are searching for flights, you can get them as little as $59 one way from Auckland on Jetstar, or $89 from Wellington on Air NZ without luggage.

Rental car 

This is where it came in VERY handy for us having a hubby who works for a rental car company. We were able to get a Kia Carnival 8-seater for FREE, and so only had to pay for petrol which from Christchurch - Queenstown plus all our day-tripping around whilst down there was under $200. However, you can get good deals by booking online with rental car companies well in advance or by using Flybuys or Entertainment book deals.


Finding nice accommodation for six people in a popular tourist destination could have proved a big challenge. However, we trawled through both the bookabach and holidayhouses websites and eventually found a fantastic option with this 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom property in Fernhill, a suburb up on the hill just out of the town centre with amazing views, and linen provided as well - which was essential when you're flying in and out with limited baggage. And at only $570 for 6 people for 3 nights - it was incredible value at $32 pp per night.


It's pretty much mandatory to do at least one adrenalin-type activity while in the adventure capital of NZ, so we cashed in 510 Flybuys and got return tickets to the Skyline gondola plus ten luge rides effectively for FREE. Nana and Poppa's 2 x adult tickets were $56 return just for the gondola.

At the last minute, after both being given some birthday money, we also decided to take advantage of the Shotover Jet family deal which was $299 for 2 adults and up to 2 children. We were so glad we did, it was so exhilarating!

We also let the kids pan for gold in Arrowtown at Dudley's Cottage ($20 - $10 each for the kids) and visited the fascinating and informative Lakes District Museum whilst there too - $32 for all six of us ($16 for the family plus two adults at $8).


The first night we were still driving en-route to Queenstown so had fish n chips in Cromwell, then the second night we made the most of the facilities at the house and had a home-cooked meal of meat, potatoes and salad, treating ourselves to a famous Queenstown institutuion - a Fergburger - on the last night - $60 for all 6 of us.

We also ate cafe lunches at Glenorchy Lodge one day, and Provisions Cafe in Arrowtown another day - their sticky buns are world famous! Approximate cost of food all up: $400.

So a cheap family holiday to Queenstown can certainly be done with a bit of planning and ingenuity.

Cost to us for 6 people to Queenstown for 3 nights: less than $2,000 or around $300 per person.

Memories made: priceless.

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