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The Queen Of Travelling On A Shoestring

Otago Uni student Ashley Faulkner used to be bad with money – until she became a student. Now she’s become an expert on saving money. Here’s how she got a cut-price Queenstown getaway.

5 October 2021

Just because you’re living on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

If you’re spending less and saving more, you’ll soon have some money to spend on adventures, travelling, and treating yourself.

I found that you can have a great time for less money. Take my recent Queenstown trip with a friend as a special exam celebration after we’d been putting a little money aside for a few weeks.

I’d been to Queenstown before, but my parents had paid, and it always seemed like such a big deal. Hotels and touristy things were so expensive.

However, my mindset has completely changed!

Free flight change

My friend and I were booked on the same flight from Dunedin to Auckland after our exams, but then we discovered it was free to change our flight to leave from Queenstown instead of Dunedin.

We thought, why not? But we had to get to Queenstown. Neither of us had a car and we had a suitcase each.

So, I asked around on social media and found someone heading up to Queenstown in a car, with heaps of room to spare.

We split the gas between us, so it was just $20 each: way cheaper than a $100 flight or a $50 bus fare.

Free accommodation

We decided you don’t need expensive hotels with room service to make the most of your adventures.

My friend’s sister lives 20 minutes from Queenstown, so we were dropped there and pumped up an air mattress. Accommodation was sorted!

The bus went straight from our accommodation straight into town – and it was only $2 each!

Supermarket feast

Instead of spending up large in restaurants, we went to the supermarket and bought a few yummy things to eat.

When you think of Queenstown, you think of jet-boat rides, Onsen hot pools, and bungee jumping. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all super-fun ­– but ridiculously expensive.

Instead, we found awesome things to do without spending anything!

Free fun

We went on heaps of adventures without the pressure of having to do all the touristy things – just enjoying the beautiful scenery.

During the day, we wandered around town and did some walks, went by bus to Arrowtown, and tried out the free samples at The Remarkable Sweet Shop.

We found the Cardrona Hotel was an awesome place to visit for a pint or two, and we borrowed our friend’s car to get there.

We went into town at night and found that, unlike Auckland, there’s free entry to clubs.

The night life in Queenstown was vibrant and exciting, with awesome bars, live music, and lots of new people to meet.

We found the best deals at the bars while we were out having fun! Then we slept in late, before hitting the trails again.

It was a trip to remember and, best of all, it cost us hardly anything.

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