What You Could Get in Wanaka for $10 – More Than Just An Instagrammable Mountain Town

More than half the world is closed for travel with the situation these days, is it just me or you all wish you were in New Zealand right now? 

Well, even though we can't go to New Zealand physically, on this week's $10 series, we will go there this week to imagine going there on the budget mentally. 😛 

Thanks to Mikaela of Voyageur Tripper, we're going to see how far we could get in Wanaka for $10 USD. The resort town is known for its outdoor activities and some instagrammable and breathtaking views around the mountainous area.

So, what could we get in Wanaka on the budget?!

Some Options to Do in Wanaka on the Budget

It's no secret New Zealand is expensive. My grocery bill always totaled way more than I was expecting; filling up my 1998 Honda Accord cost me an arm and a leg.

And don't even get me started on tourist attractions – I've barely scratched the surface on my New Zealand bucket list because guided tours, like heli-hiking at Fox Glacier or kayaking in Doubtful Sound were a sizable chunk of my measly student budget.

To my surprise however, I found Wanaka, a quaint and Instagrammable mountain town in the Otago region, to be quite reasonable. I visited a couple times while living in New Zealand and it never broke the budget. So if you had $10 USD, exactly what could it get you?

Did you know?

Wanaka is New Zealand's 45th largest urban area and the fifth-largest urban area in Otago behind Dunedin, Queenstown, Mosgiel and Oamaru.

Note: At the time of writing, $10 USD converts to $15 NZD. Prices henceforth will be expressed in NZD.


Probably the most popular activity in town, a visit to the Wanaka Tree is absolutely free. Likewise, a hike up Roys Peak or wander along the Blue Pools Track doesn't have a price tag.

That said, while hiking in New Zealand is typically free, you're going to need a vehicle to access the trailheads. As I alluded to above, gas is anything but cheap.

I usually ended up using a quarter tank of gas navigating between the various hikes. But split between the other people in my vehicle, this never came out to more than $15 each (so if you're in Wanaka on a budget, ensure you bring some friends!).

$15 would also get you admission into the lovely Wanaka Lavender Farm, and if you visit in the off-season, you'd have $10 remaining to spend on a lavender treat and cup of tea in their cafe.

Food & Souvenirs

At the Artisan & Crafts Market, $15 will get you a handmade treat or knickknack, like a bar of soap or freshly baked bread. I got two small bottles of delicious chutney for $7 each.

If a tasty treat is more to your suiting, $15 will get you the best ice cream cone from Patagonia Chocolates paired with an espresso beverage.

Need something with a little more kick to it? You would also be able to afford a handcrafted, locally sourced Gin & Tonic made at the Cork Bar.

What You Can Almost Afford

Although this post is meant to be under $15, I thought I'd highlight a few things that lie just out of reach. You know, just in case exchange rates become a little more favorable and $10 USD becomes more than $15 NZD.

  • Rent a kayak or stand up paddle board and paddle on Lake Wanaka ($20 per person).
  • Camp at Glendhu Bay Motor Camp, the best campground in the Wanaka area ($20 per person, per night).
  • Visit The Great Maze at Wanaka's Puzzling World ($18 per person).
  • A Classic tour of Cardrona Distillery ($25 per person).

Contributor: Mikaela from Voyageur Tripper

Mikaela is the voice behind Voyageur Tripper, a blog dedicated to outdoor adventure.

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