These are the best New Zealand experiences that only cost $50 (or less)

Dancing, axe-throwing (yes, really!), soaking and soaking up history - you can do it all in New Zealand for under $50.

A woman reclines in a hot spring in Rotorua, New Zealand.
  • Jetstar
  • September 2019

If you want to pack your trip to New Zealand with fun activities, you’ll be spoilt for choice. From history and wellness to just out-there wild fun, these experiences are cool – and don’t cost the earth.

Soak in a Rotorua hot spring

Don’t be put off by the smell of sulphur – in Rotorua, it signals geothermal activity and that you’re on your way to some serious R&R. Choose from a complex of 28 hot and cold pools fed by two natural springs at Polynesian Spa opens in new window – they’re meant to rejuvenate the skin and target muscle aches. Prices vary depending on how many or which pools you enter but access to the family pools start at AUD $23 for adults and AUD $10 for kids.

Go zorbing in Rotorua

Ever wondered what life would be like as a happy hamster? Well, here’s where you can find out. In the lakeside town of Rotorua, OGO opens in new window will send you down one of four tracks inside a 95-kilogram inflated ball. Downhill ball rolling is a New Zealand invention that will have you slipping and sliding inside a H2OGO (ball with water) or bouncing around in a DRYGO (without water). Tackle the steep, 300-metre Mega Track, propel down the new Big Air belly-flipping route, sway along the longest Sidewinder path or race down the 250-metre Straight. Rides start at AUD $45 for a solo-OGO trip or you can double-up in the one ball to watch limbs fly.

Explore Maori history in Waitangi

For a crash course in New Zealand’s history and culture, visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds opens in new window, the birthplace of modern-day Aotearoa. Start in the museum, then visit the Treaty House. Receive a traditional powhiri welcoming ceremony, then watch haka and poi performances at a Maori meeting house. New Zealand residents gain entry for just AUD $25, while non-residents pay AUD $50 and children are free.

Throw an axe in Wellington or Auckland

Got an axe to grind? At New Zealand’s Sweet Axe Throwing Co opens in new window, you can chuck one at a bullseye instead. Gather your friends – you need at least eight to play but they cater for groups of up to 50 – and spend an afternoon perfecting your technique. Each AUD $50 session includes one-on-one coaching, a demonstration and a competition to find the axe-throwing champion. Anyone over 18 can play, as can teens over 15 with supervision. Sweet Axe is located a 10-minute walk from Cuba Street in Wellington and Aucklanders now have their own location in the City of Sails, too.

A man pulls an axe from a wooden target at Sweet Axe Throwing Co.
Forget bowling - grab a group of friends and chuck an axe or two at Sweet Axe Throwing Co.

Play frisbee golf in Queenstown

Hugging the shores of Lake Wakatipu, lush Queenstown Gardens is the stage for the adventure capital’s most underrated outdoor activity. Tucked between the Douglas firs is New Zealand’s original frisbee golf course, where the aim of the game is to whizz your frisbee from the “tee” to the “hole” in as few flings as possible. If you don’t have your own disc, you can rent one from the Queenstown Ice Arena opens in new window located in the gardens for just AUD $5. Add a scorecard and a map for only AUD $3.

Lose yourself in a dance class in Wellington

Why bust a move to the greatest hits alone in your bedroom when you can join fellow groovers and do it together? Shut Up and Dance opens in new window run nine classes a week across Wellington in New Zealand, where you’ll laugh your way through contemporary and hip-hop dance routines set to songs by Britney, Prince and Beyoncé. Classes are come one, come all. The rules are: no mirrors, no photos and no observers – it’s just AUD $20 and 45 minutes of what co-founder Abby Damen calls “highly untechnical direction”.