Things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand: One day three ways

Penny pinch

The Fergbaker bakery at 40 Shotover Street offers pies, cakes and breakfastworthy $8 salmon and provolone baguettes.

Afterwards, take on the waistline-friendly, if exhausting, Tiki Trail. After about an hour of uphill trekking, you arrive at the top station of the Gondola cable car with a smug feeling of superiority. Once there, have a go on the luge (skyline.co.nz/queenstown/luge) – downhill karting, essentially. It's $25 for three rides.

After hiking back down into town, eat Maori delicacies by Lake Wakatipu. Aggy's Shack at the end of Church Street serves muttonbird and fries for $14.

Explore the lake further on the inaccurately-name Million Dollar Cruise (milliondollarcruise.co.nz, $32 for 90 minutes) then try a crumbed chicken, bacon, avocado and brie Devil Burger (devilburger.com, $13). Sleep at the Flaming Kiwi Backpackers (flamingkiwi.co.nz, $67 for a cabin, including free bike hire).

TOTAL: $159

Easy does it

Savour the $16 grilled halloumi and poached eggs at Vudu Larder (vudu.co.nz), before taking a half day to explore the Lord of the Rings filming locations at the northern edge of Lake Wakatipu. Non-Peter Jackson fans shouldn't fret – the $158 tour with Nomad Safaris (nomadsafaris.co.nz) is really an excuse to see exceptional forest, river valley and mountain scenery by 4WD.

Once back, Madam Woo (madamwoo.co.nz), a buzzy Chinese-Malaysian street food-themed joint, serves up a cracking $23 beef rendang for lunch.

Pluck up the courage to raft the Shotover River in the afternoon  - depending on water levels, it's somewhere between Grade III and V. Queenstown Rafting (queenstownrafting.co.nz) will guide you through safely for $188.

Go for a South African-style fillet steak dinner at Flame (flame.co.nz, $30) and kip at the conveniently, centrally-located Novotel (Novotel.com, doubles from $134).

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TOTAL: $549

 Splash out

Get the adrenalin pumping with a two-and-a-half hour, $257 combo deal through Combos.co.nz. The package includes racing through tight canyons down the Shotover river in a jet boat, a scenic helicopter flight to the top gondola station and a photo op-packed gondola ride down to the town centre.

Calm it down considerably in the afternoon, tasting some of the best pinot noirs in the world on a private wine tour across the Central Otago region with Appellation Central (appellationcentral.co.nz). The $338 half day experience includes a lavish platter lunch at the Carrick Winery and four cellar door visits.

Enjoy roasted venison loin with yams, parsnip cream and kale for dinner at Rata (ratadining.co.nz, $36), the poster child of Queenstown's increasingly hip dining scene. Then retire to the historic lakefront splendour of Eichardts (eichardts.co.nz, apartments from $1126 including breakfast).

TOTAL:  $1757

The writer was a guest of Tourism New Zealand (newzealand.com)

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