While Queenstown is a paradise for adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurists, this lakeside beautiful town is also a great holiday destination for families with kids! Stunning nature, private family homes, ski fun, water fun and an array of family-friendly activities, Queenstown is a heavenly playground with an adventurous twist for young and old. Looking for inspiration on what to do? Here are some ideas:
1. Gondola Skyline – the steepest cable car in the southern hemisphere
Give your kids an experience they’ll never forget and take them on the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown, it is the steepest cable car in the southern hemisphere and quite a thrilling ride with unbelievable views. The Gondola will take you 450 metres up into the sky and drop you off at Bob’s Peak. From up there, you can see Lake Wake Wakatipu and Queenstown, surrounded by those dramatic snow-capped mountains: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Walter and Cecil Peak – amazing! Even children won’t get enough of views like that! So, what’s next? On top of Bob’s Peak, there are lots of family-friendly things to do: down-hill mountain biking, paragliding or try luging back down. Great fun! There are restaurants up there and you can even get tickets to the moonlight theatre for a mountain peak movie experience.
Address: Brecon Street, PO BOX 17Queenstown, New Zealand
Contact: + 64 3 441 0101
Opening hours: every day from 9 am – 9 pm
Fees: A family pass for 2 adults & 2 kids costs NZD$113
2. Kiwi Birdlife Park
Take your little ones to see some of New Zealand’s local wildlife. Kiwi Birdlife Park is a great fun place to go and it is located very close to the centre of Queenstown. You could even get there on foot. The park sits on 5 acres of land and it is home to over 20 species of birds and reptiles. They also have a bee centre, which is greatly educational and interesting for the kids and yourselves. Surely, you will want to taste a bit of that delicate New Zealand honey, too?! You can feed the famous Kiwi Birds – those flightless birds endemic to New Zealand and you will learn some interesting facts about them, too. Did you know the Kiwi Birds are most active at night? Not to worry though, with infra-red cameras and specialised lighting effects, you can get a glimpse of their nightly business during day time. There are animal conservations shows happening throughout the day for up-close experiences with owls, parrots and prehistoric lizards. This will be a lovely family day out, alright! Oh, they’ve got families passes, too, just NZD$98 for a family of 2 adults and up to 3 kids.
Kiwi Birdlife Park
Address: PO Box 643, Brecon St, Queenstown, 9300, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3 442 8059 | email@example.com
Opening hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily
Fees: NZS$45/adult & NZD$23/kids
3. Explore the countryside on a family bicycle tour
Not to worry, though the gorgeous ‘Middle-earth’ surroundings do make you feel like having stepped into Lord of the Rings, there are no orks or angry elves around here. Nor are there any other dangerous animals around of any kind, for that matter – Such a paradise it is, indeed! Especially when travelling with kids, you can rest assured, the only animals your kids will be petting are sheep. So, there is no need not to go explore the countryside and the best way to do it is by bicycle. Check out some easy cycling tours here.
4. Boat ride to visit Walter Peak High Country Farm
The Walter Peak High Country Farm is one-of-a-kind and it cannot be reached by car – you have to take a boat to get there. This is already a cool beginning to another lovely family day in Queenstown. You’ll be hopping on a steamship, the vintage TSS Earnslaw, to be particular, cruising away on the crystal clear waters of Lake Wakatipu. Once you get to the country farm, the kids can pet and feed the onsite animals such as sheep and deers. You can see the sheep dogs in action and learn a great deal about sheep herding. You can even give wool spinning a try if you would like to. Next thing you know, you’ll be sipping morning or afternoon tea, enjoying the lovely tranquil surroundings. Wonderful!
5. Hit the ski fields
When you are in Queenstown during wintertime, you cannot miss out on a family ski adventure. Skiing is one of the main reasons why people travel over to this area in the winter. There are plenty of great ski fields around and most of them have large areas for beginners. With excellent instructors, even your little ones will get the hang of skiing in no time. Coronet Peak is the best spot to go for families with kids. It is the closest ski field from Queenstown and there are heaps of activities for the kids. You will even find a daycare for the littlest family members to play in a safe environment while mom and dad take on the biggest and scariest ski slopes. The Skiwiland Day Care Learning centre is available for 3 month-old babies up to 5-years-old kids. There are kids programmes and family passes – everything you need! The Family Learner Experience package costs only NZD$999 including all equipment. Before you know it, you’ll be a family of ski addicts returning to Queenstown every year.
Address: Queenstown 9371, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3 441 1516
6. Fun on and around Wakatipu Lake
In the summertime, Wakatipu Lake is perfect for family fun, swimming, kayaking, lake-side picnicking and more. For families with older kids up for some excitement, go on the Shotover Jet Boat and speed through narrow canyons which is just exhilarating!
Address: 3 Arthurs Point Rd, Arthurs Point 9371, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3-442 8570
Opening hours: every day from 8 am – 6 pm
Price: NZ$ 155/adult & NZ$89/child
7. Disc Golf in the beautiful Queenstown Gardens
A gorgeous Garden of Eden right in the heart of Queenstown but it is not only the beauty that makes this place so great to visit for families – these botanical gardens are home to an 18-hole frisbee golf course. It is time to play ‘Disc Golf’, boys and girls! A unique family activity and so much fun! Bring a basket with yummy stuff and spend the day here among trees, flowers and natural beauty. There are bridges over waters, picnic tables and everything for a great day out under the sun.
8. Go horse riding
Go ride through Darts Valley, not on bicycles but on horses. Isn’t that every kids’ dream? The 1 Hour Hobbits’ Hack at Darts Stables is great for families with kids aged 5 years and above. It is a fun introduction to horse riding, exploring the beautiful valleys at a calm and gently walking pace horse ride. Are your kids above 7 years old? You can then also opt for the more adventurous 2-hour Wild River horse ride.
Dart River Adventures
Address: 45 Mull St, Glenorchy 9372, New Zealand
Contact: +64 3-442 5688
Opening hours: every day from 7 am – 7 pm
Prices: the Hobbit’s Hack costs NZD$147 / adult & NZD$126 / child
9. Helicopter tour
Get the birdseye view of Queenstown and beyond on a family helicopter tour. It’s a costly thing to do, but if you’re going to do it someday, there is no better and more beautiful place than in Queenstown, New Zealand! A 1.5 hours helicopter flight takes you to Milford Sound or you can go on a 30-minute flight just to make a snow landing in a remote area up in the Alps and see how mind-blowing the nature of planet earth really is. For sure, this will be something your kids won’t ever forget and neither will you! Have a look at the available helicopter flights here.
10. Zipline above the Kawarau River
You came to the Capital of Adventure, so, are you up for some? How about ziplining from tree top to tree top in stunning nature or even better, above the Kawarau River? Not nearly as scary as making the 40-meter bungee jump, ziplining is an awesome family activity in this area, just a short drive from Queenstown. The Kawarau Zipline adventure is suitable for kids above 8 years old. There are 3 ziplines next to each other and there are tandems, making it possible for families of 6 to zip ride all together at the same time. It’s a thrilling 130 meters zip line cruise above the river and you will be going as fast as 60km per hour. Are your kids younger but you still want to take them ziplining? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other options around. Try Ziptrek Ecotours for kids 6-years-old and above, located up on Bob’s Peak.
Address: Cnr of Camp and Shotover Street, Central Queenstown, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Opening hours: every day from 9.30 am – 4 pm all year round
Fees: NZD$50/adult & NZD$30/child