Queenstown is one of the world’s most spectacular towns. Although best known for adrenalin packed adventures more suited to teens – shotover jet, zorbing, bungy jumping etc – there are still loads of things to do if you’re travelling with a baby or toddler.
Don’t let watching the world’s thrill seekers having the time of their lives make you feel left out. The scenery, crisp, clean air and lots of outdoor spaces make it easy to head outside and get active with littlies.
Here are our top 7 things to do in Queenstown with a baby or toddler.
1. Head to the top of Bob’s Peak on the Skyline Gondola
The Skyline Gondola is the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s easily accessible with a pram and has incredible views. At Bob’s Peak there is a cafe, baby change facilities and plenty of picnic seating. It’s a must do activity if you want to get an aerial perspective of Queenstown and it’s our pick of things to do with a baby or toddler.
Once at the top, jump on a chair lift and zoom down the 800m-long Luge track . It’s suitable for all ages and almost counts as an adventure sport. Queenstown Luge is definitely one of the most fun activities for families with younger kids.
2. Cruise aboard the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw
Babies and toddlers will love a cruise aboard the steamship TSS Earnslaw. The journey will take you from the Queenstown wharf all the way to Walter Peak High Country Farm on at the other end of the lake.
Once you’re there, kids can help feed sheep and deer and get up close and personal with the shaggy and friendly Scottish Highland Cattle. There’s also a fun sheep shearing demonstration where you can see sheep dogs in action.
3. Take a water taxi to The Rees Hotel for a meal
Just because you’re in Queenstown with a baby or toddler, doesn’t mean all the grown up things to do have to be off the agenda. If you’re not staying at The Rees Hotel, then you should stop in and go for a meal at True South Dining Room.
The best way to get to The Rees Hotel is to take a Queenstown Water Taxi from Steamer Wharf. The journey takes about 10 minutes and seeing Queenstown and its surrounding suburbs from the water gives you a whole different perspective of the city.
Once you get to The Rees Hotel, head to True South Dining Room for lunch or an early dinner. This is one restaurant where eating at kiddie hour is a bonus, because the view is spectacular and best appreciated in daylight hours. Executive chef, Corey Hume is a culinary Olympian and one of top 20 best young chef‘s in the world. His style is an international fusion and focuses on seasonal produce.
In our experience, it’s not often you can comfortably take a baby or toddler to a fine dining restaurant, however True South Dining Room makes littlies feel very welcome. Whilst there’s no kids menu, the staff are happy to help you if you’ve brought your own baby food that needs warming. There are high chairs available and there is plenty of space for a pram.
4. Visit Kiwi Birdlife Park
At Kiwi Birdlife Park kids can get up close and personal with some of New Zealand’s native birdlife through an interactive kiwi experience and live conservation shows. The park is family-run and the Wilson family has been involved in caring for native New Zealand Birdlife for generations.
Set over five acres, much of the park is accessible under cover and via a graded walking path, which makes this a great any weather activity. Pick up one of the personal audio guides to let you hear all about the wildlife at the park and the conservation work that’s been done as you to roam around the park at your own pace.
5. A day trip to Arrowtown
A visit to Arrowtown, a quaint, historic village is a fun half day trip when you’re in Queenstown with a baby or toddlers. It’s about 20 minutes drive from Queenstown, so it can easily be done in and around sleep times. While there, you’ll find plenty of little shops to browse, easy walking trails and historic places to see. There’s also an outlet of The Remarkable Sweet Shop, where you can taste-test their home-made fudge.
The best walks with strollers are the Chinese Settlement walk (30 minutes -1hour) and the Arrowtown Millenium walk (one hour return).
6. Play at the Queenstown lakefront playground & beach
The Queenstown lakefront playground is fantastic and it’s been recently updated so the equipment is new and in great condition.
Aside from the fun activities that will keep the kids entertained – slides, spiders climbing web, rope swing etc, – it’s in a seriously scenic spot.
While the kids are climbing, swinging and sliding, adults can sit and watch the boats sailing in and out of the bay. You’ll likely see the TSS Earnslaw steaming in from the other end of the lake, the hydro attach boat roaring around and, if it’s summer, older kids and adults jumping off the pontoon.
Another great thing about this playground is that it’s adjacent to the Queenstown beach, so if it’s warm you can cool off in the mountain-fed lake. If you’re in need of a little pick-me-up it’s easy to grab a coffee and a snack from The Bathhouse or an ice-cream from Patagonia so you can sit-back, relax and watch the kids monkey around in one of the most picturesque playgrounds in the world.
7. Walk the Frankton Arm Walk
So much of a trip to New Zealand is about being outdoors and enjoying nature. If you’re travelling with a baby or toddler in tow, tramping the Grand Traverse is probably off the agenda, but you can certainly enjoy a scenic stroll around Queenstown with kids.
The Frankton Walkway begins at the Queenstown Gardens, and follows the Frankton Arm of Lake Wakatipu into Frankton. The path is well worn and a favourite with locals, so you’ll feel like you’re seeing some of the “local’s Queenstown” while you’re strolling.
The pram-friendly path hugs the lake and has spectacular views of the Remarkables Mountain Range across the water. The walk takes approximately an hour and a half in each direction and if walking both ways is too much for the littlies, it’s an easy Uber, bus or water taxi ride back.
If you want a good place to stop along the way, the path passes in front of The Rees Hotel where you can stop for a coffee, drink or meal and still take in the spectacular scenery.
Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.