Queenstown is one of the most picturesque cities in the world. Located on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and framed by the spectacular Southern Alps, it’s a fantastic family-holiday destination at any time of year.
During the sunnier months, hit the water for jet boating, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and white-water rafting, all of which are easy to access in or around Queenstown. Or enjoy the thrills of the luge at the top of the Queenstown Gondola.
In winter, Queenstown is the gateway to some of the southern hemisphere’s best ski fields. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are both family-friendly ski fields with a range of childcare options and large learner areas.
So where are the best hotels for families to lay their heads at the end of an action filled day?
1. The Rees Hotel
Showcasing breathtaking panoramic lake and alpine views, The Rees Hotel Queenstown is a 5-star apartment hotel on Lake Wakatipu.
There are a variety of spacious and luxurious accommodation options for families, including 60 hotel rooms and 90 apartments all with private balconies taking advantage of the spectacular views.
If you need a cot, the hotel can arrange one for you. The full laundry and kitchen facilities make self catering for families with kids of all ages a breeze.
There’s fun for the whole family available at the hotel, including mountain bikes, in-room massage and spa treatments, free high speed wifi, over 150 on-demand movies, courtesy shuttle to and from Queenstown CBD and a fully equipped gym.
During winter there is a dedicated ski concierge, family ski packages and ski lockers with rental and fitting options. The Rees Hotel Queenstown was recognised as the ‘Best Ski Hotel in New Zealand 2019’ at the World Ski Awards.
Fast Facts: The Rees Hotel
Location: On the shores of Lake Wakatipu about 3km from the centre of Queenstown.
Getting there / away:
- It’s about a 10 minute drive to/from Queenstown airport and there is a hotel chauffeur service available
There is a free shuttle service from the hotel to the downtown area of Queenstown each day, taking approximately 4 minutes. The shuttle runs hourly from 8am until 10pm, returning at 15 minutes after the hour.
We took a water taxi from the hotel jetty into Queenstown town centre. It takes about 10minutes and you pay on board (hotel guests get a discounted rate) with either cash or card
- There’s a walking / cycle path along the lake into the town centre. It’s accessible with a pram or wheelchair and takes around 40 minutes each way.
Who was staying there: It was a mixed crowd while we were there. There were quite a few families with kids of all ages. We were the only ones with a young baby, but there were toddlers through to teens. There were a couple of groups of families as well as a few couples on a babymoon.
2. Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Hotel
The Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Hotel is the place to stay if you want to be right in town as well as on the lake. This 4 star hotel has well equiped family rooms that sleep up to two adults and two children. Or you can ask for adjoining rooms (they do great family discounts of up to 50%).
Onsite there’s a restaurant and bar, fitness centre, dedicated children’s play area and a the hotel offers movie nights in the winter holidays to keep the kids entertained while the adults relax, eat, drink and plan the next day’s adventures.
Just a few steps from the hotel is the firm family favourite – the Lakeside playground. The million dollar playground is the perfect location to watch the boats come and go across the bay. And the recently upgraded slides are very popular. Adults can grab a coffee or drink from either the Novotel or the lakeside Bathhouse and watch the kids monkey around in what is the one of the most scenic playgrounds in the world.
Fast Facts: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Hotel
Location: On the corner of Earl St and Marine Parade, in Queenstown town centre
Getting there / away:
- It’s about 10km from Queenstown airport to the hotel, and there’s a shuttle (paid service) available.
- Everything in town is walking distance (it’s about 2km to the Skyline Gondola)
Who was staying there: We stayed mid-week and there were more business people than families. But the families that were there had kids mostly around primary school age.
3. Mercure Queenstown Resort
The Mercure Queenstown Resort is located 2km out of town, towards Glenorchy. The hotel has great views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountains. The 4-star hotel has a seasonal swimming pool, spa, sauna, gym and a sports storage room.
Ensuite rooms can sleep four (two double beds), or you can request a cot for littlies. All the Garden View rooms have a bath, and interconnecting rooms are available.
Children under 16 eat free breakfast when dining with their parents and The South Eatery restaurant offers a healthy kids menu.
Fast Facts: Mercure Queenstown Resort
Location: Sainsbury Road Fernhill, about 2km from town and about a 5 minute walk to the lakefront.
Getting there / away:
- It’s about 12km from Queenstown airport to the hotel. Taxi / Uber and hire cars are all your best option
- It’s about a 30 minute walk into Queenstown centre. You can walk along the lakefront, which is flat and easily accessible with a pram or wheelchair.
Who was staying there: There was a large tour group staying while we were there. We didn’t see any other families, but our friends (who are Queenstown locals) said that they often have friends with kids who stay there.
4. Campground / Holiday Parks
There are a number of options for families looking for campsite and holiday park accommodation options. Most have laundries, Wi-Fi, a kitchen and communal lounges, as well as playgrounds.
Our pick for families is Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park. The park is centrally located and only a 400 metre walk from the shops on the Mall as well as the lake front and many and one of the most family-friendly attractions, The Skyline Gondola and Luge.
Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park offers tent, caravan, campervan and cabin accommodation options. Rates vary throughout the year and there are discounts for kids under 14 years of age.
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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.