Queenstown is undoubtedly New Zealand’s adventure capital and there is an abundance of action-packed activities for kids of all ages, including bungy jumps, white water rafting, jet boating and access to some of the southern hemisphere’s most incredible runs at the excellent family friendly ski slopes.
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. Kids as young as six can zoom high above the trees for amazing views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains with Ziptrek Ecotours, while older kids can take the leap off the Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of bungy, or go for maximum adrenalin paragliding or canyoning.
Rent bikes, in the right size for your family, and ride them down Bob’s Hill or through historic Arrowtown or one of the many incredible wilderness trails.
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. You’ll find plenty of options for gear hire, lift passes and ski and snowboarding lessons for kids of every age. Plus, kids five and under can ski for free and enjoy free on mountain entertainment from Spike and Shred, the ski field mascots.
There’s so much to see and do in Queenstown it is hard to know where to start. Here are a 10 of our favourites.
When the littlies tire of all the great parks and playgrounds, take them to the top of Bob’s Peak on the Skyline Gondola, the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere, for great views and plenty of giggles.
Or take the little ones on a lake cruise on the classic steamship the TSS Earnslaw all the way to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Here they can help feed sheep and deer and get up close and personal with the enormous, wide-horned and hairy Scottish Highland Cattle. They can also watch sheep shearing demonstrations and see sheep dogs in action.
When the snow starts to fall the real fun starts with gear hire, kids lift passes and lessons with experienced instructors for kids from three years of age on gentle learner slopes. And what little one wouldn’t love building snowmen, making snow angels and throwing snowballs at mum and dad?
The best time to visit Queenstown, is entirely dependent on what type of holiday your family is looking for. There are heaps of outdoor activities available in summer, so December to February is popular, and you’ll need to book well in advance.
Winter in New Zealand falls in the months of June, July, and August and as the gateway to the New Zealand ski fields, it’s always busy. July is the busiest month of all, due to it being the height of ski season and local school holidays, so expect places to be crowded and travel costs to be higher. If you do want to travel during July book early or risk missing out.
If you’re wanting to bag accommodation and flight bargains visit in spring, from September to November, when you’ll find smaller crowds, pleasant weather and lower costs.
Queenstown’s food scene is world renowned with fantastic local produce showcased at the more than 150 restaurants, bars and cafes in the region. There’s something for everyone, even the fussiest members of the family, with everything from fine diners, family-friendly dining, laid back burger joints and awesome dessert only diners.
Stock up at one of the city’s many supermarkets and grocery stores for a family picnic by the lake front or alongside the river in Arrowtown and Glenorchy.
Or grab a tasty take away from one of the many restaurants that reflect the diverse international community that makes Queenstown so cool. Or dial a delivery as many places will deliver to your hotel, saving you a trip with tired kids.
And for an extra special evening enjoy a traditional Maori hangi, cooked in an underground oven, along with a cultural performance, at Skyline Gondola.
March - Gibbston Wine and Food Festival
Enjoy fine food and family entertainment in beautiful garden surrounds.
April – The Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival
Join in the fun of this five day family festival over the ANZAC long weekend.
June – American Express Queenstown Winter Festival
Celebrate the Southern Hemisphere's biggest winter celebration with street parties, music, comedy, Après Ski dining, mountain events and stacks of frosty family fun.
September - Alexandra Blossom Festival
This colourful community festival celebrates the blossoming of Spring.
October - Queenstown Jazzfest
A great line-up of local, national and international musicians playing traditional and contemporary jazz, blues, Dixie and folk music and plenty of free community events.
November - Arrowtown Trolley Race
Make a cart and test your racing skills at the annual Arrowtown Trolley Race.
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
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