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Queenstown is a popular tourist destination for people of all ages. Located in the heart of New Zealand's South Island, this beautiful part of the world is part peaceful getaway and part adventure paradise. While Queenstown is not the first destination that springs to mind for parents with young children, the number and quality of attractions offers the perfect balance of nature and fun for kids.
Travelling as a family can be hard work, but it can also be incredibly rewarding for parents and children alike. In many ways, New Zealand makes the ideal holiday destination, with the beautiful landscapes and rich traditions of the Maori providing the perfect backdrop for a family vacation. Exposing your children to the culture and geography of New Zealand is a great way to broaden their horizons. As one of the most popular holiday spots in the country, Queenstown adds a variety of fun family activities to an environment already rich with natural and cultural delights.
Let's take a look at some of the best things to do in Queenstown with kids:
New Zealand is a great place to enjoy farm and agricultural tours, with lots of great opportunities in and around Queenstown. Lots of amazing produce is grown in the green hills of the South Island, and many farms are proud to show off this produce to tourists. A typical farm tour experience involves exposure to the activities, animals, produce, and equipment that defines a working farm. There are many farms to choose from, including sheep farms, dairy farms, alpaca farms, horse farms, vineyards, and more.
While Queenstown is known for hair-raising adventure activities such as bungy jumping and white-water rafting, peaceful days are also possible. Queenstown farm tours are a great option for young families, with parents given access to amazing food and wine and children entertained with timeless farmyard activities like feeding animals, petting animals, and horse riding. By experiencing farm life for themselves, your children will learn about traditional New Zealand life and develop a solid understanding of where their food comes from.
Animal interactions provide a great opportunity for kids to experience the natural world. Horse riding is the perfect example, with children of all ages loving that special feeling that comes from sitting on the back of a horse. Depending on their age and experience, a horse riding tour can involve everything from a short gallop to a long ride in the countryside. A number of experiences are available in Queenstown, including gentle introductory sessions for young children and new riders.
Dart River Adventures offers a gentle walking-paced horse ride in the amazing landscape of Dart Valley. Kids and adults alike will love the braided glacial-fed rivers and stunning mountain scenery of the local area. This ride lasts for one hour or two, with children 5 years or older and 100cm or taller able to ride with a lead rein, and children 7 years or older and 115cm or taller able to enjoy this spectacular slow-paced ride without a lead. The gentle and inspirational nature of this activity is ideal for most children.
There's nothing kids love more than exploring the world on a bike. New Zealand's South Island is the perfect backdrop for a mountain bike adventure, with the hills and valleys close to Queenstown providing numerous opportunities to join the fun.
There are multiple tracks available, with some cruising along the picturesque lake, and others surging down undulating mountain tracks. From experienced downhill riders to young children and their parents, Queenstown and the surrounding town of Wanaka offer numerous mountain bike and walking adventures for people of all skill levels.
Wanaka is a picturesque resort town in the Otago region that's loved by local and visiting families. Located roughly 1 hour by car from Queenstown, Wanaka is an ideal destination for families looking for peace and quiet. The hills and valleys surrounding Wanaka feature a number of great mountain bike and walking trails, including some near Lake Wanaka, the Clutha River, and Mount Aspiring National Park. If you like weaving in and out of banks and berms, the Minaret Burn or Dingle Burn Tracks are lots of fun.
Puzzling World is located in Wanaka, with this wonderful world of weirdness enjoyed by thousands of families each and every year. If you're staying in Wanaka or visiting the area on a day trip, Puzzling World offers a great day out for kids of all ages. This unique attraction features a bizarre collection of buildings, including illusion rooms and the world-famous Great Maze. Children love these activities because they're fun, unique, and include the whole family. Regardless of your age, a single trip to Puzzling World will baffle your brain and challenge your perceptions.
The beautiful rivers and lakes of New Zealand's South Island are famous for many reasons. While some people enjoy looking out onto Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown from a hotel room or fancy restaurant, others enjoy floating over the white water of Dart River. Kayaks are a great way to experience this beautiful part of the world as a family, with jet boats offering another memorable experience throughout the year.
Dart River Adventures offers an unmissable South Island experience with their Funyak package. This family trip is ideal during the winter or summer and combines the thrill of a jet boat ride with a leisurely kayak adventure and delicious lunch experience. While many of the adventure activities in Queenstown and Wanaka are meant for adults only, Funyaks is suitable for able kids, 5 years or older and 1m or taller. You have the option to paddle your child yourself. This whole day adventure combines everything that's great about the South Island in one fun-filled package.
The Funyak journey begins with a jet boat ride up the Dart River to the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mt Aspiring National Park. You will learn about the local area and spend time in nature doing an activity that's safe and great for kids. After the jet boat ride, you travel back down the river in an inflatable kayak. The river is shallow and kids size life-jackets are available, which makes it safe for non-swimmers. Once you're on dry land, you can enjoy a gourmet buffet lunch served in the wilderness before exploring some of the locations used in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’. With lunch and expert guides included, Dart River Adventures is suitable for the whole family.
There's nothing kids love more than playing in snow. Whether you want to ski down it, jump over it, or make a snowman, the South Island is a snow lover's paradise for much of the year. If you want to explore the snow safely as a family, Guided Walks New Zealand offers a privately guided trip into a beautiful snowy gully with snow-capped mountains and lake views. Kids of 3 years and over can join the fun, which includes making snow caves, igloos, carved tables, and snow animals.
There is lots of quality family accommodation available in and around Queenstown, including camps, motels, hotels, and resorts. Before you look into things to do in Queenstown with kids, it's important to find family-friendly accommodation. Having a great accommodation base makes it easier for you to enjoy your Queenstown holiday.
Let's take a look at some of the best accommodation options in Queenstown for young families:
The Rees Hotel, Luxury Apartments & Lakeside Residences is a great place to stay if you have young kids. Located in the heart of Queenstown, this amazing five-star hotel can be found on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. There are lots of accommodation options available to choose from, including 60 hotel rooms, 90 self-contained apartments, and 5 luxury lakeside residences.
The Rees Hotel is peaceful and sophisticated while still being family-friendly. Along with the central location, families can enjoy a large library, courtesy shuttle bus to and from the town centre, free high-speed Wi-Fi, and access to movies. If you want to enjoy your Queenstown vacation without compromise, The Rees Hotel, Luxury Apartments & Lakeside Residences is a great luxury choice.
Relax It's Done offers an expansive portfolio of properties in and around Queenstown. If you're looking for family-friendly accommodation, this service is a great way to select appropriate holiday homes in a range of prices. Perfect for families, this service allows people to select accommodation based on things important to them. Relax It's Done is also great for travelling groups of up to 10 people, and even offers additional services such as itinerary management and in-house catering.
Many of the houses available through this service overlook Lake Wakatipu, with others located in private settings in and around Queenstown. If you want to enjoy your family holiday without any of the stress, this service takes care of all those annoying details. From arranging groceries and booking restaurants through to organising tours and picnics, Relax It's Done is a luxury service designed to enhance your holiday convenience.
The Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park offers self-contained cabins and studios just a short walk from the Queenstown town centre. If you’re travelling with kids, it’s important to stay somewhere that is clean, well-appointed, and centrally located. The Lakeview Holiday Park’s Family Bach is the perfect value accommodation for families, with complimentary Wi-Fi.
Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park has a range of accommodation options from open plan studio to family motels. Self-contained studios and tourists flats are available, with guests able to book accommodation with a kitchenette, and linen and towels provided at no extra cost. With its prime location, facilities and affordable options, the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park is ideal for young families.
Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat is camping with style, with a range of well-appointed cabin-style rooms available to choose from. This well-appointed natural retreat offers a wide range of room choices priced for every budget. From motorhome sites and simple bunk huts through to premium eco cabin bedrooms, Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat is the affordable option with more. If you're travelling as a family, 2-night family packages are available, including meals and a fun movie night.
Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat is designed to service everyone, from single travellers through to couples, families, and corporate groups. All accommodation options are inviting, well-appointed, and environmentally sustainable for the ultimate Queenstown experience. Located in the much-loved rural township of Glenorchy, this facility is nestled between mountains and twin rivers – the Dart and the Rees – which braid together at Glenorchy to form the headwaters of Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu.