Dive into your holiday by visiting Queenstown’s pool complex complete with two hydro-slides and a lazy river. Mum and dad can relax in the adult only hot pool, or keep the fitness levels up in the lap pool while keeping a close eye on the kids. If you’re visiting in summer, the Arrowtown outdoor swimming pool opens early December through to late February.
If the kids aren’t too worn out, there are a huge amount of short walks, and lakeside tracks in the region. The Queenstown gardens are a nice short scenic walk, and you could reward the family with an ice cream on the beach afterwards. If you want everyone to sleep well that night, the Queenstown Hill time walk is a 2 - 3 hour (return) climb to the iconic Basket of Dreams sculpture, with incredible views across Lake Wakatipu. Head into the Department of Conservation office on Stanley Street, for advice on day walks, any track closures and the weather forecast.
Queenstown Hill walks. Credit: @the.rooses on Instagram.
Take a day trip to Arrowtown, and have a go gold-panning on the Arrow River, you never know what you might find! Visit the Lakes District Museum and the Chinese Village for a bit of history, and shop at the many child friendly stores including the sweet and ice cream shops for free tastings.
Enjoy takeaway dinner on the beach, with fish and chips, gourmet burgers, pizza and many other takeaway restaurants available downtown, you’re spoiled for choice in Queenstown.
Evenings by the lake. Credit @pipsouness on Instagram
Did you know there are two working farms in Queenstown that you can visit and experience real South Island rural life? Both are accessed by boat, making the trips at least a half day activity. There’s also a birdlife park located right in the heart of Queenstown, where you might be lucky enough to spot a kiwi, as well as 30 other species of animals.
An easy five-minute walk from central Queenstown, Skyline Queenstown offers spectacular views of the region and plenty of entertainment and adventure for the whole family. At the top of Bob’s Peak, the luge is a family favourite, and you’ll probably find yourself in competition with your kids! Pop into a café on the way, or dine at one of the food and beverage outlets at the top of Bobs Peak.
Biking is a great way to explore the beautiful lakeside tracks around Queenstown and Glenorchy. If you haven’t bought bicycles from home, you can hire bikes from centrally located rental companies who will fit the bikes according to your ability and your planned biking destination.
If you’re looking for some thrills, no trip to Queenstown would be complete without booking a jet boat trip on the Kawarau or Shotover Rivers, Lake Wakatipu or up the stunning Dart River. Trips vary from 30 minutes, to over half a day including forest walks and four wheel driving, so research which suits your timetable and budget, and go from there.
Keep these indoor entertainment options up your sleeve for a rainy day, or simply when you want the kids to entertain themselves! There are two cinemas showing the latest blockbusters, as well as go-karting, laser tag, 4D rides, a haunted house, an indoor trampoline centre, and ten pin bowling. Four wheel drive, quad bikes and buggy tours also operate in wet weather so don't let a bit of rain put you off getting outside (check out minimum age requirements when you book).
Have a night off the kids and book one of Queenstown’s in house babysitting services, then enjoy a special night out with a meal at a restaurant along the waterfront, or hideaway in a laneway restaurant for an intimate dining experience.
Go Karting at Game Over
Bring out the daredevils in the family and try out the zipline, swing, bungy or skydive activities, there are height and weight restrictions for children, so make sure you check out these limitations before getting everyone’s hopes up! For the less adventurous there’s a great viewing spot at the Kawarau Gorge historic bridge, a thirty minute drive out of central Queenstown.
Load up the picnic basket and head out to Kelvin Heights beach, Lake Hayes, the Village Green, or Queenstown waterfront for a picnic dinner. There are also BBQ’s available along the Lake Esplanade for public use (if you’re quick!)
Horse trekking is a fabulous way to sight-see the regions beauty on horseback. There are tours available to suit all riding levels, as well as many locations offering a diverse range of scenery depending on what you’re looking for. You might find yourself in the middle of a working farm, or in the Glenorchy country side underneath snow-capped mountains.