There are endless adventures on offer in Queenstown and Wanaka, so we asked two local families for their tips on planning the perfect family day out. Take some advice from the Zeestraten family of Wanaka Lavender Farm and the Graham family of Queenstown Ice Arena and plan a weekend adventure over the other side of the hill.


Kicking off your family day out, how do you like to spend the morning? Is there an activity you like to do with the kids? Or a favourite coffee or breakfast spot?

Graham family: We usually kick off our day with a quick visit to the Queenstown Ice Arena. The kids get in a quick skate, then we make way into town through the Queenstown Gardens with a mandatory stop at the Lake Esplanade playground. Mum and Dad pick up a coffee while the whole family wander around the town.

Zeestraten family: Family time is so precious. When timing is right and everyone is in their happy place, we LOVE to head up the mountain. Cardrona is such a good space for the whole family. Dad often takes Maple for a rip down the mountain and Mum has a quiet cuppa while wee Crosby naps in the buggy at the Mezz Café. When everyone is finished playing, we enjoy a picnic outside watching everyone enjoying the snow!

Moving into the afternoon, what’s something that the whole family loves to do?

Graham family: We love taking a drive out to Arrowtown and walking around the river and surrounding trails. This is great family time: winter, spring, fall or summer. Mum likes to poke a nose in at all the design shops and art galleries. We’ll often pick up a few pies from the Arrowtown Bakery for lunch (world’s best pies in my opinion) and we usually succumb to the kids requests for Patagonia ice cream before heading back home to wind down.

Zeestraten family: In the afternoon, we do have some chores to take care of, so we often head to the farm to feed the animals, grab some veggies and eggs to ensure we can have scrambled eggs for the morning.

What if it’s raining? How do you keep everyone entertained?

Graham family: There are so many options for the kids. The pools, obviously ice skating, go-karting, bowling, the cinemas, the older kids love Site trampolining and Brooke likes to go to Chipmunks as well. I prefer lighting the fire and reading a good book.

Zeestraten family: Maple says, “why wouldn’t we go biking in the rain?”. We gear up and either hit the local pump track in Alberttown or Bike Glendu for a spin and treat! 



Finally, the evening. How does everyone wind down? Do you have a go-to dinner spot? Or a night-time activity that the whole family enjoys?

Graham family: We don’t dine out a great deal with the kids but when we do they like the family friendly favourites: Lone Star and Winnies do a great job hosting kids. Mum and Dad prefer Rata, Blue Kanu, Mantra in Arrowtown, Botswana Butchery & Flame on the very rare occasions we get out alone. If there is a special event on like fireworks, night markets or Luma we’ll make a family outing but otherwise with three young kids we find it wise to get them settled at home in the evenings; the earlier the better!

Zeestraten family: If it is evening time, we often do ‘crazy hour’ at the lakefront with everyone’s favourite takeaway, it’s a mix of Burrito Craft and Red Star to keep everyone happy.


See the full range of family activities on offer in Queenstown and Wanaka and start planning an adventure over the other side of the hill.