Family | Adventure | Road Trip | City 21 March 2023

9 Things To Do With Kids In Queenstown

Kia ora, welcome to Queenstown!

If you’re looking for a family-friendly holiday destination with spectacular scenery, fresh air and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, look no further than Queenstown. 

This alpine city in New Zealand’s South Island might be known as the adventure capital of the world, but it’s more than just a destination for adrenaline junkies – Queenstown is a fantastic base for the whole family to set out from and explore.

From hitting the slopes to kid-friendly thrills to ice cream crawls, here are nine of the best activities to do in Queenstown with kids.

Family ski day 

Photo courtesy of Queenstown Image Library

Ready to hit the slopes with the whole gang? The best place to ski as a family – and the closest ski field to town – is Coronet Peak. Located an easy 30 minute drive (or bus) from Queenstown, Coronet Peak boasts incredible views all year round, and is open to all ages, with a range of ski tracks for first-timers as well as more advanced runs for grown-ups. 
Make sure to sign the little ones up to the kids ski school “Skiwiland”, where qualified Early Childhood Educators will not only show them the ropes but sort out all their gear as well. Skiwiland is available for children aged from two to five years old, and includes two ski lessons plus lunch, snacks and supervised play time. 
There’s a cafe on site with great pizzas and mulled wine – and if skiing or snowboarding is not quite your thing, you can still get yourself to the top of Coronet Peak with a Gondola pass.

Ride the Luge

Photo courtesy of Skyline Queenstown

The downhill Skyline Luge ride is a not-to-be-missed activity for little kids (and big ones). Luge carts are similar to a go-kart or toboggan, with the driver steering themselves down a 900m track with corners and tunnels – all with an incredible view.
It’s thrilling, but it’s also incredibly safe, with rules in place and a full safety briefing provided by trained instructors. There is a green track for beginners and a blue track for more confident riders, but everyone must demonstrate they can control the carts before advancing to blue.
The Luge is open to all ages, with children under six riding in tandem with an adult over fifteen, and infants riding with an adult provided they can walk unassisted and wear a helmet.
Getting to the track is half the fun – you’ll first enjoy a scenic ride to the top of Bob’s Peak in the Skyline Gondola, followed by a chairlift that takes you up to the Luge entrance. 
Top tip: Make sure you book at least three (and probably more) luge rides for the kids, because two will definitely not be enough!

Go Jet Boating

Photo courtesy of Dart River

Jet boating is a great family activity that people of all ages will enjoy. While there are several fantastic jet boat operators in Queenstown, the Dart River Wilderness Jet is a great experience for kids because it is less extreme, cruising along an open river as opposed to navigating through tricky terrain. 

This two hour guided journey will take you through the Dart River and deep into the stunning Mount Aspiring National Park, where you’ll learn all about the area’s rich history. While it is a relaxed pace tour, there is a minimum age of three years old. 

Spot the local bird life

Photo courtesy of Kiwi Park

Kiwi sightings are guaranteed at Kiwi Park, a beautiful little reserve located near the entrance to the Skyline Gondolas. The five-acre park is dedicated to saving local wildlife species and is a great way to spend a few hours. The kids will love feeding the kiwis and learning all about native bird life. 
Entry tickets include a kiwi encounter, a self-guided audio tour and a conservation show that runs daily.

Fly high on a zipline

Image courtesy of Ziptrek Eco Tours

While not all of Queenstown’s thrill seeking activities are suitable for kids, the Moa Tour by ZipTrek is a fantastic eco-flying adventure that people of all ages will enjoy. This ziplining experience is a guided aerial tour that will have you flying high through Queenstown’s stunning canopy, while learning about the natural environment at the same time. 
This tour starts low and slow and gradually builds into height and speed. It’s guaranteed to be super fun – and a real confidence builder – for the whole family!

Play Putt-Putt 

Photo courtesy of Thrillzone

Test your kids’ skills and agility with a guaranteed fun game of mini golf! Set in a beautiful garden in the center of town, Queenstown Mini Golf offers 18 holes that are simple enough for the kids to enjoy but with enough obstacles to make it competitive for adults.
This is an outdoor course so it is dependent on the weather, but if it’s a rainy day check out Putt N Glow, Queenstown’s newer indoor mini golf course. Putt N Glow has nine themed holes complete with UV glow-in-the-dark lights, including a tropical forest, snowy mountains and many more. 
There’s also a mini escape room on site which uses augmented reality – lots of fun for everyone!  

Check out the Ice Bar

Photo courtesy of Republic Hospitality Group

Yes, we’ve put a bar on a list of activities for kids, but this one is not just for grown-ups – Below Zero is the biggest ice bar in Australasia, and the whole family is welcome! 
Everything inside is made from ice – from the walls to the furniture to the cups. There are amazing ice sculptures to marvel at, as well as an ice hockey table and photo booth. Just make sure you use the jackets and gloves they supply on entry to keep you toasty warm. 
This winter wonderland is a great activity for a warm day, and a must-do while you’re visiting Queenstown.

Do an ice cream crawl

Photo courtesy of Patagonia Ice Creamery & Chocolaterie

Ice cream might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to cold weather, but with multiple amazing ice-creameries in Queenstown, it’s something you’ve got to put on the list, especially with kids in tow.
Try Mrs Fergs Gelateria in town (next door to the famed FergBurger) for an amazing selection of locally made gelato and sorbet. The staff are also friendly and happy to accommodate kids who want to try a few different flavours before committing to one. 
On Camp Street you’ll find the Cookie Time Cookie Bar, which is a classic New Zealand treat. With cookies as the central theme, kids will love the selection of ice cream cookie sandwiches and cookie shakes. (The line might look long, but it moves quickly.)  
Patagonia Ice Creamery & Chocolaterie on Beach Street offers a range of artisan ice cream, sorbet and gelato that is perfect to take down to the lake side and enjoy on a hot day. They also have a location in Arrowtown (about 30 minutes outside of Queenstown) which is well worth a day trip if you have time. (There is an old school sweet shop there as well!)

Free play in town

Photo courtesy of: JCT Contractors 

One of Queenstown’s newer additions is The Bathhouse Playground, a fantastic children’s 
playground located right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. This million dollar urban playground is one of the most scenic playgrounds in the world. Kids will love playing on the slides and climbing nets, as well as exploring the gardens and feeding the ducks. 
This is a wonderful way to spend some time as a family – and it won’t cost you a thing.