Queenstown is well known as the adventure capital of the world, but did you know that it’s also an amazing place for a family holiday? There’s no shortage of things to do in Queenstown with kids of all ages, from horseback riding and farm tours to lake cruises and cave exploring. If you’re planning a family holiday in New Zealand, make sure you include these fun family activities in Queenstown on your itinerary.
The TSS Earnslaw is an iconic feature of Queenstown. This vintage steamship more than 100 years old, and is the only hand fired steamship in operation in the entire southern hemisphere. Bring the whole family to cruise the lake and take in the gorgeous alpine scenery. Kids of all ages will enjoy seeing how the giant steam engines work before enjoying a snack from the on-board café. You can even have a sing along with the on-board pianist!
For a memorable half day trip, why not add a visit to the Walter Peak High Country Farm to your TSS Earnslaw cruise? New Zealand is famous for its sheep (in fact, there’s more sheep than humans living in New Zealand!), and this experience gives you the opportunity to see and learn about the process of sheep shearing on an active working farm. You’ll also get to feed the animals and stroll through the lakeside gardens. Plus, you can choose between enjoying afternoon tea and a delicious gourmet BBQ to keep everyone fed and happy.
If you’re traveling over special times of year, including New Zealand school holidays, you can find deals where kids travel for free.
New Zealand is no stranger to beautiful, surreal nature, and Milford Sound is no exception. Often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world, Milford Sound is home to towering mountains, cascading waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife. Choose from a variety of experiences, including nature cruises, overnight cruises and kayaking. Just like the Walter Peak Farm Tour, you can often find great deals where children can join Milford Sound tours for free at certain times of year.
Want an authentic New Zealand backcountry experience? Take the whole family on a horseback riding trek through Walter Peak farm. After taking the TSS Earnslaw across the lake, you’ll meet your tour guide at the farm and head off on a leisurely horse ride through rolling high country hills with stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. At only six people per tour group, it’s the perfect family activity in Queenstown.
One of the best things to do in Queenstown with kids is going on a jetboat around the water. You’ll race around Lake Wakatipu, spinning in 360 degree circles, twisting and turning at high speeds on the way to the Kawarau River. Clocking in with 820 horsepower, the jetboat can go up to 90 kilometres per hour. This thrilling excursion is the perfect little taste of what the adventure capital of the world has to offer.
Another great kid’s activity is exploring the glowworm caves in Te Anau. Located just 2.5 hours away from Queenstown, the Te Anau glowworm cave tours start off with a scenic cruise across Lake Te Anau, the largest lake on the South Island, before reaching the incredible limestone caves that are home to these fascinating little creatures. A knowledgeable guide will share geological facts and information about the caves’ history and the glowworms. You can also add on an optional short guided forest walk to learn about the unique flora and fauna of the region.
On a gorgeous, calm, sunny day in Queenstown, there’s nothing better than enjoying the natural beauty of the lake and its surroundings. Take the whole family for a day out kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (also known as SUP) or paddleboating. These family activities are suitable for all ages.
Ice skating is a great activity for kids in Queenstown, rain or shine. Conveniently located right next to town by the gardens, the Queenstown Ice Arena offers public skating sessions and gear rentals for those who want to ice skate or start a little game of ice hockey. Enjoy a mug of hot chocolate by the fire while the kids go out and skate, or join them on the ice for quality family time.
You’ve heard about the famous kiwi bird, a flightless bird that is New Zealand’s beloved national bird. However, there aren’t too many left in the world, and because they’re nocturnal, they are very difficult to spot in the wild. Take your children to the Kiwi Birdlife Park for an opportunity to see a kiwi and learn more about this unique animal and the conservation efforts being made to boost their populations.
If you have more time then you can make the trip to Stewart Island and partake in our Wild Kiwi Encounter tour. Your best bet to see a kiwi in the wild. These tours leave daily in the evening from Oban. More information can be found here.
No matter the season, you can enjoy a lovely hike in the Queenstown area. Some of the best family-friendly walks include a stroll through Queenstown Gardens, a walk up Queenstown Hill and a jaunt around Bob’s Cove. Pack a lunch and enjoy the views of mountains, lakes and stunning natural scenery.
As you can see, there’s an excellent variety of family-friendly activities in Queenstown for families of all sizes and all ages. The best part about all of these experiences is that while they’re great activities for kids, adults can enjoy them just as much. What are you waiting for? Book your dream family holiday today.
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