Family Activities in Queenstown
Nature is the ultimate playground here in the Adventure Capital of New Zealand! While Queenstown might have a reputation for extreme activities, there’s also plenty to do here if you’re travelling with little ones. From family-friendly jet boat rides to educational wildlife centres, there’s plenty to keep the kids (and mum and dad) entertained and stimulated. Even if the weather decides to play up, there are some excellent indoor entertainment centres to spend some quality time together. Check out some of our top activity picks in this list of things to do in Queenstown with kids.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Guide to Queenstown for Families.
1. Get the Adrenaline Pumping on a Jet Boat Ride
Let’s start with your obligatory adrenaline-fuelled activity in the “Adventure Capital”! Your family-friendly option is jet boating: a high-speed thrill ride in a boat designed with a jet-propulsion system, rather than your standard motor propellers. This means that jet boats can manoeuvre on top of the water with precision, seamlessly skimming across the water with near-misses with canyon walls and can accomplish awesome 360-degree spins. Queenstown has a lot of options when it comes to jet boats, so compare them in the 5 Best Jet Boat Tours in Queenstown.
2. Fly Through the Trees on a Zipline Tour
Something for kids over six years old, Ziptrek Ecotours offers a range of exciting ziplines throughout a forest overlooking Queenstown. From the Moa Tour, ideal for families and first-time zippers, to the full Kea Tour with six exciting ziplines, there’s a tour for everyone. See if you’re brave enough to zipline upside down as you fly through the trees all while enjoying incredible views of Queenstown.
3. Learn About New Zealand’s Wildlife at the Kiwi Birdlife Park
Introduce the kids (and yourselves) to the unique birdlife of New Zealand at the Kiwi Birdlife Park. Located at the bottom of the Skyline Gondola, the Kiwi Birdlife Park allows families to observe more than 20 different bird species, including adorable kiwi birds in a nocturnal enclosure. You may also get the opportunity to see critters like the green gecko and the “living dinosaur”, the tuatara. Catch one of the daily wildlife shows and keeper presentations to learn more about conservation and threats facing New Zealand’s wildlife.
4. Watch the Sheep Being Worked on the Walter Peak Farm Tour
Get an insight into the life of a Kiwi farmer at the Walter Peak High Country Farm Tour. After cruising across Lake Wakatipu aboard a historic steamship, you’ll arrive at a farming station for a walking tour of the farm. Watch sheepdogs working the sheep, see sheep shearing demonstrations and learn how wool is spun. You and your family will then be treated to afternoon tea with time to relax in the gorgeous gardens while taking in the views of The Remarkables mountain ranges.
5. Stay Out of the Rain with VR, Laser Tag and Drift-kart Fun at Thrill Zone
Delve into another reality, shoot at each other and enjoy a captivating 12D movie experience at Thrill Zone. This indoor theme park offers a huge range of attractions to enjoy at your leisure. Watch a movie at the 12D cinema, give drift-karting a go, blast each other in laser tag or Heroblast, lose yourself in a Virtual Reality experience and more! Thrill Zone even offers Kidz Club Queenstown for four to 13-year-olds, should you want to tick one of the more extreme Queenstown activities off your bucket list. See more rainy day activities in 12 Things to Do in Queenstown on a Rainy Day.
6. Or Stay Out the Rain with Go-karting, Laser Tag and Arcading at Game Over
Another fantastic indoor entertainment centre awaits at Game Over at The Remarkables Park. Get behind the wheel of their fully-electric go-karts which can reach speeds of 45km/h and cross over two levels of track! Try one of the four different solo or team-based missions in the laser tag quest. Or simply have fun with the arcade games, including a “Lazer Web” and “Sports Challenge” simulator.
7. Race Each Other to the Bottom of The Luge
Something hilariously fun for all ages, The Luge at the Skyline Gondola is a must for families! Challenge each other to Queenstown’s two downhill Luge tracks in go-karts that are easy to use by simply run on gravity. There are plenty of twists, turns, tunnels and dips to keep the track exciting. Plus, if you’re little ones are too small to kart themselves, they can easily sit on mum or dad’s lap.
8. Swap Bungy Jumping for an Exciting Zipride
If mum and dad want to do something crazy, like bungy jumping or a giant swing, then give the little ones something fun to do too, like a zipride! At the Kawarau Bridge bungy, try the alternative adrenaline experience, the Kawarau Bridge Zipride. Fly solo or with up to six other people on a giant zipline, either flying forward, backward, upside down or flying flat like Superman!
9. Explore Queenstown Gardens
For a fun and free way to spend some family downtime in Queenstown, take a walk around Queenstown Gardens. Easy accessible from Queenstown town centre, the Queenstown Gardens is a beautifully landscaped garden with walking tracks, memorials and magnificent views across Lake Wakatipu. The gardens also have an 18-hole disc golf course, where discs or “frisbees” are available to hire from most of the outdoor shops in town. Find more activities like this in 16 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Queenstown.
10. Pan for Gold in Arrowtown
Finally, for a fun family day out, head to the historic town of Arrowtown. Just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown is a historic gold-mining town with beautifully-preserved buildings from the Otago Gold Rush. A great thing to do with the kids is to hire a gold pan from the Lakes District Museum and try your luck in the Arrow River. Whether you’re successful or not, you might want to also treat the kids to some mouthwatering fudge from The Remarkables Sweet Shop or an ice cream from Patagonia. Get more inspiration for your visit with our 10 Amazing Things to Do in Arrowtown.