The Guide to Queenstown for Families
The Guide to Queenstown for Families

The Travel Guide to Queenstown for Families


A Family Guide to Queenstown

Welcome to the Adventure Capital! This doesn’t mean that Queenstown is just full of extreme sports though, as there’s plenty of exciting activities for the little ones too. From ziplining to jet boating, Queenstown offers one of the best playgrounds for kids, all the while accompanied by glorious lake and mountain scenery. The lakeside town also offers some educational tours, especially concerning New Zealand’s fascinating wildlife, as well as some indoor activities should the weather decide to turn. What’s more, families have plenty of places to stay, whether your style is budget or luxury. Just remember to book your accommodation as early as possible in this busy tourist hub! We’ll guide you through it all in this travel guide to Queenstown for families.

10 Things to Do in Queenstown with Kids

  • Get the adrenaline pumping on a jet boat ride
  • Fly through the trees on a zipline tour
  • Learn about New Zealand’s wildlife at the Kiwi Birdlife Park
  • Watch the sheep being worked on a Walter Peak farm tour
  • Stay out of the rain with VR, laser tag and drift-kart fun at Thrill Zone
  • Or stay out the rain with go-karting, laser tag and arcading at Game Over
  • Race each other to the bottom in The Luge
  • Swap bungy jumping for an exciting zip ride
  • Explore Queenstown Garden
  • Pan for gold in Arrowtown

For more information on each activity, head to the 10 Things to Do in Queenstown with Kids!©

Outdoor Family Activities in Queenstown

With incredible lake and mountain landscapes, Queenstown is a town best experienced in the great outdoors. Here are just some ways that families can enjoy the outdoors together…

Something hilariously fun for all ages, The Luge atop the Skyline Gondola is a must for families. Challenge each other to Queenstown’s two downhill go-karting tracks in karts that are easy to use and simply fuelled by gravity. There’s plenty of twists and turns, tunnels and dips to keep the whole track exciting. Plus, if you’re little ones are too small, they can easily sit on mum or dad’s lap. Learn more about The Luge at Skyline Queenstown on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Because Queenstown is the “Adventure Capital”, it’s almost obligatory to fit in some adrenaline-pumping activities during your visit. A family-friendly option is jet boating: a high-speed thrill ride in a boat designed with water propulsion engine, rather than your standard propellers. This means that jet boats can manoeuvre on top of the water with precision, gliding with near-misses with canyon walls and can accomplish awesome 360-degree spins. Queenstown seriously has a lot of options when it comes to jet boats, so compare tours in the 5 Best Jet Boat Tours in Queenstown.

Something for older kids, Ziptrek Ecotours offers a range of exciting ziplines throughout a forest overlooking Queenstown. From the Moa Tour, especially for families capturing four amazing ziplines, to the full Kea Tour with six exciting ziplines, there’s an option for everyone. See if you’re brave enough to zipline upside down as you fly through the trees and enjoy incredible views of Queenstown along the way. This activity is best suited for kids aged six years and up. Learn more about Ziptrek Ecotours on Viator and Tripadvisor.

For more inspiration, head to the 10 Queenstown Must-Dos.©

Indoor Family Activities in Queenstown

Yes, even in Queenstown, the weather doesn’t always want to play ball. For those wet-weather days, here are some awesome alternatives to keep the family entertained.

Delve into another reality, blast your family or enjoy a captivating 12D cinema experience at Thrill Zone. This indoor theme park offers a huge range of attractions to enjoy at your leisure. Visit the 12D movie theatre, give drift karting a go, shoot 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 off one of Queenstown’s more adventurous activities. Find out more about Thrill Zone on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Another fantastic indoor entertainment centre awaits at Game Over in The Remarkables Shopping Centre. Get behind the wheel of their fully-electric go-karts which can reach speeds of 45km/h (28mph) and cross over two levels of track! Try one of the four different solo or team-based missions in the laser tag experience. Or simply have fun in the arcade, including a “Lazer Web” and “Sports Challenge” simulator. Find out more about Game Over on Viator and Tripadvisor.

See more ideas in 12 Things to Do in Queenstown on a Rainy Day.©

Educational Activities for Kids in Queenstown

Finally, make sure your family have some meaningful experiences during their travels by treating them to a few educational tours along the way.

Introduce the kids (and yourselves) to the fascinating 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 the iconic and kiwi bird in a nocturnal enclosure. You may also get the opportunity to see critters like the green gecko and the three-eyed lizard, the tuatara. There are also wildlife shows and daily keeper presentations to learn more about the conservation of New Zealand’s wildlife. More information about the Kiwi Birdlife Park can be found on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Get an insight into Kiwi farm life at the Walter Peak High Country Farm Tour. After cruising across Lake Wakatipu aboard a historic steamship, you’ll arrive at this remote farming station for a walking tour of the farm. Watch sheepdogs in action, see sheep shearing demonstrations and learn how wool is harvested. You and your family will then be treated to afternoon tea and time to relax in the gorgeous gardens while taking in the views of The Remarkables mountain ranges. Find out more about Walter Peak on Viator and Tripadvisor.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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