Destination Guide: Queenstown

Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, but there’s a lot more to it than adrenaline – and that’s what makes Queenstown a fantastic family holiday destination.

Spring in New Zealand is a great time to get away for a family holiday, mini-break, or even just a weekend. To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together some of our favourite places to stay, eat and play so you can create wonderful memories with your family.

Please note: Venue information was correct at the time of publication. Please check with individual venues for the latest opening dates, times, prices, etc, before making plans.

Fun family experiences

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or amazing scenery, Queenstown is THE place for a fun family adventure.

ziptrek

ZipTrek Ecotours

Set high above Queenstown, ZipTrek is the worlds steepest zipline but offers tours through the canopy suitable for all ages, confidence levels and abilities. You can descend 30 stories at up to 70kph or take it at a slower pace.

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Skyline Gondola and Luge

Skyline Gondola and Luge

Soaring 450 metres up above Queenstown the gondola is the gateway to spectacular views, a fun luge, two great dining options, plus some great walks.

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TSS Earnslaw

TSS Earnslaw Lake Cruise

The Lady of the Lake was launched the same year as the Titanic. Restored to her original condition she is the only hand-fired steamship in operation in the Southern Hemisphere. There is a cafe onboard and the cruise is suitable for all ages.

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Shotover Jet

Shotover Jet

One of the iconic adrenalin attractions in Queenstown, Shotover Jet will take you on a thrilling adventure down the Kimiākau (Shotover River) and through the spectacular Shotover Canyons.

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Deer Park Heights

Deer Park Heights

Deer Park Heights is a self-drive adventure like no other. The road takes you up 550 metres through a working deer farm. There are scenic lookouts, locations where scenes from many movies have been filmed, and a fascinating range of animals. Bring your camera and spend the day.

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Free family activities

Even if you’re travelling on a budget, there are still so many experiences you can enjoy with your family.

Arrowtown Chinese Settlement

During the Gold Rush, Chinese miners flocked to Arrowtown, living along the edge of the creek below town. Their restored huts and information boards give an interesting insight into how they lived.

Moke Lake Loop Track

Fifteen minutes along the road out to Glenorchy is the turnoff to Moke Lake – a picturesque little lake high up in the hills. There is a well formed track right around the lake making the 2-3 hour walk easy.

Queenstown Hill Walk

Up behind Queenstown (look straight up The Mall) is Queenstown Hill. You can start in town, but most people drive up to the start of the track where you head up to the summit. The views are stunning as is the ‘Basket of Dreams’ sculpture you will find along your way.

 

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Queenstown Gardens and Playground

At the far end of Queenstown Bay, away from town, lies the picturesque botanic gardens and playground featuring the iconic rope swing.

18 Hole Disc Golf Course 

Located inside Queenstown Gardens is an 18 hole disc (frisbee) golf course, with chain baskets for ‘holes’. Bring your own disc and complete the course or make up your own fun. 

Self Drive Lord of the Rings Tour

Find locations where some of the iconic scenes from the LOTR trilogy were filmed including where Arwen defeats the Nazgûl by conjuring up a flood.

Family friendly eateries

All that fresh mountain air will be making you all extra hungry so luckily there is an exciting selection of places to refuel. 

The Cow

Tucked away in Cow Lane, the stone barn that is now The Cow originally housed cows which used to wander down the lane for daily milking. Operating  since 1977 means it’s Queenstown’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. If pizza and pasta is your thing, head to The Cow.

The Boat Shed Cafe & Bistro

Located at the Frankton Marina overlooking the lake The Boat Shed has easy parking, or it’s the perfect stop if you’re cycling the Frankton Track. Check out the photos and memorabilia of Meteor III – one of the original foiling boats in New Zealand.

Ferg Burger

This iconic burger joint is joined by spinoffs Fergbaker and Mrs Ferg Gelateria meaning there really is something for everyone in Queenstown’s strip of deliciousness on Shotover Street. Internationally famous, you can beat the queues this year.

Hole In One Cafe

Housed in the original farm stables at Millbrook, Hole In One Café offers muffins, cakes and pastries all freshly baked on site along with sandwiches, pizza, salads, burgers and more. Kids menu available and open until late.

Where to stay

For family friendly stays, we recommend checking out the below. Or search here for holiday parks and campgrounds.

Scenic Suites

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Located in town with stunning views, Scenic Suites offer one and two bedroom self contained apartments.

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Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Opposite Steamer Wharf in the heart of Queenstown. With lake or mountain views, the twin rooms can cater for 2 adults and 2 children. 

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Copthorne

Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview 

Conveniently close to town and offering a range of room and apartment options. Take in the stunning mountain and lake views.

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Blue Peaks

Blue Peaks Apartments

Two and three bedroom holiday apartments are totally self-contained, spacious and fully equipped, ideal for families just 2 mintues walk from town and opposite Queenstown Gardens.

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Arrowfield Apartments

Arrowfield Apartments

Situated in the heart of the Queenstown-Lakes region, just moments from the historic and thriving village of Arrowtown. Their stylish one, two, and three bedroom apartments offer modern and spacious self-contained holiday accommodation, fantastic for every season.

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new zealand

If you’re looking for more family holiday ideas, itineraries, holiday deals and things to do, visit newzealand.com for more inspiration. 

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Written by Kidspot New Zealand in partnership with Tourism New Zealand.

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