Things to do in Queenstown with Kids

Here we explore all the best things to do in Queenstown with kids – whether you are visiting with a toddler or older kids, we’ve got you covered with loads of fun activities here. 

Queenstown with kids

Queenstown, New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world. It’s where adrenaline junkies gather to bungy jump, skydive, jetboat, paraglide, zorb and ski… none of which you can do in Queenstown with small kids.

When you’re watching the world’s thrill seekers having the crazy time of their lives around you, it can be frustrating to discover that you don’t even qualify for ‘funyaking’ (ages 3 and older only, sorry).

But if you do have a toddler in tow, don’t let that put you off coming to this most picturesque of towns, with its cinematic backdrops of mountains and lakes.

Scratch under Queenstown’s adrenaline-seeking surface, and you will find plenty of things to do in Queenstown for kids, even those aged under-3.

I found information on what to do in Queenstown with toddlers sorely lacking when researching my trip, so our list of all the best things to do in Queenstown with kids also includes many activities suitable for younger kids and toddlers in Queenstown. 

Note: this post contains some affiliate links. If you make a booking using one of our links, we may receive a small commission – at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Enjoy a Lake Cruise & Farm Tour

Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by soaring mountains, is the centerpiece of scenic Queenstown, and the best way to appreciate its beauty is from the water.

You can’t take a toddler on a jetboat, so if you are in Queenstown with kids under 3, opt instead for a more sedate cruise aboard the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw, one of the best Queenstown kids activities.

Queenstown with kids

Hop off the boat at the far end of the lake to visit Walter Peak High Country Farm, to watch the sheep shearing and sheep dog demonstration, pet a sheep and partake in a barbecue lunch or afternoon tea. Speak nicely to the waitresses, and they’ll donate yesterday’s leftover scones for feeding the ducks.

Click here to book tickets for the TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak Farm.

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Ride the Skyline Gondola and Luge

You may not be able to skydive with a toddler, but you can ride the Skyline Gondola, the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere.

It’s not quite as thrilling as throwing yourself out of a plane, but you can still enjoy some of the best views in the region, as the Gondola carries you 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak.

Skyline Gondola and Luge Queenstown

Once at the top, you can jump on a chair lift and zoom down the 800m-long Luge track – suitable for all ages, and almost counts as an adventure sport. Kids aged under 6 and 110cm tall can ride with an adult. 

The Queenstown Luge is definitely one of the most fun Queenstown family activities.

Click here to book tickets for the Skyline Gondola and Luge.

Visit the Central Otago Wineries

The Central Otago wine region produces some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, and if you can’t spend the day paragliding, then sampling some of this fabulous red wine is the next best thing.

There are more than a hundred wineries within an hour’s drive from Queenstown, and while the wineries weren’t quite as child-friendly as those in Australia’s Margaret River, we still survived without any complaints from either the winemakers or our children.

Central Otago wineries Queenstown

If you are a wine lover and looking for what to do in Queenstown with kids, you will be pleased to hear that we found plenty of family friendly wineries in Central Otago.

Some of our favourites were the Wooing Tree, with its slide and sandpit, Carrick with its toy box and kids menu, and Chard Farm with its big lawn for the kids to run around on.

We also found plenty of family-friendly wineries in Marlborough, if you are venturing further North.

Want someone else to do the driving so you can do the drinking? Click here to book a bespoke wine tour and enjoy!

Explore Wanaka

If you’re looking for things to do near Queenstown, Wanaka is about an hour’s drive out of town. Wanaka is Queenstown’s smaller, sleepier cousin, with its own pristine alpine lake and mountain vistas to be proud of.

If you are visiting Queenstown with kids, be sure to pack a picnic and choose from a selection of buggy-friendly walks that follow Lake Wanaka’s shore, or just kick back on the beach and take in the views.

Queenstown with kids

Just outside of town, you will find Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World, a unique family-friendly tourist attraction brimming with weirdness and eccentricity.

The Great Maze is a bit beyond your average two year old, but my two kids had a blast in the illusion rooms, and checking out the Roman toilets.

Click here to buy tickets to Puzzling World.

Walk the Frankton Arm Walk

You may not be able to ‘tramp’ the Grand Traverse with a toddler in tow, but you can certainly enjoy a scenic stroll around Queenstown with kids.

Queenstown walk with kids

The Frankton Walkway begins at the Queenstown Gardens, and follows the Frankton Arm of Lake Wakatipu, hugging the lakeside and boasting spectacular views of the Remarkables Mountain Range across the water.

The walk will take you about an hour and half in each direction, and is buggy-friendly the whole way.

Hit the Queenstown Ski Slopes

If you are visit Queenstown with kids in the winter, then of course you have to hit the slopes for some fun in the snow. Coronet Peak is just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown and The Remarkables ski field is less than an hour away. Other options are Cardrona and Treble Cone.

Queenstown child in snow

Queenstown offers one of the longest ski seasons in the Southern Hemisphere, with skiers and snowboarders welcomed from June to October. Hit the slopes, take a ski lesson, or just have some fun building snowmen and throwing snowballs. The Kea Club offers lessons for kids aged 4 and above at both the Remarkables and Coronet Peak.

Meet the Kiwis

You are probably unlikely to come across a kiwi in the wild these days, but you will get to the meet them at the Kiwi Birdlife Park, which is also home to over 20 other native species of wildlife.

This family-run bird park is located in the heart of Queenstown on 5 acres of native bush as offers the best opportunity to come face to face with New Zealand’s most famous resident.

Take your own self-guided audio tour to discover all the animals and watch the Kiwi Encounters and Conservation Shows to learn more about the resident wildlife.

Click here to buy tickets online to the Kiwi Birdlife Park.

Explore Queenstown Gardens

Pack a picnic and buy a Frisbee and head to the Queenstown Gardens for an afternoon of fun and relaxation. Located just a few minutes walk from central Queenstown, there is loads of space to run around here and soak in the views.

Queenstown Gardens

Uniquely, Queenstown has a 18-hole disc golf course, where you can have fun with the family tossing your Frisbee into the nets. There’s also a fantastic kids playground and skate park.

Also within the Queenstown Gardens is the Queenstown Ice Arena, with ice skating and ice bumper cars on offer.

Click here to learn more.

Ride the Shotover Jet Boat

Queenstown’s most famous boat ride is also the most fun. The Shotover jet boat is a thrilling high-speed journey through dramatic and narrow canyons. 

The ride includes fast paced fishtailing and 360 degree turns, so not for the feint hearted! Lots of fun guaranteed!

Children aged 3 and over are allowed to ride the jet boat, provided they are over 1 metre tall. 3 and 4 year-olds travel for free (but must meet the minimum height requirements).

Click here to book the Shotover Jet Boat.

Brave the Shotover Canyon Swing

One for the older kids (minimum age is 10 years old) and the very brave…. The Shotover Canyon Swing is as daring as it gets. With 60 metres of freefall, the Canyon Swing is the world’s highest cliff jump.

Shooter Canyon swing

Unlike a bungee jump, once you finish your freefall, you make a smooth transition into a swing over the canyon. The whole thing is over in around 2 minutes – after you sum up the courage to actually jump that is.

Jumpers can choose to jump solo or in tandem with a friend (or parent). Are you brave enough?

Click here to book the Shotover Canyon Swing.

Zip Line through the Trees

Located at the top of Bob’s Peak (near the upper Gondola station), ZipTrek Eco-Tours will have you zipping from tree to tree high above Queenstown, with stunning views over Lake Wakatipu.

The Moa Tour is best suited for families, with its 4 zip lines taking around

1.5 to 2 hours. Kids aged 6 and up can take part in zip lining.

Click here to book ZipTrek EcoTour ziplining.

Visit Milford Sound

Taking a trip out to Milford Sound is one of the most popular things to do in Queenstown, whether you are traveling with kids or not.

This remote alpine fiord is renowned for its incredible beauty and stunning scenery. Getting here is half the fun, with either a scenic bus ride or small plane flight. Once there you can take a cruise to enjoy the fiord in all its glory.

Milford sound

There are several ways to do a day trip to Milford Sound, but a popular choice with families is the fly-cruise-fly option, as it is quick and exciting and means you don’t have to endure the 4-5 hour bus journey each way.

It is also possible to buy packages where you fly there and take the bus to get back.

Click here to book a Milford Sound day trip from Queenstown.

Have you visited Queenstown with Kids? What were your favourite Queenstown family activities?

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7 thoughts on “Things to do in Queenstown with Kids”

  1. Previous to living in the UAE, New Zealand was our annual ‘Family Friendly’ holiday. Hitting the slopes is the perfect relief from the hot humid QLD summers…

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much for this info! I am hoping to travel to Queenstown with my 2.5 year old and almost 4 year old daughters and was wondering whether you had any recommendations for toddler-friendly accommodation? Thanks again 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Dee. We stayed at a place called the Rees which is an apartment style hotel. We had 2 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and balcony with gorgeous views over the lake. It was a lovely 20-min walk along the lake to get to centre of town. I think there are a lot of Airbnb options in Queenstown too that might be worth checking out.

      Reply
  3. Thanks Marianne, great info. Did you ever take your kids for an overnight farm stay? If so, which one do you recommend? We will probably do the Steam Boat to Earnslaw but another stay in a cottage would be lovely too.
    Any help would be great.

    Many thanks,
    Shelley

    Reply
    • Hi Shelley – unfortunately we didn’t do a farm stay so I can’t really recommend one. I have heard great things about Nokomai Station, it’s about an hour from Queenstown and looks beautiful! https://nokomai.co.nz Have a great time in Queenstown, we can’t wait to go back one day!

      Reply
  4. Hi, thanks for the info.

    I am in the process of planning a 6 day trip to Queenstown with my 2 year old for the end of August and wanted your thoughts re the Milford Sound cruise. Was this something you did with your family? I’m reading that it’s a must see in the South Island but I am dreading the thought of a 4 hr drive with my toddler!

    We’re looking forward to seeing the snow more than anything.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Nahide, no we didn’t do the Milford Sound cruise. We did look into doing the scenic flight out of Queenstown though – perhaps that could be a way to do it and avoid the 4-hour journey with a toddler? You can also do flight one way and coach the other way to make it cheaper. I agree with you, I don’t think I would want to do that journey both ways with a toddler! Have fun, such a beautiful country!

      Reply

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