Queenstown with kids: choice fun for the whole family

How to have a right royal holiday that’s fun for kids and grown-ups.

Two children and two adults on the deck of a cruise boat on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand.
  • Jetstar
  • May 2022

Queenstown (and, let’s face it, most of New Zealand) is a brilliant destination for a family holiday. It’s a super outdoorsy adventure capital, so kids can run off their energy in the stunning outdoors. Queenstown is especially known for its ski resorts, so there’s no shortage of snowy fun to be had here. And there’s plenty of wildlife and historical sites to inspire tiny imaginations. So grab your crowns and let’s head to Queenstown.

Ride the Queenstown Gondola

The Queenstown Gondola (the steepest cable car in the Southern Hemisphere) will carry you 450m up in the air, all the way to Bob's Peak. From here, the panoramic views of The Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu are incredible. For extra fun, head back down on the Queenstown Luge. Jump in a purpose-built luge cart and ride all the twists, turns, tunnels and dips back to base.

Queenstown Luge track, with views of The Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Twists, turns and views: Queenstown Luge.

Go skiing at Coronet Peak

If you’re going to go to Queenstown, you’ve got to go to the snow. Family friendly Coronet Peak, just 20 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, has activities to suit all ages and abilities. Kids under 7 ski for free and, for kids aged 2 to 5, Skiwiland is an early learning centre that teaches the smallest of ski bunnies how to hit the slopes. Aside from skiing, there’s a gondola, disc golf, snowboarding and mountain-biking facilities.

Mountain panorama and skiers on slopes, as seen from Coronet Peak ski resort, Queenstown, New Zealand.
There’s no business like snow business at Coronet Peak.

Go for the zipride of your life

Take adventurous kids on an unforgettable zipride. There are loads to try, including ZipTrek Ecotours and Kawarau Bungy Centre, where there are 3 lines side-by-side so you can have a synchronised take-off as you whizz through the air at over 60km an hour. (The minimum age is 8 years old, and kids aged 8 and 9 must ride tandem with an adult.) Fly through the air like a posse of superheroes on a ride you’ll never forget!

Person high in the air on a ZipTrek Ecotours zipline above forests and lakes in Queenstown, New Zealand.
It’s all about the outdoor thrills in Queenstown.

Splash around at Lake Wakatipu and the Underwater Observatory

Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand’s third largest lake, and it’s a stunner. There’s a whole host of activities in the area. You can ride a vintage steamboat or wander the waterfront arts and craft market every Saturday. There’s good trout fishing in the area, and popular beaches in summer, so pack a family picnic for a day out. Nearby, at the Time Tripper Underwater Observatory, kids can travel back in time and learn about the ancient legends who lived under the lake.

Two children running into Lake Wakatipu in summer, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Make a splash at Lake Wakatipu.

Meet the locals at the Kiwi and Birdlife Park

Who wouldn’t want to meet a kiwi? Their extreme cuteness is irresistible to kids and adults alike, and at the Kiwi and Birdlife Park, you get to see them in their little nocturnal houses. The park sprawls over 5 acres and is dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand’s wildlife, so you’ll come across some pretty amazing local critters as you explore the grounds. The animal keepers present a conservation show in the outdoor theatre, with some feathery superstars.

A kereru bird, with distinctive black and white markings, in a tree at the Kiwi and Birdlife Park, Queenstown, New Zealand.
A fancy-looking kereru at the Kiwi and Birdlife Park.