Queenstown is a thrilling resort town on New Zealand's South Island where you'll find endless adventure that the whole family can enjoy. Whether you're looking for urban activities or outdoor adventure, you won't have to look far to find unforgettable experiences here. Kids and adults alike can take part in the vast majority of activities available, though you'll find some that are specifically oriented toward younger kids. Take a look at the best things to do with kids in Queenstown, and discover what your family can enjoy in this iconic destination.
1. Learn about native birds at Kiwi Birdlife Park
Whether your little ones have never seen a kiwi before or they coveted their last experience, there's never a bad time to visit Kiwi Birdlife Park. Here you'll find a happy population of kiwis that you can see up close running about their dark houses. Kiwis are nocturnal, so the park has special dark areas you can visit during the day to see them in action. Other New Zealand birds can be found here as well including falcons, tui and piwakawaka. More than 20 native species are available here for viewing, so your family can learn all about the most prominent resident birds.
2. Find vibrant greenery at Queenstown Gardens
Queenstown Gardens is a stunning destination where you and your family can relax and enjoy a beautiful day outside. You'll find plenty of trees, fields and vibrant flora throughout the area. Consider embarking on the main trail for a scenic walking experience that covers 3.1 kilometres in all, though you don't have to walk the entire length. The trail is wheelchair accessible, so it's easy for everyone to access. You'll find plenty of lawns and benches throughout, as well as a children's playground.
3. Take to the water with KJet
If your family is interested in unrivalled thrills, there's nothing quite like KJet. This is a fun-filled jet boat ride that will take you and your family to high speeds throughout the various waterways around Queenstown. They have quite a few models available with variable speeds, so you don't have to miss out on the excitement even if you have young children with you. Additionally, they offer a Time Tripper virtual reality experience where you can virtually take a trip under the surface of Lake Wakatipu where you'll see trout, fish and eels. All ages can partake in this special experience.
4. Experience skydiving at iFLY
Skydiving can be a thrilling experience, but it's hard and perfectly normal for plenty of people not to want to jump out of a plane. With iFLY, you don't have to. This indoor skydiving facility can mimic the sensation of skydiving while keeping you safe in an indoor facility never too far from the ground with an instructor by your side the entire time. Combining this experience with virtual reality can make it nearly indistinguishable from the real deal. Kids as young as 5 years old can participate in this thrilling adventure.
5. Play games at Thrillzone
At Thrillzone, you'll find a one-stop shop for a variety of fun activities. You and your family can test your wits in an escape room, or you can embark on a virtual reality experience with fun games and adventures. The Hologate VR is the standard virtual reality experience, but you can also opt for Omni VR, which utilizes integrated technology and a treadmill-based running rig to fully immerse players into a thrilling multiplayer game. The 12D motion theatre offers a unique kind of fun altogether with up to 12 special effects you can choose from.
6. Test your skills at Clip 'n Climb
If your family is looking for a bit of a challenge, Clip 'n Climb has plenty to offer. You'll find a variety of climbing experiences to enjoy including courses designed for kids as young as those in preschool. Whatever course you choose, an instructor will ensure that the harness is firmly secured. Then, participants are free to take on the various challenges here. You don't need any climbing experience, as training is freely given for beginners here. All you need is to wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes. Everything else is taken care of for you.
7. Dive into Alpine Aqualand
Families looking for a bit of relaxation may consider heading to Alpine Aqualand. This facility has a wide variety of pools to explore with something for kids and adults alike. Simple lap pools are available along with a leisure pool that comes complete with a lazy river. Additionally, you'll find 2 hydro slides here for more thrilling fun. Alternatively, you can take your little ones to the tapered toddler pool with its fun water features. Older kids at least 16 years of age and adults can take part in the hot pool, too.
8. Explore the Odyssey Sensory Maze
One of the more unique activities in town is the Odyssey Sensory Maze. With this fascinating experience, you can embark in a maze packed with optical illusions and challenges. Mirrors, sound effects, strange lighting and odd sensations all work together to create an unusual yet fascinating challenge that the whole family can take on. It's generally recommended for kids 8 years of age and older, and it takes around 20 minutes to complete the course on average. You're not on a time limit, however, so feel free to go through the maze at your own pace.
9. Enjoy kid-friendly fun at Chipmunks Indoor Playground
If you're travelling with younger kids, Chipmunks Indoor Playground may just be the highlight of your itinerary. This playground is housed within a massive facility and comes complete with fun mega slides, multi-level climbing structures and everything a kid needs to have fun. You'll find opportunities here for kids 11 years of age and younger. There's also a cafe where you can grab a bite to eat and a coffee as your kids tire themselves out playing throughout this massive facility. You'll find party facilities here as well if you want to make your child's experience extra special.
10. Take in the views from Skyline Gondola
The Skyline Gondola is one of the most iconic activities in all of Queenstown. This ride takes you and your family across the heights of Queenstown 450 metres above the ground offering scenic views of everything this magnificent destination has to offer. This is a great stop to plan for early in your itinerary to help you get your bearings in a new town. At the top of the cable car lift, you'll find yourself close to an array of other activities including a luge that you won't want to ride just once.
11. Test your courage at Bungy Jumps
If your family is feeling particularly daring, you may want to try the Bungy Jumps available in the Queenstown area. Kids need to be at least 10 years of age to participate, so keep that in mind when planning. There are several locations throughout Queenstown where you can take a jump, though the most popular is the Kawarau Bridge with a 43-metre drop. The Nevis Bungy takes it even further with a 134-metre drop that will have you in freefall for a full 8.5 seconds, though it'll certainly feel much longer if you've never tried bungee jumping before. Note that the Nevis jump has a higher minimum age requirement of 13 years old.
12. Take to the skies with GForce Paragliding
At GForce Paragliding, you can explore Queenstown from an entirely different perspective. This paragliding experience can have you and your family soaring above the town taking in the picturesque views with a pilot to keep you safe and guide you throughout the entire flight. The whole family can have fun here as each rider gets a customized experience whether they're looking for a relaxing cruise or a thrilling joyride. The flight starts at the top of the Skyline Gondola, so you'll be in a great position to take in all the top sights in town.
13. Find thrills at Ziptrek Ecotours
One of the most popular activities in destinations with incredible outdoor sights to see is zip lining. With Ziptrek Ecotours, these fun-filled adventures can be found in Queenstown. In fact, one of the steepest zip lines in the world is available here where you'll find yourself travelling at speeds of up to 70 kph descending a full 30 storeys by the time it's over. Of course, you'll find more relaxed zip lines available as well for your little ones to enjoy, as there's something for all ages and experience levels. Don't hesitate to let this be your first zip-lining experience.
14. Race through the water with Hydro Attack
Hydro Attack is one of the more unique activities available in Queenstown. When you embark on this ride, you'll find yourself racing through the water in a unique semi-submersible craft designed to mimic what it's like to be a shark. The boat itself is more reminiscent of a plane's cockpit, and it can use its jets to travel at high speeds across the water and even jump for some serious air time. While the experience is open to kids as young as 6 years of age, it's generally recommended for tweens and older, as all the riders have to travel by themselves with the driver because each vessel only has room for 2.
15. Hit the slopes at Coronet Peak Ski Area
If you're travelling during the winter, you may want to take advantage of the Coronet Peak Ski Area. Here you'll find fun slopes suitable for all ages including young beginner skiers. Not only is it one of the closest ski slopes to central Queenstown, but kids under the age of 5 can get in for free. The slopes come in many different difficulty levels, so the more experienced members of your family can still have fun. Additionally, you'll find skiing lessons available here as well as opportunities for night skiing, as they keep the course lit up after dark up to 3 times per week during peak season.