Queenstown is a fun destination in southern New Zealand that offers enjoyment for the whole family. You'll find plenty to see and do, but before you can embark on your adventure, you'll need to make sure that everything is in order for your holiday to go smoothly. Fortunately, it has never been easier to plan an unforgettable trip to this resort town. Learn everything you need to know to plan a family holiday to Queenstown, and discover what kind of accommodation and adventure would work best for your family's unique needs.
Travelling to a Queenstown family holiday
The first step of your holiday is actually getting to Queenstown. Fortunately, you'll find plenty of different options when it comes to arriving in this fun resort town. You can book a flight directly to Queenstown from Auckland, Christchurchand Wellington. Alternatively, you can drive from anywhere in New Zealand to get here. It's about 7 hours away from Christchurch, 4.2 hours away from Dunedin and 1.5 hours away from Wanaka. If you're coming in from the North Island, you'll have to use the ferry in Wellington to cross the Cook Strait. Afterwards, though, you can drive all the way from Picton to Queenstown.
Getting around Queenstown
Once you're in Queenstown, the best way to travel is with a car of your own. Even if you didn't make the drive to this resort town, you can find plenty of car hires available in the area that you can use for the duration of your visit. You'll also find a public bus network that links Queenstown proper with all its main suburbs. If your family is more interested in walking or cycling, the Queenstown Trail connects most of the top activities in town, making it easy to get around in whatever way you prefer.
Top neighbourhoods for Queenstown family activities
Finding the right place for your family's accommodation is key to getting the most out of your holiday experience. The town itself is split up into quite a few different neighbourhoods, so it's essential that you consider what each offers to determine which would work best for your family's unique needs. Each neighbourhood has its own special atmosphere, and some may put you closer to your preferred activities than others. Take a look at the best places to book family-friendly accommodation in Queenstown.
Explore endless fun in Central Queenstown
Central Queenstown is where you'll want to book your stay if you're interested in being in the centre of the action in town. This is where you'll find the bulk of the most popular activities in the area along with several incredible restaurants and shops to enjoy. The Queenstown Mall is a popular favourite for locals and travellers alike. The available accommodation is quite varied, but you should expect it to lean more towards the costly side given the proximity to several popular attractions.
Relax among the nature in Fernhill
Families who are interested in more relaxing outdoor adventures may want to book their stay in Fernhill. This is a suburb located on the south side of Ben Lomond that offers convenient access to quite a few trailheads including the iconic Fernhill Loop Track and Arawata Terrace Track. Additionally, those looking to rest their heads away from the hustle and bustle of the city may want to consider this neighbourhood, as it offers serene surroundings on the lower slopes of the mountain.
Find rural adventure in Shotover
East of Lake Wakatipu, you'll find the suburb of Shotover, which is particularly useful if your family is looking for a more rural accommodation option. The town centre is just 9 kilometres away, but you'll feel at peace near the water and in the countryside here. Numerous lakefront activities are available here, and you won't have to go far to get to the mountain range, either. Plus, it's close to the airport, so arriving and leaving is especially easy.
Book a luxury family accommodation in Queenstown's Kelvin Heights
Just southeast of the city centre, Kelvin Heights is one of the more affluent neighbourhoods in the area. If you're looking for luxury rentals that will keep your family pampered, this is the first place you should look. In addition to the high-end rentals available, you'll also be able to enjoy scenic views overlooking the town. Hike the Queenstown Hill Time Walk, which is just 1.5 kilometres, and you can take in panoramic views of the entire town.
Enjoy the conveniences of Frankton
If you don't want to travel too far from the airport, Frankton is your best bet for family accommodation. That's just one of its many conveniences, however, as it also features the Remarkables Park Town Centre, which is a popular shopping area for people of all ages. Additionally, you'll find outdoor adventure here at the Kawarau Falls Scenic Reserve and Davies Park. Essentially, you'll want to consider Frankton if you're looking for a diverse holiday experience that's not based within the city centre of Queenstown.
Types of accommodation for a Queenstown family holiday
When you're planning a Queenstown family holiday, you'll need to consider the type of accommodation you want to book in addition to the proper location. You'll find quite a few different options available around town including some you may not have previously considered. At the least, all you really need for a satisfying family trip is space and convenience. Take a look at the various accommodation types in the area, and discover which would work best for your family.
Find style and affordability with Condos/apartments
One of the most common types of accommodation available in Queenstown is condos and apartments. While travellers who are bringing their whole family on holiday may shy away from condos and apartments, they can be more spacious than you might think. You'll find plenty of incredible options with 3 bedrooms or more offering space for everyone to sleep comfortably. Plus, condos and apartments are what you'll likely find the most if you're looking to stay close to the city centre.
Find a home away from home with rental Houses
Houses are the most common type of rental available in the Queenstown area, and they're your best bet if you're looking for a home-away-from-home type of experience from your accommodation. Houses for rent tend to have plenty of space and come with amenities like a full kitchen, integrated WiFi and central heating and cooling. Some more luxurious amenities are often available as well such as access to a private pool and a private path to the beach. The cost of accommodation can vary quite a bit, so consider which neighbourhood you're planning to stay in.
Embrace the outdoors with a selection of Cabins
You may not think of cabins as your first choice when travelling to a popular resort town, but you'll find quite a few in the countryside a few kilometres out from the city centre. These rentals are ideal for families who are looking for a more relaxing holiday experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Plus, cabins tend to be located near impressive natural features like lakes and mountain trails. Outdoor-oriented families will find plenty of satisfaction with a cabin rental. Plus, modern cabins have impressive amenities with just about everything you can find in a house or condo.
Family activities in Queenstown
To get the most out of your holiday adventure, you'll need to find the best family activities in Queenstown to put on your itinerary. Whether you're looking for a more laid-back holiday or something a bit more thrilling, the numerous options here can keep you busy no matter how long your visit is. Take a look at the top family-friendly attractions in town, and discover what your family can enjoy here.
Check out the views on Skyline Gondola
The Skyline Gondola is one of the most iconic attractions in town, and it's something that the whole family can enjoy. Put simply, it's a cable car lift that will take you up to the peak of a mountain overlooking the town. The cable car is known for its remarkably steep incline, yet it offers a smooth and relaxing ride with incredible views of the town. Getting to the top offers the absolute best views with panoramic viewpoints that are positively breathtaking. Plus, the top of the mountain also offers a restaurant and a luge attraction.
Take the leap with Bungy Jumps
More adventurous and daring travellers won't want to miss out on Bungy Jumps around Queenstown. You'll find 3 different locations available for this thrilling activity at the Kawarau Bridge, Nevis and a ledge high above Queenstown. Kids need to be at least 10 years old to participate, with the exception of the Nevis jump where the age requirement is increased to 13 years old. Considering that the drop from the Nevis jump is 3 times farther than the other 2, it makes sense for it to be reserved for teens and older. Consider this adventure if you crave adrenaline.
Soar with speed at Ziptrek Ecotours
At Ziptrek Ecotours, you can explore the incredible natural features of Queenstown from an entirely new perspective. Older members of your family may want to ride one of the steepest zip lines in the world that will have you reaching speeds up to 70 kph. You'll find easier zip lines as well, so the whole family can find fun here. All abilities and experience levels are welcome with plenty of beginner lines available and friendly instructors, too. Just keep in mind that riders need to be at least 6 years old, or 15 years old to ride by themselves.
Simulate skydiving at iFLY
iFLY is a thrilling experience that your family can enjoy no matter what the weather is like. iFLY simulates the sensation of skydiving within a controlled environment complete with an instructor who helps even those without any skydiving experience feel like a pro. Plus, you can take your experience to the next level thanks to the virtual reality experience available here. With the VR headset, you and your family can feel like you're actually jumping out of a plane with the visuals and all, though you'll always be safely close to the ground with trained instructors nearby.
Enjoy endless family fun at Thrillzone
Kids will always have something to do at Thrillzone. This family fun centre offers a wide variety of activities from virtual reality gaming to escape rooms. You and your family can find virtually endless fun here, especially if you visit the 12D motion theatre. There you can enjoy several simulated experiences with 12 different scenarios including a haunted house tour and a roller coaster ride. Plus, this is where you'll find one of the only locations in New Zealand that offers an Omni VR multiplayer platform complete with a treadmill-based running rig that makes players truly feel like they're in the game.