Queenstown is an action packed alpine resort town filled with kid friendly activities from parasailing to bungy jumping. This extreme sport capital of the world is filled with exciting adventures for children of all ages. But not all kids are fearless or are adrenalin junkies. For families with young ones who are tentative by nature and might be afraid of certain things such as heights, the dark, animals or speed, Queenstown still has much to offer. Here are some tips on what activities (excluding snow activities) you may engage in for the fearsome child.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #1
Fruit Picking. Cromwell, a picturesque 45 minute drive from Queenstown is renowned for its PYO (pick your own) orchards. Some may require a fee to enter and you pay for the fruit by weight. Cherries is the usually the fruit of choice and kids love trying to wrangle the plumpest ones from the top of the tree branches and drop them into bright coloured buckets. It's a lovely way to spend a day outdoors with the added bonus of heading home with the best load of cherries around.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #2
Canoeing. Queenstown Rafting operates a tame canoeing and rafting activity. This an excellent way to introduce the water to kids who may be afraid of the river. According to Queenstown Rafting, "you literally 'go with the flow' and soak up the scenery along a beautiful stretch of the Kawarau River with the Remarkable Mountains as your backdrop." You are taken down the river by 2 guides either on a large raft or you can have a go on the canoe. Along the river are a couple of small rapids of which one of them we jokingly dubbed a grade 0.5 whilst the other one is around a grade 2. It is breathtaking down there and the kids will love it!
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #3
White Water Rafting. The Family Adventures tour company offer white water rafting for children as young as 3 on gentle grade rapids of 1 and 2. They have stated that water confidence is not required so this is a great way to get them on a bit of adventure. This is experienced on the famous Shotover River where the views are simply amazing. Be warned however the drive up along the narrow path is not for the faint-hearted.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #3
Steamship and Farm. One of the best ways to enjoy beautiful Lake Wakatipu is to jump on board the iconic steamship, TSS Earnslaw. Be prepared to float across the lake, enjoying views of Queenstown from a different perspective whilst being serenaded by the resident pianist. The steamship also boasts a gorgeous little café and bar for a lovely morning tea or cheeky wine whilst you are also able to venture out onto the bridge and also explore the engine room.
Couple the cruise with a stop at the Walter Peak High Country Farm. The kids will enjoy an extensive gourmet BBQ lunch followed by a short tour of the farm to include a display of how farm dogs work followed by sheep shearing. The souvenir shop is pretty hard to pass by without the kids wanting something cute and fluffy!
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #4
The Luge. The Skyline Queenstown Luge is an incredibly fun activity and a must do for all families. The luge is accessible via a gondola, which is quite steep but slow and not very high off the ground. The carts itself are controllable and you can go as fast or as slow as you wish, which is perfect for kids who may not be so adventurous. There are 2 different routes, one of which takes a beautiful scenic route, meandering along at a pace you can set for yourself.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #5
Walking Trails. Queenstown is littered with amazing walking trails of varying levels of difficulty. This is the perfect way for families to spend the day. Be sure to pack some lunch, don appropriate footwear, carry repellent to fight against those nasty sand flies and bring lots of water. Check out this link for the myriad of walking trails you can embark on.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #6
Bike Trails. Just as there are as many walking trails, there are equally just as many spectacular biking trails. Bikes are easy to hire for kids of all ages and again, you can select from the many bike trails to suit your level of fitness and adventure. This is an excellent way to see the natural scenic routes over a couple of lakes, a suspension bridge or even to get to a winery for lunch.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #7
Horse Riding. 45 minutes from Queenstown is the beautiful town of Glenorchy. For all Lord of Rings fans, this is certainly must do trip and what better way to admire the countryside than on horseback. If your children are partial to animals, head over to Dart Stables or High Country Horses for a wonderful experience.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #8
Ice Bar. This was a fun little activity to do, especially during the summer months and a great way to cool off. There are a few ice bars in town of which the bars get to as cold -11 degrees celsius. The venue will provide thick jackets, gloves and boots. You can certainly bring your own if you wish. The kids can enjoy a mocktail in an ice carved "glass" whilst you freeze your bum off! We only lasted 45 minutes before frost bite kicked in! Head over to bookme.nz to find deals. We bought our adult ticket for NZ$7.00 whilst the bar charged around NZ$75.00 for a family ticket including 2 cocktails and 2 mocktails.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #9
Goldfields. Take the kids gold panning at the Queenstown goldfields and learn about early history in the Central Otago region. This is yet another fun and tame activity the children can enjoy whilst also exploring the Chinese Village. You can go on a tour if you wish and they also have a lovely restaurant that overlooks the Kawarau River, you can dine at.
QUEENSTOWN TAME ACTIVITY TIP #10
Eco-friendly Segway. The older kids (10+) can enjoy a day tour on the segway as they meander around this beautiful town. The segways are designed with a stabilisation technology so that you can maintain your balance as you move forwards and backwards. It's a great way to get an overview of Queenstown and to help you get your bearings. This is definitely recommended for your tween and teenage kids.
All the above activities and attractions would easily fulfil a whole week and keep the family busy. You are certainly not missing out on what this town has to offer just because you didn't experience any of the extreme adventures. Queenstown is absolutely pristine and we promise you that you will gape at the view for a good 24 hours before you realise it's not a postcard.