10 Things to do in Queenstown with Kids

Queenstown is one of the most popular destinations in New Zealand and an ideal place to visit with family or children. Here I tell you what are the best things to do in the city with the little ones.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

11 min read

10 Things to do in Queenstown with Kids

Queenstown and Children | ©Justin Stenning

If you are planning to visit New Zealand and have Queenstown on your itinerary, you will find a perfect city to enjoy with family and children. With its large number of natural attractions and its fame as one of the continental capitals of extreme sports, you will find alternatives for all tastes, whether you want a quiet and relaxed tour or more adrenaline-filled experiences.

Some of the best things to do in Queenstown with kids include taking a boat ride on some of the city's most famous rivers, joining the immersive Time Tripper experience, joining a ride on the Skyline cable car, visiting the Kiwi Birdlife Park and touring the city on a fun Lord of the Rings tour.

1. Take a boat ride on the city's rivers

Boats for the ride| ©Liam O'Connell
Boats for the ride| ©Liam O'Connell

Taking a boat ride on Queenstown's rivers is an exciting and fun activity to do with children. This experience will allow them to enjoy natural scenery while immersing themselves in the adventure and adrenaline rush of whitewater boating, especially on the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers.

During the boat ride, the little ones will be able to experience the thrill of sailing through the water at high speed, feeling the wind on their faces and listening to the roar of the engine. Expert guides will provide them with interesting information about the area and teach them about the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.

In addition to the thrill, this boat ride will give children the opportunity to learn about nature and aquatic life. They will be able to observe the beauty of the rivers, the trees and the wildlife that surrounds them. They will also be able to spot birds, fish and other native animals during the tour, especially if you plan to visit Queenstown during the summer.

Safety is also a priority on these boat tours. Life jackets will be provided on these excursions and children will be accompanied by experienced guides who will ensure that the experience is safe and fun for everyone. In addition, most speedboats are designed to offer a comfortable and stable experience, which will also allow you to relax during the tour.

Book a speedboat tour in Queenstown

2. Join the immersive Time Tripper experience

Time Tripper| ©Viator
Time Tripper| ©Viator

Immerse yourself in the immersive experience of Time Tripper with children is an adventure that will leave them in awe. This attraction proposes an exciting journey through the history of New Zealand, where they can learn and have fun at the same time, whether you visit this attraction on your own or during the tour of one of the best tours in Queenstown.

First of all, the little ones will have the opportunity to travel in a time machine and be transported to different eras. From the arrival of the Maori in New Zealand to the gold rush in the Queenstown region, each historical stage is carefully recreated to provide an educational and entertaining experience. Children will be able to see up close what life was like in those times and feel a part of history.

In addition, the immersive Time Tripper experience offers a variety of interactive activities. Visitors will be able to participate in games and challenges related to each historical period, allowing them to test their knowledge and skills. From searching for treasure in a gold mine to learning how to perform a traditional Maori haka, each activity is designed to keep everyone engaged throughout the experience.

Time Tripper's time travel also features amazing special effects. Lights, sounds and 3D projections combine to create an immersive experience that transports children to a whole new world, including underwater platforms. They can feel the thrill of battle in a Maori war or the vertigo of a booming mining excavation, as well as interact with amphibious animals and even dinosaurs.

Buy tickets for the Time Tripper Underwater Experience

3. Tour the city's best sites on a Lord of the Rings tour

Glenorchy| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn
Glenorchy| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn

Touring the best sites of the city on a Lord of the Rings tour with children is a magical experience that will transport them into the fascinating world of the famous film trilogy. Queenstown, known for its natural landscapes, was one of the main settings used in the films, making it the perfect destination for kids to immerse themselves in Middle-earth.

During the tour, you will have the opportunity to visit iconic sites from the films, such as the famous Arrowtown, which served as the backdrop for the Lothlórien Forest scene and is part of the best full-day tours from Queenstown. There you can explore the trails surrounded by ancient trees and connect with the magic and enchantment of Middle-earth.

In addition, the tour will include visits to places like Glenorchy and Paradise, which served as backdrops for the characters' iconic journey to Mordor. Children will be able to walk through the same lands that Frodo and Sam saw, and feel the thrill of being in such a special place, which often generates fascination in visitors.

During these excursions you can also opt for interactive activities and games related to The Lord of the Rings to keep children excited and entertained. You can recreate iconic scenes, such as the throwing of the ring on Mount Doom or the encounter with the Elves, and learn about the characters and stories of the multi-award-winning trilogy.

Book the Lord of the Rings tour in Queenstown

4. Experience a zip line experience in Queenstown.

Queenstown Zipline| ©Online Activity Booking
Queenstown Zipline| ©Online Activity Booking

Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure paradise and one of them is the zip line experience, which is available to people of all ages, including children from 6 years old and up. From the heights of the zip line, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Wakatipu River, whose turquoise waters contrast with the surrounding mountains.

In addition to the view of the river, you can also take in the mountainous landscape of The Remarkables, a mountain range that marks the backbone of the South Island. The sensation of flying between snow-capped peaks and green valleys creates a unique and exhilarating experience that will remain etched in the memory of every participant, regardless of whether they are children or adults.

Ziplining in Queenstown is not only an activity for thrill-seeking adults, but also an adventure suitable for groups. The little ones can join in the fun, making it an excellent opportunity to share unforgettable family moments.

The combination of scenic views, along with the availability for children, makes zip lining in Queenstown an exciting and memorable activity for all generations. It is a unique opportunity to experience New Zealand's natural beauty from a completely new and adrenaline-filled perspective.

Book a zip line experience in Queenstown

5. Tour the children's exhibits at the Thomas L. Brown Gallery

Art Gallery| ©Jane
Art Gallery| ©Jane

Touring the children's shows at the Thomas L. Brown Gallery in Queenstown is an enriching and fun experience for kids. This contemporary art gallery is noted for its focus on exhibitions designed specifically for the enjoyment and participation of young children.

Upon entering the gallery, children will be greeted by a creative and stimulating environment. The exhibitions are carefully designed to spark the imagination and curiosity of the youngest visitors, especially through its interactive artworks, which feature vibrant colors and innovative forms. They can also explore the different rooms and discover art from a unique perspective.

This gallery also offers a variety of interactive activities. From art workshops where visitors can create their own artwork to exploration and scavenger hunts, there is something for everyone. These activities encourage creative expression, critical thinking and the development of artistic skills in the youngest visitors.

In addition to the exhibitions and activities, the gallery has guides who are available to support children during their visit, to make it more fun and dynamic. This will be ideal if you are planning a short stay in the city, because children will be able to enjoy a children's activity in less time. If that is your case, here is a list of activities for you to discover Queenstown in 3 days.

6. Enjoy the winter attractions of the Queenstown Ice Arena

Queenstown Ice Arena| ©MuQin
Queenstown Ice Arena| ©MuQin

Enjoying the winter attractions of the Queenstown Ice Arena with children is an exciting experience that will allow them to immerse themselves in the magical world of ice. Located in the heart of the city, this venue offers a variety of ice activities that will keep the kids entertained and entertained without respite.

Here you will find yourself surrounded by a sparkling ice rink ready to be explored. You'll be able to put on your skates and glide across the icy surface while feeling like a professional skater. Even if it's your first time on the ice, you'll find trained staff ready to help and advise you and the kids.

The Queenstown Ice Arena also offers exciting side attractions, such as curling and ice bumper cars. Curling is a traditional Scottish sport that involves sliding granite stones across the ice towards a target, while ice bumper cars are special cars that move and crash on an ice rink. These activities will be ideal for your visit to Queenstown during the winter, although it is open all year round.

In addition to the attractions, the Queenstown Ice Arena has refreshment and rest options for children to recharge their batteries. There is a snack bar where they can enjoy hot drinks and delicious snacks, perfect for keeping warm during their time on the ice.

7. Take a bike tour of Queenstown

Biking in Queenstown| ©Queenstown New Zealand
Biking in Queenstown| ©Queenstown New Zealand

Cycling in Queenstown is a fun and safe experience that can be enjoyed as a family, even with children. The town and surrounding area offers numerous trails and routes specially designed for cyclists of all ages and abilities, ensuring an exciting and safe adventure for everyone.

Queenstown has an extensive network of lanes and trails that pass through beautiful natural scenery, including lakes, rivers and mountains. Children can enjoy the great outdoors while exploring the town and its surroundings on two wheels. In addition, most of the trails are separated from vehicular traffic, providing a safe environment for children to pedal carefree on some of the city's best excursions.

During the bike tour, little ones will have the opportunity to appreciate the scenic beauty of Queenstown in a unique way. They can enjoy panoramic views, discover parks and nature reserves, and stop at places of interest to learn more about local history and culture. Biking allows for greater proximity and connection to the environment, which will enrich the whole family's experience.

In addition to the fun and connection with nature, cycling in Queenstown offers health benefits and promotes environmental stewardship, a cornerstone of New Zealand public policy.

8. Explore the playgrounds at Queenstown Gardens

Queenstown Gardens| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn
Queenstown Gardens| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn

Exploring the playgrounds at Queenstown Gardens is an exciting experience for the little ones. Located just a few blocks away from the city center, this park offers a wide variety of games and activities designed especially to entertain and stimulate children of all ages.

Here visitors will find a wealth of activities and play structures, such as swings, slides, climbing frames and climbing areas. Every corner of the park is designed to encourage imagination, creativity and active fun for children, and for adults to relax and unwind while the little ones play.

The playgrounds at Queenstown Gardens also provide a safe environment for children to explore on their own, which is why it is also considered one of the most famous urban nature sites in New Zealand.

In addition to playgrounds, these gardens offer natural landscapes and trails surrounded by trees, flowers and ponds, allowing you to connect with nature and enjoy a peaceful and serene environment.

9. Join a ride on Skyline Queenstown

Skyline Queenstown| ©andy
Skyline Queenstown| ©andy

Joining a ride on the Skyline Queenstown with children is an experience you won't want to miss. Located at the top of Bob 's Peak Mountain, it offers an open panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. From the moment they board the cable car, kids can immerse themselves in a thrilling adventure from the heights.

From the top of the mountain you will be able to see the majestic lakes and mountains that surround the area, creating a spectacular landscape. In addition, you will also be able to view Lake Wakatipu, known for its beauty and unique "S " shape, especially if you plan to visit Queenstown in the summer, when the skies are clear and offer better views.

At Skyline Queenstown, children will also have the opportunity to enjoy the activities this site has to offer. From biking the mountain trails to sliding down the luge track, they will find options for all tastes and ages. They will be able to release their energy and have fun while exploring nature and the adrenaline of the outdoor attractions.

In addition to the sights and activities, Skyline Queenstown has dining options to satisfy the whole family.

10. Enjoy water sports on Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu| ©Paula W
Lake Wakatipu| ©Paula W

Enjoying water sports at Lake Wakatipu with children is an exciting and refreshing experience that will allow them to have the most fun in the midst of beautiful natural scenery. With its crystal clear waters and surrounded by mountains, Lake Wakatipu, one of the largest lakes in New Zealand, offers the perfect setting to enjoy a variety of water activities suitable for the whole family.

One of the most popular options is kayaking. Children can get into a kayak and paddle through the calm and safe waters of the Wakatipu, exploring its bays and discovering hidden corners. This activity will allow them to enjoy nature up close and encourage teamwork while sailing together.

Another interesting option is paddle boarding. The little ones will be able to get on a paddleboard and glide across the lake, practicing their balance and coordination while enjoying the panoramic views offered by the surroundings. It is a fun and safe activity that promotes aquatic adventures in one of the national capitals of water sports.

In addition to kayaking and paddle boarding, Lake Wakatipu also offers other amphibious activities such as water skiing, tubing and wakeboarding. These options are ideal for older kids looking for a little adrenaline and excitement on the water.

11. Visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park

Kids at Kiwi Birdlife Park| ©Benjamin Ho
Kids at Kiwi Birdlife Park| ©Benjamin Ho

Visiting Kiwi Birdlife Park with kids is an unforgettable experience that combines fun and learning about New Zealand's wildlife. This park, located north of the city, is home to a wide variety of native species, including the kiwi, the bird that is also the country's emblem. Children will have the opportunity to get up close to these animals and learn about their habitat and conservation.

At Kiwi Birdlife Park, children will be amazed by the beauty of the native flora and fauna that surround the site. They will enjoy walks through nature trails and lush forests, where they can observe colorful birds and other native animals, such as the reptiles and mammals that also inhabit the park.

One of the most exciting moments for the little ones will be when they get to see kiwis up close and personal. These birds are nocturnal, so the park simulates the nighttime environment in their habitat so visitors can observe them in their natural behavior.

In addition to the kiwis, the Kiwi Birdlife Park offers interactive and educational activities for the whole family. There you can participate in talks and animal feedings, where you will have the opportunity to learn more about the characteristics and behaviors of these iconic living creatures. There are also play and entertainment areas where the little ones can have fun while learning about the importance of wildlife conservation.