We have just had a fantastic, fun and active time away during this past school holiday period. Queenstown in New Zealand, is an unbelievably scenic and beautiful destination, offering so many fun and exciting activities for the whole family. We all had such a great time, I thought I would share with you some of the highlights from our trip.
Queenstown, New Zealand – for a fun and active family holiday
Queenstown is located on the south island of New Zealand, surrounded by breathtaking mountains and set on the shores of the peaceful Lake Wakatipu.
Here are our top 3 ideas each for family fun, challenges for the more daring, experiences we want to come back for, and great places to eat.
Great activities for family fun
Even though we both skied for many years from when we were kids, it’s been 17 years since hubby and I hopped on the slopes! And on this first time back we brought our girls along for their first time. They picked it up in a flash and we all had such a great time skiing together!
We skied 7 days straight and alternated between Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Resorts. Coronet Peak was only about a 20 minute drive from Queenstown and the Remarkables only an extra 10-15 minutes. At this time of year, there was enough snow for a good cover for spring skiing. More importantly, there were no crowds, therefore no lift queueing, low numbers in ski school, and the weather was mostly sunshine and clear skies, which all made for perfect conditions for introducing our girls to the new experience of snow skiing this holiday. Great spring skiing well suited for beginners to intermediates!
My eldest daughter actually loved the luge so much we went twice during our holiday! The Skyline Luge Queenstown sits at the top of Bob’s Peak and offers 2 different tracks. You can either catch the Gondola up the mountain or walk up the trail to get there. For those with kids under 110cm, they can ride with an adult on one of the tracks, so really everyone in the family can get a ride! And for those who don’t want to ride, you can simply enjoy the spectacular views spanning over Queenstown and up to the ski mountain resorts.
3. Scenic runs and walks
The first time up to the Luge we did take a ride on the gondola. But the next time we enjoyed a very scenic, although steep walk up the mountain. With stops for viewing along the way, the walk took close to an hour. It was pretty steep but definitely worth the effort if everyone is fit and healthy.
As mentioned above, Queenstown is set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. During our entire stay, the lake was so calm and peaceful. And with the surrounding mountains, many snow capped, it was the most picturesque and incredible place to be. We really enjoyed our runs along the lake, beautiful both in the morning or evening.
Challenges for the more daring
1. Bungy jumping
Not for the faint hearted and for those like me, who are not good with heights! But bungy jumping is definitely a popular holiday activity in Queenstown, with a few destinations to choose from. My husband did a bungy jump on a previous holiday but none of us were game enough to take the leap this time!
2. Heli mountain bike riding
Mountain biking riding is a very popular sport in Queenstown with great trail rides. But heli mountain biking takes the sport to a whole new level!
On our last trip to Queenstown just less than 2 years ago, my husband took me heli biking. Once dropped off by the helicopter high up on a mountain 1800m above sea level, it took quite a bit of instruction – for me anyway, a first time mountain biker! But after I got the hang of it and managed to let go of the fear and temptation to brake, flying down the mountain was a huge adrenalin rush! It really was an awesome experience! We did a half day ride with Fat Tyre. Highly recommended!
3. Heli skiing and boarding
Obviously better in the height of the winter during peak ski season, this is a great opportunity to access fresh slopes and avoid the crowds.
Holiday experiences we’d like to go back for
1. Queenstown International Marathon
The Queenstown International Marathon is held in November and offers 42km, 21km, 10km and 3km kids events. I would love to race here one day as it would be one of the most scenic running events, set against the backdrop of the mountain ranges and the Queenstown Lakes region, finishing in the heart of Queenstown itself.
2. Whitewater rafting
We initially had planned to go whitewater rafting. My husband and I have done it before and thought our girls would love it too. There is however, an age restriction of 14 years old so our youngest was ineligible. We’ll be back for that one next time!
My youngest really wanted to go tandem paragliding. They were heading off from the top of the luge and landing just at the bottom of the mountain. Once again, there are a few restrictions so just check with the operator.
We found some great eateries in Queenstown on our holiday, catering for all cuisines. Three of our faves included:
- Vu Du Cafe and Larder – Highly recommended is the quinoa bowl of pumpkin, carrot & pea curry, parsley, crispy spiced tofu & peanuts, and the bean burrito with sweet chilli sauce.
- Madam Woo – Favourites included the Roti chanai pulled sticky pork hawker roll with pickled cucumber and the Hainanese chicken and rice dish.
- Patagonia – for a scoop of ice cream for dessert. The tangy lemon sorbet and raspberry sorbet were both yum!
There are so many other fantastic places to eat in Queenstown. We also loved Tanoshi for Japanese food and Fergbaker for the delicious baguettes and pastries. Botswana Butchery is also a lovely place to dine. We were also lucky enough to be in town for the night noodle markets where we spent a gorgeous evening right down by the lake.
If burgers are more to your taste, Fergberger is an institution in Queenstown (but expect a decent wait). You can try Flame for some tasty ribs, and if you fancy a giant pizza Fat Badgers is the way to go.
And there’s so much more!
Queenstown is not just a beautiful place. There is so much to do!
Even though this family holiday was mainly intentioned as a ski holiday, we were able to experience so much more in Queenstown. In addition to those listed above, there are loads more fun and exciting activities on offer, from rock climbing, horse riding, fly fishing to skydiving and hot air ballooning. There is something for the whole family. You can find out more about what to do in Queenstown here.
Have you been to Queenstown?
We absolutely loved our family holiday on Queenstown. If you have been too, we would love to hear any experiences or recommendations you may have as we will definitely be heading back!