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30 Things to do in Queenstown with Kids (FREE and Cheap Activities!)

30 Things to do in Queenstown with Kids (FREE and Cheap Activities!)

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Are you thinking of bringing your family to Queenstown, but don’t know where to get started? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

It’s safe to say many families are concerned about the cost of visiting Queenstown, and to be honest, I don’t blame them. I first came to Queenstown as a budget backpacker and found that things add up quickly with accommodation, tours, and meals- and I was just paying for myself!

Having now lived here for a few years, I’ve met tons of visiting families, and have given plenty of recommendations. So I wanted to put together this guide of the 30 best things to do in Queenstown with kids, in order to bring everything together. Let’s get started!

Free Things to do in Queenstown with Kids

1. Walk the Queenstown Gardens

Path through the Queenstown Gardens NZ
The path through the Queenstown Gardens NZ

Kids love to explore, so take them to the Queenstown Gardens for an easy walk in Queenstown to enjoy the great outdoors. The Queenstown Gardens are located only a short 5-minute walk from the center of town and within them, you’ll find a playground, gardens, ponds, ducks, and even the Queenstown Ice Arena. As a completely free activity, it’s one you can all enjoy without spending a dime.

If you want to enjoy the gardens even more, I recommend bringing a packed lunch to eat either by the lake or by a pond in the gardens. The kids can feed the ducks while you relax, sounds perfect!

2. Play Frisbee golf

Disc golf basket in the Queenstown Gardens
Disc golf basket in the Queenstown Gardens

While in the Queenstown Gardens, take the kids to play some Frisbee (disc) golf! The free Frisbee golf course is under the huge pine trees and kids have a great time running around the course. I love playing Frisbee golf and the great thing about it is anyone who can throw a Frisbee can play. Although I’m not very good, it’s still so much fun!

If you don’t know what Frisbee golf is, check out this guide before you go, but seriously, it’s easy to play. Unfortunately, the Frisbees aren’t free, so if you don’t have your own, you will need to rent one. But don’t stress, you can rent them from the Queenstown Ice Arena in the gardens for only $6 NZD.

3. Have a picnic at St Omer Park

BBQ at St Omer Park
It’s one of the best free things to do in Queenstown!

Picnics by the lake are one of my favorite summer activities. With a packed lunch, I can sit by the lake for hours just admiring the views and even kicking a ball on the grass. It’s relaxing, fun, and completely free for the entire family.

The best and largest park to go to is St Omer Park, which runs along the esplanade in Queenstown. In the park, you’ll find a walking path to explore, tables, and even free BBQs to use. There are even toilets nearby, which is important for families with young kids!

Swing by one of the supermarkets and grab your favorite snacks and treats! This is a memorable and free thing to do in Queenstown with kids.

4. Take a day trip to Glenorchy

Windy road with mountain and lake views on the way to Glenorchy from Queenstown
The road to Glenorchy!

Kids love exploring, so why not take them on a road trip!? One of the best things you can do with kids is the scenic drive to Glenorchy. Along the way, there are lots of epic places to stop, including beaches, hikes, and magnificent lookouts.

From Queenstown, it’s a 46-kilometer drive (29 miles) that without stopping only takes 45 minutes. With that said, if you plan on following my guide to the 12 best places to stop, you’ll need a little longer especially if you do a hike or two.

If you don’t have a car, you will need to rent one in Queenstown, which isn’t free, but the drive is. Also, there are a ton of awesome free things to do in Glenorchy once you arrive, including the Glenorchy Walkway! Kids will also love a stop at Mrs. Woolly’s store, although they might talk you into a souvenir or meat pie (I get one every time!).

Related Read: For more ideas of awesome activities and attractions in Glenorchy, read our blog about fun things to do in Glenorchy or join a tour from Queenstown to Glenorchy!

5. Relax at the beach

View of Sunshine Bay at the end of Sunshine bay Track
The beautiful Sunshine Bay!

During the summer in Queenstown, you simply can’t beat spending a day at the beach. Not only is this family-friendly activity that’s completely free, but kids love swimming in the freezing Lake Wakatipu. There’s something about children and the cold, seriously, I’m not sure they feel it!

There are three spots to visit depending on what you’re looking for all close to Queenstown. The most convenient is Queenstown Beach. With that said, it not only gets busy but is also a party spot, so it’s not the best for kids.

Instead, head to my favorite spot, Sunshine Bay. This small secluded bay is popular among locals, but it’s much quieter than Queenstown Beach. You can access the beach via the Sunshine Bay Track or drive to the parking lot.

Last is Bob’s Cove. This small bay is located around 10 minutes from Queenstown on Glenorchy-Queenstown Road. If you go around midday, the sun hits the beach, and it’s a great place to relax. It’s also the quietest beach in Queenstown. If you’re up for it, you can walk Bob’s Cove Track, which is a short easy hike that takes you to a viewpoint above the bay!

6. Taste fudge and The Remarkable Sweet Shop

Remarkable Sweet Shop
It’s hard to know where to look!
sweets at Remarkable Sweet Shop
There is so much to try!

The Remarkable Sweet Shop is any kid’s dream. Floor-to-ceiling shelves of candy line the walls, and they have tasters of their famous fudge available completely free. Seriously, they’ll let you try every flavor if you want.

Located in Central Queenstown, this is a great addition to your itinerary. You can stop in and taste a variety of fudge and candy, which is oh-so-tasty. However, my favorite part of this is the fact that it’s locally owned, so you get a true taste of Queenstown and can support a small business!

Of course, if you love it enough, you can buy some for yourself (just don’t tell the kids!). Everything in the store is tasty, but my recommendation is to stick to homemade candies. You won’t find them anywhere else in New Zealand!

7. Visit Moke Lake

Bailey stops for a break on the Moke Lake Walkway
It’s an easy walk!

Moke Lake is one of the quietest places to visit near Queenstown. This small secluded lake is surrounded by mountains and on a calm day, reflects them like a mirror. It’s truly a beautiful place to explore.

From Queenstown, it takes around 20 minutes to reach the lake by car, and although it’s a gravel road, it’s completely safe to drive in any vehicle. Once at the lake, you can enjoy some of the many free things to do including enjoying the views, going on a short hike, or even fishing.

For kids, the most suitable hike at Moke Lake is the Moke Lake Loop. The trail only takes around 2 hours to complete and it’s almost completely flat. There is a hike to the “secret” viewpoint, but it’s rather steep, so only tackle this one if your kids are good hikers.

However, my favorite way to experience Moke Lake is to kayak! This lake is stunning, and getting to see it from another vantage point will wow anyone. This 3-hour kayak tour departs from Queenstown and truly takes any of the stress and planning out of this adventure. They provide kayaks, transportation, and lead the way so you and your family can simply enjoy the paddle!

This tour is $139 NZD for kids 8 and up, and $169 NZD for adults, so while it certainly isn’t free, it is one of my favorite ways to experience Moke Lake! You can reserve your kayak tour in advance here.

8. Wander the Queenstown craft markets

Queenstown Arts and Craft Market
Queenstown Arts and Craft Market

The Queenstown Arts & Crafts Market is the best market to visit in Queenstown to pick up unique gifts or souvenirs to remember your trip. At the market, you’ll find vendors from all around New Zealand who come to show off their products. The market is every Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm!

The Queenstown Arts & Crafts Market is located in the heart of Queenstown at Earnslaw Park and attracts quite the crowd. The vendors change regularly so I don’t have any favorites to recommend – you’ll need to check it out for yourself!

But, you might catch some of Queenstown’s famous street performers, which is very entertaining for kids (and adults, let’s be honest!). Queenstown’s street performers are known world wide and it is truly impressive!

9. Visit Arrowtown

Buckingham Street in Arrowtown during summer in New Zealand
Buckingham Street in Arrowtown during summer in New Zealand
Bailey stands in the doorway of one of the Chinese Settlement houses in Arrowtown, NZ
The houses are tiny!

Queenstown can be a crazy place to enjoy with kids. With so much foot traffic and cars driving around it can be a little overwhelming. Instead, take a 15-minute scenic drive to Arrowtown, the cute gold mining town with beautiful architecture and charm.

Even if you don’t have a car you can easily get the bus to Arrowtown with the entire family for really cheap or pay a bit more for a tour from Queenstown to Arrowtown. My pick is this full guided tour experience that includes all your transport and a lot of the highlights of the area. You’ll stop by Lord of the Rings film locations, take a short stroll along Lake Hayes, and sample Manuka Honey before even making it to Arrowtown!

Once there, wander the main street, shop around, take the kids gold panning, walk along the river, and just enjoy a much more tranquil town. There are lots of things to do to keep you busy in Arrowtown!

I love that this tour makes lots of stops, which keeps the day moving quickly, and is limited to just 11 people, giving it a more personal and customizable feel. You can reserve this 4-hour tour in advance for $139 NZD for adults and $71 NZD for kids.

10. Hike Sunshine Bay Track

Views of Queenstown from the Sunshine Bay Track
Views from the Sunshine Bay Track looking back at Queenstown

Hikes are a huge part of visiting Queenstown and this list includes a few. Don’t worry, though, I’ve only included those suited to kids, and the first is a favorite – the Sunshine Bay Track!

I mentioned Sunshine Bay as a beautiful beach to visit, but what I love just as much, is the short but beautiful hiking trail that leads there from the Queenstown foreshore. The official trail is 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) one way and the trailhead starts a little out of Queenstown near the suburb of Fernhill.

Once on the trail, you’ll walk along the edge of Lake Wakatipu and up into the cliffs around Queenstown. From the top, the views are breathtaking and there’s even a waterfall to discover. The trail is rated as easy because it’s so short, and once finished you can cool off at Sunshine Bay. Of course, you will have to return the same way you came!

Related Read: There is so much to see in Queenstown, it can be hard to know where to begin! Check out my guide to the 10 best places to go sightseeing in Queenstown to maximize your time.

11. Bob’s Cove Track

Bailey at Bob's Peak near Queenstown, New Zealand
On a clear day, this is a must-do!
The jetty at Bob;s Cove along the Bob's Peak Track near Queenstown
The jetty at Bob’s Cove along the Bob’s Peak Track near Queenstown.

Bob’s Cove Track is one of the best hikes in Queenstown and is suited for kids able to do a little climbing. The trail which starts from the parking lot at Bob’s Cove (don’t go to the one at Twelve Mile Delta it’s much longer from there) follows the shoreline before climbing up a steep path to a viewpoint over Lake Wakatipu called Picnic Point. 

From the spot mentioned in my guide to Bob’s Cove Track, it only takes 30 minutes to hike the trail (not allowing for time to stop and enjoy the view). Although steep at the end, kids can easily make it up with supervision and help from adults.

12. Mt Crichton Loop Track

A lady stands on the trail of Mt Crichton Loop looking back at Lake Wakatipu
Not a bad view on the Mt Crichton Loop Track!

Not many people know this but Queenstown was settled by gold miners who came to the area during New Zealand’s largest gold rush. Wandering around Queenstown this is almost impossible to see, but if you take a short drive out to Mt Crichton Loop and hike the trail, you’ll come across an old gold mining tunnel and hut.

The Mt Crichton Loop is an 8-kilometer (5 miles) trail that’s rated as moderate; however, it only takes 2 hours to complete, and it’s not technical at all. Kids can explore the old gold mining tunnel (it’s completely safe to do so) and also check out the famous Sam Summers Hut and see how people lived back in the day. It makes for an exciting adventure with kids in Queenstown, and it’s free- hooray!

There’s also a beautiful waterfall near the hut and a viewpoint at the highest point of the trail. It’s one of the easiest hikes in Queenstown and probably my top pick for families with kids!

13. Queenstown Hill

Looking out from the summit of Queenstown Hill
Just enjoying the view at sunrise!

No hike in Queenstown is as famous as Queenstown Hill. Not only is this hike one of the most breathtaking hikes I know of but it’s also rather short at only 5 kilometers return (3.2 miles). Although the trailhead officially starts from Belfast Terrace, many people hike the trail from Queenstown Center. Doing so means you’ll need to walk further and be ready for a 600-meter (1,969-foot) elevation gain.

For kids, this may be a little hard, but I hike the trail a lot and always see young families on the trail. The path is well maintained and wide, so larger groups can walk together.

Although it is a challenging hike, the views from the top make the climb totally worth it. In fact, I’d say it’s my favorite viewpoint of the area and one of the best activities to do in Queenstown with kids who are up for the challenge.

14. Walk the Glenorchy Boardwalk/Walkway

Bailey enjoys the reflections along the Glenorchy Walkway
On a clear day the reflections are out of this world!

If you decide to venture off and explore the scenic drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy then I highly suggest walking the Glenorchy Walkway. This 5-kilometer (3.2 miles), completely flat loop starts at the Glenorchy Jetty and follows the edge of the lake before turning inland to the Glenorchy Lagoon.

At the lagoon, you can enjoy breathtaking mirror-like reflections on a calm day and also spot lots of birdlife. The lagoon itself is also a Lord of the Rings film location and a stop on many of the most popular LOTR tours!

15. Hike parts of the Routeburn Track

The very start of the Routeburn Track crossing the first suspension bridge
The very start of the Routeburn Track crossing the first suspension bridge

Another hiking trail near Glenorchy you may have already heard of is the Routeburn Track. As one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks, it’s safe to say it’s a popular hike. Although the full trail is 32 kilometers long (20 miles) you can do many different day hikes on the Routeburn Track.

While it isn’t free, there are guided hikes of the Routeburn Track if you are a bit intimidated to try it with kids on your own. I think the guide sharing their knowledge about the area, native wildlife, and plants would be a good way to keep your kids’ attention. You’ll hike for 2.5 hours, across suspension bridges and following the Routeburn River. You can see waterfalls and hear the birds in the distance, it’s quite lovely!

If you’re not a huge hiking family, this is a great introduction. The guides take care of all the details and lead the way, so you can simply enjoy being outside. You can book this guided hike for $225 NZD per person, and any age is welcome.

And if you choose to go on your own, you can take a short stroll along the Dart River and even make it to Bridal Veil Falls. This part of the track is around 8 kilometers (5 miles) return. Along the way, you’ll enjoy beautiful views on a well-maintained trail and the best part is, you can walk as much or as little as you want before turning around.

To reach the Routeburn Track trailhead, you must take a 20-minute drive out of Glenorchy to Routeburn Shelter. Part of the access road is gravel, so you need to take it slow.

Why I Book Tours on Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book all of my tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here

16. Lake Hayes Loop

Lake Hayes Foreshore with reflections of the mountains
Like I said, mirror-like reflections

The last hike on this list is the Lake Hayes Loop. This beautiful trail follows the edge of Lake Hayes and is 8 kilometers (5 miles) long. Although the trail does have some inclines, it’s still rated as easy. What I love though, is you can choose to either walk or bike ride the track and access the lake via the bus system even with your bike!

If you can, go on a calm day when the reflections are magnificent. As you can see from the photo above, it’s pretty spectacular!

To plan your journey to Lake Haybe via the public bus, you can use this journey planner. All of the buses in Queenstown have bike racks so you can easily transport your bike around free of charge. Just be sure to get the Bee Card from the driver to save money on your bus trips!  

If you need to rent a mountain bike, you can get one for the full day for $55 NZD for adults and $35 NZD for kids. And if you’re new to mountain biking and need a little assistance, you can rent an electric bike, which makes it a whole lot easier! An 8-hour e-bike rental is $99 NZD per person.

banner asking people to click to join the Queenstown Diary Facebook Group

17. Go Stargazing

The milky way near Queenstown New Zealand
The Milky Way on the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy

Queenstown is a remote mountain town with very little light pollution. This means you can see the stars like never before and if you’re traveling with kids from the city, it’s likely they’ll be amazed!

To see the Milky Way the best, you should take a short drive out of Queenstown to either Moke Lake or a viewpoint on Glenorchy-Queenstown Road called Bennetts Bluff Lookout. From these locations, there is even less light pollution, and once your eyes adjust you’ll see the Milky Way clear as day!

If seeing the stars on your own isn’t interesting enough, then you can actually do stargazing tours in Queenstown. These tours are operated through Skyline at the top of Bob’s Peak and on the tour, you’ll stare through high-powered telescopes to view planets, stars, and even the International Space Station. It is super fascinating to learn more about the night sky, but it gets a little pricey to get to the top.

But, stargazing is still a great free activity in Queenstown with kids, and you’ll have your pick of locations!

Cheap Things to do in Queenstown with Kids

18. Take the gondola up to Bob’s Peak

View of Queenstown from the top of the Gondola on Bob's Peak in Queenstown
The view is epic!

Heading up to Bob’s Peak to enjoy the amazing views is one of the most famous activities in Queenstown. For that reason, it just had to make this list!

Although not the cheapest activity you can do with the kids, the gondola only costs $36 for children. A nice little cheaper price from the $52 NZD for adults. They also have discounted family rates available where a family of four costs $141 NZD, and a family of five costs $170 NZD. Kids under 6 ride for only $5 NZD, or under 2’s are free!

Each gondola seats up to 4 adults, or 2 adults and 3 kids, perfect for a family!

Kids love the gondola and for some, it’ll be pretty scary as it makes the steep ascent up to the top (450 meters/1,476 feet high.) But once there, you can wander the area, enjoy the views, or even enjoy the next activity to do with kids on this list…

19. Ride the luge

A view of the luge track with Lake Wakatipu in the background
Looking down at the Luge track!

The Luge is Queenstown’s very own gravity-fed go-kart track. The race track is located on Bob’s Peak at the top of the gondola and let me tell you, it’s so much fun! When I first tried the luge, I thought the karts wouldn’t go fast, but boy was I wrong.

On your first go around the track, you must take the slow on the beginner track (the Arrow Track) but after that, it’s off to the fast track to zoom around the course. In some sections, I actually got air! Don’t worry though, they space everyone out, and you can go as fast or as slow as you’d like, using the brake to control your speed.

If you’re taking the gondola up to Bob’s Peak, then you should book your luge tickets in a combo deal to save money. However, if you walked up via the Tiki Trail, then be sure to buy at least a few luge rides. Trust me, you’ll want to keep going, and the more you buy at once, the cheaper it is! For example, three luge rides plus the gondola ticket only cost $73 NZD for an adult and $51 NZD for kids. They even have family packages for this as well.

Kids as young as 6 years old and 110 cm (43 in) tall can ride the Luge alone but need to be accompanied by an adult to ride the chair lift. Kids over 135 cm (53 in) tall and 7 years old can ride it all by themselves! Kids under these requirements can ride with an adult as many times as they want for only $5!

Related Read: I’ve dedicated this entire blog to the Queenstown Luge, telling you everything you need to know to have a safe and fun time!

20. Go on a lake cruise

Bailey on the TSS Earnslaw
Jugging along on the TSS Earnslaw!
bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown
It’s an iconic activity in Queenstown!

This may come as a surprise but going on a cruise can actually be a really cheap activity for kids. The Million Dollar scenic cruise starts at only $59 NZD for adults and only $25 for children under 14. That means a family of four can enjoy a cruise in Queenstown for not much over $150 NZD, despite the cruise’s name!

The Million Dollar Cruise is a small boat, so it never feels crowded, and onboard you can take a walk around the front, look out at the water from the top viewing deck, visit the captain in the wheelhouse, or relax down below with beautiful views out the windows. From the water, you get to truly appreciate the area and see the surrounding landscape from a whole new perspective! The cruise lasts for 1.5 hours and onboard they sell snacks as well as hot and cold drinks!

If you have a little bit more to spend, another cruise option is the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. This coal-powered ship is almost 100 years old, and it is so much fun to explore! Although a little pricier than the Million Dollar Cruise, it is a fun tour! I’ve taken both, and I love the historic charm of the TSS Earnslaw.

You can also upgrade it to include a gourmet BBQ or the Walter Peak Farm tour (which kids love!). A visit to Walter Peak Farm involves meeting lots of animals and cool demos like sheep shearing! If you’re looking for an afternoon of fun, a cruise on Lake Wakatipu will deliver, no matter which tour you choose.

21. Go stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking on the lake

Two kayaks sit on the beach at Kinloch Campsite in Glenorchy
Paddle to a remote beach and relax!

During the spring and summer months, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking are really popular activities on the lake. The best part though, is that rentals are really cheap. In fact, a SUP board costs only $35 NZD for 55 minutes and the boards are big enough to take your little one along for the ride. I will warn you though, if you fall in, it’s freezing!

If staying dry is important, then I’d rent a kayak instead. Rentals are based on the number of people you’re traveling with and a two-person (adult and child) kayak for 55 minutes is $60 NZD. On a kayak, you can go much further and even explore small bays and secluded beaches. Both can be rented from the Queenstown waterfront at Paddle Queenstown.

22. Go for a bike ride

Bike riding on the Mt Nicholas Farm near Queenstown
Can you imagine anything more New Zealand than this?

For a fun day out, rent a mountain bike or an e-bike for the day and head off to explore the many bike trails around Queenstown. Bike rentals start at only $40 NZD for a half-day and you can also rent a baby carriage for another $30.

Some of the best bike trails in Queenstown for kids include the Moke Lake Loop (but you’ll need a rental car to transport the bikes there), Lake Hayes Loop, and leaving right from Queenstown, the Frankton Track. The Frankton Track is a 16-kilometer return (10 miles) bike ride that takes around 3 hours to complete. From Queenstown, the trail leads to Frankton Beach, and along the way, you’ll pass jetties, Altitude Brewery, and the famous Rees Hotel. It’s a beautiful ride!

However, my favorite way to explore by bicycle is through this self-guided tour. They provide transportation from Queenstown to Arrowtown (so you don’t have to worry about driving there with bikes!), as well as bikes, helmets, and a route map. You can take your time cruising along the 30-kilometer (18-mile) trail and stop wherever you want. Start with a snack at my favorite Arrowtown cafe, Provisions, then ride until you find Lord of the Rings film locations, and scenic overlooks of rivers and mountains.

While 30 kilometers (18 miles) sounds like a lot of biking, the trail is pretty flat and well-maintained, so it’s doable for kids. You can book either a mountain bike or e-bike and pries start at $90 NZD for adults and $65 NZD for kids 5 and up. You can take as long as you want, so this is actually a pretty affordable full-day activity in Queenstown!

23. Spend the night camping under the stars

Moke Lake at night with reflections and the stars
Reflections and stars! while camping at Moke Lake!

As a kid I loved camping, and I still do! Around Queenstown, there are a few designated campsites to camp at under the stars. Some of the closest include Moke Lake and Twelve Mile Delta. Both are DOC-run campgrounds that only cost $15 NZD for adults and $7.50 for children per night.

You will need your own tent or campervan to do so but you can rent them in Queenstown too. Often, though, tents can be purchased from a place called The Warehouse for around $30 NZD! Then just rent sleeping mats for $5 from Outside Sports in Queenstown, and you’re ready to go!

Check this out: For cheap campervan rentals in Queenstown, use the website Motorhome Republic. It’s like Booking.com for motorhomes and the best place to find a cheap deal.

24. Eat Fergburger

A burger from Fergburger
Yum!

After exploring Queenstown, the kids (and you!) are going to be hungry. Well, now you can feed them and enjoy one of the best cheap activities in town… eating at Fergburger. You may have already heard about Fergburger because it’s literally the most popular burger joint in New Zealand. Famous people including Ed Sheeran have raved about it!

A burger at Ferg costs as little as $15 NZD, and it would definitely feed two young kids (if they don’t mind sharing!). The menu is huge and there are around 20 burgers to choose from, including a vegetarian option. So grab your burger and head to the edge of the lake for a delicious meal!

25. Take the kids to Alpine Aqua Land

Alpine Aqua Land is the public pool in Queenstown. It’s home to a lap pool, kid’s pool, spa, and sauna. It’s a great indoor activity, especially when it’s too cold to swim in the lake or when it’s raining. While many of the other hot pools in Queenstown are rather expensive and adult-only, Alpine Aqua Land is a fun family-friendly place!

Entry to Alpine Aqua land is only $8 NZD for adults and $4 NZD for children, making it super affordable and fun.

While the kids play in the kid’s pool, you can watch with a close eye from the comfort of the hot tub. It’s really an activity the entire family will love!

26. Jump around at SITE Trampoline Queenstown

A person fly's through the air at Site Trampoline
Into the landing pit!

Do your kids have too much energy? Take them to SITE Trampoline in Queenstown and literally let them bounce it out! This indoor trampoline center is the perfect place to enjoy a little fun in the air. They have trampolines on the floor and walls, as well as foam pits for practicing flips and jumps.

A visit to SITE Trampoline only costs $26.50 NZD for a one-hour session and if the kids still have too much energy, an extra hour is only $15 NZD. Also, kids under 6 only cost $16.50 NZD per session! Although kids love it, I personally don’t mind jumping around too, so don’t just sit on the sidelines!

27. Game Over Queenstown

People ride go karts at Game Over Queenstown
Photo credit – Game Over Queenstown

For a little indoor fun in Queenstown, consider taking the kids to Game Over Queenstown. The huge warehouse is home to three activities including an arcade, laser tag, and even an indoor go-karting track. My personal favorite is the go-karts and although not the fastest, kids will love them. The track has really tight corners, so you feel as though you are going faster than you are!

The cheapest thing to do at Game Over is the arcade though and games start at only $1 each. They have a huge selection of games including skill testers and my favorite, table air hockey! I’ve personally never tried their laser tag but it does look like lots of fun too.

28. Get a treat at Balls and Bangles

Balls and Bangles doughnuts in Queenstown
Just some of the doughnuts at Balls and Bangles in Queenstown! Photo credit – Balls and Bangles Queenstown

If you’ve ever wanted to try those donuts stacked with toppings and even a syringe of caramel or chocolate sauce sticking out the top, then Balls and Bangles should get you excited. The small donut shop sells just that, and they come in a huge range of flavors, including my go-to, the Reeses Peanut Butter donut.

The donuts are huge, and they look so good they’re “Insta worthy”! The kids will literally fall in love with the donuts, and it’ll be one stop they remember on the trip. Of course, you may need to take them for a hike to burn off some of that energy afterward! But, stopping at Balls and Bangles is one of my top tips for cheap activities in Queenstown with kids!

29. Visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park

flightless endemic Kiwi bird of New Zealand

The kiwi bird is a symbol of New Zealand, we even call New Zealanders “Kiwis”! So, you simply can’t leave without seeing one. To be honest, though, it’s almost impossible in the wild. Not only are kiwis nocturnal but they like to hide from people. Luckily, you can see them and many more native species at the Kiwi Birdlife Park in Queenstown.

The center is a 5-acre bird and wildlife sanctuary that’s family owned and operated. They run a few different experiences including the Kiwi Encounter and the Conservation Show. Both are really cool and operate at lots of different times throughout the day.

Entrance to the Kiwi Birdlife Park is $55 NZD per adult and $28 NZD per child. The admission ticket is valid for the entire day, so you can spend as long as you want, or go to your hotel for an afternoon break and return later! Plus, you can feel good knowing your money is going to a good cause as the park spends a lot on conservation efforts and the preservation of native species in the area.

You can book your admission ticket to Kiwi Birdlife Park in advance here and skip the line!

30. Glenorchy Animal Experience

A lady feeds llamas at the Glenorchy Animal Experience
Feeding the animals is so much fun!

Last on this list of things to do in Queenstown with kids is another animal experience that’s not only cheap but also a must-do. The Glenorchy Animal Experience is located on the outskirts of Glenorchy and on the self-guided tour you’ll walk a real New Zealand farm to feed and interact with the animals. You can say hello to pigs, llamas, chickens, ducks, sheep and lambs, farm dogs, and more.

The entire tour costs only $15 NZD for kids and $25 NZD for adults, and you can spend as much time with the animals as you want! Although I recommend it for kids, I also loved the tour, so adults will enjoy it too.

However, if you don’t have your own transportation, you can still visit the Glenorchy Animal Experience on a guided tour! This four-hour tour starts by visiting the farm to hang with the animals, and also stops by Lord of the Rings film locations, scenic viewpoints, and short hikes to get the kids’ wiggles out!

I think this is a great kid-friendly tour because it doesn’t last all day, so it holds their attention, and it makes some fun, beautiful stops along the way. It’s enjoyable for everyone and the best way to get to the Glenorchy Animal Experience!

You can book this tour for $194 NZD for adults, $99 NZD for kids 14 and under, and it’s free for kids under 3 years old. Check out the details and reserve your spot here!

Budget-Saving Tips for Families in Queenstown

Two people drink cocktails at Blue Kanu
Me and my mum enjoying cocktails at Blue Kanu while using our First Table discount!

When you’re traveling with your family every bit you can save counts. Luckily as a local, I know of some great ways to save money and want to share them with you. From picking up cheap tours, saving money at restaurants, and even activities where kids go free, here are a few of the ways to save money while traveling with kids in Queenstown.

Use Book Me

If you’re planning on doing any of the tours above be sure to check Book Me first. This online website is the place where many tour companies post specials in Queenstown and all over New Zealand. Often, you can find tours at 50% off the normal price. For example, I did a 20-minute scenic flight for only $140 NZD, which was a 51% discount!

This is one website that’ll save you lots of money and it’s great for finding ideas of what you want to do!

Book a restaurant with First Table

First Table is my favorite way to dine in Queenstown. The concept of the website is to give the “first table” of the night a 50% discount on food. How it works is up to a week and until the day of, you can go on the website and book a table at a restaurant for up to four people and enjoy a 50% discount on food for a $10 booking fee.

Each restaurant in Queenstown only does one table a night, so you do need to book in advance for the most popular places, but there are always places available last minute. For a family of four, you’ll save a ton!

Look for companies with school holiday specials

During the school holidays in Queenstown, lots of companies offer special discounts for kids. For example, the TSS Earnslaw lets kids travel for free with an adult. Some jet boat rides do this too, which is certainly a thrilling activity that kids love!

Of course, these specials change every school holiday but it’s something you should ask about while in town and looking for things to do. When kids go for free, you’ll be able to travel as you did before kids. You know, when you were “DINKs” (dual income no kids!).

Where to Stay in Queenstown with Kids

Hot Tub over looking the river and mountains at Kamana Soak in Queenstown, New Zealand
Photo credit: Kamana Lakehouse

One of the most expensive parts of traveling with kids in Queenstown is your accommodation. Having to pay for an extra hotel room can quickly become too expensive. Luckily though there are some very affordable places to stay in Queenstown that are perfect for families.

Budget – $

For budget travelers, you really can’t beat the Pinewood Lodge and Apartments. although not luxurious by any means the location is only a short walk from Queenstown and their standard double room comes with a double bed and a bunk bed. For a family, the room is really cheap and they can provide a cot upon request for $15 NZD per night.

Midrange – $$

If you have a little more the spend then you can enjoy a much more comfortable stay at Kamana Lakehouse. This place is a steal, especially with the amazing views, luxurious rooms, and perfect reviews. They have a twin room with two queen beds, a balcony, and a large bathroom. The hotel also has an onsite spa! Seriously this place is amazing for the price!

Luxury – $$$

For luxury travelers why not consider a stay at Swiss-Belsuites Pounamu Queenstown? Their two-bedroom apartment is perfect for families and the views over the lake are breathtaking. also, with an apartment, you’ll have more room to move. With that said, it’s not exactly a cheap place to stay.

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Thanks for reading!

taking a selfie with a donket at the Glenorchy Animal Experience
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope enjoy visiting Queenstown with your family!

Traveling with kids to Queenstown doesn’t have to be expensive. With this huge list of free and cheap activities for kids in Queenstown, you’ll be spoiled for choice and be able to stay on budget. Also, with the budget-saving tips above you’ll be able to spend less than you expected or be able to enjoy more activities with your family.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you loved this blog! Be sure to stick around and check out more of my website. When it comes to visiting Queenstown and New Zealand in general, I’ve got you covered with all the most up-to-date and in-depth information! I’ve listed a few of my favorites here:

50 BEST Hikes in New Zealand + My Personal Favorites

25 FUN Things to do on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

The BEST time to visit Queenstown – Comparing the Four Seasons

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    Sharron

    Wednesday 10th of January 2024

    Thanks Bailey. Would have been lost trying to plan a trip to Queenstown with the kids without your help. You are amazing! :)

    Bailey

    Friday 12th of January 2024

    Hey Sharron,

    Thanks so much!

    Enjoy Queenstown!

    Thanks Bailey

    Diana

    Tuesday 26th of September 2023

    Hi, thanks so much for your article. We followed loads of your suggestions while travelling in Queenstown with young kids and all the experiences were fantastic.

    Bailey

    Wednesday 27th of September 2023

    Hey Diana,

    That's fantastic to hear!

    Thanks Bailey

    Jason Hull

    Saturday 12th of August 2023

    We don’t have kids, but the recommendation for First Table was money! We used it every night we were in Queenstown!

    Bailey

    Friday 1st of September 2023

    Hey Jason!

    That's great to hear! I use it all the time too! Maybe too much for a local lol!

    Thanks Bailey

    Kiri

    Saturday 8th of October 2022

    Thanks 😊- we are relatively new to living in Queenstown with 3 kids under 6 and found this write-up really useful!

    Bailey

    Sunday 9th of October 2022

    Hey Kiri,

    Thanks so much! I am so happy to hear that!

    Thanks Bailey