As the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is jam packed with fun (and thrilling!) activities for the whole family. 

Set amongst the dramatic Southern Alps of the South Island, the town itself is a sight to behold. 

It’s also conveniently located near Milford Sound, Glenorchy, and the Remarkables, which provide endless beauty for families visiting the region. 

If you’re not sure where to take your family, we’ve found 21 fun things to do in Queenstown that will suit everyone.

Table of Contents

1. Queenstown Sightseeing Tour

With 7 stops in 3 amazing regions, this Best of Queenstown Sightseeing Tour is the ultimate half day tour.

This small group tour begins in Queenstown and takes you to some of the most exciting spots in the regions surrounding the city.

The first stop is historic Arrowtown and the Chinese village.

Next, you’ll be able to marvel at Lake Hayes (otherwise known as Mirror Lake).

See the famous Kawarua bridge bungee jump in person, then enjoy a local cheese tasting at Gibbston Valley.

From there, you’ll be transported to the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers, both natural beauties.

The second last stop will be to a working honey farm that includes a honey tasting for all.

Finally, your tour will conclude with a scenic photo opp overlooking Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

Tour details

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure Time: 1:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Cheese tasting, honey tasting, local taxes, pick up and drop off in central Queenstown, small group guided tour

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2. Queenstown Zipline Tour

Soar high above Queenstown on this thrilling zipline tour. 

After taking part in this tour, families are sure to understand why Queenstown is the adrenaline capital of New Zealand.

Each flight launches from the Ziptrek Treehouse at the Gondola summit.

As you fly down the mountain, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views over Lake Wakatipu.

You’ll even be able to spot the stunning Remarkables mountain range.

Tours range in length from 1 to 3 hours, so regardless of your skill level and age, there is something to suit everyone.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Departure Point: Ziptrek Guest Services Treehouse, Top of Gondola, Queenstown 
  • Inclusions: Entry fees, all equipment, zipline tour, hats and gloves in winter, two professional zipline guides

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3. Queenstown Segway Tour

Why walk around Queenstown when you could explore the area by segway?

This is the perfect introduction to this thriving South Island locale.

Plus, it’s fun for the whole family!

After a short lesson on how to operate a segway, you’ll then follow a guide all through the town.

Along the way, you’ll see Lake Wakatipu, the Queenstown Gardens, and more.

Each tour is limited to just 8 people, ensuring a personalised experience.

Tour details

  • Duration: 110-130 minutes
  • Departure Point: 130 Lake Esplanade, Queenstown
  • Inclusions: Professional guide, use of segway, pick up and drop off

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4. Cycling Queenstown’s Bike Trails

Queenstown is surrounded by some of the most picturesque bike trails in the entire country.

So if you’re a family that wants to get a little exercise as you tour the area, there’s nothing better than a cycling tour.

While exploring the area, you’ll be in good hands on top-of-the-line European electric-assist mountain bikes.

Tours are all personalised, allowing you and your family to choose exactly where you want to go and for how long (both full and half day options are available).

Route options include Queenstown, Arrowtown, Gibbston, Kelvin Peninsula, and Jack’s Point.

Take your pick and get exploring!

Tour details

  • Departure Time: 9:00 am
  • Inclusions: Maps, all taxes, gloves in winter, use of bicycle and helmet

Full-Day Tour Half-Day Tour

5. Queenstown Hill by ATV

Get your heart racing on this quad biking Queenstown adventure!

This 3.5 hour tour takes you to Queenstown Hill.

Once there, you’ll be instructed on how to drive a quad bike and given all the necessary safety equipment.

Then, it’s time to hop on your fully automatic, 400cc all-terrain vehicle.

You’ll follow your guide on trails that will eventually lead to the hilltop, offering beautiful views of Queenstown.

Tours are limited to just 11 people to ensure an intimate experience.

Tour details

  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Departure Times: 8:30 am or 1:30 pm
  • Departure Point: 37 Shotover St, Queenstown
  • Inclusions: Professional guide, entry fees, refreshments, hotel pick up and drop off, use of quad bike, use of all-weather clothing and safety gear

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6. Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge

Looking for scenic views and a fun activity all in one?

This tour combines Queenstown’s gondola with its famous luge tracks.

From the gondola base, you’ll ride to the main Skyline complex, which boasts 220 degree views of the mountains, lakes, and city below.

Once you reach the top, it’s time to get your luge on!

Five luge rides are included in each tour and you’ll have the option of choosing the advanced track or the scenic track.

Head downhill, around bends, and over bumps in a three-wheeled luge cart, before catching the chairlift back up to the top for another go.

Tour details

  • Departure Point: Brecon Street, Queenstown
  • Inclusions: Return gondola ride, five luge rides, all necessary equipment, chairlift from bottom of luge track

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7. Helicopter Ride to The Remarkables

The Remarklables are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in New Zealand.

This luxury helicopter tour allows you to see them from a perspective not many get to experience.

You’ll fly over 5,000 feet above Queenstown to the peaks of these mountains.

From above, you’ll be able to stand in the snow atop these mountains and look down at Lake Wakatipu and the city of Queenstown below.

A helicopter is one of the few modes of transportation that can navigate this area.

Make sure to look out your window to catch a glimpse of glaciers, waterways, and more.

Tour details

  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Departure Point: The Helicopter Line Base
  • Inclusions: Scenic helicopter flight, pilot guide, live commentary, hotel pick up and drop off

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8. Helicopter Picnic at Middle Earth Waterfalls

Seeing Queenstown and the surrounding area from above is one of the only ways to truly appreciate how gorgeous this region is.

This scenic helicopter and picnic tour is perfect for families, and will allow you to gain a new perspective on the area. 

After being picked up at your hotel, your tour will begin with you boarding the helicopter for a flight through the Moonlight saddle and over the Richardson Mountains to Mount Earnslaw.

On the valley floor of Mount Earnslaw is where your helicopter will land, over 1,000 metres below.

Surrounded by waterfalls that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Lord of the Rings set, you’ll be treated to a picnic lunch.

Take photos, go for short walks to the waterfalls and nearby glaciers, and take in the beauty of the day before flying back to Queenstown.

Tour details

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure Time: 11:30 am
  • Inclusions: Scenic helicopter flight, picnic lunch, local taxes, hotel pick up and drop off

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9. Glenorchy Lord of the Rings Tour

Glenorchy, only a short distance from Queenstown, was a popular filming location for The Lord of the Rings.

Today, it is a much-visited location by fans of the film series. 

This half day, family-friendly tour will put you in the centre of the action.

You’ll tour the countryside by 4WD and visit the locations where the Fortress of Isengard, Forest of Lothlorien, and other famous Peter Jackson scenes were filmed.

This 4WD experience will allow you to see off the beaten track locations that regular vehicles can’t access.

And for those coming along who may not be huge fans of the films, rest assured, that the natural beauty of the locations you’ll visit are guaranteed to blow you away.

Tour details

  • Duration: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Departure Times: 8:00 am or 1:30 pm
  • Departure Point: 37 Shotover St, Queenstown
  • Inclusions: Driver/guide, refreshments, transportation by 4WD vehicle, select hotel pick up and drop offs

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10. Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

Milford Sound is one of the most popular destinations on the South Island, and once you see it, you’ll understand why.

An area of extraordinary beauty, Milford Sound features a majestic fiord with plenty of mesmerizing flora and fauna.

Each half day tour combines travelling by air and water.

First up is a 35-minute scenic flight starting at the Air Milford Base.

Fantastic aerial views can be seen from above.

Next, you’ll board a nature cruise (where your reserved seat will be waiting for you) that takes you out onto the sound.

Tour details

  • Duration: 4 hours 
  • Departure Times: 9:30 am, 11:30 am, or 1:30 pm
  • Inclusions: Live commentary, entry fees, coffee or tea, hotel pick up and drop off, snacks, reserved seating on the cruise

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11. Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Doubtful Sound is the less visited (but equally beautiful) fiord in Fiordland National Park.

Located near Milford Sound, this Doubtful Sound tour allows you to travel across Lake Manapouri and cross over the 670-meter high Wilmot Pass.

Once you arrive at the sound, you’ll enjoy a 3-hour catamaran cruise over its crystal clear waters.

Informative commentary is offered along the way so you can learn all about the history and wildlife of the area.

While aboard the cruise, you’ll be treated to a picnic lunch with sandwiches, crackers, cheese, fruit, and more.

A tour to Doubtful Sound is a full day experience, with trips spanning 12 hours in length.

Tour details

  • Duration: 12 hours 
  • Departure Times: 9:30 am, 11:30 am, or 1:30 pm
  • Inclusions: Live commentary, hotel pick up and drop off

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12. TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise

Are you a history buff who loves getting out on the water?

This is the tour for you!

This unique tour provides the opportunity to cruise on open waters on the TSS Earnslaw, an iconic vintage steamship.

Relax on board and enjoy the views of the mountains and of Lake Wakatipu.

The ship will glide along the lake, towards Walter Peak High Country Farm.

While aboard, don’t hesitate to explore the ship’s cafe, engine room, and many decks.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Point: Real Journeys Visitor Center, 88 Beach St, Queenstown 
  • Inclusions: All taxes

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13. Lake Wakatipu Catamaran Cruise

In New Zealand, getting out on the water is like a rite of passage.

Luckily, there are lots of opportunities to do so in Queenstown, such as this Lake Wakatipu catamaran tour.

Fun fact: Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand’s longest lake.

This 1.5 hour long tour will have you out on the lake, surrounded by crystal clear water and two mountain ranges.

Along the way, your captain will provide informative commentary about the sites and wildlife around you.

Aboard the vessel, there is a warm indoor seating area, large viewing windows, and outdoor decks that offer unobstructed views.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Point: Real Journeys Visitor Center, 88 Beach St, Queenstown 
  • Inclusions: All taxes

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14. Dart River ‘Funyak’ Canoe & Jet Boat Tour

Spending a day with your family exploring a UNESCO World Heritage Site? 

That simply can’t be beat.

This Queenstown day tour takes you and your family to Mount Aspiring National Park, a UNESCO site.

First, you’ll travel by coach to Glenorchy where you’ll board a jet boat for an exhilarating ride on Dart River.

You’ll then continue travelling through the “Middle Earth” countryside before stopping at a secluded river in Mount Aspiring National Park.

Now’s the time to hop in your “funyak” (an inflatable canoe) and start paddling!

Tour details

  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Departure Time: 8:30 am
  • Inclusions: Hotel pick up and drop off, round trip transportation from Queenstown, jet boat ride, canoe tour, lunch, professional guide, use of safety equipment, soft drinks, tea, and coffee

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15. Shotover & Kawarau Rivers Jet Boat Ride

If you’re after an adrenaline-pumping family adventure, this jet boat tour might be just the ticket.

On the tour, you’ll be in a jet boat travelling at high speeds on two of New Zealand’s most beautiful rivers.

You’ll board the jet boat in Queenstown, first sailing across Lake Wakatipu.

You’ll then make your way to the Kawarau River, where you’ll spin in circles.

Then you’ll navigate the shallow waters of the Shotover River.

Be sure to look up along the way, as these rivers are on the foothills of the Remarklables mountain range.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Point: Main Town Pier, Marine Parade, Queenstown
  • Inclusions: Driver/guide, life vests, entry fees, 1-hour jet boat ride, wet weather jacket

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16. Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Lunch

A cruise, farm tour, and BBQ lunch are all included on this unique and relaxing tour from Queenstown.

On arrival, you’ll enjoy a scenic cruise from Queenstown Bay, across stunning Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm.

However, this isn’t just any cruise.

You’ll be boarding Queenstown’s famous vintage steamship, the TSS Earnslaw.

Be sure to explore the engine room and many decks before arriving at the farm.

Once at the farm, you’ll see a farm show that includes sheep shearing and sheep dogs, before being treated to a lavish dining experience at Walter Peak.

Tour details

  • Duration: 3 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Times: 10:00 am or 12:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Gourmet BBQ lunch, farm show, live commentary, all taxes

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17. Walter Peak Horse Trek

Walter Peak Country Farm is one of the most picturesque areas outside Queenstown.

The vintage steamship, TSS Earnslaw, will take you and your family to Walter Peak, where your horse trek will begin.

Hop into the saddle and follow a professional guide on horseback along winding trails through terraces and pastures.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and snow-capped mountains in the distance.

After your horse trek, you’ll end things back at the farm where scones and cakes will be served.

This tour is suitable for riders of all skill levels, including beginners.

Tour details

  • Duration: 3 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Point: 88 Beach St, Queenstown
  • Departure Times: 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, or 2:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Guide, snacks, safety equipment, horseback trek, return cruise

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18. Self-Drive Guided Buggy Tour

Ever want to drive a dune buggy across rugged terrain?

Now’s your chance!

This buggy tour is perfect for the whole family.

Nowhere else in the world is there a landscape more suitable for off road buggies than this.

This self-drive guided tour will put you in control of the steering wheel, allowing you and your family to conquer exhilarating terrain like you’ve never seen before.

You can expect a ride including steep mountain climbs, creek crossings, and beautiful forest track.

All of this will lead to a summit with stunning viewpoints over Queenstown.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Point: Off Road Adventures
  • Departure Time: 2:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Transport from Queenstown, wet weather gear, safety equipment

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19. Routeburn Track Guided Walk

The Routeburn Track is one of the most famous hikes in New Zealand.

If you have a family that loves the outdoors, you should definitely consider this guided hiking tour.

Your tour begins in Queenstown with a drive along Lake Wakatipu and into Mt Aspiring National Park, where the hiking trail is located.

You’ll enter the track via a scenic swing bridge that’s fun for the whole family.

Along your two hour hike, your guide will point out the incredible wildlife that surrounds you.

Guides will also teach groups about the historical significance of the Routeburn Track and how it was used by Maori and European pioneers.

Tour details

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Departure Point: 37 Shotover St, Queenstown
  • Departure Times: 8:00 am or 1:30 pm
  • Inclusions: Professional guide, snacks and water, small group tour

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20. Kawarau Bridge Zipline

Go ziplining from the Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown, either solo or in tandem.

Perfect for kids and their parents, this thrilling adventure includes anywhere from 1 to 3 zipline rides, depending on your preference.

You’ll even have your choice of different styles of flying, from flying like superman to flying upside down.

You’ll reach speeds of up to 37 mph on a 426-foot-long cable next to the Kawarau River. 

Be sure to look down as you fly to see the turquoise blue river water from above.

Every ride is round trip, so no need to worry about what happens at the other end!

Tour details

  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Departure Time: 8:45 am 
  • Inclusions: Safety equipment, zip rides, entry fees, hotel pick up and drop off

21. ThrillZone Queenstown

Did you know Queenstown has its very own adventure theme park?

Thrillzone Queenstown allows you to choose from an array of exciting, family-friendly activities.

Options include the 12D Motion Theatre, the 360° Virtual Reality experience, the 360° Battleground Lasertag/Heroblast game, and Drift Karting.

Passes can be purchased in groups of two, three, or four activities.

Thrillzone is open throughout the day, so you can choose a time that best suits you.

For some indoor family fun, this Queenstown amusement park is the perfect activity. 

Tour details

  • Departure Point: Thrillzone
  • Inclusions: All taxes

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Adventure awaits in Queenstown. From jet boating and ziplining to quad biking and hiking, there is no shortage of fun (not to mention exhilarating) activities in this South Island region.

We hope this list has inspired your upcoming trip the Adrenaline Capital of the World.

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For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!