New Zealand’s South Island is a paradise filled with hidden gems and natural wonders. With plenty of amazing things to do in South Island, travellers often tend to overlook Queenstown, thinking that it’s just a starting point for their road trip. Well today, I’m here to tell you all the best things to do in Queenstown with teenagers!
Queenstown is worth at least a couple of days to explore and enjoy especially if you are travelling with teens who love food and the outdoors.
Located at the southern part of the South Island, Queenstown is home to one of the two international airports in New Zealand South Island and also various great foods! Without further ado, let’s dive in and see what are the best things to do in Queenstown with teenagers!
Know before you go. Our top Queenstown travel tips
Travelling to Queenstown New Zealand can be such an enriching experience for the whole family. There are so many things to do in Queenstown and having the best place to stay in Queenstown to explore is extremely important. Here we’ve got some information to get you planning your family vacation to Queenstown to make it completely hassle-free.
Where to stay in Queenstown with teens
You’ll never be short of options for your accommodation in Queenstown. You will find a large range of hotels, apartments, cabins and more in Queenstown. The usual suspects such as Hilton, Ramada, Mercure and Holiday Inn are available for accommodation in Queenstown. In Queenstown, you find a range of hotels, apartments, and hostels. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families, and groups on every budget. If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Booking.com and Expedia to find the best prices in Queenstown.
Budget: Queenstown YHA has family rooms accommodating 4 people. This comfortable fully equipped hostel sits right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, offering enchanting views of the lake and mountains
Mid Range: Featuring family-friendly apartments is the Queenstown Holiday Park & Motels. located just a 4-minute walk from Queenstown’s vibrant centre and a 10-minute walk to the Skyline Gondola. Facilities and services include bike and luggage storage, bike/car wash, laundry facilities, ski storage, spa bath and sauna
Luxury: Swiss-BelSuites Pounamu Queenstown offers luxury accommodation with stunning lake and mountain views. Each of the 1 and 2-bedroom apartments are appointed with a 42-inch plasma-screen TV with surround sound, computer with printer, iPod dock, elegant en suite bathrooms, plus a full kitchen and laundry.
Queenstown Airbnb alternative for your stay
If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation in Queenstown then Air BnB is the best choice for you and your family. There are so many options for singles, families, and budget-friendly options as well. Check out the map below to find the perfect Queenstown Airbnb family accommodation
How to get to Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown is one of the premier outdoor destinations in New Zealnd. Queenstown is serviced by long distant buses, trains and planes all bring people daily to the city.
- Queenstown Airport is located in Frankton, Otago, New Zealand, and serves Queenstown and surrounds. The airport is 8 km from the Queenstown CBD. The airport is the fourth busiest airport in New Zealand. You can book your flights to Queenstown with Momondo
- Book your airport transfer with Holiday Taxis
- Buses to Queenstown depart from destinations around the South Island including Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. You can book your bus to Queenstown with Busbud
- Major New Zealand highways connect Queenstown to surrounding South Island regions. New Zealand highways are fully sealed and well-maintained. Pick up a rental car at any major New Zealand airport
How to get around Queentwon with teenagers
Getting around Queenstown is easy with the public transport of options such as public buses, taxis, airport shuttles, track shuttles, ski field shuttles and water taxi. The public bus is the most extensive public transport service in Queenstown.
All the very best things to do in Queenstown for teenagers
Visiting Queenstown New Zealand with teens can be an amazing experience and one that will not be forgotten easily. Below we have all the very best family activities in Queenstown for you to include in your Queenstown itinerary.
Go Bungy Jumping in Queenstown
Now, do you know that commercial bungy jumping was started in Queenstown, New Zealand? Yep, the first commercial bungy jumping started in Kawarau Bridge at 43m plunge, with AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping. Book your epic Bungy jump experience here!
While AJ Hackett started with bungy jumping, they now have so much more than that to offer. Now, you have the options to go for swings, catapults, and ziprides! There really is something for everyone in the family when you are holidaying with teenagers in Queenstown.
Find the most suitable package for yourself and your teen to get your adrenaline pumping! Check out our top activities in Queenstown here.
Take a walk around Queenstown Garden
Queenstown certainly has one of the best parks in the country. At Queenstown Garden, you will enjoy great views, along with well-maintained tracks and various facilities.
The reason I recommend this is because Queenstown Garden is also an excellent spot for a family picnic. Grab some sandwiches and have a picnic snack around here while enjoying the snow-capped mountain in the background.
After that, you also have the option to have a coffee in the café nearby, which offers the lake view as well!
Enjoy Queenstown City View on Skyline Gondola
Skyline Gondola offers the best scenic city view of Queenstown. From the foothill, take the gondola up 450m to the top of Bob’s Peak and enjoy the magnificent panoramic view over the city, surrounding lakes and alpine mountains.
At the top of Bob’s Peak, there will also be some activities like magic shows, luge rides, or if you fancy it, you can even have dinner inside the gondola! However, if you’re up for the dinner option, you need to book early especially during the peak season as they are often booked out! Get in early and book here.
Have a Jet Boat Adventure in Shotover River
Queenstown is often referred to as the home of adrenaline rush lovers because there are so many extreme sports available in this town. The jetboat is one of them. Shotover River is located on the outskirts of Queenstown.
To have your jet boat adventure there, simply go to one of the jet boat rides offices in the town or to get your jet boat ride in Queenstown sorted well before you go. Click on the pictures for the best deals in Queenstown.
One thing you should note is that sometimes the operation might get cancelled for the day if the river condition is not good, for example, the water level is too high. It’s one of the best things to do in Queenstown with teenagers though!
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Take a Cruise in Queenstown
If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience with your family, then the cruise in Lake Wakatipu is the way to go. Enjoying the epic view on the deck of a cruise is not something that every traveller in Queenstown experiences.
Most of the cruises also offer lunch or dinner on board, so plan ahead! Psst, it’s not as expensive as you imagined make sure you pick the perfect cruise for your family. There is so much for you all to enjoy in and around Queenstown.
Go mountain biking in Queenstown
Queenstown and the surrounding area lends itself to challenging and thrilling Mountain Biking. Mountain biking in Queenstown is very popular with many stores hiring bikes by the hour, day and week. Mountain biking with teenagers in Queenstown is a thrilling way to experience the sites and get some exercise.
You can find some great Queenstown mountain biking paths at Queenstown Bike Park, Jardine Park and Wynyard Freestyle Terrain. You can find a Queenstown mountain bike rental shop to suit your needs by searching here
Go skiing & snowboarding in Queenstown
Queenstown is particularly busy during the winter season for a good reason – skiing. With famous ski fields like The Remarkable and Coronet Peak, snow lovers tend to stay in this very town for weeks. Both of the ski fields are located quite far from the town centre, so you will need to take the shuttle bus.
If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, there are also lessons which include all ski gears as well! To be honest, it will be a little rushed if you’re only staying in Queenstown for 2 or 3 days, but if it’s your thing, I’d say Queenstown is a great place to try it out. Just treat yourself with an amazing dinner after the exhausting day!
Do I need travel insurance in New Zealand?
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Get your travel insurance now to protect your epic holiday in New Zealand from any small hiccup.
For Australian travellers, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance
For worldwide travellers, we recommend AXA Travel Insurance
Segway tours in Queenstown
There is nothing more fun than zipping around a city on a segway and for teens, this has to be one of the best things to do in Queenstown. A Queenstown Segway tour is a great opportunity to fun and learn about the city. Segway tours are for the whole family, you will be given instructions and a short amount of practise time before you set off on your adventure
Book your Segway Tour in Queenstown
Best places to eat in Queenstown with teenagers
Finding a great place to eat for teens can be as hard as finding the perfect accommodation. Families travelling with teenagers need something that keeps the whole family happy on vacation and luckily we have some suggestion on where to eat with teens in Queenstown right here for you.
Having lunch in Flame Bar & Grill
Travelling in New Zealand South Island for 6 months, I can’t tell you who plants the sweetest kiwifruit, but I can assure you that the pork ribs at Flame Bar & Grill are the best you can find.
Opinions might differ, but the fame of the restaurant is obvious, the queue is always there, and it’s recommended by all my friends who had a holiday in Queenstown.
If you’re up for it, go and queue early, write your name in the book, and go wander around for some time while waiting. The serving speed is also top-notch, so are the environment and the vibes.
Have a burger in Fergburger
Think the queue in Flame Bar & Grill is long, wait until you visit Fergburger. Fergburger has one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted in my life. The portion, the juiciness, and the aroma are killers. While you have to queue up for that, the serving speed is very quick so it’ll be just a matter of minutes until your turn.
The extensive menu is also impressive. Most of the customers prefer to take-away their food instead of dining in because of the queue and there are not that many chairs and tables.
I recommend having them by Lake Wakatipu, where you can enjoy the lakeside view with the snowy mountains as a backdrop with the ducks.
Otherwise, you can also do it at Queenstown Garden, but by the time you walk there, your burgers might get cool due to the cold weather.
Learn More! How do we keep our teens social when we travel? Our post on how we keep our teenagers social on holiday can help your teens get the most out of a family holiday!
Queenstown Winter Packing list
Winter in New Zealand means warm and dry clothes are needed. We have put together a list of essentials for your trip to Queenstown
Shopping in Queenstown
A little bit of retail therapy is always appreciated by teenagers. A visit to Queenstown with teenagers will certainly provide you with enough shopping options to keep you happy. Your first stop with teenagers in Queenstown should be
O’Connells Queenstown Shopping Centre
Queenstown Shopping Centre is a multi-storey, covered shopping mall which hosts a range of shops.
You will find fashions, phones, sporting goods and personal care. A food court will help you get some food on the go.
Remarkables Park Town Centre
When planning some shopping in Queenstown a trip to Remarkables Park Town Centre is a must. Shop, eat and socialize in this outdoor picturesque retail setting set at what seems the base of the Remarkables mountain range.
We know because we go! Have you considered staying in a hostel with your teens when you travel? Read why we love staying hostels with our teens
Cinemas in Queenstown
Looking for some downtime with your teenagers in Queenstown? Some time spent watching the latest blockbuster at a Queenstown Cinema might be a great option. 2 of the best cinemas in Queenstown include
Dorothy Brown Cinema
This cinema is a boutique place, a bit of a throwback to a time gone by. A fully licensed bar, a cosy fire, and large seats. This could just be the best venue for families in Queenstown. Mum and dad can enjoy a glass of wine while watching the big screen with the kids.
Address: 18 Buckingham Street Arrowtown 9302 Queenstown
Reading Cinema Queenstown
Reading Cinema is your typical cinema complex. Featuring plenty of screens showing all the latest movies, snack bar overflowing with popcorn and treats and timezone arcade to play the latest amusements. A great way to spend an afternoon with teenagers and one of the top things to do in Queenstown.
Address: 11-14 The Mall Queenstown 9300
Escape rooms in Queenstown
For those new to Escape rooms, this is a quick run down.
An escape room, also known as an “escape game”, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.
Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room, or span multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. If your teen likes this stuff it is definitely one of the top things to do in Queenstown with teenagers.
You will have 60 minutes to solve the puzzle and find the truth
Escape Quest Queenstown
Escape Quest Queenstown has 4 different rooms to test out your puzzle-solving skills. Challenge yourself to solve a murder or find the thief from a gold heist.
Address: Level 1 Mountaineer Building,32 Rees Street, Queenstown 9300
10 pin bowling in Queenstown
If you’re looking for a bit of fun, friendly family competition in Queenstown then 10 pin bowling might be just the activity for you and your teenagers in Queenstown. You can go 10 pin bowling in Queenstown at:
Strike Bowl Queenstown features 7 full-sized lanes for all your strikes, spares and gutter bowls. Strike Bowl features a bar, pool tables and arcade games and a cafe. Strike bowl will even pick you and drop you off if Mum and Dad want to have a drink while the teenagers bowl.
Address: Swiss-Belresort Coronet Peak 161 Arthurs Point Road
Queenstown, New Zealand 9371
Not sure what your teen will need on holiday? Click here to get all the top sellers for your travelling teens
Going to the gym in Queenstown
Fitness is very important to a lot of teenagers these days. Working out is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Lifting weights, using the cross trainer, exercise bikes and more. Just because one is travelling it does not mean you need to stop working out.
In Queenstown, you can go to a number of Gyms that sell passes ranging from a day to a week and a month. Day passes start at 16 euros a day while a week pass costs 45 euros. You can book a gym in Queenstown here
Bike riding in Queenstown with teenagers
Queenstown bike riding is a popular family activity when travelling with teenagers. Bike riding allows you to experience your location either in town or out in the surrounding areas. You will find bike tours are the best way to go if you want to get an up-close and personal experience of the city.
You will either have a guide to point out all the important attractions or a map to follow. The bike tours will take you on a Queenstown family vacation 2 wheeled adventure. Alternatively, you can find locations that hire bikes and let you explore on your own.
Book your Queenstown Bike Tour today
Where to stay in Queenstown with teenagers
At the top of the article, we suggested some Queenstown accommodation choices. If you are looking for a wider variety of choices please find below an interactive map from Booking.com for you to find your perfect stay in Queenstown.
Money in Queenstown New Zealand
The official National Currency in New Zealand is the NZ Dollar. The currency comes in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 banknotes as well as 10, 20, 50 and cent coins. There is also a 1 and 2 dollar coins. You will find it easy to withdraw NZ dollar coins from ATM’s and there are plenty of options within stores to pay with your card.
We recommend you get a Transferwise card to deposit your home currency into and then transfere it into NZ Dollars. Transferwise withdrawls at ATM’s are fee free
So what do you think about these things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand? I hope that this article helps you plan your trip to this lovely town. Let me know what you think of this article in the comment section below. And nevertheless, travel safe and enjoy New Zealand!
This article was contributed by Yen who blogs at www.swingabroad.com for us here at Wyld Family Travel. We hope this helps you with Queenstown attractions for you and your teenager. Queenstown with teenagers has many attractions and activities for you and your teen to do, see, try and taste. Your teenager in Queenstown will be entertained and educated by this amazing city. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in New Zealand click through to our New Zealand Destination Page for more brilliant inspiration.
We know because we go! Travelling with older kids has just as many issues as travelling with younger kids. Use our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides from all over the world for your next family holiday inspiration.
Some more family travel inspiration for your family vacation with teens
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers. He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.