Queenstown is known for hot dry summers and crisp cool snowy winters, but nowhere is immune from a bit of bad weather. Well, not too worry, there’s still plenty to do in Queenstown for families with kids of all ages. Here are 10 suggestions for what to do in Queenstown when it's raining or the mountain ski fields are closed.
1. Queenstown Ice Arena. This is top of the list because of the novelty factor! When’s the last time you or your kids went skating? It also ticks the winter-things-to-do list. Fear not, there are skating aids in the form of seals and penguins and new this year, snowmen. This is for kids of all ages, including those over 18!
If you have kids eight years and over, I highly recommend a Southern Stampede ice Hockey comp, however, you would need to plan for this well in advance as tickets get snapped up pretty fast. Why? Because it’s a hugely fun and high-energy game to watch.Please note the Queenstown Ice Arena is open from Easter Holidays until the end of the October School Holidays only.
PowderPark Park. Also on the wintery list and ideal for if the mountains closed, although I’m sure others will have the same logic. Brand new to Queenstown, this is apparently the first dry slope terrain park in New Zealand as well as the world's largest PowderPak Park. This’ll be best suited to freeskiers and boarders with different box and rail features of various degrees of difficulty. PowderPark is now closed.
3. Odyssey Sensory Maze. Relatively new to Queenstown, this indoor attraction in the centre of town is just what it says, a sensory maze. Take as much time as you need to meander through a variety of wonderful spaces where you will be wowed by interesting objects, lights, sound effects and other oddities. It is recommended for ages 8 and over.
4. Thrill zone. A feast for the family in town with four options including Vortex – a multi-sensory motion cinema, Kidz Club and the laser tag, heroblast and reball indoor 360degree interactive green screen arena with large inflatable barriers. These activities are to be booked as opposed to them running everyday concurrently. Reball is indoor paintball and Hero Blast is non-gun glove laser tag option.
Kidz Club deserves a mention of its own because it’s a children’s club where 4 to 13-year-olds can play in the 360-degree indoor arena with supervision while you do your adult thing! This service is available at hourly, half-day and full day rates. Bookings for KidzClub are recommended but they will take walk-ins.
5. Game Over Queenstown. Indoor go karting and 250sqm Jurassic themed lazer tag. This family attraction opened in 2016 with laser tag only opening May 5th. The go karting lasts 15 minutes starting from 10:30am and there are 16 Adult and 8 Junior electric go karts.
6. XD Dark Ride is another interactive motion ride based in town. Perfect for the competitive group with its winner/loser scoring system.
7. Alpine Aqualand at the Queenstown Events Centre is good fun for the whole family. It’s a public heated indoor pool centre with a leisure pool, lazy river, two hydro slides plus toddlers pool as well as a 25m eight-lane lap pool and adult spa pool. It’s cheap and warm and you can spend as long as you like in the centre. It’s attached to a gym for those that want to keep up gym sessions while on holiday.
8. Site Trampoline – a specialist freestyle training centre, but basically a big trampoline warehouse! Heaps of fun to be had on a foam pit and five trampolines, which include two Olympic tramps and a super tramp. Book for group sessions or enquire about joining lessons.
Ten Pin Bownling
9. Strike Bowl in Arthurs Point. Ten-pin Bowling plus games room, café and pizza menu. This is a pretty fun option, and is suited to most ages, with the option to lift the sides on any of the seven lanes for the beginners in the family. There’s free return transport from Queenstown.
10. Ice Bars including Below zero ice bar and Minus 5 ice bar.Yes, these are bars but kids are welcome and treated to a ‘mocktail'. They even have a family pass. The attraction to this of course, is not the alcohol or non-alcohol, in this case, but that everything inside is made of ice, and they’ll suit you and boot you in appropriate warm attire. This too is more of a wintery thing to do, although it is open year round.
Other attractions include Reading Cinema, Caddyshack indoor mini-golf, Fear Factory haunted House for ages 15+, Queenstown Underwater Observatory plus the new Escape Quest where teams with players aged 7+ solve clues about the 1860s gold rush to escape their own private game room.
Fudge and all manner of lollies/sweet at the Remarkables Sweet Shop on Beach Street
Cup And Cake for the most delicious cupcakes. Yum!
Patagonia's – chocolatier and ice creams (located in Arrowtown, the airport, and in town)
The Queenstown Cookie Bar – stock up on New Zealand’s famous Cookie time cookies at this novelty store.
Mrs Ferg gelateria – the dessert version of the famous Ferg Burger. Loads of freshly-made ice cream.