At first glance, Queenstown is a town for young people. Well, older than our then 4 and 6 year olds, but younger than their parents (totally said without dating ourselves!). We’d been once before in the summer time. It was packed, with people everywhere, and the camper van sites had so little space that we couldn’t buy a powered site. Post lockdown, COVID-19, winter travel to the city has brought smaller crowds, shorter lines, and ample space to park and play. And still, Queenstown maintains its cool, fun vibe. Even for energetic families with differing tastes for fun. Here’s what we got up to during our second (and best!) Queenstown weekend!
Get thee to the Queenstown Skyline. Purchase a gondola package. It will get your family a ride to the top, where there is sports fun on offer for everyone in the family, at every level of daredevil: mountain biking, bungee jumping, and The Luge. We purchased a family package which included round trip on the gondola, and 4 Luge rides. A luge is a little bumper car that you control with a big rower-like lever. You drive them down tracks around the mountainside, either solo or in pairs. Our package allowed us 4 rides, but we were sure we’d only do a couple. We did all four, with a stop in the middle for a photo op with a rainbow.
Take a trip to the Kiwi Birdlife Park. Stop in for a conservation talk, or the kiwi feeding hour. These elusive birds are one of the few creatures that are almost impossible to spot in their natural habitats in New Zealand. This is due to the fact that they are nocturnal, and very endangered. There’s a little walk where there are multiple birds on view. A great half day in the city that ultimately benefits the protection of this special national bird!
What we learned about Queenstown is that it is a perfect town for families with slightly older children that ours perhaps upwards of age 10. So, for instance, our children have not yet read or seen The Lord of the Rings. For children who have, the Lord of the Rings Tour leaves from Queenstown and takes you to see the sites nearby where the film was shot. Apparently, it ends with gold digging in the mountains.
Skiing at the Remarkables. We went skiing at Mount Hutt just outside Christchurch city, so we didn’t get to ski there. But this mountain range is so beautiful; it sits on top of Queenstown like a crown. There are shuttles going from the city to the slopes, aprés ski happy hours and two-for-one deals abound, and I can imagine alternating ski days and city days to recover everyone from the cold and physical burn out. Here’s something we didn’t know: kids under 10 ski for free!!
Day trip to the Milford Sound. The Milford Sound fiords are recognised as the 8th wonder of the world. High peaks, rainforest, penguins, sea birds, and waterfalls, this 2-hour tour was the best day for our children on this trip. As the boat approached a glacier that had melted after 80,000 years as ice, we scrambled down to the front lower deck to let the icy waters touch us. It’s a full day’s tour from Queenstown, but it is worth it! Jucy runs a cruise of this amazing natural wonder twice a day.
Breakfast at Ferg’s Bakery. Ferg’s Bakery is one of 3 in the connected franchise; Ferg’s Burger is perhaps the most popular restaurant in the city. In the high season, the lines for burgers snake around the corners, and street performers line up to entertain the diners-in-wait. So we went for breakfast. The Boston Creme donuts are apparently world famous (they ARE yummy) and the croissants and coffee are filling. Real talk, we didn’t have breakfast until 11:30am, after which we let the girls have ice cream at Ferg’s Gelatería next door. For better parents, it’s the perfect afternoon snack!
Dinner at Miss Lucy’s Rooftop Bar & Pizzeria. We’d already had pizza for lunch (when your kids want pizza now, there isn’t much choice!) so we did not sample the wood fired pizzas at Miss Lucy’s LIKE SEEMINGLY THE REST OF QUEENSTOWN! We were in the restaurant for about an hour and saw multiple delivery orders for pizza filled. So we ordered a table of sides: two types of chicken wings, chips (french fries), buffalo cauliflower, cocktails for the adults, and a gigantic ice cream sundae for everyone! The focus is pizza, but everything at Miss Lucy’s is well done!
Jucy Snooze. You already know that we have a soft spot for Jucy. From the fun marketing, to the simple sustainability at Jucy Snooze in Christchurch, click here for the full review of our weekend in the pods!
*This post is part of a Travelkin x Jucy collaboration!