A family-friendly Queenstown skiing itinerary
Time on the slopes, time out for mum and dad, plus a calendar packed full of fun things to do for the kids. Here’s what a week-long Queenstown skiing itinerary could look like.
Heaps of skiing or snowboarding and loads of spectacular scenery are on offer with this 7-day Queenstown skiing itinerary. Ride or ski at family-friendly Cardrona, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Kick back amidst wilderness at Milford Sound, visit a high country farm and meet the native birdlife before heading back home, relaxed and recharged.
We haven’t included adventure activities in this itinerary, but if your kids are of age and up to it, Queenstown is the place to test your limits.
Arrive early in Queenstown, Southern Hemisphere’s ski haven. Hire your car and snow chains from the airport and set out for your accommodation. The town centre is just a few minutes from the picturesque airport.
Settle into your accommodation and if you are up to it, head out to the Real Journeys’ Walter Peak Farmyard Tour (a half-day activity), which starts off with a heritage cruise on the TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu. The kids will love sheep shearing and animal feeding on the high country farm.
A few minutes’ walk from the lake, the Skyline Gondola complex is next on the day’s agenda. This is where you head for the most stunning views of Queenstown, and of course – the luge, a gravity-fuelled thrill ride for all ages. You can dine at the Stratosfare restaurant at the Skyline Complex or head back to your accommodation and prepare for the snow adventures ahead.
The closest ski area to Queenstown, Coronet Peak has stunning high points and rolling trails for seasoned skiers and riders to really get their teeth into. Supervised kids programs are offered along with an early learning centre, so the little ones are taken care of while you drop and dive on some of the world’s most scenic slopes.
If you are planning to dine out, check out the iconic Fergburger – Queenstown’s epic burger joint.
Today you visit Milford Sound, worth every bit of hype it gets. Tucked away in the wilderness of Fiordland, this is one place you don’t want to miss. With fewer people and wildlife in plentiful along with abundant waterfalls, it is spectacular in winter – a bit cold, but nothing you can’t handle with a few layers of clothes. A cruise is ideal to get up close to the wildlife (penguins, dolphins and seals) and the waterfalls.
The journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound takes about four hours, but is breathtakingly beautiful. Check weather and road conditions before departing, and drive carefully as the roads can get icy in winters.
Don’t rush back to Queenstown tonight. Spend the night at Milford Sound Lodge and enjoy the pristine beauty of this region – a wilderness experience unlike any other.
Journey back from Milford Sound to Queenstown this morning.
In the afternoon head to Kiwi Birdlife Park. Located in the heart of Queenstown, it is a great family activity for any weather as there is a lot to see undercover. The kids can get up, close and personal with native wildlife at live conservation shows. A must visit!
Back to the snow today.
Just over half hour drive from Queenstown, The Remarkables Ski Area lives up to its name. Operated by the same company that runs Coronet Peak (NZ Ski), the services here are also exemplary and child-orientated – childcare, kids lessons and child-friendly terrain. There’s plenty of mountain entertainment and the slopes are suitable for skiers and riders of all abilities.
If the slopes haven’t tired you, back in town there’s an Ice Arena in Queenstown Gardens (open till 5pm with evening sessions on Friday) that is worth checking out. Round up the day with a lakeside meal and sweet indulgence at Patagonia Chocolate Shop, located in the town centre and a local delight.
An hour’s drive from Queenstown in the Crown Ranges, Cardrona Ski Resort is also geared towards families and very popular with skiers and riders. It offers everything from a crèche to special programmes for kids and dedicated children’s ski area. They also have tubing in the Beginner’s Area, a fun activity for the whole family.
If you’ve had your fill of snow and skies, head to Wanaka – about 35 minutes from Cardrona. Here Puzzling World with its illusion rooms, maze and puzzle centre is a hit with kids and adults alike.
Tonight you stay in Wanaka.
Regrettably, this is departure day. A scenic drive, just over an hour, through the Crown Ranges gets you back from Wanaka to Queenstown. En-route, you could stop in Arrowtown, a charming little village with lovely cafes and quaint shops. Be sure to visit the Remarkables Sweet Shop for their homemade fudge.
From here it’s straight to the airport, ending what would have been a fun trip. One thing’s for sure, there’s plenty more for you to keep coming back again and again.