Family Adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

Lake Wakatipu from a Parasail

Image by grahammclellan via Flickr

Taking the entire family on holiday can either be enjoyable or dreadful, depending on the weather and the variety of activities available. In today’s super-charged, ultra-wired world, sometimes it can be a quite refreshing change to spend time with the family in an unhurried, outdoors setting. Memories that will never be forgotten are usually made in natural settings, not while huddled around television sets, computer screens or game consoles.

Families who travel to New Zealand often gravitate to Queenstown for its appealing size (not too small, not too big) and its spectacular scenery. Situated on a gorgeous inlet of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown offers many options for families that want to revel in their time together, not waste a lot of time, money and travel on inferior activities.

One popular option near Queenstown is the Family Adventures trip, which takes families on a rafting excursion on the upper reaches of the famed Shotover River. The mild grade one and grade two rapids beckon groups with even small children, as those from age 3 and up are welcomed on the outing.

Walter Peak Station, opposite Queenstown on th...

Image via Wikipedia

The trip begins with a drive into the famous Skippers Canyon, one of the most picturesque drives in the entire country. Full of history and gold mining relics, the area also offers astonishing views into the canyons, valleys and mountains that line the road. Knowledgeable guides regale tourists with abundant tales from the gold mining past of the region.

Once at the river, the staff at Family Adventures will outfit your group with all of the necessary gear before launching into the water at a spot made famous as “The Ford of Bruinen” in the “Lord of the Rings” movie. The rafts then glide peacefully down the river for a few hours, with two trips available daily that leave Queenstown at 8:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. in the months from October to May.

Gazing at scenery from a bus seat is one thing; drinking it in from a raft on a river is another. With your mouth agape and your paddle easing through the water, you and your family will revel in the pristine beauty of New Zealand’s South Island. A day on the water should be one of the first choices for any family that wants to make memories on holiday near Queenstown.

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown Lakes District, Otag...

Image via Wikipedia

For those who visit the area, there are transportation options, but it is suggested that tourists rent a car at one of the Queenstown car hire depots. New Zealand’s South Island offers a multitude of sights and activities that can keep even the most energetic family busy. Having a family car on holiday will make navigation of the island a snap as you enjoy your customary freedom to build a reasonable schedule that does not depend on tour and coach schedules.

At one point, however, it is highly recommended that you ditch the car and climb into a raft. Even your youngest children will be able to join you on the river and capture a memory that will last a lifetime.


  1. Queenstown is such a beautiful area, definitely recommended for those who are into skiing and snow boarding!

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