Sourcing viable activities for my family of five, with ages ranging from 41 through to 7 years old, required research, and lots of it. The prerequisite list was long, and necessitated tours and experiences whereby we could all be active participants, and not excluded by minimum age, height or weight restriction. They had to cost less than a small island, and most importantly, fun for all.
Here are the highlights to inspire your Queenstown trip planning.
Accessed via a short gondola ride, the Eco adventure operates within the nearby vicinity of the luge and Queenstown scenic Skyline Gondola. Summiting, we arrived at Bob’s Peak, followed the path passed the Heli-pad, and shortly thereafter found ourselves at the entrance of the Ziptrek Tree house.
Following an efficient safety briefly, and minimal paperwork, we were harnessed and helmeted, ready for the fun.
Despite nerves of uncertainty, I was acutely aware of my surroundings.
Dappled light, flits between the forest canopy, the early morning air is fresh with the scent of organic earth. We find ourselves walking amongst towering trees, in Queenstown’s Gondola Hill area. The morning still, save for the sound of wind rustling the forest leaves and the rhythmic clunk of metal from our harnesses as we walk towards the first treetop platform.
There are 4, 6 or 8 line tours to choose from. Conservatively, I choose the 4-line tour. Once again in hindsight, I should have chosen at least the 6 line option, as to my surprise not only did our entire family love (and I mean love) this adventure, but my 7 year old declared, “…this is the best day of my life”. Winning.
I’m tempted to wax lyrical about the professionalism of both guides assigned to our group, and to tell you about the Eco and sustainable approach of this organisation, I’m also tempted to elaborate on the beautiful surrounding mountainous views as you ascend higher from platform to platform, complete with picturesque glimpses of Lake Wakapitu, but perhaps the photos below conclusively depict the fun we had.
One word… addictive! You’d think that I’d begin to recognise a pattern when it comes to booking activities in NZ, that being, once is never enough, or in our case four rides wasn’t enough. Why? Because the simple act of manoeuvring a go-kart like mobile, whizzing downhill laps on a track carved into a mountain, is way more fun than you’d think. I can’t decide whether it’s because I’m still just a kid at heart, or if it’s because it’s just darn good fun, however I’m inclined to think the latter. Regardless, whatever the reason, this one is for the kids and the big kids at heart, after all fun has no age limit.
Note: no prior experience is necessary, a 60 second crash course is provided, and then you’re off.
Whilst we caught the Gondola to access zip-lining and luge rides, it is possible to simply opt for a scenic ascent on the Skyline Gondola which travels 450 meters above Queenstown to Bob’s Peak. Panoramic views over Lake Wakapitu and a full service restaurant make for a lovely sedentary afternoon in a city that is akin to action.
Regrettably I cannot provide a personal opinion on the restaurant as we chose to enjoy our lunch after descending Bob’s Peak. We headed straight for renowned Fergburgers takeaway hamburgers, which we enjoyed lakeside sitting on the grass.
Onsens, (bathing facility) are a Japanese hot spring known for their natural healing qualities from the earth’s nutrient rich volcanic properties.
Staking prime position upon a hilltop you will find Onsen Hot Pools. With unobstructed views overlooking Shotover Canyon, while away the hours as you watch the world below. an afternoon of blissful bathing was nearly perfect had it not been for two of my three children who couldn’t resist canon balling into the relaxing cedar tubs. Aaargh! Thankfully, the policy allows families with children to enjoy this experience up until 5pm. From 5pm onwards, only children aged 11years or older accompanied by an adult are permitted, (Couples, you’re safe from crying babies and toddlers).
That being said, our bathing experience was at 3:30pm, and despite my children sneaking in the odd canon ball, the peace, tranquillity, privacy and intimate ambience was without compromise. Perhaps it’s due to the cliff-side construction design, and the individually positioned tubs, partitioned by walls. I literally saw no one whilst I was there.
To further enhance this blissful experience, optional add-ons are available for purchase, such as alcohol and chocolates. Once again, (you know how this goes now), my only regret… I should have booked 2 hours instead of 1. Sad face. I guess there’s always next time. Happy face.