It’s that time of year again! Time to unpack the kids’ school bag and refill it with a bucket load of school holiday memories for them to share on the first day of term. It can be a daunting task. The good news? Queenstown’s activity options are fun for the entire adventurous family, making it the best destination for a family vacation or local excursions during the 2023 school holidays.


Here are our top 10 recommendations to plan the most hard-out, adventurous school holidays to have your backpacks bursting at the seams! We’ve done some of the heavy lifting by ranking these adventures based on their thrill-level from 1-10 and applied a rating from ‘certified excitement’ all the way to ‘A+ adrenaline’.


Minimum weight: 20kgs and children under 12 must fly with an adult 18 years and over  

Thrill factor: Certified excitement 

A familiar staple of the Queenstown landscape, Queenstown Paraflights has been flying their big yellow parasail over Lake Wakatipu since the 1980’s. Soaring over the water underneath a giant smiling parasail is exciting and picturesque for the whole family! You have the option of flying solo, tandem or on a triple flight to share the experience (and cute pictures) with whoever has bugged you the least that day. For the accessibility in central Queenstown and unbeatable birds eye view, this is an unmissable family activity. 


Minimum age: 7 years old and 120cm in height.
Thrill factor: Certified excitement


Start your engines…family bragging rights are up for grabs. Instead of driving the kids around all holidays, we want you to race them instead! Zoom around the best indoor Go Kart track and hit 293m of driving challenges at Game Over Queenstown. This fast-paced activity is suitable for all skill levels as it can be controlled with pre-set race speeds and Junior race options are available for children aged between 7-13 years old. This is also a fun wet weather activity close to Queenstown to keep up your sleeve! 


Minimum age: 8 years old 

Thrill factor: Certified excitement 


The best form of school holiday bonding is when you’re all hurtling down a zipline at up to 60km an hour. Become one with the raging Kawarau River and fly 130 metres along the Kawarau Zipride side-by-side with your nearest and dearest! 


If you’re keen for multiple rides, we can bet it won’t get old. You can zipride backwards, upside down or in the popular ‘Superman’ position! If you’re really raising some tiny adrenaline junkies or want to show them how cool YOU are, upgrades to the Kawarau Bungy Jump are also available on-site.

Our on-site café and Liquid Courage Bar is there to ensure it doesn’t only feel like a holiday for the kids. Grab some Ferg Baker goodies and tasty coffee while enjoying the stunning views of the Kawarau River. 


The Kawarau Bungy Centre is easy to find if you’re self-driving with heaps of FREE parking available or book your seats on the FREE Bungy Bus from Queenstown Central.


Minimum age: 5 years old. Children under the age of 18 need to be supervised by an adult 18+.   

Thrill factor: Fast-paced and fun-packed 

If your little ones are keen thrill seekers, head to iFly Queenstown in the centre of town. They can dip their toes in the wind with indoor skydiving, try maneuvers, and feel the freedom of unrestrained adrenaline! Whether you’d like to test the waters of extreme activities with your child or throw them into an epic experience knowing they’re all about it, IFly provides tailored experiences for all levels, ages and abilities. If you’re not keen to be upstaged, jump in the wind tunnel too! Would anyone in the group prefer to keep their feet on the ground? There’s VR flight packages so no fam is left behind!  


Minimum age: 2 years of age and taller than 80cm can ride the Luge in tandem on the Green track with an adult aged 15+ years. 

Thrill factor: Fast-paced and fun-packed 


The Skyline gondolas dominate the mountainscape and forest visible from central Queenstown but we can guarantee the view from inside them is better! Shuffle the kids inside and be swept up the hill with unbeatable views of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, and The Remarkables awaiting you.  

However, when you opt for the Skyline Gondola + Luge packages, you have the chance to also hurtle through the landscape on a gravity-propelled cart. Grab a luge cart each (small children must ride with you) and laugh your way down the hill on a course of corners, tunnels and bumps. We’ll leave it up to you There are multiple package options suitable for those wanting a few furious laps or a more lengthened luge experience. 


Minimum age: 6 years old 

Thrill factor: Fast-paced and fun-packed 


Riding inside a fighter jet crossed with a torpedo? Sign us up. Hydro Attack offers a completely unique ride-along experience inside a semi-submersible, high-speed shark that races above and below Lake Wakatipu. These crazy cockpits also launch vertically into the air for added thrills. With top speeds of 80 kph on water and 40 kph underwater, this ride is guaranteed to get your family’s heart pumping. 

It’s good to remember that these rides are one-on-one with the pilot so your child should be comfortable being apart from you for this activity; the pilot is happy to go as ‘mild’ or ‘wild’ as your child may want on their ride. 


Minimum age: 12 years old 

Thrill factor: A+ adrenaline


Get up, close and personal with some of Queenstown’s famous rapids by staring them down on a purpose-made river board. If your family likes to go with the flow, take the crew sledging down 8km of grade 2 to 3 white water with a few calm sections to take in the scenery. The team at River Boarding will teach you the basic sledging techniques and grow your confidence in the river. Then you can crack on with riding fast-flowing rapids, blasting through waves, and jumping rocks. 


Transport is available from central Queenstown to complete the planning of this solid five hour trip. 


Minimum age: 5 years old minimum child height is 100cm, but may be increased to 120cm in some river conditions.
Thrill factor: A+ adrenaline


Explore the raw beauty of the Dart River, a highlight of the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park. With this Funyak tour by Dart River Adventures, you don’t have to choose only one way to experience the area. Race down the river and and through this UNESCO World Heritage Site during a thrilling jet boat ride before cruising the current on inflatable canoes AKA Funyaks! There’s an opportunity for an adrenaline rush AND some tranquil relaxing; you’ll please everyone. 

With transport leaving from central Queenstown, a picnic lunch included, and a minimum age suitable for young families, this full-day adventure will suit any family’s holiday during the school break. 


Minimum age: 10 years old
Thrill factor: A+ adrenaline 


This isn’t your average school yard swing. The Nevis Swing is an adrenaline hotspot for mellow day trippers and hard-out thrill seekers alike. With a tandem option, it’s the perfect way for your child to comfort you as you’re shaking in your boots! 

After being suspended and seated in your harness for a moment, the sudden drop of this giant swing will draw a guttural scream you didn’t know you had in you; trust us, we speak from experience! A huge 300m arc and the views on your following swings will set this activity apart from any other holiday. The big belly laughs on the journey back to the platform is an unmissable experience to share with your family. 


Minimum age: 10 years old 

Thrill factor: A+ adrenaline


If your little ones have their toes on the edge of a serious adrenaline craving but need some support to take the leap, the Kawarau Bungy Jump can be taken on as a tandem team. You can’t get much closer than clinging to each other on a bungy platform. 

Once you do make the jump, neither of you will forget the thrill of plunging in a 43m freefall and then the feeling of accomplishing something you never thought you could. The story of your tandem bungy will be told around the dinner table for decades! This is the ultimate must-do activity for any adventurous family visiting Queenstown. 


For an adventurous Kiwi family, it’s hard to find a better offering of unique and intrepid yet family-friendly activities than those found in Queenstown. If you’re heading to the area this school holidays, save this must-do list for later!