Now you’re reading we can begin. I don’t have sproglets (yet!!) but I do have a love for them in the way they see the world and talk about the world. They can also sometimes (when they’re not costing you the earth) have a way of allowing you to see a place like Queenstown in a totally different way. New corners, new hidey holes.
I have a niece and she’s miles away (sob sob) but if she came here these are the places I’d take her. And because we all like saving money some free activities are excellent too.
This way to free stuff!
Some kids whine (lots of adults whine) about walking up hills or across the land but it’s such a good way to talk about a place and discover new things about trees and trails. Depending on how big (or little) they are, the trails in this town are an excellent way of getting outside.
The Frankton Track is nice and flat and as long as you want to make it. Start from town and meander your way through The Gardens towards Frankton. There’s forest and lake to look at and nice and flat for their wee legs.
Sam Summers loop is just out of town towards Glenorchy. An 8k loop (with some steep bits) but you can start it (two ways to go) and then turn around and come back again. If you’re wearing a backpack (with child in it) it’s a good puff and huff up some hills and then a well deserved ice cream back in town.
Lake Hayes is a nice meandering 8k loop around the lake with some great muddy bits for the kids to throw themselves in. There’s benches for a rest at the top and lots of great info to read about on the way around re flora and fauna. Again start one way and then turn around if you get puffed.
Queenstown Library was the first place I went to when I moved here. It’s free to sit in there (you have a joining fee if you want to take stuff out but it’s minimal) and there’s an absolutely amazing amount of new, old, delicious books to get into. Especially if it’s raining and you’ve got some things to sort out before little ones loses their mind. Reading is GOOD. Screaming fit is BAD.
Sculpture in Kelvin Heights
Over on the other side of town is Kelvin Heights. They have some pretty amazing sculptures in their little jaunt around the golf course (watch for balls flying) and you can scare the kids with the goats (not real). You’ll know what I mean when you see them. A little scariness is good I think. (Don’t hate me). Just beautiful. And the colour of the water around that side of the lake is unbelievable.
If you like photography and even if you don’t, taking kids up to look at all the views in this place is pretty incredible. They’re free 1) they’re amazing 2) and they teach kids about perspective c). Looking out into the large expanse is awesome to show them where they live or are visiting and how big it is. Incredible. It also leads to lots of existential questions from them about where they come from and why they’re here. That I’ll leave up to you my friends. You’re welcome. Try Earnslaw Terrace or some of these places first.
Heading out onto the trails in Gibbston is a marvellous way to see the countryside. It begins the conversations about wine (oh so important to a seven year old) and it also sets them up for their cycling career when they come home at fifteen having no IDEA what to do when they leave school. There’s also many many many trails to head out on even if they’re tiny and just starting to ride. From Arrowtown to Gibbston, from the town centre out into Lake Hayes Estate. Head here for more info.
There’s so much history around here it’s hard to keep up. The Chinese Village in Arrowtown is a testament to the hard work and building that went on way back in 1860’s. Almost entirely male, these hardy workers built their own isolated communities that are still there today. So much history in these parts. For small ones a great place to explore, for the older a great chance to talk about the history of the place. Then you can link up with all the trails in the area for walking, the stream to go paddling in and the gold panning to be excited about.
Hire a frisbee (not too much) or create your own (I didn’t tell you that) and head out into the sprawling gardens to play a game of frisbee golf. Set out like golf you have ‘nets’ that you have to get the frisbee in and then you write down how many attempts it took you. A great chance for the parents to win over their kids and then laugh at them when they can’t do it. (Just me?) I’m rubbish at it, but I love the chance to explore the gardens which have more in them than you know.
Flowers in The Gardens
Literally stop and smell the roses. Sometimes it’s all go go go with kids. Trying to keep them occupied, sanitised and happy, but often it’s good to just stop and have a smell of the roses. I head to the gardens when I’m looking after wee ones. There’s a great set of trails around there and the flowers at the minute are so beautiful. I love it when children can be relaxed and have quiet time. Away from the crowds, exploring and getting muddy. This is the best spot to be together and sing songs loudly whilst sticking your nose in some gorgeous blooms. Embarrass those kids! It’s your destiny.
So there you go. Lots of things to fill your day with without having to spend the earth. The ice-cream? Well I’d pay for that any day.
Do you have some of your own that are you ‘go to’s’? Let us know!
I think a lot of these are great for more than just kids! Queenstown is truely a lovely spot to make the most of the outdoors all year round!
So true Ngaire! Where are your fave spots?