Look, we know it’s not easy to organize a big family day out. Getting everyone dressed and out the door, agreeing on where to go, what to eat and what to do – there are a lot of little ones to please! Luckily, we’ve gone straight to the locals. These two families know all the tricks to keeping everyone in the family happy on a day out in Wānaka or Queenstown.
Kicking off your family day out, how do you like to spend the morning? Is there an activity you like to do with the kids? Or a favourite coffee or breakfast spot?
Z: Family time is so precious. When timing is right and everyone is in their happy place, we LOVE to head up the mountain. Cardrona is such a good space for the whole family. Dad often takes Maple for a rip down the mountain and Mum has a quiet cuppa while wee Crosby naps in the buggy at the Mezz Café. When everyone is finished playing, we enjoy a picnic outside watching everyone enjoying the snow!!
G: We usually kick off our day with a quick visit to the Queenstown Ice Arena. The kids get in a quick skate, then we make out way into town through the Queenstown Gardens with a mandatory stop at the Lake Esplanade playground. Mum and Dad pick up a coffee while the whole family wander around the town.
Moving into the afternoon, what’s something that the whole family loves to do?
Z: In the afternoon, we do have some chores to take care of, so we often head to the farm to feed out the animals, grab some veggies and eggs to ensure we can have scrambled eggs for the morning!
G: We love taking a drive out to Arrowtown and walking around the river and surrounding trails. This is great family time: winter, spring, fall or summer. Mum likes to poke a nose in at all the design shops and art galleries. We’ll often pick up a few pies from the Arrowtown Bakery for lunch (world’s best pies in my opinion) and we usually succumb to the kids requests for Patagonia ice cream before heading back home to wind down.
What if it’s raining? How do you keep everyone having fun?
G: There are so many options for the kids. The pools, obviously ice skating, go-karting, bowling, the cinemas, the older kids love Site trampolining and Brooke likes to go to Chipmunks as well. I prefer lighting the fire and reading a good book.
Finally, the evening. How does everyone wind down? Do you have a go-to dinner spot? A night-time activity that the whole family loves to do?
G: We don’t dine out a great deal with the kids, but when we do they like the family-friendly favourites: Lone Star and Winnies do a great job hosting kids. Mum and Dad prefer Rata, Blue Kanu, Mantra in Arrowtown, Botswana Butchery & Flame on the very rare occasions we get out alone. If there is a special event like fireworks, night markets or Luma we’ll make a family outing, but otherwise with three young kids, we find it wise to get them settled at home in the evenings; the earlier the better!
The Zeestraten family own and operate the Wanaka Lavender Farm where you can experience twenty acres of beautiful lavender fields, farm animals and display gardens. The Graham family are behind the Queenstown Ice Arena, a family-friendly public arena with ice-skating sessions, hockey games, ice bumper cars and more!