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Spring School Holidays in Wānaka and Queenstown

Make your next family ski holiday a breeze. Read our top picks for kid-friendly activities these spring school holidays in Queenstown and Wanaka.

One of the best things about Cardrona is it's location. Not only is the maunga great to ski and ride, but the two towns it's set between offer heaps of good times off the slopes too. Queenstown and Wānaka are perfect to please adventure seekers, fresh air enthusiasts, foodies, and family fun finders.

Though spring can bring warm weather, it also brings huge snow dumps, and great conditions, especially to learn. It also opens up opportunities to explore the region around Cardrona Alpine Resort. Read our top picks for what to do in the spring school holidays in Queenstown and Wānaka for all kinds of families. 

1. Active families

Skiing/Snowboarding

Top of the list. It goes without saying that spring is a great time to ride. The queues are shorter, the snow softer & the weather warmer.

Walks

We could write a whole book on the short walks around Wānaka and Queenstown, but with the kids you’ll want to check out the Kelvin Heights & Arrowtown loop tracks. These are both about 4km long & quite flat. On the other side of the Crown Range try the Outlet Track, a mellow trail running along the picturesque Clutha River (Mata-Au).

Mountain biking

Ski in the morning, bike in the afternoon. If you've got energetic kids, you can do it all in spring! You don't need to bring them all with you, rent some skis on the mountain, and your bikes in town, and enjoy the family-friendly trails around the area while getting in practice before summer mountain biking season kicks in.

We're looking forward to summer mountain biking already!

2. Nature explorers

DoC

Visit the local Department of Conservation offices in Wānaka and Queenstown. Find out about local flora and fauna, and get advice on the many family-friendly outdoor activities in the region. They’ve got some cool displays the kids will love too.

TSS Earnslaw

Queenstown is home to the only commercial passenger-carrying, coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere, the TSS Earnslaw. This beauty will take you on a spectacular cruise out to Walter Peak High Country Farm. There's farm animals, beautiful landscapes being restored with native trees and shrubs, and a incredible perspective of Queenstown. Explore the farm tour options here. 

Alpine sightseeing

Did you know that on a clear day you can spot Aoraki (Mount Cook), New Zealand’s highest mountain, from the top of Cardrona? And even better, you don’t have to ski or snowboard to enjoy it. Ride McDougall’s Chondola to check all the epic views. Hop in the comfortable gondola cabin and when you're finished at the top of the mountain, hop into it to head back down. 

McDougall's Chondola

3. Fun lovers

Jet boating

Bluebird days aren't just for skiing. If you're having a rest day from the mountain, you can still factor in fun. Speed down the Kawerau River beneath the snow capped Remarkables mountain range with entertaining local stories, stunning scenery, exhilarating speed, 360° degree spins and more! There's a choice of a 25 or 60 minute journey, great for all ages of kids. Visit Queenstown jet here. 

Puzzling World

Bit of a moody day? Wānaka’s iconic Puzzling World is a must do when conditions aren't looking amazing. Challenge yourself in the maze and puzzle yourself with all the wonders inside. We guarantee the kids, and your minds will be blown.

Queenstown Jet boat

4. Foodies

Picnic

With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time to pack a scrummy lunch & settle in to one of the incredible viewpoints the Queenstown Lakes District has to offer. In Queenstown, try the botanical gardens or the lakefront. In Wānaka? Have a bite on the lakefront or by the war memorial. 

Lunch

We’re spoilt for choice of great eateries in Wanaka & Queenstown. Take your pick from a number of family-friendly cafés and restaurants:

  • Après in Wānaka has you covered for all your after-ski wants and needs. With a happy hour, European-styled après menu, local craft beers and wines, the team over there will take great care of you. 
  • Grab lunch on the TSS Earnslaw or over at Walter Peak. The gourmet BBQ lunch at the homestead restaurant is unbeatable. With an incredible range of delicious foods, it will feed every appetite.
  • If you're craving Asian inspired food, head up to Noodle Bar on the top floor of Snow Sports HQ. With the best views across the Beginners' Area, fresh Asian inspired food, all things noodles, Noodle Bar will bring the flavour to your ski family holiday. 

Wineries and pubs

Central Otago is well known for its wine, so it’s no surprise that there are countless vineyards & watering holes to check out. The sober driver & kids will love these ones...

  • Gibbston Valley is the go to place for wines. Gibbston Valley Winery in particular has you covered for cheese, chocolate, restaurant food and wine. What more could you want? 
  • One of the most iconic pubs in the region, stop by the Cardrona Hotel. A great spot for après ski dinner with the kids, spring's longer days and sunny skies, means you can take advantage of their epic beer garden where the kids can stretch their legs and play while you enjoy some alfresco dining.
Noodle Bar, Cardrona

About the Author

Georgina Cleave

Freelance Marketer

Georgina Cleave is a freelance marketer & content creator based in Wanaka. She's had a long love affair with our maunga. Currently a ski instructor, you may have seen her working in many other departments over the last couple of decades.