Carrying on our series of a winter’s week in Queenstown with three little kids I thought I’d start by sharing some useful tips …
Accommodation: We stayed in a two-bedroom apartments at the Blue Peak Apartments just a two-minute walk from the heart of Queenstown. The staff were very friendly, there was free unlimited WIFI and best of all somewhere to park your car for free! It had brilliant cooking facilities which saved us a lot of money instead of eating out every day.
For hire: Fortunately, you can hire carseats, strollers, portacots, and toys for the time you're in Queenstown through Tots on Tour. Not only do they have a fantastic selection of toys and deliver to your accommodation, but you'll also be pleased to know the owner Wendy is also a midwife so if the unexpected happens, you know who to call!
Babysitting: If you're hoping for a night out for dinner but don't have a babysitter you can organise one through Around the Clock Childcare
Tuesday was wet … very wet! We were supposed to check out SITE Tramploine Park where they have a mini-bouncers session every Tuesday and Friday morning for kids aged 5 and under. Unfortunately we didn’t get our A into G quickly enough so instead we visited the very cute Queenstown Library for their Wriggle & Rhyme session. If you have young kids and are looking for something cheap to do on a rainy morning in any town or city in NZ, I highly recommend joining in one of these free sessions. Lots of singing, dancing, stories, bubbles and puzzles, it was an easy way to entertain the kids for the morning.
We treated the kids to a nice healthy lunch of ice-cream. Not ideal for a cold, winter’s day in the middle of a downpour, you may think. But I challenge anyone to say no to anything from Patagonia Chocolate, whatever the time of day or weather outside!
We visited their brand new premises in Rees Street. It has all the traditional Patagonia offerings from handcrafted chocolates and artisan ice cream to fresh hot churros and locally roasted coffee, plus they've introduced ‘create your own ice cream sticks’ much to the kids delight! So after choosing the lolly they wanted (chocolate, mint, dulce de leche, vanilla bean or berry) they then chose dark, milk or white chocolate to pour on top and then a topping, from hundreds & thousands to chopped nuts, caramalised popcorn and lots more. Unfortunately, for my husband I the kids ate every last mouthful! Our one year old enjoyed a (not-so-baby) baby cone.
Again, nothing went to waste! She even had the cheek to steal our Churros and dip them in her ice cream. When you’re a parent, nothing’s your own huh! The café’s upstairs lounge offers spectacular lake views and as you relax / stress about the kids mess with a delicious treat you can watch their ice cream makers and chocolatiers at work with their open to view chocolate room. They have three café’s in Queenstown, one in Arrowtown and one in Wanaka, so there is no excuse to miss out! I’ve been told since we left Queenstown that their Hot Chocolate is the best you’ll ever taste. I’m looking forward to trying that next time!
Thankfully the weather cleared a bit in the afternoon so I took the kids out for a bike and run around the beautiful Queenstown Gardens. At the entrance, on the lake front there has always been a great playground with a café next door, perfect for parents to grab a coffee while the kids play. Mine were so disappointed to see that the whole playground is closed off, having work done to improve it. The plans look brilliant so next time we visit, as long as it’s after October 2018, I think the kids will be happy!
The gardens are just a few minutes walk from central Queenstown and offer a beautiful and tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle. There are plenty of places to sit down, take a picnic (or a Fergburger) and enjoy the views of the lake. I didn’t have time to relax, the kids were off! There’s a brilliant walking / biking track through the gardens and through a little forest around the lakefront. The kids spent a couple of hours building witch’s dens and looking for fairies, in between racing around on their bikes, jumping in puddles and avoiding frisbee’s flying past! The gardens are a popular place for enthusiasts of disc golf where 18 holes are laid out for you to complete a round of ‘golf’ with your Frisbee. Metal baskets act as the holes with ‘pars’ offered for each hole and tees adding to the experience. I must admit to being a bit worried about one of us being hit by an out of control Frisbee but the people we saw playing were all very patient waiting for us to move out of the way or letting the kids have a turn. If this sounds like your kind of thing you can rent discs from the ice-rink, also situated in the gardens.
To finish the day we all went for a walk to Sunshine Bay. "Sunshine" is not the original name for the area. It was called Sandfly Bay until the residential development began, so you might want to take some insect repellent with you! It's a 10km return walk, so a nice little run along the lake front if you're wanting to escape the kids for a bit (as I did after the epic tantrum from the boy - see below)!
Coming up in Day 3 of our trip – when a three year old boy collides with a bedside cabinet…!