It may seem kind of pointless to write an article about Queenstown’s best playgrounds. Most people consider Queenstown one big playground.
But let’s consider our little people. What's a kid to do if they're not old enough (or tall enough) to throw themselves off a ledge, bridge or out of an aeroplane for kicks?
Fear not, kids. If you're on the hunt for super-fun playgrounds in Queenstown, don't despair. Here are a few of our favourite places in Queenstown for climbing, sliding and monkeying around.
A playground with a view
Main Beach Playground
Prime waterfront real estate is occupied by slides, swings and see-saws down on Marine Parade. The kids will probably be more interested in the play equipment and the passive-aggressive ducks than the stunning lake views before them, but either way, there’s no complaining about the location. This playground gets the double thumbs up from parents, as it’s conveniently located next door to The Bathhouse. Here, you can grab a coffee, a meal, or a cold beverage while your little ones monkey around.
Main Beach Playground also comes with what we like to call a free “bonus” playground. Take a wander towards the water and you will see a gnarly old willow tree that is one of the finest examples of climbing trees you’ll find. It is easily identifiable by the large number of little humans hanging off it.
Worth the drive
Jack’s Point Playground
This playground requires commitment, as it’s a 20-minute drive from downtown Queenstown. But don’t worry it’s worth it. Jack’s Point is one of the more aesthetically pleasing residential developments of Queenstown and cosies up to Jack’s Point Golf Club and the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The impressive Jack's Point Clubhouse is your caffeine collection point. When it comes to playing, this playground ticks all the boxes. There is a decent flying fox, climbing frames for all ages, a giant swing and a mega tunnel slide that sends kids flying out of there like a human cannonball. Good times.
Once is never enough
Rose Douglas Park
Also known as “ the fire engine playground” (as in, “take me back to the fire engine playground, Mum!!” said on high rotation), this impressive facility on Cotter Avenue in Arrowtown features a winning line-up of play equipment. There’s a water pump, playhouse, see-saw, climbing frame and swings. Oh, and did we mention the fire engine? A brightly coloured replica fire engine, the kids will love driving it, climbing under it and filling it with stones. For the grown-ups (or anyone too big to squeeze into the playhouse), Rose Douglas Park offers a beautiful, tranquil setting where you can admire the stunning display of Arrowtown foliage and architecture.
The park is located next door to Arrowtown Fire Station, so you may be lucky enough to spot the real deal.
When you’re looking for action
Jardine Park Pump Track
Beneath the pine trees at the end of the Kelvin Heights Peninsula, you’ll find Jardine Park and its family-friendly bike park. This is where young Jedi masters come to learn the ways of the pump track. There are a couple of simple pump tracks to whet the appetite of your little grommets, as well as some easy long rides and single-loop tracks. Kids will love having a go on the little berms, rollers and see-saw.
If it all ends in tears, there is a playground a little further down the road at Jardine Park where kids can do what kids do best – fall off swings and slides.
The big Daddy
Hope Avenue Playground
Lakes Hayes Estate
No more messing around, Hope Ave playground is serious stuff. It’s a playground, sandpit, bike trail, pump track, flying fox and sports field all rolled up into one glorious display of free fun. Graze restaurant is next door, so you can arm yourself with a flat white before the fun commences. Highlights of the playground include the giant climbing boulder right smack bang in the middle of things, one of those whizzy-round things that kids always fall off, and a wooden fort contraption where you can use rope pulleys to endlessly cart buckets of sand up to the top and pour back down the pipes. Even adults find this activity strangely therapeutic.
There's a mini pump track for mini kids or those starting out, and a larger track for those looking to advance their skills. Hope Avenue Playground is in the middle of Lake Hayes Estate, so it’s normally busy with locals. But the good news is there are toilet facilities, a shelter and a barbeque. So you could, in theory, live there.