New Zealand’s adventure capital isn’t all just about skiing, says conservationist Bindi Irwin. In December the 15-year-old daughter of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin went on family holiday down south with her mum Terri Irwin, brother Robert (10) and some family friends to experience Queenstown in the summer. She tells suitcases&strollers why Queenstown with kids is a great family adventure holiday destination, even without the snow.
Holiday season finally came upon us and we decided to take a little time off. Living at Australia Zoo means that the Christmas holidays are always busiest for us. However, this year mum took us on a family holiday for a week before the Christmas buzz began.
My brother Robert is an amazing mountain biker, I have always wanted to go skydiving and mum loves hiking, so our holiday plans were altered to accommodate all of our requests! Robert’s best friend Riley and his dad Wes (also the director at Australia Zoo) are also mad keen mountain bikers, so the three of them together were bound to have fun.
Therefore we found ourselves arriving in Queenstown…New Zealand.
We were thrilled to begin our trip, but after checking flight times it became very obvious that flying straight to New Zealand from Australia was not an option as it would’ve required getting out of bed at the agonising time of 2am. Getting up at 2 in the morning wasn’t going to make the best trip. Instead we took a later flight to Sydney and had a night layover there and the next day left for Queenstown. This was so much nicer because we all got to have a restful night together. Watching movies and eating room service was so much fun.
After we boarded our flight we were excited that Virgin Australia allow you to use your own device for onboard entertainment. That is really exciting for us because we fly so much. Watching movies is a wonderful way to pass the time on flights especially for Robert.
Once we arrived in Queenstown I was amazed at the stunning mountains all around us. Queenstown is probably in my top 10 places for fantastic scenery, plus everything is so green!
We rented a house in Queenstown for our week long trip away. But with so many bags AND three mountain bikes, we organised a van transfer with a trailer to take us to the house. This made our life much easier.
The house was amazing and big enough for us all to have our own room. I personally loved the fact that I was able to read my book in peace and quiet…in my own room! Plus every morning we ate breakfast together before the boys went out riding. We would watch bike videos in the living room together and watch Robert and his friend talk about dinosaurs and massive mountain biking hills.
Every afternoon though, when the boys had finished riding, all of their energy seemed to wash away. Our house was situated on quite a steep hill. This meant that mum and I got to push their bikes up the hill while they caught a taxi back to the house! I must admit, I did look forward to huffing and puffing up the hill because it was time for mum and me to spend together.
Everything in Queenstown is in walking distance which is awesome! All the shops, places to eat…you can walk there. AND if you are feeling really adventurous you can take a gondola up to the top of a mountain to go for a luge ride and eat some dinner [at Skyline Queenstown]. The nice part about the luge and dinner being in the same place is that when the boys started to get super hungry we could just go straight to dinner! And it was buffet so the younger tummies didn’t have to wait long to get their food.
One of my other favourite places to eat in Queenstown was Fishbone restaurant. We got some of the best seafood I have ever eaten there and they were nice enough to give the boys colouring in pages to keep them occupied while they were waiting for dinner. To be honest, if you ever go out to dinner with young kids, one of the best things to keep them occupied (even when they’re hungry) is crayons and colouring pages. It gives you just enough time to order food and let it arrive before they start getting grumbling tummies again!
I must tell you though; skydiving was my
absolute favourite part of the trip! Ever since I was about 6 years old I have
wanted to go skydiving and on our trip my dream was finally fulfilled. If you
ever think about going skydiving, just remember…it’s really addictive. Now I
want to jump from a plane again as soon as possible. I was blessed to jump at
15,000 feet with other fantastic skydivers. Everyone who I was with was lovely,
calm and so accommodating. They let my mum see me to the plane and then film me
as I came in for a landing. It was a dream come true for me.
Anyway you look at it, we all had a fabulous trip because we were all able to choose activities that we loved and take turns enjoying New Zealand. It is certainly a place I would recommend for any adventure travelers!
For more on other activities to do in Queenstown, read the suitcases&strollers story here
By Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin is a regular contributor to suitcases&strollers. To read more of her thoughts on travel, type her name into the Search bar on the suitcases&strollers website.