14 Apr | By Lee Saunders

The 5 Most Exclusive Family Experiences in Queenstown

Family Gold Panning Experience

The 5 Most Exclusive Family Experiences in Queenstown

It’s widely known that Queenstown offers some of the most exclusive family adventures in the world. But if you’re after more than the usual ‘tourist office’ tour you have come to the right place. Designed by locals, with exclusive access to exquisite private places to explore off the beaten tourist track, our luxury tours are hard to beat.

Skip the crowds and take to the skies to experience New Zealand from above, explore uncharted private high country and be immersed in experiences you didn’t think possible. The incredible locations are one thing, but our real difference lies in our people – local, passionate and knowledgeable guides with a passion for showing you what our big back yard has to offer.

1. Experience Harvesting Your Own honey

After rising to views of glassy Lake Wakitipu over your morning coffee, your day will begin with a luxury transfer, either by boat or helicopter across the lake to Mt Nicholas Station.

From here you will get set to be fully immersed (suit, gloves and all) in the life of an experienced local beekeeper. Learn how the bees work together synergistically to occupy their harmonious colony. Together they transform local flower nectar into deliciously sweet honey you won’t be able to keep your hands off.

Taste honey fresh from the alpine hives and be prepared to be amazed. But we don’t stop there. From here you will head back to Queenstown where you will learn all about the jarring process. From here you will leave with a custom-labelled jar for your friends and family back home. Although we won’t judge you if you prefer to keep this entirely to yourself…once you taste it you’ll understand! You can read more about the tour and travelling by helicopter for your bee-keeping adventure here.

2. Explore A Private High Country Station

Loch Linnhe Station is completely exclusive to Alpine Luxury Tours. A tour of the station will take you to a place very few people in the world have ever trodden before. The picturesque station will give you an insight into the life of real South Island New Zealanders and how our farms work.

Start the day with spectacular views of sparkling Lake Wakatipu, on the luxury transfer to meet the farmer. Once you arrive your tour will take you wandering through spectacular alpine landscapes, discovering how the sheep and beef are farmed, with working farm dogs. You’ll feel a million miles from the main tourist attractions; competing for space and jostling for selfies.

Take in vast mountain vistas as the farmer (your personal guide for the day) explains the rich and intricate history of the station, as you keep a keen eye out for some of the station’s other inhabitants - wild deer. After a leisurely lesson in their unique farming practices it’s time for lunch, but this doesn’t mean the end of the action. New Zealand Merino Wool is famed worldwide for it’s unique ability to keep you both warm and cool, completely naturally. After lunch you’ll see live sheep shearing and learn how they shear sheep to harvest this world-renowned Merino Wool that you’ll see in shops worldwide.

3. Heli-Hike To Middle-Earth Waterfalls

Leave other tourists in the dust of the trail with our heli-hike to these spectacular falls where we are lucky enough to have exclusive landing rights. Featured in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ - every time we return we can see why those chose this stunning scene in the epic trilogy.

After all – life is about the journey – and so this day begins with a journey you will never forget! Feel your jaw hit the floor as you soar over the cliff faces of Moonlight Saddle and the Richardson Mountains to Mount Earnslaw, past the blue ice of a rare hanging glacier, before landing on the valley floor.

If lunch with a view is what you were after, you can’t beat a picnic lunch comprised of delicious local produce and New Zealand beer and wine, surrounded by waterfalls below a dramatic glacier. We encourage everyone to take in the moment rather than simply capture it – but if you’re a keen photographer or Instagram aficionado – eat your heart out!

Explore behind the waterfalls and (if you’re feeling brave enough) take a dip into the icy water that is sure to be some of the purest in the world, running straight off the surrounding glaciers. Once you have had your fill of awe, the helicopter will be ready and waiting to take you back across glassy Lake Wakatipu to land back in Queenstown. You can read more about this tour here.

4. Dip Into Gin Clear Canyons For Gold

In case you thought the ‘gold rush’ was in the past, think again. This is your chance to live it in real life amongst local kiwis still discovering this unique aspect of New Zealand’s history.

Begin your day meeting local jeweller and gold-panner - Justin Eden. From here get ready to pioneer your way through iconic South Island gold country. Sidle up Skippers Canyon famed as the 1862 gold rush location of choice. Dip your hands into the gin clear water of Skipper’s Creek - a shallow Creek nestled in a 22km gorge, that flows into the mighty Shotover River. This is one of the richest (pun totally intended) rivers in the world for gold-seeking explorers.

Learn from your guide himself about bygone early settlers and how he restored an ancient (1930’s) gold miners hut before staking a private claim on the land (in the 1980’s) that he has been exploring ever since.

If all this isn’t enough, for anyone looking to take home more than just memories, you are invited into Justin’s Gold Shop in Arrowtown where you can transform your find into jewellery of your choice. A precious memento that will host a few more memories (and dare we say… slightly more class) than a kiwi covered tea towel. You can read more about this private experience and travelling by helicopter to go gold panning here.

5. Real Family Luxury - Go Totally Bespoke

The real luxury of our tours lies in our flexibility - there is nothing more exclusive and utterly unique than designing your very own day with our experienced guides. Perhaps you want to combine a morning gold-panning adventure with an afternoon of private peak top wine tasting for the big kids. Or perhaps you want to get totally off-grid, wander where the Wi-Fi is weak and to places you don’t yet know exist? Our tours can be fully tailored to you.

Get in touch and let our team guide you through which activities would best suit your family or group. We base our recommendations on getting to know you and your desires. We will work with all ages, fitness and activity levels and tailor the day to just how adventurous you want to be. You can read a little more about our custom tours here.

Finding out More

To keep our secrets just that, the full tour details are not on the website. If you are a travel agent looking to book on behalf of a client or looking to book yourself a tour for you, your partner or family – email [email protected] or give us a call to find out everything you need to know.

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Exclusive Family Experiences