Yesterday I wrote about Arrowtown, and just a short drive (about five minutes) from there is Lake Hayes – a perfect spot to head to after a morning in Arrowtown. While Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown itself is so large that the water is cold all year, Lake Hayes is lots smaller and so the water is much warmer for padding and swimming. It’s a popular spot so I can imagine it gets pretty busy on sunny weekends, but during the week there was plenty of space for parking, and you could spread out in your own area.
Plenty of trees on the lake’s edge mean that you can easily find shade if you want it, and the shingle and pebbles made it perfect for paddling. One tip – in some places the grass is a little boggy, so make sure to check before you sit down if you want to avoid a damp bum! There are a couple of perfectly serviceable long-drop toilets if you’re caught short which is good when you want to spend to be at the lake for a while. The 8km loop walk around the lake would have been too long for the twins, but my parents have done it and gave it the thumbs up.
We can also strongly recommend Walnut Cottage a cafe and gift shop just down the road from the turning for Lake Hayes. We picked up takeaway coffees and some gorgeous sweet treats to enjoy back down at the lakeside when we were feeling in need of some refreshments.
For more kid-friendly things to do in and around Queenstown, click here.