What To Do On A Kid-Friendly Trip To New Zealand
An outdoorsy lifestyle, wide-open spaces and plenty of wildlife and natural attractions are all hallmarks of a New Zealand holiday, and it’ll likely come as no surprise that there’s plenty to do for families in the land of the long white cloud.
Whether it’s a sightseeing tour, an adrenalin-packed break or a trip to see all the sights and sounds of New Zealand's unique landscape, there’s something for every type of family holiday in New Zealand.
Sprawling across a North and a South Island, New Zealand is home to iconic towns and cities that are the perfect places to enjoy all that a classic city break has to offer; from restaurants, cafes and shopping to museums, arts and culture. Plot points to map out if you’re planning a multi-stop tour of NZ include Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Napier on the North Island and Queenstown, Wanaka, Dunedin and Christchurch on the South.
Ideal as both stand-alone breaks and springboards for other adventures, these cities are super kid-friendly and perfectly showcase the rich and diverse heritage of the country as a whole.
The Great Outdoors
Whatever your preferred type of landscape, whether it’s dense forestry, dramatic coastline or soaring cliffs, New Zealand’s the perfect destination for families who love spending time together in nature.
If beaches are your thing, Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel, Ninety Mile Beach on the Bay of Islands, Mount Maunganui on the Bay of Plenty and Wharariki Beach in Nelson all offer the breathtaking views that you’ll quickly come to expect from this beautiful country. Rockpools, caves, a plethora of water-based activities and a whole lot more await!
For some of the very best national parks in the world that seamlessly combine lakes, waterfalls, rainforests and soaring mountains, make sure you check out Mount Aspiring, Mount Cook, Abel Tasman, Tongariro and Fiordland. With beautiful open spaces at every turn, you won’t have to go far to find a spot where your young’uns can blow off some steam.
New Zealand’s natural history has been shaped by volcanic and geothermal activity—meaning there’s no shortage of hot springs, sulphuric pools, neon-green lakes, geysers and bubbling mud that kids will love exploring. Rotorua and Taupo are hotbeds for geothermal activity, although the entire country is brimming with natural wonders.
Whether they’re Lord of the Rings fans or not, every child will be truly enchanted by a trip to Hobbiton. With stunning gardens, rolling green hills and magical hobbit holes, this famous movie set is well worth a visit for an unforgettable family day out.
If you’re a family of culture lovers, a trip to the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua is an unmissable experience. Located in an authentic Maori village nestled in a Rotorua forest, the experience showcases Maori art forms, ancient rituals and fascinating Maori traditions. There are songs, dance and a traditional feast, cooked beneath the ground on hot stones.
The unique wildlife encounters on offer in New Zealand is one of the country’s biggest drawcards—and the diversity of animals is astounding. Whale-watching is a popular endeavour among families in Auckland and the rest of the East Coast, particularly around Kaikoura, while dolphins can also be spotted (and swum with!) around the Bay of Islands, Auckland and Tauranga.
There are three species of penguins to be found in their natural habitat in New Zealand and spoiler alert: they’re all as adorable as each other! Head to Dunedin, the so-called ‘Penguintown’ of Oamaru and The Marlborough Sounds where you can also see seals and whales for a truly memorable hat-trick. If smaller animals are more to your liking, the Waitomo Caves outside of Auckland offer one of the best glow worm experiences in the country.
If things like bungee jumping, skydiving, canyoning, white water rafting, zip-lining, abseiling and caving sound like your families kinda style, you’ll find no shortage of places to experience them in NZ.
Queenstown is dubbed the adventure capital of the world so is the obvious place to head for your fix of —which also boasts great ski and snowsports access during winter. Taupo, the Bay of Islands and Abel Tasman are also adventure hotspots, making them great destinations to combine into your holiday.
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