New Zealand is an adventure-packed destination for the whole family. With kid-centric activities in every city, it is no wonder why New Zealand is such a popular and thriving holiday destination for families.
Unique wildlife encounters, impressive natural landscapes, a wealth of traditional Maori culture and a utopia for adventure activities – families will be in awe of all that New Zealand has to offer.
Rotorua is bustling with family-oriented activities – explore the Redwoods Forest, Lake Okareka Boardwalk (suitable for strollers) and the natural hot springs of Kerosene Creek, take a Skyline Rotorua Gondola for spectacular views of the city, visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley and witness the impressive thermal activity – choose a walking trail or take a cruise across Lake Rotomahana, and experience Maori culture at the living Maori village, Whakarewarewa.
Ride the rusty Wellington Cable Car, visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Wellington Museum for insights into the country’s Maori-rich culture (and great interactivity for kids); adventurous kids will love Adrenalin Forest, navigating tree-lined zigzag ropes, flying foxes and over 125 treetop challenges; take a day-trip to Staglands Wildlife Reserve, a beautiful nature reserve suitable for all ages to meet and learn about native animals.
With snow-sports galore in winter, water-sports in summer, and family-fun activities year-round, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations. With experienced instructors and ski slopes catering to all ages, children as young as three years old can learn to ski! Queenstown activities are not nearly limited to the ski slopes with water-sports – jetboating, paddle-boarding, kayaking – wildlife parks, horse-riding, mountain biking, gondola and luge riding, as well as ziplining, giant swings and bungy jumping for older kids.
Autumn, March through May, with beautiful weather and the lowest crowds, is one of the best times to visit New Zealand. It is the perfect time for hiking and adventure sports, as well as having the lowest rates for airfares and accommodation. Spring, September to November, is the other shoulder period – a little warmer and still relatively quiet.
Winter, June through August, is the low season in most cities and is the perfect season to experience New Zealand’s renowned (and very family-friendly) snow-sports scene. While this is peak season for the ski-fields, it is the quietest time for travel in other parts of New Zealand, with great accommodation deals.
Summer, December through February, is high season. The weather and beaches are beautiful during this time of year, but do expect some exorbitant prices – particularly for family accommodations.
Car is the recommended way for getting around New Zealand. There are several rental companies to choose from, each with individual restrictions and deals. Local companies are often the cheaper option, beginning at around $30 per day, but with greater restrictions on destinations and distance. Other major rental companies offer one-way deals between major cities, sometimes with very low prices, or unlimited kilometre deals for between $40 to $80.
Campervan hire is a fantastic way to get around New Zealand for larger families. There are over 250 campervan holiday campsites throughout New Zealand, ranging from free to $35 per adult (kids stay free at most). There are about 5 major rental companies which offer rates between $50 to $100 per day in winter and $110 to $210 in summer.
Bus travel is relatively efficient and very inexpensive. The two main bus companies, InterCity and Naked Bus have routes that cover most destinations on both North and South islands – with some fares as low as $1 in the low seasons or discounts on other fares for children. Several regional shuttle bus companies also operate between the smaller towns that these companies do not reach. www.tourism.net.nz/transport/bus-and-coach-services is a helpful site for these services.
Train routes operate between the major cities in New Zealand with company KiwiRail Scenic Journeys. Rail passes are available for unlimited travel on the company’s four routes for between $420 to $1300 for adults (with discounts for children). Information is available at www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz/scenic-rail-pass
Air Air New Zealand and Jetstar are the two main airlines in New Zealand with routes to the main tourist destinations on the North and South islands. Air New Zealand offers passes for multiple destinations ranging from $100 to $300.
Queenstown is one of the world’s most spectacular towns. Although best known for adrenalin packed adventures more suited to teens – shotover jet, zorbing, bungy
For a limited time, kids fly for half-price in Australia and New Zealand thanks to Virgin Australia super sale.
Looking for an opportunity to release your inner big-kid? It’s time to get lost in the world’s best mazes.
For starters – did you even know you could ski on the North Island NZ? Or that it’s the largest ski area in New Zealand?
Get notified about new articles