Family-Friendly Holiday Ideas in New Zealand
e don’t want to toot our own horn … well actually, we love to toot our own horn, so here it is: New Zealand is the place to go for kid-friendly holidays. It seems like this country was designed specifically for keeping the whole family happy.
Our mother country has gorgeous pristine natural landscapes filled with unusual geothermal activities and unique fauna and flora that will keep the kids in awe the full length of your stay, wherever you are.
It doesn’t stop at landscapes either. New Zealand is big on adventure and cultural activities too, with some of the best offerings you’ll find anywhere in the world. (We did warn you that we like to blow our own horn).
Here are some of our personal favourite family-friendly destinations to head to in the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’.
For any local Kiwi, Rotorua may be the first kid-friendly destination to come to mind. That’s for good reason. This North Island favourite has so many activities that you’ll inevitably all want to stay longer. And we know how difficult pleasing the whole family can be, so that’s saying something.
In fact, we barely know where to begin. There are the natural treasures the kids will stare gobsmacked at – and you’ll get a kick out of too. They include the Pohutu Geyser spurting up to 30 metres in the air, New Zealand’s largest hot waterfall Hell’s Gate, and a huge selection of hot springs and pools dotted throughout the region.
Then there are the more thrill-seeking adventures. Like Skyline Rotorua, which sends you up Mt Ngongotaha in a gondola and then whizzing around on one of their three scenic Luge tracks. This theme park has a Skyswing too – and yes, kids over 110cm high can jump on board. Kids over 6 years old can ride the Luge alone; if they’re younger they can ride in tandem with an adult.
There’s a huge amount of other facilities and activities, including farm shows at Agrodome, maze fun at aMAZEme, more thrills at the Agroventures Adventure Park, or, just to tone it down a notch, Te Puia, where you can watch Maori create traditional arts and crafts. Have we mentioned Zorbing yet?
Photo courtesy of Skyline Rotorua.
Kids are a bundle of energy, so what better than to take them on a holiday where they’ll expend at least a small amount of it (wishful thinking, perhaps?).
Naturally, Queenstown sparkles most in the snow-white hues of winter, when you can get the kids into a snow sports program and zip off for some of your own, unencumbered fun.
Cardrona Alpine Resort comes highly recommended for its numerous family-friendly facilities. It’s perfect for skiiers and snowboarders of all abilities. But the real score is the Cardrona Kids’ Club, a dedicated facility for 5-14 year olds that will help them perfect their skills. Soon they’ll be zipping past your down the slopes!
Just as with Rotorua, Queenstown also has its own Skyline Queenstown, where you can enjoy many of the same activities as its northern sister centre, including the renowned Luge.
Photo courtesy of Stay South.
Not too far from Queenstown is Lake Wanaka, which offers all the usual adventurous activities, but throws in a few oddball options as well.
We’re really talking here about the ever-popular, interactive National Transport and Toy Museum and Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World, whose warped rooms and famous maze will easily delight adults as well as kids. What we love most about this place is watching your children’s expressions as they try to wrap their minds around the illusions, an impossible feat!
For accommodation, you might want to check out Edgewater, where Mum and Dad can enjoy a game of tennis or relax their muscles in the spa and sauna, or where the munchkins can run wild around the kids’ playground. There’s also a special children’s menu to make life just that little easier for us all.
Motorhome Road Trip
For many, this is what a New Zealand holiday is all about, the freedom to take your accommodation with you on the road. You’re not locked into one location here so the kids have no chance of getting restless (though we advise keeping the drives short if you don’t want to go round the bend with their cries of ‘Are we there yet?’).
And you can create your own itinerary to some of New Zealand’s most noteworthy locations, such as the Waitomo Glowworm Caves or Hobbiton. Why get stuck in one place when you could have it all, right?
Campervans are a common presence on New Zealand’s, and motorhome hire is relatively straightforward, with plenty of options for families of all sizes and ages.
Photo courtesy of Motorhomes Worldwide.
Just thinking about all these choices makes us itch to get out there. And the delights are enhanced threefold when you get to watch your gets discovery it all for the first time. But why not make sure they’re prepared for their adventure while you’re here.
Whether they’re Luge-fiends or maze runners, your children ought to be comfortable, stable and supported when they’re up and active. Check out our full range of kids shoes online to find something they’ll readily sink their feet into.