Remember that old saying, “Don’t leave home ’til you’ve seen the country”? Here’s a list of must-see NZ family travel destinations, to encourage your kids to become budding ambassadors for Godzone.
CYCLE THE OTAGO RAIL TRAIL
Cycling the Otago Rail Trail with your kids is the perfect way to sightsee the stunning Otago scenery. Children love to be active, and on the trail they have the freedom to ride ahead and feel completely safe. Plan your route and overnight stays to suit your family’s stamina, and enjoy all of the little towns, museums, great food, and even curling in Naseby along the way. It’s a great NZ family travel spot.
WALK THE ABEL TASMAN
As the golden child of the Great Walks, the Abel Tasman is perfect for families with kids. It’s a good two- to three-day adventure (without being too challenging), has unforgettable views, and features plenty of beach stops and kayaking opportunities. Families can either freedom camp or book in with Wilsons Tours to stay overnight in their lodges or do a guided walk.
BOATING IN FIORDLAND
Base yourself in Te Anau and check out our most beautiful fiords. With dolphins, glowworm caves, kayaking and a range of trekking options, Fiordland is the ultimate family-friendly adventure destination both you and the kids will love. Dipping under waterfalls in the Milford Sounds, and floating right up beside seals in the Doubtful Sounds is a lot of fun, but also quite awe-inspiring. Experience what Captain Cook saw when he first sailed into New Zealand!
NORTHLAND TO CAPE REINGA
Hire a campervan: It’s time to head up north! Depending on how long you have, plan for five days or more meandering around Northland, making Cape Reinga your midway point. Experience the East and West Coasts, see waterfalls, surf on sand dunes, gaze at the planets, explore kauri gum swamps, meet Tane Mahuta, walk around the Cape, visit a puzzle shop and maze, eat arguably the best fish and chips in the country, swim, play on the beaches, and kayak among mangroves. There’s an enormous amount of history to discover in this part of New Zealand, which is well worth a visit.
TREK THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE TRACK
Located at the tip of the South Island, the Queen Charlotte Track is one of New Zealand’s hidden gems. With heaps of exciting stops along the way, this trek is one that cannot be missed. Each day brings a new overnight lodge to explore, a warm and delicious dinner, and a comfortable place to rest your weary bones. There are tonnes of families walking the track, which is fun for the kids. It is challenging in parts, but well worth the effort.
GET YOUR THRILLS IN ROTORUA
Ideal for a long-weekend roadie, “Rotovegas” has a variety of exciting attractions all ages can enjoy. The luge and a visit to the Rainbow Springs are just some of the must-do activities your family can indulge in before hitting the spa pool. Don’t forget to do a few nature-based activities while you’re there, as the mud pools, Pink and White Terraces, and lovely colonial buildings are what make Rotorua iconic. This place is a great NZ family travel spot!
GREAT LAKE ADVENTURE IN TAUPO
Another NZ hot spot, Taupo is full of adventure. Whether the family is bouncing along the Tongariro River on a raft or relaxing at the local mineral hot pools, this destination should be considered as your next family vacay spot. We also love the prawn farm, where you can fish and eat to your heart’s content, and even take a few hours out to explore Huka Falls before returning to fish some more. Good news for those littlies sensitive to aromas: The air in Taupo is sulfur-smell free!
The Waitomo Caves are where all the glowworms hang out. With its honeycomb of glowworm caves beneath the earth, there are quite a few cave options to explore. Depending on your family’s tolerance for adrenaline, you can go sedate and simply walk and float through big caves and underground cathedrals full of sparkling glowworms, or get very active and try blackwater tubing. Accommodation options are great for families, too, giving you the choice of motels, holidays parks, and even Hobbit houses.
STRAIGHT TO ARROWTOWN
Arrowtown has old-world charm, delicious food, and a feast of family-friendly activities. This destination is a great getaway choice summer and winter, so even if you love snow, remember that Otago is super-popular in summer when the masses head for the lakes and cycle trails. For a calmer, more laid-back holiday, base yourself at Arrowtown for the ease of parking, lovely restaurants and family vibe. And did we mention a lot less traffic!
WHANGANUI RIVER SAFARI
Taking your family on a canoe safari trip isn’t just a paddle down the river, it’s also about freedom camping, simple living, meeting other families, having plenty of fun (of course!), and finding your adventurous spirit. This three- to five- day trip is a barrel of fun for kids if they love the outdoors, and a great way to have truly Kiwi experience as a family.
Marlborough is known as New Zealand’s Wine Country, and is one of the premier wine regions in the world. But did you also know it’s an ideal family holiday destination? You’ll discover plenty of kid-friendly activities on land, in the air, and at sea. Littlies will love the animals and nature-based play, while adults get to enjoy amazing cafes, relaxing hammocks, and an easy NZ family travel holiday with kids in tow.
Traveling to these exotic destinations could cost you a lot of money. Most people need to financially save up for months or even years to travel to these places. However, when taking the services of the best dmcs (destination management companies), you could enjoy your dream holiday at a budget that doesn’t create a serious dent in your finances. DMCs like Uniqueworld Global Destinations could be a good option for travel incentives for you and your company whether traveling for business or pleasure.
BY FINN JELICICH