The best things to do when touring New Zealand with kids
When you’re travelling with children, it’s always a good idea to have some ideas up your sleeve for family days out. Just like when you make that winning recipe for dinner, a family–favourite activity can be the highlight of your holiday. To make things easier, we’ve done the thinking for you! Here are some of our favourite kid–friendly activities to enjoy on your New Zealand holiday.
North Island Highlights
- Hit the Beach! – It doesn’t get much better for kids than a day at the beach… making sandcastles, swimming, or grabbing some sticks to make a set of stumps for beach cricket. The possibilities are endless! You’ll find kid–friendly beaches all over New Zealand, but The Coromandel, Golden Bay, and Mt. Maunganui are home to some of the best.
- Waitomo Glow Worm Caves – One of New Zealand’s best–loved attractions, the iconic glowing caves of Waitomo are home to thousands of iridescent glow worms which will have kids mesmerised as they look up to the cave ceiling.
- Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life – Kids will be fascinated by the array of marine life on display at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life aquarium — stingrays, sharks, turtles, penguins and more. Take a stroll through the shark tunnel with its glass walls and try to spot all the different species.
- Te Papa, Wellington – There’s a whole bunch of great museums dotted around NZ that offer fun for all ages, but they don’t come any bigger or better than our national museum, Te Papa. Packed with kiwi culture, innovative exhibits and arts, it’s a must–see.
- Rainbow’s End, Auckland – Rainbow’s End is NZ’s original and best theme park, with more than 20 rides to choose from and heaps of dedicated attractions for kids of all ages.
South Island Highlights
- Swimming with Dolphins, Akaroa – Swim with pods of cute Hector’s dolphins (one of the world’s smallest) in the gorgeous French harbour town of Akaroa. Suitable for children 5 and up.
- Puzzling World, Wanaka – NZ’s only 3D maze, Puzzling World is a hoot for all ages. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the challenge as you weave your way through the network of buildings, optical illusions and confusing corridors.
- International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch – The closest thing to Scott Base this side of Antarctica, the International Antarctic Centre is world–renowned, featuring penguins, huskies, a 4D theatre and indoor and outdoor ice zones to explore.
- Skyline Gondola and Luge, Queenstown – Get the competitive juices flowing on the hills above Queenstown as you take the gondola up to the top, then hit the racetrack for some high–paced luge thrills. Suitable for all ages.
- TSS Earnslaw, Queenstown – The Earnslaw is the only remaining coal–fired steamboat still carrying passengers in the southern hemisphere. It’s one of Otago’s oldest tourist attractions and takes several trips across the magical Lake Wakatipu each day.
- Get out on a family walk – Kids love to explore, and a walk is a great way to get the whole family active. Take a stroll down the local beach, a wander around the shops in the city or a visit to a wildlife sanctuary (NZ has many that are easily accessed).