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All fun, no faff family holidays

If you and your brood are fans of the great outdoors, a New Zealand family holiday will be right up your street. With two distinct islands – each packed with dramatic scenery and exceptional attractions – this spectacular country allows for endless family-friendly adventures.

New Zealand’s a real walker’s paradise, so active kids and grownups alike will appreciate all the opportunities for hiking. With thousands of kilometres of trails, you can enjoy everything from gentle coastal strolls to multi-day treks through vast areas of untouched wilderness. Or, if mountain biking’s more your thing, you’ll find the cycling tracks just as diverse. Older kids partial to something a little more extreme are equally well catered for. Bungee jumping, skydiving, white-water rafting, jet-boating, canyoning and heli-hiking are just some of the things you can try on a family holiday in New Zealand. And if you’re visiting in winter, you might want to give skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing a go.

However, your entire trip needn’t be about chasing the next adrenaline rush. There are also plenty of chances for some relaxing downtime on a New Zealand family holiday – particularly if you visit during summer. It may be small but, because it’s made up of multiple islands, New Zealand has a pretty extensive coastline. So you won’t have any trouble finding a beach. While there are sandy spots on the South Island – those in The Catlins and Abel Tasman being the most notable – they’re far more plentiful on the North Island. You’ll find some with white sand, some with gold and others with black – and even one where you can dig your own hot pool, which children of all ages are bound to love.

In addition to all its natural attractions, New Zealand spoils visitors with its lively cities, like Auckland and Wellington, and fascinating Maori culture, which you’ll be immersed in almost everywhere you go. And on top of that, there’s a heap of exciting wildlife to discover. Everyone from tots to teens will delight in spotting native critters like whales, dolphins, sea lions, penguins and, of course, the elusive kiwi bird.

So if you’re tempted by a New Zealand family holiday, give our travel specialists a call. They’ll put together an itinerary that everyone will enjoy.

North Island

South Island

History & culture

Best time to go

North Island activities

Kids both big and small will be spoiled for choice when deciding what to do on New Zealand’s North Island. As the country’s most populous city, Auckland has a vibrant arts and culture scene, while the sparkling blue waters of the Hauraki Gulf, just offshore, allow for countless water activities. Think kayaking, surfing, fishing, whale-watching, or simply a relaxing boat cruise. Besides loads of hiking and biking trails, there’s also a zoo and a botanic garden, and the iconic Sky Tower offers both breathtaking views and thrilling activities – like the dizzying SkyWalk and SkyJump.

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Geothermal Rotorua is also something of an adventure playground. You should definitely find time during your New Zealand family holiday to check out the bubbling mud pools and spurting geysers, but there are loads of other great things to do in this region, too. You can roll down the longest ZORB track in the world, zip-line through the forest on a canopy tour, stroll along the Redwoods Treewalk, and enjoy a scenic gondola ride at Skyline Rotorua. You can also see endangered kiwi birds at Te Puia, check out the enchanting glowworm caves in nearby Waitomo or, if your children are Lord of the Rings fans, discover movie magic with a visit to the Hobbiton™ Movie Set.

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South Island activities

If you’re bringing thrill-seeking teenagers with you on your New Zealand family holiday, they’re sure to love the plethora of adrenaline-inducing activities on offer in Queenstown. Known as the adventure capital of the world, this delightful resort town on Lake Wakatipu is the birthplace of the bungee jump. But besides throwing yourself off the Kawarau George Suspension Bridge, you and the kids can also try skydiving, white-water rafting or jet-boating here – or take a ride in the gravity-fuelled Skyline Luge.

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Away from Queenstown, there are plenty of other family-friendly things to do on the South Island – many of which are more sedate. Explore Abel Tasman’s crystal-clear waters and golden beaches on a kayak trip, or go stargazing in Aoraki Mount Cook – part of New Zealand’s Dark Sky Reserve. You can enjoy scenic flights at West Coast hotspots like Franz Josef Glacier and Milford Sound, while the East Coast is the place for exciting wildlife encounters. Go whale-watching in Kaikoura, dolphin-spotting in Akaroa, visit an alpaca farm just outside Christchurch, or see little blue penguins come ashore in Oamaru.

Show More
Show Less

History & culture

Why not take some time during your New Zealand family holiday to discover Aotearoa's rich history? On both the North Island and South Island you’ll find fun and interactive ways for kids to learn about Maori culture, which is an integral part of this country’s identity.

Show More
Show Less

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, in the Bay of Islands, is where New Zealand’s founding document was signed back in 1840. Stop by and you’ll be able to explore heritage buildings, watch an exciting cultural performance and get up close to a traditional war canoe. In Northland’s Waipoua Forest, you can take a tour through the ancient Kauri trees with a Maori guide and discover the role the forest plays in the lives of the local people, and in Hokianga you can experience a multisensory journey of guided storytelling. Rotorua, meanwhile, is home to the New Zealand Maori Art and Crafts Institute, where you can witness talented carvers at work. Or, if your little ones are fans of water, you can always spend a day paddling a waka – a Maori canoe – along the beautiful Abel Tasman coast to Split Apple Rock.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

New Zealand’s seasons are the inverse of those in the UK – so it’s great if you fancy a bit of beach time in January or want to hit the slopes with the kids in August, long after the European ski season has finished. However, if snowsports aren’t on the agenda then the winter months are generally best avoided. New Zealand’s an outdoorsy kind of place, and most activities are more enjoyable in warmer weather.

Show More
Show Less

Despite its compact nature, New Zealand actually has a number of microclimates. So if you’re planning to travel around during your New Zealand family holiday, you’ll likely experience slightly different weather in different parts of the country. Typically, you’ll find that things get cooler the further south you go. But while there are a few exceptions – like subtropical Northland or the South Island’s Central Otago region – most places see relatively mild temperatures throughout the year. One thing that’s almost always guaranteed, however, is rain. Most parts of New Zealand get pretty wet throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to pack an umbrella, just in case.

Show More
Show Less

North Island

North Island activities

Kids both big and small will be spoiled for choice when deciding what to do on New Zealand’s North Island. As the country’s most populous city, Auckland has a vibrant arts and culture scene, while the sparkling blue waters of the Hauraki Gulf, just offshore, allow for countless water activities. Think kayaking, surfing, fishing, whale-watching, or simply a relaxing boat cruise. Besides loads of hiking and biking trails, there’s also a zoo and a botanic garden, and the iconic Sky Tower offers both breathtaking views and thrilling activities – like the dizzying SkyWalk and SkyJump.

Show More
Show Less

Geothermal Rotorua is also something of an adventure playground. You should definitely find time during your New Zealand family holiday to check out the bubbling mud pools and spurting geysers, but there are loads of other great things to do in this region, too. You can roll down the longest ZORB track in the world, zip-line through the forest on a canopy tour, stroll along the Redwoods Treewalk, and enjoy a scenic gondola ride at Skyline Rotorua. You can also see endangered kiwi birds at Te Puia, check out the enchanting glowworm caves in nearby Waitomo or, if your children are Lord of the Rings fans, discover movie magic with a visit to the Hobbiton™ Movie Set.

Show More
Show Less

South Island

South Island activities

If you’re bringing thrill-seeking teenagers with you on your New Zealand family holiday, they’re sure to love the plethora of adrenaline-inducing activities on offer in Queenstown. Known as the adventure capital of the world, this delightful resort town on Lake Wakatipu is the birthplace of the bungee jump. But besides throwing yourself off the Kawarau George Suspension Bridge, you and the kids can also try skydiving, white-water rafting or jet-boating here – or take a ride in the gravity-fuelled Skyline Luge.

Show More
Show Less

Away from Queenstown, there are plenty of other family-friendly things to do on the South Island – many of which are more sedate. Explore Abel Tasman’s crystal-clear waters and golden beaches on a kayak trip, or go stargazing in Aoraki Mount Cook – part of New Zealand’s Dark Sky Reserve. You can enjoy scenic flights at West Coast hotspots like Franz Josef Glacier and Milford Sound, while the East Coast is the place for exciting wildlife encounters. Go whale-watching in Kaikoura, dolphin-spotting in Akaroa, visit an alpaca farm just outside Christchurch, or see little blue penguins come ashore in Oamaru.

Show More
Show Less

History & culture

History & culture

Why not take some time during your New Zealand family holiday to discover Aotearoa's rich history? On both the North Island and South Island you’ll find fun and interactive ways for kids to learn about Maori culture, which is an integral part of this country’s identity.

Show More
Show Less

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, in the Bay of Islands, is where New Zealand’s founding document was signed back in 1840. Stop by and you’ll be able to explore heritage buildings, watch an exciting cultural performance and get up close to a traditional war canoe. In Northland’s Waipoua Forest, you can take a tour through the ancient Kauri trees with a Maori guide and discover the role the forest plays in the lives of the local people, and in Hokianga you can experience a multisensory journey of guided storytelling. Rotorua, meanwhile, is home to the New Zealand Maori Art and Crafts Institute, where you can witness talented carvers at work. Or, if your little ones are fans of water, you can always spend a day paddling a waka – a Maori canoe – along the beautiful Abel Tasman coast to Split Apple Rock.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to go

New Zealand’s seasons are the inverse of those in the UK – so it’s great if you fancy a bit of beach time in January or want to hit the slopes with the kids in August, long after the European ski season has finished. However, if snowsports aren’t on the agenda then the winter months are generally best avoided. New Zealand’s an outdoorsy kind of place, and most activities are more enjoyable in warmer weather.

Show More
Show Less

Despite its compact nature, New Zealand actually has a number of microclimates. So if you’re planning to travel around during your New Zealand family holiday, you’ll likely experience slightly different weather in different parts of the country. Typically, you’ll find that things get cooler the further south you go. But while there are a few exceptions – like subtropical Northland or the South Island’s Central Otago region – most places see relatively mild temperatures throughout the year. One thing that’s almost always guaranteed, however, is rain. Most parts of New Zealand get pretty wet throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to pack an umbrella, just in case.

Show More
Show Less

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