Best Places To Visit In New Zealand For families

June 18, 2020

New Zealand’s stunning and diversive natural scenery, attracts travelers from all corners of the world, young and old alike. This dream destination has countless spots, which are designed to cater to the younger generation — that does not necessarily imply that parents have to make do only with gardens and playgrounds.

There are cities with beaches and activities like rafting and skiing, which are just as fun to enjoy with the kids in tow. So, check out these awesome family friendly places, which you need to tick off on your next visit to New Zealand:

Bay of Islands

Ideal age: Any

This enclave, lying next to North Island, has over 140 subtropical islands within its environs. This paradise for beach and water sports is a three hour drive or short thirty-five minutes flight from Auckland. Enjoyed by both adults and children alike, this stunningly beautiful destination has activities ranging from simple relaxation to high end adrenaline pumping things to do.

Cruise with the family to the Hole in the Rock to view dolphins, or go on an overnight sailing trip through the islands of the Bay. Educate the children about the rich history of the region at Waitangi Treaty Grounds or witness a Maori cultural show. While adults can get pampered with a beach massage, the daring ones can go parasailing from a height of 1200 feet. Do not forget to book cheap flights to Auckland well in advance to get more bang for your buck and then further traverse to the Bay of Islands.


Ideal age: Any

Rotura is an all-weather family destination with loads of attractions and free things to do available. There are a number of natural wonders to explore here, as well by biking through the many forest trails and coming upon a new lake, practically around every corner.

For exciting indoor fun, check out on Motion Entertainment or head to the 3D Trick Art Gallery. If adventure is on top of your list, go zip lining with Rotura Canopy Tours or vie against each other at luge on Skyline Rotura.

Hammer Springs

Ideal age: 6-16

This popular holiday location located in Christchurch, is a one of a kind hotspot which is suitable for all, but especially for families with children. Home to an amazing 20 acres playing area, set amidst the backdrop of stunning mountain views, is the Hammer Springs Animal Park. Children can roam around freely among animals in a safe environment.

If you have older children, you can bungy, jetboat, quad biking, canoe or more. The Hammer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa are the number one activity here. While the family rests in the pool area, the kids can go for a swim behind the waterfall or go hydro sliding in the Aquaplay Area.

Hokianga, Northland

Ideal age: Any

This long estuary which extends from the Tasman sea is located on the west coast of Northland, near the famous Waipoua forest. Hokianga has many settlements, each with a character of its own, all the way round the harbor area. Families also visit this district to enjoy the peaceful beaches and other interesting local attractions.

Rawene is the third oldest of all settlements in New Zealand and features interesting art shops, cafes, and the steeped in history Clendon House building. A trip to the 150m high amazing sand dunes at the harbor mouth is a must. Other treasures waiting to be discovered in Hokianga are the Horeke Basalts, Wairere Boulders, and the famous Waipoua Forest.


Ideal age: 5-10

The incredible scenery, combined with a wide range of adventure filled things to do, has made visiting Taupo essential for those families wishing to interact with nature. Camping, bike rides through the bush, horse riding and vast playgrounds, Taupo is a place for endless fun to keep the whole family occupied throughout the day. Moreover, the place enjoys a scenic location on North Island on the shores of Lake Taupo, the biggest in Australasia.

Take the family to the last remaining thermal areas left in the country at Orakei Korako, situated between Taupo and Rotura or the Craters of the Moon. Pay a quick visit to the Aratiatia Rapids forming from the dam walls. The thermally heated AC Baths is a great hit with families with dedicated toddler areas, hydro slides, inflatable toys, sauna cafe, and barbecue zones.


Ideal age: Any

Queenstown is simply brimming with family attractions suitable for all ages. While the three year olds can enjoy gentle rafting trips, the older ones can try tackling the zip lines in tandem with an adult. Even the toddlers can have a ball watching the ducks dive in an underwater observatory.

All age activities include a tour of the Kiwi Birdlife Park and going on a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw. There is a big play area on Marine Pde at the entry point of the Queenstown Garden. The Frisbee Golf Course and Queenstown Ice Arena are also located inside the garden limits and one can easily pass a couple of hours here. Children can even ride the Skyline Gondola, if accompanied by an adult, to see views from a dizzy height.

Top suggestions for visiting New Zealand with family:

  • Reserve rooms well in advance. Hotels with adjoining rooms suitable for families get booked in advance, especially during peak periods.
  • Book your flights to New Zealand well in advance to ensure you get the best deals for the entire family.
  • If you plan to travel by road, choose your stops accordingly as distances are long and comfort stops need to be considered.
  • Kids and families get a special rate for accommodation, entry to attractions, bus and train transport, upto 50% off on the adult rate. Toddlers under four go free everywhere.
  • Accommodation can be expensive, especially for family size rooms. Consider renting a camper van for the entire trip. They come fitted with all amenities, rates are reasonable and you not only save on hotel costs but avoid the hassle of packing and unpacking.

The geothermal wonderland called New Zealand, is so well suited for a family life-changing vacation, that it is no wonder people want to hurry back here year after year. Add to it the warm hospitality of the Kiwi’s, and you have a perfect holiday sewn up for the entire brood in one of the most prettiest getaways in the Pacific.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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