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Where to go with kids in New Zealand

Are you having trouble figuring out where to go with kids in New Zealand? If you plan it right, a New Zealand family vacation is sure to be the trip of a lifetime.

This list of top family destinations will help you plan your next vacation:

  • Queenstown
  • Rotorua
  • Wanaka
  • Coromandel Peninsula
  • Hanmer Springs

Each of these destinations offers a wide range of activities appealing to all ages. In addition, accommodation and restaurant options are plentiful. This means your family can unwind in comfortable apartment-style rooms and choose meals your children will enjoy.

Read on to learn more about our top choices of where to go with kids in New Zealand.

Where to go with kids in New Zealand

1. Queenstown

Skyline Gondola Queenstown activities
Riding the Skyline Luge in Queenstown

Queenstown is number one on most travelers’ must-see lists, for good reason. This stunning mountain resort town has it all: beautiful views, kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities, a vibrant ski scene, and plenty of other sightseeing options nearby.

Which activities you choose depends on the ages of your children. And be sure to stay several days to sample as much as possible.

TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise Queenstown and Walter Peak High Country Farm
Watching the TSS Earnslaw steamship from Walter Peak High Country FArm

Family-friendly activities to check out include:

  • The Kiwi Birdlife Park
  • The Skyline Gondola and Luge
  • TSS Earnslaw steamship cruises and high country farm tours at Walter Peak Station
  • Age-appropriate adrenaline activities, from jet-boating all the way through skydiving
  • Buzzstop interactive bee experience

2. Rotorua

rotorua hot springs
Te Puia Rotorua

The perfect base for exploring the central North Island, Rotorua is an exciting town packed with geothermal reserves, Maori cultural heritage sites, and water-based activities.

Stay for two nights to see the highlights of Rotorua, or longer if you want to visit surrounding regions during your stay.

RiverJet The Squeeze--where to go with kids in New Zealand
The Squeeze, a famous family-friendly tour with NZ Riverjet that passes through a warm-water slot canyon

In Rotorua and the surrounds, family-friendly options include:

  • Interactive Maori cultural shows (Te Puia’s evening experience is an excellent option)
  • Geothermal reserve visits (Hells Gate, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, and Te Puia are top options)
  • The Redwoods Treewalk
  • The 3D Trick Art Gallery
  • Hobbiton movie set tours
  • Jet-boat rides (The Squeeze is especially fun for kids)
  • Rotorua Duck Tours

3. Wanaka

Rob Roy Glacier Track in Mt Aspiring National Park, Wanaka, New Zealand
Rob Roy Glacier Track in Mt Aspiring National Park

A smaller, more laid-back version of Queenstown, Wanaka is ideal for families with younger kids. Enjoy the same views and experiences you would find in Queenstown without the crowds–or simply unwind with a stroll by the lakeside.

Two nights is a perfect amount of time to stay in Wanaka, or longer if you enjoy a slower pace of travel. This is a great destination to linger.

Families shouldn’t miss:

  • Puzzling World
  • The Lavender Farm
  • Catching a movie at the quirky Cinema Paradiso (with fresh-baked cookies at half-time!)
  • Lake cruises
  • Age-appropriate adrenaline activities, including jet-boating, Via Ferrata ropes courses, and canyoning

4. Coromandel Peninsula

Visiting Cathedral Cove on the Hahei Explorer

If your family wants a relaxing beach holiday with plenty of sightseeing nearby, the Coromandel Peninsula should be your first stop.

The stunning Coromandel coastline has countless secluded beaches your family can explore for the day. Inland, lush rainforest is home to an array of walking trails.

Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga View--where to go with kids in New Zealand
Checking out sea life on the Glass Bottom Boat Tour

If your family visits the Coromandel Peninsula, these are sure to be a hit with the kids:

  • Hot Water Beach–dig your own hot pools at low tide
  • Cathedral Cove
  • The Glass Bottom Boat Tour around the volcanic coastline, with snorkeling offered on board
  • The Lost Spring hot springs
  • Driving Creek Railway

5. Hanmer Springs

hanmer springs jet boat--where to go with kids in New Zealand
Hanmer Springs Jet Boat

The idyllic hot springs resort town of Hanmer Springs is an excellent family holiday destination. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, Hanmer Springs boasts a charming town center.

Kids will have a great time riding the slides and lazy rivers at the Hanmer Springs Hot Pools. And if you want a more active stay, there are plenty of activities to sample in the surrounding hills.

Top choices for families with kids include:

  • Playing around at the Hanmer Springs pools
  • Jet-boating
  • Paintball and clay bird shooting
  • Hiking on short trails
  • Off road buggy trips
  • Rafting

Plan the Perfect New Zealand Family Vacation with these Top Destinations for Kids

Want the perfect New Zealand holiday for your family inclusive of the above destinations? Check out our top three recommendations below:

  1. 7 Day South Island Family Must Do Package–includes Queenstown and Wanaka
  2. 7 Day North Island Family Package–includes Rotorua and Coromandel Peninsula
  3. 14 Day New Zealand Highlights Package–includes all destinations: Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua, Hanmer Springs, Wanaka and Queenstown!

Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your unforgettable family vacation.


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