Top 5 Family-Friendly Activities in New Zealand

By Aida Othman | 14, May, 2018
Top 5 Family-Friendly Activities in New Zealand

There is no doubt that New Zealand is a must visit country for a family holiday due to its pristine natural beauty and Kiwi ingenuity. Another important aspect is that this 'land of the long white cloud' is listed as one of the safest countries in the annual Global Peace Index. It’s certainly a family-friendly destination filled with loads of fun activities to do, connecting you with nature and has and abuncance of outdoor activities as well as indoor activities. Moderate climate aside, New Zealand serves families with great facilities and amenities. After all, New Zealand is also known, at least among Kiwis, as the ‘best place’ to raise kids. Worth to mention here is that this country is free from dangerous wildlife and reptiles – due to its volcanic soil and remoteness. 

Be it visiting with an infant, young toddlers, small kids, or teenagers the list below gather 5 things you can do when visiting New Zealand as a family. Your family holiday can be a self-made itinerary or via a tour operator. It can cover a wide range of budget for your family – budget-friendly or luxurious. The activities can range from very active, medium, to mild adventure or you can simply watch and relax. The 5 must do activities below are curated by a theme of activity which guarantees you a memorable and enjoyable family holiday – other than the usual playground or theme park.

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Hiking and Walking

The fabulous nature in New Zealand is a playground itself for kids to walk freely and to hike the National Park with clear marking route. The best hiking destination in North Island is Tongariro National Park with many short walking routes around the Whakapapa Village. There are more options for easy hiking in the South Island – one notable walk is around Mount Cook National Park. Also, you can choose to pick any park in the city to enjoy the tranquility and let your small toddlers roam freely – we love Domain and Albert Park when in Auckland. If you prefer city walking, take advantage of many waterfronts, or the seaside walking routes in beautiful cities of Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown.

Tongariro National Park

Address: Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand


Mount Cook National Park

Address: Canterbury 7999, New Zealand


Beach and Water Activities

New Zealand pride itself with many beautiful beaches – and they are free with public amenities. Families with babies or young toddlers can simply soak in the sun while having a picnic. One unique beach is Hot Water Beach, Coromandel where you can dig the sand to build your own hot water pool during low tide before a swim in the ocean. Boating (for whale or dolphin watching), cruise and kayaking are enjoyable for young kids. Don’t forget to order the classic Kiwi fish and chips and enjoy them by the beach. If fishing is your hobby, take your family to an ocean deep fishing, or how about learning to fly fishing.

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel

Address: Hot Water Beach, 3591, New Zealand


Geothermal activities

There’s no place like Rotorua and your kids will certainly be intrigued by the smell of stinky sulfur. Walk around the colourful geothermal park, view the force of geiser, and get dirty in the mud pool. Kids will also be amazed at the Maori performance dance and get them to learn the culture of Maori people.

Sulphur Point, Rotorua

Address: Hatupatu Dr, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand


Indoor Activities

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The Kiwi Birdlife Park, International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch) and Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium (Auckland) are worth visiting so kids can learn about various nature and interesting animals in New Zealand. Every town has its own museum and collection, pick any that suits your kid’s hobby. For example, Puzzling World is one of the best family activities in Wanaka.

Kiwi Birdlife Park

Upper Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand


International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch

38 Orchard Rd, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch 8052, New Zealand


Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, Auckland

23 Tamaki Dr, Orakei, Auckland 1071, New Zealand

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Puzzling World

Opening Hours: Everyday (8.30AM-5PM)
                       (except Christmas Day)
Contact: +64 3 443 7489
Email: [email protected]
Address: 188 Wanaka-Luggate Hwy, Wanaka 9382, New Zealand

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Adventure Activities

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Assuming the parent is brave enough to send kids exploring the adventure activities, the opportunities are endless. Horse riding is a great family adventure to explore the beach and countryside. Bungy jumping is permittable for kids 10 and above, and zorbing for lesser age limit requirement. Other family adventures that are less challenging but still high on the fun factors are jetboating, visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, mountain biking, or trying out the luge (part go-cart, part toboggan). You and family can have a go at skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, tobogganing or even play with the snow all year round at Snowplanet in Auckland. Winter activities best enjoyed in Whakapapa, North Island and Queenstown's Coronet Peak and The Remarkables - both in South Island, offering family-friendly ski fields.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Address: 39 Waitomo Village Rd, Waitomo Caves, Otorohanga 3943, New Zealand

Snowplanet, Auckland

Address: 91 Small Rd, Silverdale, Auckland 0992, New Zealand

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Coronet Peak, Queenstown

Address: Coronet Peak 9371, New Zealand

The Remarkables

Address: The Remarkables Ski Area, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

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Lifestyle writer on travel, food and wellness.Well travelled and a global-nomad. Live to thrive is the essence of her blog

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