Kid-friendly New Zealand

New Zealand packs a lot of variety into a small area, making this a great family friendly destination. Whether your family have a sense of adventure or prefer something a little more sedate, there’s sure to be plenty that will make a holiday down under one to remember. Fill your itinerary with these great kid friendly New Zealand attractions.

Kid Friendly New Zealand Attractions

Have a wildlife encounter

Kids of all ages love a wildlife encounter and there are plenty of opportunities to get up close to some of New Zealand’s critters. So long as your child is over the age of three, they’ll be welcomed on a dolphin or whale watching cruise; head for Kaikoura for the pick of the bunch. If you’re worried about seasickness ruining a good trip, then stay on land and travel a bit further south to Dunedin where there are several places to watch penguins do their thing. For something a little different, take the children to see the glowworms at Waitomo – there’s no lower age limit.

Kid Friendly New Zealand Attractions: Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Caves: Photo 2il Org / CC BY 2.0

Be wowed by nature

There’s nothing like a bit of drama to entertain the youngsters and where better to find it than at Rotorua. Kids will be fascinated by the plop of the mud and awed by the force of the water as Pohutu Geyser shoots boiling water and steam thirty metres into the air. Don’t worry about staving off boredom – with around twenty eruptions every day, you don’t have to hang around long to get some action. While you’re there don’t miss the Maori show: hugely entertaining and very interactive.

Kid Friendly New Zealand Attractions: Pohutu Geyser Rotorua New Zealand
Pohutu Geyser, Rotorua

Learn to ski or surf

Whatever the time of year, there is a sporting activity just waiting to be mastered. In winter, base your family at Queenstown and take skiing lessons in the nearby resort of Cardrona where a plethora of runs for beginners makes it ideal for families. In summer, hit the waves. Try Mount Maunganui near Tauranga on North Island’s east coast or Raglan on its west to join a surf school.

Captain's Basin at Cardrona Ski Area Wanaka New Zealand
Captain’s Basin at Cardrona Ski Area, Wanaka: Photo André Richard Chalmers / CC BY-SA 3.0

Get the adrenaline pumping

New Zealand is synonymous with adrenaline fuelled activities and if you’re travelling with older children, then you’ll be able to participate as a family. Many bungy jump operators have a lower age limit of ten years old, and if your child meets the minimum weight requirement there’s no reason they can’t scream with you.

Ledge bungy Queenstown New Zealand Lake Wakatipu
Ledge Bungy, Queenstown with Lake Wakatipu in the background: Photo Will Ellis / CC BY 2.0

Pass the bucket and spade

If all you’re looking for is a relaxing beach holiday, then when summer comes head to one of New Zealand’s many fabulous beaches. Rent a bach or holiday home for maximum freedom to explore the country’s extensive coastline. You can even lie back in nature’s own hot tub at Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel, but make sure you supervise your children to ensure that the water isn’t too hot for them.

Hot Water Beach Coromandel Peninsula New Zealand
Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula: Photo Steve and Jem Copley  / CC BY_SA 2.0

About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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