New Zealand Family Travel

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Planning your family trip to New Zealand

Hike with the whole family up Mount Maunganui in Tauranga for pretty views
Map of 1 Week in New Zealand - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in New Zealand - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

With seven days in New Zealand, you can find an itinerary that offers something for the entire family, whether that's nature, culture, or cuisine. Focus on one island and hit the highlights of Christchurch, Tekapo, and Aoraki / Mount Cook in the South. Or dedicate one week to seeing Hobbiton, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and Rotorua in the North. Cover both islands on a fast-paced nature tour from Auckland to Queenstown to see whales and dolphins in the North Island and kiwi birds in the South.

Hike in the Giant Redwoods forests in Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand
Map of 10 Days in New Zealand - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in New Zealand - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

Ten days in New Zealand is enough to drive the length of either the South Island or the North Island, with plenty of time for national parks, nature reserves, and animal sightings. Adventurous families will enjoy jet boat rides, zip lining, or even a helicopter flight, while nature-oriented families will get their fill of scenery at Milford Sound and the glowworm caves. For movie fans, the Hobbiton set in Matamata and the Wētā Cave Workshop in Wellington will satisfy their desire to visit the real Middle-earth.

Adorable kid in colorful coat looking at water from the touring boat, Te Anau, New ZealandFamily frolicking in the sea near Auckland
Map of 2 Weeks in New Zealand - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
2 Weeks in New Zealand - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

With two weeks in New Zealand, you can experience the entire country on a family-friendly, fast-paced highlights tour with cultural excursions in Rotorua, a ride on the TranzAlpine train in Christchurch, and exciting adventures in Queenstown. Alternatively, spend two weeks on the North Island and visit the Coromandel, the Maori Rock Carvings in Taupo, and the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington. Or dedicate the whole time to the South Island, swimming with dolphins in Akaroa and penguin-spotting in Dunedin.

New Zealand family-friendly itineraries

Cathedral Cove
Map of New Zealand: North Island Family Adventure - 10 Days
New Zealand: North Island Family Adventure - 10 Days

This family-friendly adventure takes you along the North Island highlights of New Zealand in 10 days. Begin in Auckland to do some sightseeing, and enjoy a wildlife adventure at Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter. Then, drive to the Coromandel Peninsula to tour the beaches, coves, and gorges. Next is Rotorua, the geothermal city, to discover the Buried Village, Wai-O-Tapu, and Hells Gate Geothermal Park. Enjoy some outdoor thrills in the activities capital of Taupo, an enriching visit to Te Papa National Museum in Wellington, and so much more on this all-ages tour.

A father snaps pics of his children on holiday in the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand
Map of New Zealand Family Road Trip: South Island Mountains & Lakes  - 7 Days
New Zealand Family Road Trip: South Island Mountains & Lakes - 7 Days

This itinerary leads your family through some of the South Island's most striking scenery, with plenty of fun along the way. As you make your way from Christchurch to Queenstown, kids and adults alike will love getting up close to native seabirds, meeting farm animals, and swimming in thermal pools. Gondola, boat, and plane trips will further pack your week with family-friendly adventure!

Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom)
Map of New Zealand: 'Middle Earth' Family Tour of the North Island - 10 Days
New Zealand: 'Middle Earth' Family Tour of the North Island - 10 Days

On this 10-day, family-friendly tour of the “Middle Earth” region of New Zealand, made famous by The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy, enjoy some of the best filming grounds, and plenty of adventure along the way. Discover Auckland and the landscapes of the beautiful Waitakere Ranges, and then head to Matamata for a visit to The Hobbit film site. Visit the Kiwi House and explore Waitomo’s glowworms, rivers, and caverns. Explore Tongariro National Park, home to LOTR’s Mt Doom, and enjoy a flight over Whakapapa Village. Visit more memorable filming locations out of Wellington, and cap off the trip by playing hobbit for a day at Weta Workshop.

Visit the Hobbiton set in Matamata
Map of New Zealand's North Island Nature & Middle-earth Family Tour - 10 Days
New Zealand's North Island Nature & Middle-earth Family Tour - 10 Days

Movie-loving families can step right into the world of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" on New Zealand's North Island. This fun 10-day itinerary combines Middle-earth highlights like the Hobbiton movie set and Weta Cave Workshop with a range of other active, outdoorsy adventures that parents and kids will love. Go zip lining on Waiheke Island, check out Rotorua's geothermal attractions, meet farm animals in Tauranga, and much more.

Exploring the forests of Rotorua
Map of Family Fun on New Zealand's North Island: Wildlife, Culture & Hobbiton - 7 Days
Family Fun on New Zealand's North Island: Wildlife, Culture & Hobbiton - 7 Days

The goal of a good family vacation is for everyone to have a great time. That's sure to happen on this week-long, self-drive adventure through the North Island of New Zealand. Starting in Auckland and traveling down to Waitomo, Hobbiton, Rotorua, and Tauranga, kids of all ages will love the range of natural and cultural attractions on offer. Explore glowworm caves, go dolphin watching, learn about Maori culture, and much more.

Ride the chair lift in Queenstown
Map of Active South Island Family Vacation: Christchurch to Queenstown - 10 Days
Active South Island Family Vacation: Christchurch to Queenstown - 10 Days

New Zealand's South Island is a dream destination for active families, with a variety of adventure sports, outdoor activities, and nature reserves that will keep every member of the family entertained. This 10-day itinerary that starts in Christchurch and ends in Queenstown will take you through the Southern Alps, where you can stargaze at Aoraki / Mount Cook, cruise on Milford Sound, see glowworms at Te Anau, ride the luge in Queenstown, and more.

View over Piha Beach, Auckland
Map of North Island Active Family Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Napier & Wellington - 10 Days
North Island Active Family Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Napier & Wellington - 10 Days

This 10-day itinerary is the perfect match for adventurous families looking to experience the great outdoors of New Zealand's North Island. Starting in Auckland, you'll drive south to Wellington via Rotorua and Napier. Immerse yourself in nature along the way, experiencing native bush, bird, and animal life. Explore some of New Zealand's most intriguing land and cityscapes, including those of the imagination: a tour of the famous Weta Workshop will be a highlight for kids and adults alike.

See New Zealand's little blue penguins
Map of South Island Active Family Adventure - 10 Days
South Island Active Family Adventure - 10 Days

Families with active older kids will love the range of outdoor, nature-focused, and adventurous excursions available on this 10-day South Island itinerary. Start in Queenstown for exhilarating, family-friendly activities like luging and jet boating. Explore the vast fjords of Fiordland National Park and glowworm caves at Te Anau, then hit the road and loop north toward Christchurch, spotting penguins in Oamaru, hiking to waterfalls in the Catlins, and whale watching in Kaikoura along the way.

View from Lake Pukaki toward Aoraki / Mount Cook
Map of Nature-Packed New Zealand Family Road Trip: Wellington & the South Island - 14 Days
Nature-Packed New Zealand Family Road Trip: Wellington & the South Island - 14 Days

This two-week New Zealand adventure is perfect for families who love wildlife and the outdoors. Starting at Wellington's groundbreaking nature sanctuary, head south through Kaikoura, Christchurch, Tekapo, Aoraki / Mount Cook, Wanaka, and Queenstown. Along the way, you'll climb glaciers, swim with dolphins, stargaze, whale watch, and have a whole lot of fun!

Family holiday New Zealand
Map of New Zealand North Island Family Adventure: Dolphins, Glowworms & Hobbiton - 7 Days
New Zealand North Island Family Adventure: Dolphins, Glowworms & Hobbiton - 7 Days

Discover New Zealand's family-friendly North Island on this seven-day road trip. Breathe in the fresh sea air on a dolphin and whale watching safari from Auckland, and explore the Hobbiton set from the "The Lord of the Rings" with its grassy mounds and big round doors. Enter the "sulfur city" of Rotorua and imagine you're on another planet as you pass erupting geysers and boiling mud pools before descending into the glittering glowworm cave at Footwhistle.

Mother and child looking at mountains in New Zealand
Map of New Zealand Family Explorer from North to South - 14 Days
New Zealand Family Explorer from North to South - 14 Days

Whether you have younger or older kids, this two-week itinerary includes various outdoor and adventure-focused activities to keep everyone interested and entertained. While many travelers to New Zealand only focus on one island, this carefully planned itinerary includes both the North and South Islands by making use of a domestic flight. Explore the geothermal attractions of the North Island as well as the rugged mountains and glaciers of the South Island—and lots more.

Explore the treetops of Rotorua
Map of North to South New Zealand Family Trip: Nature, Cities & Adventure - 14 Days
North to South New Zealand Family Trip: Nature, Cities & Adventure - 14 Days

Start your family trip in New Zealand off on a high with a three-course meal atop the 1,000-foot Sky Tower in Auckland. Zip through Rotorua's native forest via zip lines, swing bridges, tree platforms, and trails before taking a rail cart tour through farm country, at the end of which you'll be treated to a plowman's lunch and a visit to lavender fields. Introduce your children to the night sky at a stargazing workshop, and finish your trip by swimming with dolphins in Akaroa.

Hike with kids in New Zealand
Map of Family Nature & Culture Trip in the North Island: Auckland to Wellington - 14 Days
Family Nature & Culture Trip in the North Island: Auckland to Wellington - 14 Days

Strike a good balance between cultural and natural highlights on this family-focused two-week tour of New Zealand's North Island. Starting in the biggest city, Auckland, you'll travel south through the Coromandel Peninsula and the geothermal heartland around Rotorua and Taupo before ending in the cool little capital of Wellington. Along the way, participate in a range of adventures that will appeal to everyone in the family: snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching, Maori cultural experiences, and much more.

Meet New Zealand's local wildlife
Map of New Zealand South Island Family Trip: Nature, Thrills & Culture - 7 Days
New Zealand South Island Family Trip: Nature, Thrills & Culture - 7 Days

This week of family fun starts in Queenstown with gondola rides, luge runs, and 360-degree spins on a jet boat through the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park. Bring down the adrenaline with a gentle afternoon getting up close and personal with kiwi birds before heading to the glittering glowworm caves at Te Anau. Spark your children's nature-loving side on a cruise through the majestic Milford Sound, and finish your trip with a gourmet barbecue dinner on an old-fashioned country farm.

Lakeside in Queenstown
Map of Family Adventure in New Zealand: Jet Boats, Whale Safaris & Māori Culture - 7 Days
Family Adventure in New Zealand: Jet Boats, Whale Safaris & Māori Culture - 7 Days

With boat rides, bungee jumps, and Maori immersion experiences, this action-packed seven-day adventure across New Zealand will appeal to even hard-to-please teens. Bring the family together with an ocean safari in Auckland, and relive "The Lord of the Rings" during a tour of Hobbiton. Immerse yourself in traditional Maori culture and gastronomy in Rotorua, then head to Queenstown's "adventure capital" to brave the thrill of a jet boat ride through the stunning Mount Aspiring National Park.

Father with his daughter at the Dunedin Railway Station
Map of New Zealand Family Nature & Wildlife Tour: Christchurch to Queenstown - 14 Days
New Zealand Family Nature & Wildlife Tour: Christchurch to Queenstown - 14 Days

This action-packed, two-week South Island itinerary offers a wealth of wildlife and nature-based experiences that families will enjoy, whether the kids are toddlers or teens. Swim with (or just look at) rare dolphins near Christchurch, explore mountainous farmland in the Southern Alps, see colonies of albatross and penguins near Dunedin, take a glowworm tour in Te Anau, and see the great outdoors in Queenstown with luging and jet boating adventures.