Traveling in New Zealand with kids

it may take all your resolve to tackle a 24-hour flight but once you're there, new Zealand more than makes up for the continual chorus of 'are we there yet?'
Although several of the more extreme sports to try in New Zealand will require a minimum age limit of at least ten or eleven years old, it's safe to say that the rest of the country is totally family-friendly with no end of lakes and beaches. National parks are extremely accessible for young explorers with waterfalls and natural hot springs adding to the excitement of spotting whales or dolphins offshore. Spluttering geysers and mud pools, plenty of well-facilitated parking spots and loads of chances to go kayaking, learn about Maori culture and tackle high ropes and adventure parks; what are you waiting for?


Enjoy the night sky

The Dark Sky Reserve on South Island is rated as one of the best on the planet with the base of Mount Cook and the summit of Mount John, just south of Tekapo, about as free from light pollution as you can hope to imagine. Awesome astronomy for mini Patrick Moores and Maggie Aderin-Pococks.

Have a whale of a time

Kaikoura, on the east coast of South Island, is one of the world’s best places for whale watching tours, always a wonderful family activity. Sperm whales can be seen all year-round as they’re resident in these waters, but at different times of year you might see humpbacks, orcas (killer whales) and even the mighty Blue whales! Kids will love the fun of looking out for telltale fins and blows in the waves.

Dig for gold or a hot tub

Find out more about New Zealand’s gold mining past on the Coromandel Peninsula where there’s a heritage railway and interactive discovery center in Waihi or, alternatively, dig in the sand and make your own natural hot tub on Hot Water Beach, just along the coast from Whitianga.

Our top New Zealand family Vacation

New Zealand 17 day small group tour

New Zealand 17 day small group tour

Kaka 17 Day Small Group Tour of New Zealand

From NZ $10090 17 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 9 Oct, 21 Oct, 27 Nov, 4 Dec
2024: 1 Jan, 5 Jan, 1 Mar, 19 Mar, 9 Apr
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about New Zealand or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.


Caroline Stafford from our New Zealand supplier Silver Fern Vacations gives her family-friendly top tips:“Consider combining a small group tour and a tailor made itinerary. For example, you could join a small group for the first part of your trip, allowing you to enjoy settling in without any worries about finding your way around or what to do. Then, pick up a rental car and explore independently for the rest of your vacation. Also, mix up your transport so kids don’t get bored sitting in a car the whole time – trains, bikes and even horseback are popular options.”
“Don’t skip museums because you have children with you. Many of New Zealand’s museums have excellent interactive exhibits and displays for children; Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum in Wellington is a good example, with its ‘quake house’ and lots of educational but also fun activities for children. The Waitangi Museum in the Bay of Island has had extensive development too, and again, has lots of interactive and educational exhibits and displays.”
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Curioso] [Kayaking: Flying Kiwi Tours] [Night sky: Tomas Sobek] [Te Papa museum: 111 emergency]