Top family friendly experiences in New Zealand

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Young or old, there's no shortage of things to do in New Zealand!

Even little ones can go rafting or skiing – these activities aren’t just for grownups. From mini golf to mazes, hot air ballooning to hot pools, there’s plenty for the whole family to experience together.

The great outdoors

New Zealand is best known for stunning untouched natural landscapes – so get out there and embrace them. You’ll find that our mountains, forests and coastlines are all surprisingly accessible. There are countless options for exploring on foot, even with little ones. Easy tracks for day walks abound, whether you’re looking for waterfalls, bush, lakes, cliffs, ocean, forest, or a combination of scenery. Interested in stepping up to some light hiking? There are trails to challenge all levels of trekkers – visit our Walking and Hiking section to learn more.

After sunset, the skies come alive with twinkling lights. Our nightscapes make stargazing in New Zealand a truly magnificent experience. In the South Island, the Dark Sky Reserve has been labelled as one of the best stargazing sites on earth.

Geothermal delights

Underground volcanic and tectonic activity have been shaping our land for thousands of years. As a result, our natural hot pools – particularly around Rotorua – are popular with locals and visitors alike; a soak in the waters of Kerosene Creek or Waiotapu Stream is uniquely relaxing.  Hell’s Gate has the only geothermal mud baths in New Zealand, while Polynesia Spa is world-famous for its lakefront mineral springs. In the Coromandel, head to Hot Water Beach at low tide to dig your own natural warm spa in the sand. Thermal pool complexes are also found at the likes of Waiwera in the north and Hanmer Springs in the south.


New Zealand boasts some of the most unique birdlife in the world – a quarter of our birds are found nowhere else on the planet. As well as the famous flightless kiwi, this is the home of the colourful pukeko and takahe, the melodious tui, and the mischievous kea to name a few. We have three species of penguin, all found in the South Island. You may encounter them in their natural habitats, or in zoos or wildlife parks and sanctuaries.

This is also a fantastic country for whale and dolphin spotting  - the rare Hector’s dolphin is a South Island exclusive. There are sightseeing cruises available wherever these astonishing creatures are found; you can even swim alongside them in the right conditions. See more in our Nature and Wildlife section.

Other family friendly activities include farm tours, horse riding and visiting the Waitomo glowworm caves.


Get a feel for our history and culture at one of the country’s many museums. Auckland’s MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) is a hit with children and Wanaka’s Transport & Toy Museum appeals to all ages. Every town and city has its own selection of museums, but whatever you do, make time to visit Te Papa – the Museum of New Zealand – in Wellington. Open every day of the year, its collections span art, history, nature, and Maori and Pacific exhibitions, and are renowned for being informative,  innovative, and fun.

Adventure time

There are lots of family friendly activities that still have the thrill factor! Jetboating is suitable for youngsters; even bungy jumping is open to those 10 and over. The minimum age for zorbing – hurtling around in a giant transparent ball – is 6. For something a little more gentle, try the aerial adventure that is ziplining or the part go-kart, part toboggan fun of luging.  

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