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New Zealand offers a huge range of outdoor family activities, no matter what time of year you come. Kids will love the family-friendly Hobbit Kayak Tour, which is suitable for anybody over 4 years of age. It takes you on a gentle kayak down the beautiful Pelorus river, passing a section of the river used in filming the movie The Hobbit. For fun and safe swimming spots, visit one of the gorgeous Coromandel Peninsula beaches, which are patrolled by lifeguards all through the summer months.
New Zealand is a great place for hiking with kids, too. Browse the NZ Department of Conservation’s list of the safest family walks, which let you explore New Zealand’s wilderness in a natural way. During winter, New Zealand is a world-class family ski destination. Many ski resorts around Queenstown and Wanaka have dedicated family facilities, including ski school for ages 2 and up, on-site daycare centers, affordable restaurants, and family accommodation on the mountain.
Rainy Day Options
Stuck in the city on a rainy day? Need to entertain the kids? No worries. Visit Te Papa in Wellington, New Zealand’s national museum with awesome nature displays and interactive areas. Or head to Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest aquarium and home to marine animals from all over the world – including Antarctic penguins!
Getting Around: car hire
New Zealand, especially the South Island, is sparsely populated and some of its most popular attractions are located off the public transport networks. Fortunately, highways and roads are very well maintained, and they will get you anywhere you want to go. For that reason, hiring a car is not a bad idea when planning vacations in New Zealand with kids. Finding car seats won’t be a problem, since rental companies legally require you to fit car seats for young children.
You’re often more likely to find a camping ground than a hotel at New Zealand’s best family holiday locations, so hiring a campervan is a good option for vacations with kids. It takes care of accommodation and transport in one. They come in a range of sizes to fit the whole family, and you’re usually able to collect the vehicle in one location (for example, Christchurch) and deliver it to another (for example, Queenstown), so you don’t have to backtrack.
When to go & what to bring
New Zealand has a relatively temperate year-round climate, but the weather can also change very quickly. When visiting New Zealand with kids it’s important to know exactly where you are planning to go, what you are planning to do, and which time of year you’ll be there. Winter is great for skiing with kids in the South Island – but not for hiking. The subtropical beaches of the North Island are idyllic and sunny during summer, but can see torrential rain and dangerous conditions at other times. Make sure you check the weather and pack clothing to suit the place and season.
Generally, New Zealanders are pretty accommodating and understanding to the needs of newborns. Few people would be offended by discreet breastfeeding in public spaces, and baby-changing tables are the norm in public restrooms (including restaurants and cafes).