Whether it's during school holidays or a long weekend away, there's fun for the whole family no matter where you are in the North Island.
A must-do is Hobbiton(opens in new window), which you’ll instantly recognise from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies. As you amble through the heart of the Shire, you'll hear the fascinating commentary about how it all came to life.
At Hot Water Beach, take some spades along at low tide (or rent some when you get there) and dig a naturally heated pool in the sand. (Get there early and stake out your territory before everyone else.)
Then make your way down to Rotorua. Be introduced to Maori culture at Te Puia and watch the Pohutu Geyser erupt up to 20 times a day to heights of 30 metres. Further along the lakeside you’ll find Hell’s Gate, with the largest hot waterfall and only geothermal mud baths in New Zealand. For a change of pace, you can go on a lively round of Zorbing – rolling down a hill in a giant transparent ball.
When in Wellington, you’ve got to make the most of the vibrant arts and culture scene. The capital is home to our national museum, Te Papa, with exhibits to keep you engrossed for hours, and there are numerous other galleries and museums around the city.
Interested in wildlife? You can’t go past Zealandia, which houses some of New Zealand's rarest wildlife including kiwi and tuatara. There’s also Wellington Zoo - New Zealand's oldest zoological park – and Kapiti Island Nature Reserve on an island off the coast.
Be sure to fit in a trip up the historic cable car from downtown to the Botanic Garden, too – the views are the top are magnificent, but the ride is half the fun.