Experience the best of New Zealand with your family with a wide selection of activities for kids from animal and wildlife experiences to nature-based activities and thrill-seeking adventures.
Go rafting in Taupō or skiing in Queenstown, there are fun experiences to enjoy in both North and South Island. From mini golf to zorb experience, hot air ballooning to hot pools, there’s plenty for the whole family to experience together.
New Zealand is best known for stunning untouched natural landscapes – so get out there and embrace them. There are countless options for some interesting short and overnight walks, even with the little ones. Whether you’re looking for waterfalls, bush, lakes, cliffs, ocean, forest, or a combination of scenery, you will find a track you enjoy with family. There are heaps of cycle trails too spread across the whole country which is a fun way to spend time together.
After sunset, the skies come alive with twinkling lights and the 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.
Underground volcanic 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(opens in new window) 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.
In New Zealand, we have 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.
On your outdoors adventure, you might spot some of New Zealand's wildlife, including rare birds, dolphins, or even whales - the rare Hector’s dolphin is a South Island exclusive. There are sightseeing cruises available where you have an up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whales and pods of Dusky dolphins on a cruise or go snorkeling with friendly New Zealand fur seals in Kaikoura ; you can even swim alongside them in the right conditions.
Other family friendly activities include farm tours, horse riding and visiting the Waitomo glowworm caves(opens in new window).
For a totally unique Kiwi experience, immerse yourself in the local arts and culture on a family holiday and get a feel for our history at one of the country’s many museums(opens in new window). 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(opens in new window) – 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.
There are lots of family friendly activities that have the thrill factor and would be embraced by the adventure seekers. Go on jetboating in Lake Taupo's thundering Huka Falls, or negotiate 360-degree spins on one of Queenstown’s spectacular rivers; even bungy jumping is open to those 10 and over. Try zorbing(opens in new window) with family where you get in a giant transparent ball and then roll down the hill - the minimum age for zorbing 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.