Top tips for travelling with grandchildren in New Zealand

A trip away with the grandkids can be the perfect opportunity to spend some much needed quality time together!

Whilst a cross-generational vacation may sound perfect on paper, have you thought through the logistics of your trip, and where might be ideal place to go for family members of all ages? Whether you’re a city slicker, an adventure seeker or after a slice of wildlife wonderland. Here’s some New Zealand holiday ideas from for travelling with grandchildren.

The nature retreat
Warm sunshine and sandy beaches have a knack of keeping everyone happy. The Bay of Islands is a long-time favourite for families, with picture perfect coastlines and stunning scenery. Why not seas the day?! A great way to discover the area, you and the children can set sail of any number of yacht trips around the bay. Secluded beaches, island walks, rock fishing or dolphin spotting; the Bay of Islands has it all! If you’re lucky enough, the skipper might even let the kids have go at sailing the boat.

The movie trip
Do your grandkids dress up like Bilbo and Gandalf?  Does the saying “Would you like some dinner my precious” now have a whole new meaning? Movie buffs and Lord of the Rings fans can get their film fix at Matamata, just two hours' drive south of Auckland, where you can actually visit the village of Hobbiton. For an adventure straight out of Middle-Earth go on a two hour guided tour to experience the sights such as the arched bridge, party tree, and a host of Hobbit holes including the home of Bilbo Baggins, Bag End.

The theme park escapade
When Disneyland beckons, but it’s an unrealistic distance to take the grandchildren, stay closer to home for a themed parked escape to Rainbows End just outside Auckland. With over 20 rides and attractions, from rubber rings, to dodgems, and the big 5 including the Stratosfear, Invader and Fearfall, there's something there for everyone. For those 'young at heart' over 65’s, get an all-day pass for just $28.50 and ride to your hearts content!

The city slicker
Urban trekkers can’t go wrong with a weekend in windy Wellington - with plenty of cool sites like the Te Papa Museum or the Wellington cable car, you could even take a trip down memory lane and ride on the silver stream heritage railway. For some animal adventure get yourself to Wellington Zoo, or for your dose of wildlife how about a walk around the Botanical gardens or Staglands Wildlife Reserve? There are literally dozens of attractions to keep tourists entertained in Wellington- both for the young and old.

The adventure escape
If both you and your grandchildren like your holidays with a side of adrenalin, you may want to consider a trip to the actioned-packed South Island. A visit to the Waitomo Caves to see the glow worm caves is sure to give your grandkids a feel for adventure with a hidden ecological focus – a perfect mix of fun and education. Not for the faint hearted, Waitomo has a whole lot more to offer; from black water rafting, hikes in the bush, scary abseils into the depths of the lost world tour and waaaay more!  Just make sure that all that any of the activities you’ve signed up for are covered by your travel insurance policy.

Winter retreat
Do you like your holidays all covered in snow? A chilli trip to Queenstown is sure you give snow bunnies their wintery wonderland fix. And if the slopes don’t do it for you and the kids, no matter, Queenstown is THE adventure capital to visit anyhow! Perhaps you see can yourself dangling from a bungee, or hiring some bikes in the hills, you can ride down the luge, or zipride at Kawarau. For the budget conscious, families can also visit the Deer Park Heights Tour, play at the Frisbee golf course or plunge into Underwater World. Really the choices in Queenstown are endless, as long as you’re game!

Be warned that even if you’re cruising New Zealand waters, you are longer covered for hospital or medical expenses by your usual private health care provider aboard. International waters medical expenses on board can be very expensive, so be sure to take out travel insurance for the trip.

3 top tips for travelling with grandchildren:

Ready to start booking your trip? The key to a family friendly holiday is making sure that everyone’s got something to look forward to.

• Talk to mum and dad: Having an understanding with your grandchildren’s parents on the instructions of holiday is the best way to ensure a smooth-sailing break. Make sure you know any ground rules and discuss any concerns or anxieties. Maybe both parents can sign a letter permitting you to travel with the grandchildren for peace of mind too.

• Plan your trip wisely. Action packed holidays may put a skip in your grandkids step but can easily get tiresome for older travellers. And although you may want to cater the trip to your tastes as well as theirs, forcing them to enjoy an exotic fare or art exhibition when they’re not simply not interested may not bode down so well. Find a holiday that suits all family members from big-to-small! Cross-generational ideas that will appeal to everyone such as science museums, aquariums, zoos and tours. Armed with an iPad, travel guide and plenty of fun facts, you can turn an otherwise boring activity into a fascinating, educational experience.

• Don’t forget family travel insurance. Anything can happen while you’re on-the-go, particularly when travelling with children. Whether someone is injured or falls sick and you need to cancel your trip, or your luggage is stolen or lost, or even if a natural disaster ruins your plans, travel insurance will bring you peace of mind should the unforeseen arise. It’s a little known thrifty fact that travel insurance for dependent children (under the age of 21) is often included within the same price of your policy. Some insurers will even cover dependants up to age 25!

Being able to spend quality time together as a family is oh-so-special. Take advantage of the special relationship you share with your grandkids and book that Kiwi holiday today!