Looking for fun activities that you can enjoy regardless of seasonal change? Then make New Zealand your next family holidaying destination. From aquatic adventures to adrenaline adventures and simple pleasures, the Land of the Long White Cloud offers amazing activities in every corner and through any weather. Which activities will facilitate the most fun for you and the rest of your troupe? We reckon we’ve a pretty good insider’s take – just keep reading!
New Zealand is famous for its adventure activities, and particularly for its bungy-jumping opportunities. If you’ve got kids who are up for the challenge – or if they’re keen to see you jump off a bridge – then you won’t regret booking in for a bungy at the famous AJ Hackett base in Queenstown.
If you’re looking for something a little calmer, you might consider some of the great horse trekking companies in the North and South Islands – such as the highly-commended Abel Tasman Horse Trekking journeys, which cater for all skill and experience levels.
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Ascending to the sights
Few countries boast national reserves and hiking trails of the same scenic beauty as New Zealand – so take advantage of these excellent outdoor attractions! The time of year doesn’t matter: all you need is a forecast for sun, and you’ll be set to head out with a picnic and the family in tow for a day of exploration in nature. Just make sure to pack enough high-energy snacks for sustenance.
Experiencing the culture
It’s so important to introduce kids to the histories and practices of cultures different to theirs. New Zealand offers many opportunities to do just this, particularly in Rotorua, the living heart of Maori culture. If you’re especially interested in settler history, planning a trip to the Central Otago region is well worth it. Kids especially love panning for gold at the historic mining village of Arrowtown.
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The Queenstown-based Hydro Attack is an activity you can’t afford to miss. Commonly referred to as the « shark boat », the Hydro Attack experience will have you and the family aboard a submarine-style, shark-shaped vessel that speeds and jumps through the water just as you’d imagine the animal would. You’ll float out of Queenstown Bay in leisurely fashion before accelerating to speeds of up to 80km/ph out on the lake – great for all the adrenaline junkies in the family (but maybe not so good for kids who don’t like enclosed spaces).
If you’re travelling to Gisborne or are proximate to the North Island’s East Coast, make sure to check out Dive Tatapouri, famed for its reef tours. These excursions are a fantastic way for children to learn about ecology, and always go down a treat with the adults, too.
Enjoying the national sport
Rugby is a big deal in New Zealand – as in, a really big deal. If you really want to get a taste of what year-round popular culture is like in Aotearoa, consider booking tickets to a local or national rugby game. Of course, watching the All Blacks play is the main attraction, but even if your holiday dates don’t coincide with the playing season of NZ’s national team, you may be able to find tickets to see a great regional game.
The great thing about rugby is how easy the rules are to pick up from a first watch. Even kids or adults who aren’t convinced of the sport to begin with will leave cheering for their preferred team – the perfect activity for a Friday night!
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Eyeing the artefacts
In the same cultural vein, you’ll find that one of the best ways to fill up a morning or afternoon in many of New Zealand’s main centres is to visit the many museums and art galleries around. Museums like Te Papa in Wellington and the Army Museum in Waiouru have fascinating displays especially targeted towards children, as well as dining spaces for a tasty bite afterwards.
Getting up close and personal with the wildlife
From the flightless national bird to the huhu grub, New Zealand’s wildlife is incredibly unique and diverse. To introduce the kids to it, check out Wellington’s Zealandia, and Auckland’s Zoo – or travel instead to one of the numerous smaller, privately-owned wildlife farms for a more close-up experience. We recommend Butterfly Creek in Auckland for this, as well as Owlcatraz in the small town of Shannon.
Burying your feet in the sand
Sometimes the best family outings are the simplest ones. When you have NZ’s 14,000km coastline to work with, you won’t have to travel far to reach a great beach! The best news is that the season doesn’t matter so much – if anything, there’s more to enjoy about the beaches in the autumn, as popular locations like Ninety Mile, Hahei, and Cape Reinga will be much less crowded. Bring along a picnic to enjoy – or even better, fish and chips and smoothies – and don’t forget the camera!
Harper is a freelance writer based in the beautiful city of Auckland, New Zealand. She has penned articles for several blogs and sites, including New Zealand businesses such as Keith Andrews. Discover more about Harper on Tumblr.