Why take the kids half way across the world? How about 15 MUST DO family-friendly activities in New Zealand? What better way to convince you it’s worth the trip!
If there was ever a country to explore as a family, it’s New Zealand. No language barrier. Amazing food (see our favorite burger place in the WORLD!). Breathtaking scenery. And adventures that await your family at every bend in the road!
The locals are a kindhearted people and will often welcome you into their homes and lives. There can’t be a bigger diversity of activities in one country. You can literally be skiing in the morning and then enjoy the sunset on a beach by nightfall. In the midst of all the fun you are having, your kids are learning new things all the time! See how you can dig your own hot tub on the beach for the best hands-on science lesson ever! Or explore rolling green hills by horseback where sheep pasture. The list goes on and on! Enjoy our 15 ‘MUST DO’ family activities in New Zealand!
1. Experience the Hobbiton Movie Set!
If you love Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books or have a passion for gardening, you will LOVE this tour! Our family often looks for adventures off the beaten path, but there are some tours you can’t miss. Hobbiton is one of them! The gardens are kept up year round and just gorgeous. And the small hobbit homes built into the ground are simply magical!
2. CAMP ALONG COROMANDEL PENINSULA ON NEW ZEALAND’S NORTH ISLAND
Before we left for New Zealand, everyone said we would LOVE the south island. That is where the magic was. There is no question, the south island is magical. But I fell in love with the peaceful scenery of Coromandel Peninsula on the north island. Maybe it reminded me of home, growing up in Steilacoom, WA along the Puget Sound waters. The scenery, small beach towns and kind locals will always have a special place in my heart.
3. DIG YOUR OWN HOT TUB AT HOT WATER BEACH
One of the most EPIC family-friendly activities to do in New Zealand! A hot water river runs below the earth’s surface and into the Pacific Ocean at Hot Water Beach. Two hours before or after low tide, you can grab your shovel and dig out your own personal spa! Long stretches of white beach surround you, as hot water fills your personal hot tub! Best hands-on science lesson EVER!
4. HORSEBACK THE ROLLING GREEN HILLS
River Valley was my favorite experience in New Zealand. I can’t wait for you to watch the segment on what we filmed here!! This photo is a small teaser to the gorgeous scenery. River Valley is most known for it’s intense white river rafting, but we fell in love with the horseback riding and amazing owners. They are both in their eighties and spoke such life and encouragement into our family. When trying to find it, most locals didn’t even know this beautiful valley existed because it’s farther south on the north island where tourists rarely come. But it is a gem, well worth the drive! I’m sure our family will find a way to return!
5. EXPLORE THE ROCKY BEACHES OF LAKE TAUPO
Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake created by a volcanic explosion over two thousand years ago. The road follows the edge of the lake for miles with a multitude of places to pull over and explore. There is also a quaint town with wonderful restaurants and fun shopping.
6. INTERVIEW A LOCAL ARTIST
Ms. Robin, her husband, Brian, and their family have owned and operated River Valley for decades. As I said earlier, they are incredible people. Ms. Robin has also been a painter for decades. She and Pascaline hit it off discussing theories of art and creativity long after dinner was over. She was the second local artist we had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing. More on that to come!
7. CHASE SOME SHEEP!
What would a trip to New Zealand be if you didn’t chase some sheep along the way? Blaze is trying to make friends with the Merino Sheep outside of Lake Tekapo.
8. PULL OVER AND PHOTOGRAPH THE SUNSET
The sunsets in New Zealand are epic! The scenery is diverse and always changing which lends to endless sunset photo moments. This is right outside of Queenstown. Shot with the SONY 7R
9. FERBERGER SUPPORTS GLUTEN FREE PEEPS!
Family-friendly activities in New Zealand better include the best burger spot! Blaze and I both have a wheat allergy so we never get our hopes up about the local burger joints. But the notorious Fergburger in Queenstown changed all that! They have the YUMMIEST gluten free hamburger buns to go with their tasty burgers! One of my favorite meals of the whole trip! And get this … they made a mistake with Blaze’s burger and gave us all Ginger Beers to make it up to us! Sold!
10. VISIT THE QUAINT CHURCHES
There is something so romantic about a small, stone church that sits in the middle of nowhere. You’ve got to photograph that. I love to take photos of special places and find fun ways to incorporate the family without everyone looking at the camera. Always a fun, creative photo exercise for me. (Can I also just say that I’m LOVING that scarf and hat on Blaze!) This is the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo.
11. GIVE SEAKAYAK FISHING A TRY!
There is a MAGICAL story behind how we met this wonderful New Zealand man. Stay tuned for the video! In the meantime, I’ve got to say that seakayak fishing with the family was one of our favorite family-friendly activities in New Zealand! You must give it a try! We were along the East Bay of the north island.
12. SEE THE MAJESTIC MILFORD SOUND
Milford Sound is about four hours drive from Queenstown. The scenery you drive past will make it seem like half the time. The landscape changes constantly from miles of golden grass fields to rolling green hills to the Milford Sound mountains that seem to come roaring out of the earth. Our dear friend and talented photographer, Shawn Reeder, did an AMAZING time lapse of New Zealand that highlights Milford Sound. It’s a must see video!
13. HIKE PATHS AROUND MILFORD SOUND
Milford Sound is not only gorgeous scenery but also filled with tons of hiking trails for the family. Word of advise, leave for your hike in the early morning to avoid the sand flies that get worse as the day progresses.
14. RENT A CAMPERVAN FOR ULTIMATE TRAVEL FREEDOM!
Since 30% of New Zealand is national parks, friends told us the best way to experience the country was to campervan it! Boy, were they right! The BEST spots to visit are only accessible to campers. No hotel lined beaches and over whelming tourism. Just pick a favorite spot, and get ready to exhale like never before!
15. PHOTOGRAPH TREASURES YOU FIND
Set the kids up with their own camera or smartphone to capture all the treasures they find! New Zealand is full of hidden treasures!
LOVE, THE ADVENTURE FAMILY!
We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!
15 Must Do Family-Friendly Activities in New Zealand First Published for Disney