Top 5 Family Activities In New Zealand

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If you decide to take your family on vacation around the world, why not choose New Zealand?  Many hotels, campsites, or other types of accommodation are suitable for receiving families, even large ones, and it is also the ideal destination for a motorhome trip with children. But above all, you won’t risk getting bored! New Zealand full of activities for the whole family: museums, outdoor activities, cultural activities, there is something for everyone! 

Top 5: Queenstown, family activities for all ages

Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations, is known as the capital of adventure, extreme sports, and outdoor recreation. In winter, ski resorts are also top-rated. Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with the southern Alps as a backdrop, it offers splendid landscapes while retaining the charm of a small town. Guests can cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard a steamboat and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. This is the opportunity to rent bikes to take advantage of the many cycle paths surrounding or go on a horseback excursion. You can also take the children to meet the animals during a visit to one neighboring farm.

For spectacular views over Queenstown , climb aboard the 450-meter cable car, don’t forget your camera!

panorama-queenstown-new zealand

Once upstairs, the Jelly Belly store, a giant candy store, will delight children. Observe the paintings on the wall. These works of art have been entirely made into candy. You will contemplate a reproduction of Frodo in the Lord of the Rings made of candy. You can also have lunch in one of the restaurants located on the heights. To return to the valley, several choices of activities are available to you:

Summer tobogganing is the most popular activity for families!

summer sledging - queenstown - family - new zealand

Skyline, summer toboggan run in Queenstown.

You can choose to take the cable car back, hike, or mountain bike down one of the trails leading to Queenstown. If you hire bikes in town, it is possible to take them on the cable car. For the more adventurous, more extreme activities are available such as bungee jumping or parachute jumping.

high jump - bungy jumping - queenstown - new zealand

In the valley, for a dose of adrenaline with the family, try your hand at a jet boat ride! And to enjoy a spectacular view of Queenstown and the surrounding mountains, why not book a helicopter flight? Some will take you over the glaciers of Milford Sound.

Top 4: Wellington, discover New Zealand history, nature, and culture with the family.

Te Papa- museum- Wellington

Te Papa museum – Wellington

In Wellington, don’t miss the Te Papa Museum!

It is a perfect place for discovering New Zealand’s history, culture, and ecosystem with the family. After a stroll along the seafront, this is the place to go to Wellington. Children will love this museum, where they are encouraged to touch the objects. Many activities are designed for them. On the museum’s website, you can download a route for your children to follow. At the “Discovery Center,” everything is imagined for them. They can dress up as inhabitants of the Pacific, explore a whale’s heart, walk in the footprint of a dinosaur, and many other things.

Te Papa - Wellington - fossils

Photograph by Michael Hall

The Te Papa Museum also has an outdoor part where you will walk through New Zealand’s natural wonders and where kids can dig the sand for dinosaur fossils or discover a glowworm cave. Many exhibitions are held throughout the year. You will also find reproductions of giant animals and can experience an earthquake, enough to keep the family busy for several hours, especially on a rainy day!

Te Papa -Wellington museum - exhibition

Te Papa museum – Wellington

If the sun is shining, head to Zealandiaan ecological sanctuary in the heart of the city. In this 225 hectare park, you will discover many species of birds. The park reproduces the ecosystem as it was before the arrival of man. You can spend the day with the family exploring New Zealand as it was hundreds of years ago.

Top 3: Visiting the Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

In Maori, “Wai” means “water” and “tomo” means the hole in the ground. This is where you can take a boat ride under a star-studded sky at the Glowworm caves, or rather thousands of insect larvae that produce light. The rendering is magnificent, a wonder of nature that will amaze you. These insects glow, illuminating the cave ceilings with thousands of tiny dots in bluish light, a magical moment for you and children.

Waitomo-Glowworm-Caves-New Zealand

Waitomo Glowworm caves

Aranui cave

To complete the visit to the “Glowworm caves, “combine it with a visit to the Aranui cave and Ruakuri.

In Aranui Cave you will find the most spectacular rock formations.

Children with vivid imaginations will see very particular objects and characters there. Star Wars fans can look for Jabba the Hutt, who seems to have taken refuge in this cave. The guide will guide the family in their research by asking you to find the stalagmites in the shape of a bottle of champagne, a castle, a rabbit, and many more.

waitomo caves - aranui - new zealand

Ruakuri cave

The entrance to Ruakuri Cave will take you underground along a gigantic spiral path. It is the only cave accessible to wheelchairs, and therefore it is straightforward to access it with a stroller. According to legend, it was discovered by a Maori about half a century ago. While hunting birds, he came across this cave inhabited by a band of wild dogs, which gave the cave its name. : “Rua” means den, and “Kuri” means dog. Later the Maoristook over the cave and buried their dead. The spiral entrance was built further to protect this sacred part of the site. It is the longest of the underground walks. You will spend around 1h30 underground, enough to fill the day for the whole family to enjoy the underground wonders of New Zealand.

Top 2: Swim with dolphins and sea marine life in New Zealand

There are tons of places to meet dolphins in New Zealand! On the North and South Island, whatever your itinerary in New Zealand, you will have the chance to meet these animals. A special moment to share with the family!

In Kaikoura

In  Kaikoura, you can meet them in their natural environment. Hector’s dolphins, or obscure dolphins, share the waters with humpback whales, sperm whales, and blue whales. Swimming with dolphins is a magical moment that will delight young and old.

dolphins - kaikoura - new zealand

Obscure dolphins

Kaikoura is also known for its colonies of fur seals.

They are everywhere, but the best places to see them are the Ohau waterfall. Between November and May, the baby sea lions go up the river to swim in the basin at the foot of the waterfall and Oahu Point, where the sea lions bask by the hundreds on the rocks.

sea ​​lions -ohau point -kaikoura -new zealand

Photo: Megan Eaves

 In Akaroa

Do not miss Akaroa, a small town with French accents. It was once a French colony. The blue-white-red flag flies there, and the street names are in French. The place is beautiful, and it is here that you can swim with the smallest dolphin in the world, the Hector dolphin.

dolphin hector -akaroa

Photo: Dina Engel

In the Bay of Islands

In the Bay of Islands, dolphins are numerous, and all species are represented: common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Hector’s dolphins, and obscure dolphins. An excursion to observe them is also an opportunity to see the famous “Hole in the Rock,” a natural tunnel carved into a rock in the bay. Some boat captains even venture into the passage; the children will love.

hole in the rock - bay of the islands - new zealand -

Top 1: Rotorua, a multitude of activities to do with the family

Of volcanoes, the bubbling mud, geysers, and steam to the very particular smell, your kids will love Rotorua. The city is full of activities for the whole family, and some are free. It is undoubtedly the best destination for a family holiday!

Redwoods National Park

Take a walk in this forest to discover the giant sequoias! Many trails exist, and some are even designed to facilitate the ride with a stroller. The best way to enjoy it is to take the suspended walkways around which the lights have been installed and enjoy the enchanting atmosphere with your children.

At night, part of the forest lights up with magical colors!

Redwoods nightlights - Rotorua

Photo: Bill Hedges

Redwood Nightlight - Rotorua

Photo: Bill Hedges

Geothermal activity

Admire the color palette of Wai-O-Tapu, its “champagne pool” with orange edges and steaming water. It seems that there is gold at the bottom, but with water at nearly 80 degrees, challenging to verify. The Maori used to cook their food there. You can contemplate various basins carved out by intense volcanic activity, rocks covered with fluorescent yellow silica, lime green baths, fumaroles, and the possibility of seeing the “Lady Knox” geyser in action in the morning.

Champagne pool- rotorua - wai-o-tapu

For a good overview of the volcanic activity in the area, you can also go to Te Puia to observe many geysers there and can experience Maori culture there.

pohutu geyser- rotorua- new zealand-

In Kuirau Park, in the heart of the city, the marked trails with explanatory panels will offer you an exciting ride that will appeal to children. And to enjoy the benefits of the waters of Rotoruahead to the natural pools of Kerosene Creek for a family swim.

Rainbow Springs Nature Park and Agrodome

Be sure to take your kids to Rainbow Springs Nature Park to meet some kiwis after dark. You will even have the opportunity to observe them up close when they come out of their enclosure. It is also possible to access the nursery of the park to discover the baby kiwis.

Rainbow springs-Rotorua -nursery kiwis

Photo Credit: Rainbow Spring Ngai Tahu Tourism

At different times of the day, meetings with the caretakers are organized to allow you to see the fauna of the park up close.  Of educational playgrounds are scattered throughout the park, the children will be a great time while learning more about the ecosystem.

Do not miss the “Big Splash” , a boat trip lasting several minutes ending with a nice descent. Beware of splashing!

The little ones will love the Agrodome! Spend a day on a farm encountering sheep, llamas, pigs, cows, and alpacas. Watch sheep shearing, a truly national sport in New Zealand, by learning how to milk a cow. Watch the shepherd dogs do their work and taste the local specialties of kiwi juice and honey.

New Zealand is an excellent destination for a family trip, these are just a few examples of activities, but there are many more. All over the country, you can enjoy great nature walks and beautiful New Zealand landscapes with your loved ones.


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