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Fun Family Activities in New Zealand

New Zealand is a fantastic destination for families. With an endless variety of family activities in New Zealand on offer, kids of all ages will love exploring.

When planning your family holiday, these are a few fun family activities in New Zealand you might want to include.

What can families do in New Zealand?

Activities for families with toddlers:

  • Farm tours
  • The International Antarctic Centre
  • Stroller-friendly activities
  • Punting on the Avon Christchurch
  • Christchurch Tramway
  • Snow play

Activities for families with young children:

  • The Skyline Luge in Queenstown and Rotorua
  • Jet-boat rides
  • Puzzling World Wanaka
  • Ski lessons
  • Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua
  • Geothermal reserve visits

Activities for families with teenagers:

  • Blackwater rafting and other adventure caving
  • Zipline tours
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking or “funyaking”
  • Adrenaline activities
  • Wildlife watching tours

Read on for more details about our recommendations for family activities in New Zealand.

Fun family activities in New Zealand with a toddler

New Zealand is known for its adventure sports, but most don’t cater to toddlers.

Luckily, there are plenty of fun activities you can enjoy with your young children.

1. Farm tours

Family on New Zealand farm tour Queenstown activities

Young children love interacting with farm animals. Most farm tours in New Zealand offer the chance for kids to pet, feed, or play with friendly farm animals.

Try the TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Farm Tour in Queenstown, the Agrodome in Rotorua, or a farm stay in the countryside.

2. The International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch

The International Antarctic Centre, one of the top family activities in New Zealand

Full of interactive experiences and conveniently located right beside Christchurch Airport, the International Antarctic Centre is great fun for toddlers.

3. Stroller-friendly activities

Ruakuri Cave family guided tour, Waitomo Caves, New Zealand activities

If your toddler doesn’t mind sitting or napping in a stroller for a few hours, you can choose stroller-accessible activities that don’t cater to your child.

Several top options include the Ruakuri Cave Tour in Waitomo (New Zealand’s only stroller-accessible cave), the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, and trails built from boardwalks such as the short stroll to the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.

4. Punting on the Avon in Christchurch

Whether your toddler naps on the boat or watches the scenery passing by, the unique experience of punting on the Avon River is ideal for families with young children.

5. The Christchurch Tramway

christchurch tram

This hop-on, hop-off tram tour of the historic Christchurch city centre offers the perfect balance of excitement for young children and informative narration for parents.

6. Snow play

If your toddler has never experienced snow before, playing in snow for the first time will be unforgettable.

In summer, take a scenic helicopter trip with a glacier snow landing; in winter, visit a ski field and have a blast in the designated snow play areas.

Fun family activities in New Zealand for young children

If your child is old enough to join in on most activities but too young for more extreme adventure sports, let them test the waters and play with these kid-friendly thrills.

1. The Skyline Luge in Queenstown or Rotorua

rotorua luge family activities in New Zealand

Younger children will have a blast riding the luge with a parent, while older kids will jump at the chance to drive themselves. This gravity-powered thrill ride is great for all ages. The Skyline Luge is one of the most popular Queenstown family activities.

2. Jet-boat rides

shotover jet

Exciting for all ages, jet-boat rides combine stunning scenery with high-speed spins.

Jet boats usually allow children ages 3 and up, but younger children might be intimidated by the high-speed thrills, so keep your child’s comfort levels in mind when choosing a jet-boat ride.

Top options include the Shotover Jet and Dart River Jet in Queenstown and the New Zealand Riverjet near Rotorua.

3. Puzzling World in Wanaka

Full of life-sized illusions and a 3D maze your kids can run around in, Puzzling World is a favorite with families.

4. Ski lessons

If you’re traveling in winter, why not sign your children up for ski lessons to see if they enjoy the sport? This is the perfect age to start.

The whole family can take lessons if this is your first time on the snow, or you can hit the slopes alone while your children learn.

5. The Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua

The Redwoods Treewalk, Rotorua, New Zealand

Get a new perspective on the forest with the Redwoods Treewalk, a series of walkways and suspension bridges high up in the canopy. This top family experience is enchanting at night, when the forest is lit up with lanterns.

6. Geothermal reserve visits

Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve Rotorua

Splash around in a foot bath, smear mud over yourselves in a mud pool, and marvel at geysers and jewel-colored springs. New Zealand’s geothermal reserves are full of excitement for kids of all ages.

Hells Gate is perfect if you want the mud-bath experience (or have kids who love the idea of dangerous geothermal pools that can turn a body into liquid within days), while Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland enchants with its brilliantly colored springs.

Fun family activities in New Zealand for teenagers

If your teens are active and outdoorsy, they’ll love sampling the wide range of adventure activities on offer in New Zealand.

Just keep the minimum age limits in mind when selecting activities. Some are suited for most ages, while others are only available for teens age 15 and up.

1. Blackwater rafting and other adventure caving

waitomo caves tours

Blackwater rafting–the fancy name for floating on inner tubes through caves filled with glowworms–is a classic New Zealand experience. If your teens get a kick out of water sports or cave adventures, this is a must-do.

Teens with a penchant for extreme sports can choose from a huge array of even more thrilling cave tours in the Waitomo area.

2. Zipline tours

Zipline tours are a great way for adventurous families to explore the forests of New Zealand. Rotorua and Queentown are top destinations for ziplining.

3. Hiking

Many of New Zealand’s famous hikes are perfect for families with active teens.

From the multi-day Great Walks to shorter excursions, New Zealand’s hikes are the best way to experience the country’s vast wildernes. Your guide can help you choose from hundreds of trails across the country.

4. Kayaking or “funyaking”

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand guided tour kayaks

To explore New Zealand’s rivers and stunning coastline, families with teens can opt for kayaking tours instead of more passive cruises.

For an unforgettable experience, try the Dart River Funyak Safari, which combines a jet-boat ride with an inflatable kayak trip.

5. Adrenaline activities such as bungy jumping, skydiving, whitewater rafting, and canyon swings

skydive wanaka

If you love extreme sports and adrenaline-seeking, now is the time to introduce your kids to the excitement.

For an all-you-can-eat buffet of adrenaline, stay in Queenstown and sample it all.

6. Wildlife-watching tours

If your teens are passionate about animals, they will jump at the chance to spot penguins, cruise past whales, or swim with dolphins.

Visit Kaikoura for whale watching, the Bay of Islands for swimming with dolphins, and Dunedin for penguin-spotting.

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