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Top New Zealand Locations for Family Trips

When choosing New Zealand locations for family trips, there are a few criteria to keep in mind:

1. Are there plenty of family-friendly activities to keep both kids and adults engaged?

2. Is the location close to an international airport, so you don’t need to spend too much time driving?

3. Does the town offer the right atmosphere for your kids? For instance, Queenstown might be too hectic for toddlers but exciting for teens.

These top New Zealand locations for family trips meet all the above criteria. Use these as a starting point when planning your next family vacation.

The Best New Zealand Locations for Family Trips

1. Queenstown

TSS Earnslaw Walter Peak Queenstown family trips New Zealand
A family excursion on the TSS Earnslaw from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm

Nowhere in New Zealand can beat Queenstown for the sheer diversity of options.

From mini golfing, luging, and farm tours to a whole host of adrenaline activities, Queenstown has plenty to interest children of all ages. And the city is surrounded by towering mountains and national parks, so your family can escape the bustle.

Since the frantic pace and noisy nightlife in downtown Queenstown might be too much for younger children, opt to stay outside the city center so your kids can sleep peacefully and enjoy the excitement in smaller doses.

Queenstown has its own international airport, and you can easily spend a week exploring the town and its surrounds with minimal driving.

2. Rotorua

maori culture Rotorua New Zealand locations for family trips
Watching a geyser in Rotorua

Situated right in the center of the North Island, Rotorua is both an exciting town and a great base for visiting nearby attractions.

In town, your kids will enjoy exploring geothermal reserves, learning traditional Maori dances, and walking on lantern-lit platforms suspended between redwood trees.

A little further afield, the Hobbiton Movie Set, the Waitomo Caves, and Lake Taupo are great kid-friendly destinations.

Rotorua is just over two hours south of Auckland Airport.

3. Wanaka

Wanaka family holiday New Zealand
A family picnic at the Wanaka lakeside

A more laid-back version of Queenstown, Wanaka is the ultimate family holiday destination.

Boasting the same exciting range of activities as Queenstown, Wanaka is much smaller and quieter–perfect for younger children.

In addition to Puzzling World and the Lavender Farm, both kid favorites, Wanaka is the nearest base to Cardrona Alpine Resort, New Zealand’s most family-friendly ski field.

Wanaka is just an hour from Queenstown Airport.

4. Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel beach, New Zealand family holiday
Swimming in the Coromandel Peninsula

If beaches are on your family holiday agenda, look no further than the Coromandel Peninsula.

Children will love digging their own hot pools in the sand at Hot Water Beach and walking the coastline to Cathedral Cove, while kayaking and snorkeling are on offer for more active kids.

The Coromandel Peninsula is a great destination to combine with Rotorua for a comprehensive North Island road trip with minimal driving.

Whitianga, the main sightseeing base on the peninsula, is located less than 3 hours from Auckland Airport.

5. Christchurch

things to do in christchurch
The hop-on, hop-off Christchurch Tramway

Though many travelers fly into Christchurch when visiting the South Island, the city is often overlooked as a destination.

However, Christchurch has a staggering range of activities geared towards young children. If you plan to fly into Christchurch, why not linger a few extra nights and enjoy the kid-friendly highlights?

Favorites include one of the best playgrounds in New Zealand, the International Antarctic Centre, the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve (where children can get a hands-on experience of Maori culture while encountering rare native animals), the Christchurch Tramway, the botanic gardens, and punting on the Avon River.

Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids in NZ Next >

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