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Best Itineraries for New Zealand with Kids

New Zealand offers a plethora of adventures for family travelers. Whether you’re looking for an amazing road-trip, outdoor excursion, or to learn about a fascinating new culture, New Zealand is sure to captivate kids of all ages! Nature enthusiasts can marvel at New Zealand’s hot springs and waterfalls, while those seeking cultural experiences can engage with Māori peoples. Plus, aspiring artists will be inspired by nature and other visual traditions across the islands! New Zealand truly embodies Tolkien’s famous line in Lord of the Rings: “not all who wander are lost.” Speaking of which, New Zealand is also home to Hobbiton, a set made famous by the Lord of the Rings movies. With natural beauty, vast biodiversity, and unique history and culture, New Zealand is a wonderful place to wander and enjoy as a family! 

With so much to do and see, this is our list of the best itineraries for vacationing in New Zealand with kids to help you plan your next family vacation!

Traveling to Both Islands with Kids

New Zealand with Kids 16 Day Itinerary, Itinerary by Marcie in Mommyland

Screengrab from Marcie in Mommyland

Traci shares her New Zealand journey with a 4-year old in this amazing itinerary for Marcie in Mommyland. One of the few that doesn’t focus on road-tripping, Traci’s itinerary includes a number of ways to get around New Zealand’s mainland. Kids will be amazed by Auckland’s black sand beaches, Piha Beach, where they can splash all day long! Train enthusiasts will also love taking the Glenbrook Vintage Railway through the scenic route!  In Dunedin, visit the penguins at the Royal Albatross Centre, where the whole family can watch the penguins come ashore! Then, from Dunedin, drive to Queenstown for a lovely look at rural New Zealand. Children will surely delight looking out the window for sheep and cows! Once in Queenstown, take the gondola ride to the top of Bob’s Peak. And, on your last day, don’t miss Puzzling World for an afternoon of sheer fun!  Read more here.

New Zealand Itinerary: 3 Week North & South Island Road Trip, Itinerary by Earth Trekkers

Screengrab from Earthtrekkers

Earth Trekkers’ 3-week itinerary from Auckland to Queenstown includes great tips, including what to add or skip depending on your time. Not sure if you want to rent a car or a campervan? Blogger Julie shares why they elected to travel by car, which allowed her entire family to remain comfortable throughout the trip.

Once you arrive on the North Island, explore movie buffs shouldn’t hesitate to visit Hobbiton, the sight of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In Rotorua, go whitewater rafting, or visit Te Puia, where you can take a Maori-led tour of the geological wonder. Spend the next day getting your adventure on in Taupo, where you can bungee jump, kayak, or skydive.

On the south island, check out the Abel Tasman National Park, the Marlborough wine region, Christchurch, and lastly, the breathtaking Mount Cook! Families will enjoy making memories stargazing at the Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve. Read more here.

3-Week New Zealand Itinerary, Itinerary by Nomads with a Purpose

Screengrab from Nomads With A Purpose

This no-frills itinerary is perfect for families looking to tent camp, explore the outdoors, and travel on a budget.  Robyn shares her tips and insights for an action-packed New Zealand adventure perfect for teens and older kids. Beginning in Auckland and ending in Christchurch, it offers a truly stunning view of both islands.  Through this itinerary, embrace the best surfing, mountain biking, and hiking New Zealand has to offer! Surfing families will find helpful advice on catching the perfect wave off the north island. Families looking to hike across the islands will get a lot of great insights on parking, timing, and how kids might do on the long days hiking Tongariro, Isthmus Peak, and Mount Cook. If you’re thinking of backpacking through Abel Tasman, then check out their 3-day backpacking guide.  Fun family videos and pictures accompany a number of sites and excursions.  Read more here.

Traveling to the North Island with Kids

New Zealand North Island with Kids, Our 10-day New Zealand North Island Itinerary, Itinerary by Adventures with Family

Screengrab from Adventures With Family

Rosie, the mom behind Adventures with Family, shares her 10-day road-trip itinerary for New Zealand’s north island with three kids. Through this itinerary, families can explore Auckland, Plymouth, and Rotorua, to name a few of the cities.  One of the overnights includes staying at one of New Zealand’s iconic sheep habitats: Belmont Farm. Kids will love seeing the animals and learning about life on the farm! While on North Island, you will also get to explore one of the most breathtaking caves in the world – the Waitomo Glow Worm Cave. Children will also marvel at the volcanic loop around the Tongariro National Park, a vast geological park showcasing New Zealand’s natural beauty. On your final few days, explore Auckland, including a trip to the Auckland Harbour. Further down the blog, find tips for planning a campervan vacation, accommodation recommendations, and family-friend attractions.  Read more here.

Kristy’s itinerary for the South Island of New Zealand with kids in a campervan, Itinerary by Not A Ballerina

Screengrab from Not A Ballerina

Get ready for some breathtaking views! If you’re considering a road trip focused on New Zealand’s South Island, this is a great itinerary to begin planning. Starting in Christchurch, it focuses on amazing sights along the way, including stops in Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, and Lake Wanaka.  Each city includes where they parked the campervan, along with great activities and food recommendations for families. For example, be sure to check out the Walter Peak Farm Cruise and Tour in Queenstown, where kids can pet llamas, alpacas, and other native life! Then, grab dinner at Brazz, where you can cozy by a fireplace while kids play with toys. If you plan to take a stroller, Kristy also included some insights about stroller-friendly options at Mount Cook. Plus, both her daughters were both under age 3, so this is also a perfect read for anyone traveling with toddlers. Read more here.

A very family-friendly destination, New Zealand has a lot to offer all travelers, no matter their interests.  Everyone in your family is sure to find something that checks their travel ‘must-do’ list. Whether finding a city or two to explore or doing a cross-country road trip, the stunning New Zealand landscape, distinct culture and history, and incredible biodiversity are sure to make it one of your family’s most memorable vacations.  Hopefully, this list of the best itineraries for vacationing in New Zealand with kids gets you planning your own memorable travels!

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Families Love Travel Team

The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.
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