Planning Your New Zealand Family Holiday

Family trip in New Zealand

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Embarking on a family holiday to New Zealand is an exciting adventure that promises unforgettable memories. This island nation, known for its stunning landscapes and rich Maori culture, is a haven for families looking to explore, learn, and relax. 

    Whether you're traveling with toddlers or teenagers, New Zealand offers a plethora of activities and attractions to keep everyone entertained. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you plan your trip.

    When to Visit New Zealand in a family-trip

    The best time to visit New Zealand with a family is during the summer months (December to February), when the weather is warm and sunny. However, it is important to note that this is also the peak tourist season, so prices will be higher and accommodation may be more difficult to book. 

    If you are on a budget, or if you prefer to avoid the crowds, you may want to consider visiting during the shoulder season (March to May or September to November).

    New Zealand offers a diverse climate that varies between the North and South Islands. This means that there's always something to see and do, regardless of when you decide to visit.

    Summer (December-February):

    • This is the most popular time to visit New Zealand, especially for those looking to enjoy sunny beach days, water adventures, beautiful bush walks, and mountain hiking.
    • The average daytime temperature ranges between 20 - 25˚C (68 - 77˚F).
    • It's the high season, so expect more tourists, both international and local Kiwis making the most of their summer break.

    Kids in New Zealand

    Autumn (March-May):

    • If you prefer warm days but fewer crowds, autumn is an excellent time to visit. Early in the season, you can still enjoy beach swims, especially in the northern parts.
    • The days are warm, with temperatures averaging 17 - 21˚C (62 - 70˚F), but the evenings start to cool down.
    • The changing foliage offers a picturesque landscape, making it a great time for bush walks and hikes.

    Winter (June-August):

    • This season is a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts. Popular spots for skiing and snowboarding include Queenstown and Wanaka in the South Island and the Central Plateau in the North Island.
    • Most ski fields open in June, with the highest snowfall typically occurring in July and August.
    • The average daytime temperature during winter is between 12 - 16˚C (53 - 61˚F).

    If you're planning to drive in snowy areas, it's essential to carry chains and be cautious on the roads.

    Spring (September-November):

    • As the weather starts to warm up, spring is a delightful time to visit. However, there's a higher chance of rainfall during this period.
    • Some ski fields might still offer spring skiing, and the countryside becomes vibrant with lambs and blossoming flowers.
    • Daytime temperatures in spring average between 16 - 19˚C (61 - 66˚F).

    How to Get There

    • Major airlines operate flights to New Zealand's primary international airports: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
    • Consider booking in advance to avail of early bird discounts.

    Where to Stay

    • New Zealand boasts a range of family holiday accommodation options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels.
    • For a unique experience, consider renting a campervan from Campervan New Zealand. It offers the freedom to explore at your own pace and ensures a comfortable stay with amenities like a kitchenette and bedding.

    What to Pack for New Zealand

    The key to packing for New Zealand is versatility due to its diverse climate:

    What to pack for Summer (December-February):

    • Light clothing like t-shirts, shorts, and dresses.
    • Sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to protect against the potent sun.
    • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops.

    What to pack for Winter (June-August):

    • Warm clothing including thermal wear, sweaters, and a heavy jacket.
    • If you're visiting snowy areas, consider packing snow boots, gloves, and a beanie.
    • Scarves and earmuffs for added warmth.

    What to pack for All Seasons:

    • A waterproof jacket or raincoat for unpredictable showers.
    • Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots if you plan to explore trails.
    • Travel adapters suitable for New Zealand outlets.
    • Essential medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
    • A good quality camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking landscapes and memories.
    • If you're planning to camp or stay in remote areas, consider packing insect repellent.


    • New Zealand can be experienced on various budgets. Plan in advance, considering expenses like accommodation, food, activities, and transportation.
    • Look for NZ family holiday packages to save on costs.

    Best Places to Go in New Zealand with a Family

    North Island

    • Auckland: Known as the "City of Sails", it offers a mix of urban and natural attractions.
    • Rotorua: Experience geothermal wonders and Maori culture.
    • Waitomo: Explore the famous glowworm caves.
    • Taupo: Enjoy the serene lake and nearby Huka Falls.
    • Bay of Islands: A paradise for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts.

    South Island

    • Queenstown: The adventure capital, offering activities like bungee jumping and skiing.
    • Wanaka: A quieter alternative to Queenstown with equally stunning landscapes.
    • Mount Cook: New Zealand's highest peak and a haven for trekkers.
    • Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier: Experience the thrill of walking on glaciers.
    • Christchurch: Rebuilt after the 2011 earthquake, it offers a mix of old and new attractions.

    Things to Do in New Zealand with a Family


    New Zealand's Natural Beauty on Foot New Zealand is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, and there's no better way to experience them than on foot. Whether you're exploring the coastal tracks, forested pathways, or alpine routes, there's a trail suitable for every age and fitness level. 

    Families can embark on short walks to scenic viewpoints or take on multi-day hikes through national parks.


    Pedal Through Picturesque Terrains Cycling is a fantastic way to explore New Zealand's diverse terrains. From leisurely rides through vineyards and along coastal paths to challenging mountain biking trails, there's something for everyone. 

    Families can rent bikes and explore at their own pace, discovering hidden gems along the way.

    Biking in New Zealand


    Embrace the Great Outdoors Camping in New Zealand offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature. Designated campgrounds provide facilities like restrooms and cooking areas, ensuring a comfortable experience. 

    Whether you're setting up a tent by a serene lake or parking your campervan amidst lush greenery, the starry nights and morning bird songs make it all worthwhile.

    Camping in New Zealand


    Catch a Wave Down Under New Zealand's extensive coastline boasts numerous surfing spots. From the gentle waves perfect for beginners to challenging breaks for seasoned surfers, there's a beach for every skill level. Families can take surfing lessons, ensuring a safe and fun experience for the kids.

    Surfing in New Zealand

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    Glide Through Tranquil Waters Kayaking offers a unique perspective of New Zealand's waterways. Paddle through serene lakes reflecting the surrounding mountains, navigate rivers winding through forests, or explore the coastline's hidden coves. Guided tours are available, providing insights into the local ecosystem and history.

    Kayaking in New Zealand

    Visit a Māori Village

    Dive into Indigenous Culture Experience the rich Māori culture by visiting a traditional village. Engage in interactive performances, witness the iconic haka dance, and savor a traditional hangi feast. It's a chance for families to immerse themselves in New Zealand's indigenous heritage.

    Maori VIllage in New Zealand

    Learn about the Treaty of Waitangi

    A Glimpse into New Zealand's History The Treaty of Waitangi is a foundational document in New Zealand's history. Families can visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the treaty was signed, to understand its significance and the nation's journey towards biculturalism.

    Traty of Waitangi

    Visit a Museum or Art Gallery

    Celebrate Kiwi Creativity New Zealand boasts a plethora of museums and art galleries showcasing the nation's artistic and historical treasures. From Maori artifacts to contemporary art, families can discover the stories and talents that shape New Zealand's identity.

    Museum in New Zealand

    Theme Parks

    Thrills and Fun for All Ages While New Zealand is an adventure playground in itself, several theme parks offer rides, shows, and attractions tailored for families. Whether it's roller coasters, water rides, or interactive exhibits, there's endless entertainment in store.

    Wildlife Encounters

    Meet New Zealand's Unique Inhabitants From encountering the elusive kiwi bird to swimming with dolphins, New Zealand offers numerous wildlife experiences. Families can visit sanctuaries, reserves, and marine parks to learn about and interact with native species.

    Whale Watching in New Zealand

    Aquatic Parks

    Dive into Refreshing Fun Beat the summer heat by splashing around in one of New Zealand's aquatic parks. With slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers, it's a fun-filled day for kids and adults alike.

    Adventure Activities

    For the Thrill-Seekers New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world. From zip-lining through forests to white-water rafting down roaring rivers, there's an adrenaline-pumping activity for every daredevil in the family.

    Rafting in New Zealand

    Is New Zealand Good for Kids?

    Absolutely! New Zealand is renowned for its array of child-friendly adventures, from nature treks and animal encounters to exhilarating sports. Its notable safety and hospitable ambiance make it an ideal destination for families with kids.

    The majority of its tourist attractions are outdoor activities, which is perfect for kids who love to explore. Playgrounds are easily accessible throughout the country, and those traveling with young children will find baby-changing facilities without any hassle. 

    Many cafes and restaurants are family-friendly, offering toys and high chairs. Additionally, there are stroller-accessible walks in numerous national parks and attractions.

    However, it's essential to note that while many activities are free for kids under five, older children might incur a fee. Public transport can sometimes be challenging, so renting a car (and car seats, if needed) is often the best way to explore. Given New Zealand's strong sun, always ensure children wear sunscreen and protective clothing.

    Tips for Traveling to New Zealand with a Family

    Getting Around

    Renting a campervan from Campervan New Zealand is an excellent way to explore the country. It offers flexibility and ensures you have a comfortable place to rest at the end of the day.

    Kid with a van in New Zealand

    Staying Safe

    • Follow local guidelines, especially when participating in adventure activities.
    • Ensure you have travel insurance to cover any unforeseen events.

    What to Eat

    • Try local delicacies like the Hangi, Pavlova, and Kiwi fruit.
    • New Zealand offers a range of dining options to suit all budgets.


    A family trip to New Zealand promises a mix of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. Whether you're exploring the bustling streets of Auckland, trekking in Mount Cook, or relaxing by the beaches in the Bay of Islands, there's something for everyone. 

    Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. So, why not make it memorable by renting a campervan and exploring New Zealand at your own pace? Discover the beauty of New Zealand with kids and create memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels!

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