Family adventure time

When contemplating how to spend a two-week family holiday in New Zealand, the country seemingly turns into one giant fantastical playground. From the sub-tropical treasures of the north to spending time observing nature’s most endearing critters in the south, and always something delicious to fuel your journey along the way, there are a multitude of unforgettable moments ready for the making. From this two-week timetable brimming with family fun, you can cherry pick a few days escape or take it on as one epic journey – whatever budget or time you have, there is always exploring to be done and experiences to cherish. Read on for inspiration…

DAYS 1-4
Fly to the winterless north, basing yourself at the resort-style Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands. Up this way, take your pick from a slice of history at the Waitangi Treaty Ground and Museum, or get water-bound with a Bay of Island Parasail tour. The next day jump in the car to head for the picturesque Hokianga – let your hair down with a whiz down the sand dunes, then fill your boots at the iconic overwater Boatshed Café in charming Rawene. On your way out of town, let the Maori guides at Footprints Waipoua introduce you to some of the ancient giants of the Waipoua forest. Need a pitstop on the way down to Auckland? Pick up some top-rate manuka nectar at The Honey Centre in Warkworth.

After resting your head in the big smoke, head south for two hours the next day and stop to smell the roses (literally) in the Hamilton Gardens. Lord of the Ring fans will want to take a detour to Matamata to connect with their inner hobbit. Then, the whole family will be rewarded when you get to Rotorua a couple of hours later; dip those weary bones at the famed Polynesian Spa before a good night’s sleep at Holdens Bay Holiday Park. Wake up and get stuck into Rotorua’s family friendly fun: the Skyline Gondola and Luge, and the geothermal and Maori culture wonderland at Te Puia. Time to jump in the car again and follow the road to New Plymouth, where you can find good grub and respite at the boutique Nice Hotel & Bistro.

DAYS 5-9
Art lovers will want to wake up and take time to absorb the wonders of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. Or for something more active, there are some terrific walks in Taranaki; choose from the easy breezy New Plymouth Coastal Walkway or if you’re feeling intrepid, head to the Mangorei Track at the Pouakai Crossing for a two-and-a-half hour self-guided trek. Two and a half hours drive away the next day and you’re in peaceful Whanganui. A gentle meander down the Whanganui River on New Zealand’s only coal-fired paddle steamer is a great introduction to these parts.

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