New Zealand travel destinations

Considering New Zealand travel destinations for your family. There sure are lots of actions adventure locations especially around places like Queenstown on the south island, but the activities are mainly aimed at adults.

Then how do these and other locations translate into family vacation opportunities and where are the best family friendly destinations. What's the best way to see the best of the New Zealand Tourist Attractions while keeping the whole family satisfied?

Top 10 New Zealand Tourist attractions


Let's Start with the official New Zealand travel site  lists in it's video sequence of the top New Zealand tourist attractions for families. 

  • New Zealand Accommodation - Serviced Apartments
  • Visit Hobbiton
  • Rotorua – Hot Pools to Hakas
  • Mountain Biking in Rotorua, New Zealand
  •  Skyline Rotorua: Family fun attraction in Rotorua NZ
  •  Waitomo Adventure Centre
  • Air Safaris, Mount Cook Scenic Flights - New Zealand
  • Summer camping Lake Tarawera New Zealand.
  • Hot Air Ballooning in Queenstown NZ
  • KiwiRail Scenic Journeys

Should I Take the Family to the South Island?

One of the first questions you will need to ask your family is should they go to the South Island? Before the hobbits and the Lord of the Rings many families opted to give this whole island a miss opting instead to stay closer to the major center son the North Island with all their child friendly activities. In a way you can even do this from the North Island by visiting  Hobbiton which is not far out of Auckland. 

 Hobbiton, Middle Earth locations for The Hobbit

But by constraining yourself to the North Island then you would miss out on all the spectacular landscapes  associated with the movie, and which more generally the South island has to offer. Then let's explore the opportunities for each island starting with the more popular North.

South Island of New ZealandSouth Island of New Zealand

New Zealand North Island destinations 

If you would simply like to do things easy and are restricted by time than sticking to the big (by New Zealand standards) locations of Auckland and  Rotorua is a fair option.

Auckland Tourist Attractions

You will more than likely start our journey around New Zealand after landing in Auckland. There is enough to do her to keep kids busy for a few days and visits to the Sky Tower to walk on the glass floor and enjoy views across the city is a popular choice many families take to get their bearings and become familiar with the lay of the land.  Other Tourist Attractions in Auckland Include:

  • The Auckland Zoo
  • New Zealand Maritime Centre
  • Antarctic Encounter
  • Butterfly Creek
  • Snowplanet

Rotorua Tourist Attractions


Rotorua sure has a lot to offer families.  The most famous attraction here are the hot springs, but there are plenty of other attractions kids will enjoy as well is the stench of sulfur from the springs and the kids reactions to it start to drive you batty.

The Hot Springs:

The Skyline complex has a host of kids friendly offerings from Gondola rides, a luge  and a zipline.

More Rotorua Tourist Atttractions:

Agrodome has long been a family friendly New Zealand attraction  for visitors looking to learn more about the farm culture.  You get to see farm creatures in action and there are opportunities for the little ones to cuddle baby animals available .

At the Polynesian Spa  family fun enjoy a the warm, 33˚C  waters including a  toddler’s section with small hydro slide .  Elsewhere warmer  mineral pools allow families to relax together.  Children under twelve need to have your supervision.

Wellington Tourist Attractions

Wellington is often these days touted as a trendy city, but that doesn't mean it is not kid friendly New Zealand travel destination. It is!

  • Around Windy Wellington enjoy Tongariro national park, Huka falls. Kids will like catching a cable car here or having a swim in the bucket fountain. 
  • Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, is highly kid friendly and you can enjoy the waterfront at the same time.
  • Why not take a chance to relax a little at  Oriental Bay.
  • Makara Peak track is a great opportunities to hike out some of that excess energy and enjoy views of the city.,
  • Wellington is also home of  day tours to Middle Earth vistas  Weta and the Weta Cave, which explores the  special effects of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Nelson New Zealand

Nelson is usually your destination if you are only popping over the Cook Strait to the South Island. Fun parks, beaches, zoos and a Wearable art Complex invite families to visit. This creative hub surrounded by rugged mountains also has  opportunities fo explore the local Maori culture

Visit : Tahunanui Beach

Queenstown New Zealand

The amazing clear water views over Lake Wakatipu and the amazing journey over the mountains to get here are almost enough to justify some of the less family friendly attributes of this modern tourist city.

If the kids like skiing, or mountain biking you will love it, but it's unlikely AT ALL that you will want to take them bungy jumping. There are also many Lord of the Rings locations here.

Train and Bus Travel in Newzealand

There are a couple of big companies that offer big discounts if you buy a pass.   Intercity and Nelsons have hop and off flexible passes.

While bus travel in New Zealand is certainly an option an exciting and predictable way to take your family across the wonders of the South are via the rail links. 

The TranzAlpine train starts in the  East coast at Christchurch and tackles the vast Southern.

New Zealand Packaged TOurs


New Zealand Encompassed

Packaged Tours of New Zealand are another good option.  This particular tour runs for a huge  24 day and delivers the "most immersive NZ experience possible". A few activities to enjoys include volcanoes, national parks, sustainable farms, kayak, surf lessons and fishing  the Bay of Islands.

See also the Highlights of New Zealand Tour

New Zealand Holiday Houses

 Note: that the list includes serviced apartments which are a good choice as it's accommodation preference.  But New Zealand also has excellent family friendly campgrounds, and really quite affordable transportable motor homes compared to many other countries.

New Zealand Holiday Homes at TripAdvisor