FAMILY FRIENDLY EXPERIENCES
Discover some of New Zealand’s unique wildlife in one of the many animal parks and zoos. Meet the iconic white Kiwi, see King Penguins at play on an Antarctic encounter or swim with dolphins.
Underground volcanic and tectonic activity have been shaping our land for thousands of years. As a result, our natural hot pools – particularly around Rotorua – are popular with locals and visitors alike; a soak in the waters of Kerosene Creek or Waiotapu Stream is uniquely relaxing. Hell’s Gate has the only geothermal mud baths in New Zealand, while Polynesia Spa is world-famous for its lakefront mineral springs. In the Coromandel, head to Hot Water Beach at low tide to dig your own natural warm spa in the sand. Thermal pool complexes are also found at the likes of Waiwera in the north and Hanmer Springs in the south.
New Zealand boasts some of the most unique birdlife in the world – a quarter of our birds are found nowhere else on the planet. As well as the famous flightless kiwi, this is the home of the pukeko and takahe, the tui, and the kea to name a few. There are also three species of penguin, all found in the South Island.
This is also a fantastic country for whale and dolphin spotting – the rare Hector’s dolphin is a South Island exclusive. There are sightseeing cruises available wherever these astonishing creatures are found; you can even swim alongside them in the right conditions.
Other family friendly activities include farm tours, horse riding and visiting the Waitomo glowworm caves.
Get a feel for our history and culture at one of the country’s many museums. Auckland’s MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) is a hit with children and Wanaka’s Transport & Toy Museum appeals to all ages. Every town and city has its own selection of museums, but whatever you do, make time to visit Te Papa – the Museum of New Zealand – in Wellington. Open every day of the year, its collections span art, history, nature, and Maori and Pacific exhibitions, and are renowned for being informative, innovative, and fun.
New Zealand’s individuality is not only expressed through stunning landscapes and scenery. If you have a long list of gifts to buy you’ll be impressed by the high quality, and range, of souvenirs on offer. From gorgeous pounamu (jade) ornaments and jewelry, hand-crafted glass and local wood products, to beautiful merino or possum knitwear and sheepskins – you’ll easily find something special for even the hardest-to-please.
If you fancy yourself a fashionista, indulge in a little retail therapy and seek out New Zealand’s world-class, home-grown designers. Karen Walker, Zambesi, Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester and World are some of the well-known Kiwi labels on the international fashion circuit. For younger, edgy fashion, look out for labels Huffer, Ruby, Madame Hawke and Storm.