From exploring Hobbiton to crossing geothermal landscapes, the top things to do in New Zealand with family offer fun and excitement for all ages.
Find glow worms hidden in a deep cave, explore mountain slopes by bike, bask under the twinkling starlight at a Dark Sky Reserve, or witness the power of an erupting geyser. New Zealand blends a relaxed ambiance with a spirit of adventure that’s perfect for families with kids of any age.
The right mixture of active exploration during your tour of New Zealand with kids can make all the difference and we share our top recommendations for your family trip.
The Weta Cave can inspire and delight children of all ages as it immerses your family in the creations of the famous Weta Workshop.
Instead of actual caves, you will venture deep into the imagination of media artists as you learn the basics of how movie props are created, as well as how to craft digital effects as you are guided through the famous Lord of the Rings films.
The magic is not just in the movie-making, but the remnants of the films brought to life through physical and digital details for one of the most unique family-friendly tours in New Zealand.
A steaming active volcano, unforgettable panoramic views, and fun-filled drama with the family embody the spirit of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
The ever-changing landscape brings enough technical difficulty to keep families with older children and teens engaged on a full-day hike across the old lava fields and giant calderas. Embrace the puffing fumaroles as you feel immersed in the world of Middle Earth, with the landscape featured as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Here, fantastical scenery will meet your family’s expectations of adventure on one of the best great walks of New Zealand.
Mountain trails lace the surrounding beauty of Taupo to create an epic exploration through the forests and along the foothills that surround the glistening lake waters.
Your family can enjoy the thrills of steep gradients, hairpin turns, and exceptional views as you traverse Redwood forests or the river routes by choosing one or several of the more than 136 miles of singletrack riding in the area.
No matter what kind of travelers you and your kids are, you can find the right mountain biking trail for you, with New Zealand hiking tours a great alternative to exploring on foot.
The drama of nature springs to life in Rotorua as your family explores the geothermal activity that bubbles up in the mud and creates rainbow-colored lakes in one of New Zealand’s top places to visit.
Whether seen through the rising steam or beneath the soaring water of erupting geysers, Rotorua moves with endless excitement.
From finding the world’s largest hot spring to uncovering the intense colors of a valley, or learning how Maori have used the boiling waters to cook their food for more than a millennium, the geothermal activity in Rotorua is sure to captivate the entire family.
New Zealand’s natural beauty is often compared to the world of fantasy and the dream of different realms is brought to life on the Hobbiton movie set, once used as “The Shire” in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.
Tiny hobbit houses hide beneath the rolling hills and the aromas of fresh pasties drift out of the Green Dragon Inn. Whether fans of the folklore or simply interested in a unique perspective of the countryside, Hobbiton can easily bring out the inner child in any visitor thirsty for adventure.
As one of the world’s best filming locations to visit on vacation, a stop at Hobbiton with your kids is the perfect addition to your New Zealand tours as a family.
The pitch-black cavern may look like the night sky as you wind through the waters of the Waitomo Caves in search of its famous glowworms.
Impressive stalactites will dangle from the ceiling as stalagmites create obstacles around which the water travels for a fascinating family adventure that captivates children and adults.
Whether on a slow-moving boat or speeding through the black water on a raft, some of the best experiences in New Zealand, the glowworms will bring light to the darkness for a compelling way to experience New Zealand’s natural splendor.
New Zealand is famous for whale-watching possibilities, but Kaikoura on South Island tours is often the most popular point at which to venture out into the open waters to find whales, dolphins, and seals.
A range of birdlife brings a distinctive soundtrack to the water as you search for sperm whales diving in the distance, dolphins playing in the boat’s wake, or seals barking on the shore.
No matter the time of year, you can find the natural marine life around Kaikoura fascinating, with possibilities of viewing killer, humpback, and blue whales, as well as Hector’s dolphins, demonstrating the diversity of the ocean ecosystem.
While many travelers look down when visiting New Zealand to find the panoramas, one of the most exciting views in the country is when looking up and stargazing in Mount Cook’s Dark Sky Reserve.
As a designated protected area, your family can experience the depth of the galaxy just outside Wellington or, if visiting in winter, search for the Aurora Australis, the electrical phenomenon also known as the Southern Lights.
Whether interested in a face-pace excursion or the comforts of the alpine scenery, New Zealand is a remarkable destination for your family to embrace the wonders of the night sky when exploring the best of Mount Cook.
The TranzAlpine Train is one of the world’s greatest train journeys and can take your family through the mountainous spine of the South Island to connect Christchurch on the east coast with Greymouth on its western counterpart.
The exceptional scenic route demonstrates the natural and cultural history of the country as you find mining towns and dramatic passes, reflective lakes and access to renowned glaciers.
With expansive plains, epic mountain views, and meandering riverbeds, your family can revel in the wonderful landscape while in the comforts of the train, one of the best ways to travel around New Zealand.
New Zealand is a land of open space and welcoming culture, where your family can enjoy an unparalleled adventure or bask in nature’s beauty. Travel at your family’s preferred pace to balance cultural connection and active discovery that can take you cruising along the fiords of the South Island or sandboarding on the dunes of the North Island.