Planning the Perfect New Zealand Family Holiday is important. Where do you start? Its a fine balance between pleasing parents and children. Here are the most important things to remember:

Plan your New Zealand family holiday early

New Zealand has a fairly small population base of about 4.8 million – the entire population of Melbourne City! This means that you’re accommodation options are not as great as those in larger populated countries. Keep in mind accommodation in New Zealand is booked up well in advance. Take for example the Christmas / New Year period – you really want to plan 9-10 months ahead to get what you’re looking for. You can also save your family a truck-load of money by securing airfares early. One thing is for certain, those airfares won’t go down during the peak summer season. In fact, travelling New Zealand off season is often a more pleasurable experience.

More times at less locations

Travelling with a family in tow, comes with certain stresses. You don’t want to be packing up and moving on every day – especially when you have very young children. So a key recommendation is to stay longer in key locations. That’s far better than choosing too many locations and frantically hopping from one to another. Having fewer key locations will enhance your holiday experience. You’ll get so much more to see and do. There’ll be little chance of your kids getting bored – review New Zealand map and distances.

How to travel – car or motorhome?

So how do you decide on how you’re going to travel – by motorhome or rental car. There are pros and cons to motorhome and rental car travel. If you’re travelling with smaller children, a motor home trip is a great ‘adventure’ for the kids!. During the spring and autumn season, this is works well and is very cost-effective. During the summer season – especially Christmas and New Year – motor home travel is costly. It can actually cost even more than a rental + accommodation combo. A great strategy is to split your trip up. Travel the North Island with a car and the South Island, with a motor home.

Accommodation – where to stay?

An important aspect for a lot of families is having contact with local New Zealanders and enjoying their hospitality. This is more likely to occur at a local farm cottage rather than a busy camping ground.

How to choose the right accommodation option

Let’s say that by now, you have a fair idea of where you want to go and how long you want to stay. The next step is checking out accommodation options. A lot of New Zealand family holiday itineraries include a farmstay in a rural area. This makes sense, as New Zealand is famous for its sheep farms and rural life. There are some wonderful hosts in New Zealand’s rural heartland.There are a number of cottage or holiday home options families can use. Sometimes a local B&B’s ticks the box as a great ‘local’ hosting experience.

Tour options with your New Zealand family holiday

New Zealand is one of the best places in the world for outdoor activities and tours. But there are some fascinating indoor highlights as well. The Kiwi bird night houses and Wellington’s Te Papa National Museum is not to be missed. Selecting the right tours will often depend on the children’s ages and heights. Take jet boating trips – these require the children to have a minimum height. Helicopter trips can be free of charge for infants or smaller children under a certain weight. New Zealand does have tour companies specialising in children’s outdoor activities. For more serious glacier hiking trips, children should be at least 12 years of age, physically fit and used to walking for 2-3 hours.

Summary on planning a New Zealand family holiday

Planning a New Zealand family holiday is pretty straight forward.  Just remember the three golden rules: Firstly, plan early, consider times and locations and thirdly, mix accommodation and tour options. Follow this simple strategy and your family will have a wonderful time in New Zealand. Here’s another suggestion… bring good rain jackets – we can have ‘four seasons in one day

view sample travel itineraries

Happy travelling with your family in New Zealand!

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