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NZ with little kids, nature and minimal driving

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I'm headed to NZ in Jan 2015 for about 2 weeks in country with my 5 year old, 20 month old, their grandpa (70 years old), and my husband. It will be the first trip for everyone but my husband, and we're coming from the eastern US so it will be a long trip, but worth it I'm sure.

I have read up on where to go/itineraries, but most involve lots of driving. Since we don't have that much time, and driving with our kids isn't much fun, we'd like to focus on a few places on the South Island where we can do short day-hikes (that a 5 year old can do), boat trips, and animal (especially bird) watching. We plan to return in 8-10 years to do multi-day treks when the kids are older; this trip is to enjoy time with their grandfather in a fabulous place.

Any suggestions for where to go? We'd like to focus on national parks, but will stay in hotels/inn rather than camp or travel in a campervan. Ideally, we'd stay in 3-4 different areas at most. We know we want to do a day-long pelagic trip (probably without me or the baby) and go on a boat trip to see fjords in one of the sounds. My son wants to see anything volcanic and the fern trees.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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