Travel to New Zealand with Kids

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Jun 18th, 2004, 09:03 AM
  #1
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Travel to New Zealand with Kids

We are going to New Zealand for 12 days in late November and early December. Our boys will be 7 and 8. We will arrive in Auckland and I'm trying to decide whether to head straight for the South Island, stay just on the North Island, or split up the trip. I've planned a lot of trips in my time, but this one seems really tough. Would love suggestions on lodging and activities. Our boys are very used to travel and are comfortable in adult environments. I thought about renting one of the motorhomes but my husband isn't really into that. We're looking for nice upscale accomodations but nothing completely over the top. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Jun 18th, 2004, 10:51 AM
  #2
ALF
 
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We traveled throughout NZ in a campervan with our 6-yr-old daughter and 9-yr-old son; we all had a blast! You could do both islands, but you will feel quite rushed. Either Island could be done well in 12 days. The S. Island has more scenic terrain, but the N. Island has more varied things to do.

You might want to consider hiring a campervan - it allowed us much more versatility, and saved us a lot of packing/unpacking time. Every town has at least one, 'Holiday Park' that caters to travelers, and usually has 'tourist flats' as well. Also, every single park and recreational area has a trampoline, which kids love, but which make parents nervous.

If you want nicer accomodations, look into the B&B network. Many owners have kids of their own, which our kids enjoyed. Some friends of ours run an upscale 'boutique' B&B booking service that you might want to check out: www.bookin.co.nz

N Island activities our kids enjoyed: Rainbow's End amusement park (Auckland), Kelly Tarleton's Underwater World (Auckland), Agrodome (Rotorua), Whakarewarewa Thermal Area (Rotorua), Craters of the Moon (Taupo), Waitomo Caves, Waitangi Meeting House, Cream Trip boat tour (Bay of Islands), Kauri forest and museum (Otamatea), Climbing Rangitoto volcano (Auckland), Hidden Valley (near Taupo), Maori Hangi (Rotorua), White Island Volcano (off Whakatane), Climbing Mt. Ruapehu (with Whakapapa chairlift assist!), Te Papa Museum (Wellington), Golden Hill Planetarium (Wellington).

Some S. Island activities our kids enjoyed:
Hiking Abel Tasman beaches (with water taxi assist), Pancake Rocks (Punakaiki), Paddling on the Porarari River (Punakaiki), Devil's Punchbowl hike (Arthur's Pass), Southern Encounter Aquarium (Christchurch), Queen Elizabeth II Park and Swim Complex (Christchurch), International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch), Heli-hiking Fox or Franz Josef glacier, Horseback riding (Lake Matheson), Rafting the Clutha River (Wanaka), Puzzling World (Wanaka), Blue Penguin viewing (Oamaru), Moeraki Boulders, Albatross Colony (Taiaroa), Penguin Place (Otago Peninsula), Dolphin-watching tour (Waikawa), Invercargill Pool Complex, Ferry to Stewart Island, Hike to 'The Chasm' (near Milford), boat tours of Milford and Doubtful Sounds, Skyline Gondola (Queenstown), Whale-watching (Kaiakoura), Mt. Cook.

Of course, the above constitutes far too much to do in 12 days (we spent 6 months), but it might help.

Al F.
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Jun 18th, 2004, 07:33 PM
  #3
 
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Hi Irjones,
AlF has certainly given you some great activities to do. I would recommend doing just one island, and contemplate a return visit to do the other island. Either island is good at that time of the year. The South Island has some vast distances between destinations, but beautiful scenery can be seen while travelling. However, I seem to remember our children didn't want to be looking at scenery all day! It is certainly worth a visit though, and doing some of the activities AlF recommended. The North Island destinations are closer together. Both islands have vastly differing scenery. I always use www.qualmark.co.nz when booking our accommodation, and have never had a problem. My husband has just chipped in - just do one island, as it would not be worthwhile trying to fit both in - you will need a holiday when you return home! Good luck with your decision - it's a difficult one.
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Jun 19th, 2004, 04:32 AM
  #4
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Thank you for the great replies. I knew I could count on Fodorites for help on this one. Given the choice between the two islands, I think I'm going to have to concentrate on the South Island. North Island sounds wonderful, but I don't know when we'll be back to NZ. I'm going to try to talk my husband into the camper van. Thanks again for the thoughtful replies.
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Jun 19th, 2004, 02:01 PM
  #5
ALF
 
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You could have the best of both worlds by hiring a campervan, then staying at several B&Bs along the way.
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