New Zealand offers nonstop family fun, with interactive museums, incredible nature encounters, and thrilling adventures. From north to south, these are the 7 top attractions your kids will love exploring on holiday to New Zealand.
1. Rainbow Springs Nature Park
At Rainbow Springs in Rotorua, kids can view native flora and fauna up close. The stars of the park are the kiwi birds – this rare chance to see New Zealand’s iconic national symbol in person delights kids and adults alike! Rainbow Springs also has a reptile exhibit with cool tuatara and alligator lizards. For hands-on interactions, kids can feed the trout in the fish pond or pet the wallabies roaming freely in their habitat. The mature native trees and lush greenery surrounding the walking paths make Rainbow Springs a beautiful natural experience.
2. National Aquarium of New Zealand
One of the top things to do in Napier with kids is visiting the National Aquarium. From massive sharks to seahorses, the aquarium houses over 1,000 marine species. Kids gravitate towards the touch pools, where they can get up close with rays, sea cucumbers, starfish and anemones. That’s not all – the aquarium also has a 360-degree walk-through ocean tunnel. As fish, rays and even small sharks swim overhead, it feels like being transported underwater! Between the interactive exhibits and tanks of glowing jellyfish, good luck tearing the kids away from here.
3. Skyline Rotorua Gondola and Luge Ride
For family thrills, take the gondola up Mount Ngongotaha just outside Rotorua. At the top, hop on a luge sledge and zoom down twisty tracks through the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest. Kids control the speed on these fun downhill sledge courses. After working up an appetite for racing luges, refuel at the Skyline Cafe with gorgeous views of Rotorua. The combination of the scenic gondola ride up, luge rides down through the forest, and stellar views of the region make this an unforgettable family activity.
4. Hobbiton Movie Set Tours
Fans of the Lord of the Rings movies will recognize the vivid green hills of the Shire in the Hobbiton Movie Set. Children delight in seeing Hobbit holes, the Party Tree, and the Mill up close on a guided tour. For kids with active imaginations, hearing stories about how scenes from the movies were filmed here and being in the real Hobbit village is magical. Tour the pub for a pint of cider before posing at the iconic round doors for photos kids will cherish.
5. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
One of the top museums to visit in Wellington with kids is the Museum of New Zealand, known as Te Papa. From Maori artefacts to cool science exhibits, there are interactive experiences for children of all ages. Don’t miss the earthquake simulator – it recreates the rumbling of New Zealand’s shaken landscape. Other highlights include massive whale skeletons, an eerie colossal squid display, and a living native bush area to explore. Te Papa brings New Zealand’s vibrant natural and cultural heritage to life for young visitors.
6. Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary
This is the best place to go New Zealand with children. At Zealandia in Wellington, kids can experience New Zealand wildlife up close along accessible walking trails and viewpoints. Native birds like the tieke (saddleback) forage on the forest floor as tuatara lizards bask in the sun. Seeing these species thriving in their natural habitat is impactful for kids. By night, Zealandia offers guided night tours to spot nocturnal kiwis snuffling along in the dark. The eco-sanctuary’s mission to restore New Zealand’s biodiversity makes for an enriching and inspiring family outing.
7. Shotover Jet Boat Ride
For pure thrills, take the family jet boating on the Shotover River in Queenstown. Kids will squeal excitedly as the jet boat does 360-degree spins, comes dangerously close to canyon walls, and speeds up to 85 kmph through the gorge’s shallow channels. The skilled drivers and powerful custom boats make this a wet and wild ride they’ll never forget. After zipping through the canyons, you’ll have enviable views of the mountains near Queenstown. The Shotover Jet thrill ride merits a top spot on any New Zealand family travel itinerary!
With so many great attractions, your kids will be begging to stay in New Zealand longer. Satisfy their thirst for adventure, nature, and culture at these fantastic family-friendly destinations. Making memories together in New Zealand will bond you for a lifetime!
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