Kiwi Families Tell Us About Their Favourite NZ Holidays

Thinking about where to go for your next family getaway? We asked parents to share their favourite NZ holiday destinations and the results are in!

These family-endorsed destinations range from the well-known to unexpected gems. For some local inspiration, check out these amazing Aotearoa family holiday spots, as recommended by our readers.

Please note: Venue information was correct at the time of publication. Please check with individual venues for the latest opening dates, times, prices, etc, before making plans.

Nau mai, haere mai Northland!


With its beautiful beaches and magnificent forests, Northland is a favourite destination for many families.

“We absolutely love going up north! Enjoying the magnificent Cape Reinga, sliding down the giant sand dunes and, of course, walking along Ninety Mile Beach.” Jessica M.

“We loved camping at the African Safari campground at Kawakawa and biking between Kawakawa and Opua. There’s also a little train which the kids enjoyed, local indoor swimming pool and lots of great cafes. Plus the Hundertwasser toilets! Kawakawa is ideally placed for a short trip over to Russell from Opua and an easy drive over to Waitangi and the amazing mountain bike park behind.” Becky T.

“I’d definitely say Paihia [as a family holiday hot spot]. So many tours to go on, parks and beaches, a short ferry ride to Russell and lovely little eateries plus watching the sunset is a huge bonus! We loved it there and did a Hole In The Rock tour and parasailing. So much fun!” Aija L.

Amazing Rotorua


With just a 3 hour drive from Auckland or 1.5 hours from Hamilton, Rotorua is an accessible holiday destination for many families. But this fascinating area also comes highly recommended by families for its variety of fun and interesting family activities.

Rotorua is our go-to with our boys. They love the outdoors and there’s plenty of exploring to do there, mountain biking in the redwoods, walking around the hot mud, swimming at the Blue Lake and plenty of attractions. We usually only do one paid attraction each visit and we go for about three days each time – enough to keep us busy! And it’s also close to Taupō or Mt Maunganui for day trips too!” Laurelle M.

“We absolutely love Rotorua, from the Canopy Tours to the thermal parks to the Luge, it has it all.” Michelle H.

“I can highly recommend the Skyswing at Skyline in Rotorua … scary but amazing! And one must get the video and photos as the facials are hilarious.” Frances T.

“Love Rotorua Skyline. My kids love the Luge, Jelly Bean store and ice-cream there. Love to visit again with them.” Natali M.

Rotorua was amazing, just so much to do, would love to go back – canopy walk, the luge, and Paradise Valley were all amazing.” Sarah G.

3D Trick Art Gallery in Rotorua – full of fun. My daughter and son both enjoyed acting out to take picture with the art. This place also has a farm tour which we missed but I am sure both attractions together make a perfect family day out plus lunch on-site.” Nilofa F

Rotorua and Taupō are our fave holiday spots – soooo much to explore there for all weather types. Paradise Valley Springs in Rotorua is our new fave!” Vicki B.

Fun central

Central North Island

The middle of the motu has some spectacular attractions including off-the-beaten-track treasures and fun family destinations such as Taupō and Hawke’s Bay.

“Our family trip to Taupō was so awesome. Miss 6 caught a rainbow trout on a fly rod [on a day trip over to the Tongariro Trout Centre] in a fly rod.” Miriam B.

“Our daughter still asks when we are going to go back to the Huka Prawn Park two years later. They absolutely loved it.” Harmony D.

“My beautiful daughter and I did an awesome road trip to Hastings for a holiday – sooo many awesome things to do! We visited Splash Planet, an animal farm, Arataki Honey, and The Strawberry Patch. [We] visited Napier on a day trip. Awesome memories to treasure together.” Angie H.

“We love visiting Kiritehere and Marakopa! Fossil hunting is the best.” Claire P. [Editor’s note: On the North Island’s western coast, Kiritehere Beach is hiding lots of treasures to be discovered – 200 million year old fossilised mussels, scallops and other shells.]

Southern destinations

Southern destinations

The South Island is bursting with family holiday recommendations including the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay at the top of the south, the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo (home to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd and dog statue), and onward to Queenstown – the adventure capital of NZ with loads of fun things for families to do.

“Tata Beach, [Golden Bay]. top of the South Island. Even in mid-winter it’s a beautiful spot for some fishing with the kids and they even went in for a swim. (The adults will wait to swim in summer!).” Ciarán B.

Kaiteriteri Beach! Golden sand, amazing campground, bike hire, playground and restaurants right on the beach – and the gateway to the beautiful Abel Tasman.” Tui B.

“We love going to Christchurch and had a great time on the Gondola in the last school holidays! The kids enjoyed the time tunnel at the top too.” Tina M.

Tekapo is a place you can go that [gives you] a good chance to be able slow down a bit and just ‘be’. Lots to do … everything about it was stunning. I came home feeling rejuvenated after a couple of days there and that’s all I really want from a holiday. Lots to do any time of year.” Gem B.

“We love Tekapo Springs especially in winter – ice skating, snow tubing, hot pools, great food and warm fires, and that’s just at the springs complex. Stargazing and walks to round out the activities depending on your budget.” Vicki R.

“We loved our time Lake Ruataniwha camping ground [Twizel]. Such a beautiful spot by the lake. We were also right on the doorstep of Mt Cook and loved hiking in the area, taking in the wonderful views.” Amy E.

Mt Cook and Tasman Glacier! So many good walks to do, and the most stunning scenery.” Heather P.

“Took my 16 year old to the Sensory Maze in Queenstown central, it was a great experience. She loved it. Highly recommended for children or teenagers who like puzzle worlds etc.” Sonia S.

“Taking the TSS Earnslaw across to Walter Peak Farm tours in Queenstown! Well worth the money, hand feed the animals, learn about the farm and a delicious afternoon tea! My kids, 14, 11 and 7, loved it.” Sarah W.

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Tell us in the comments below.

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