Having a staycation is a great holiday option for families, enabling you to enjoy attractions and activities as a tourist while staying close to home. Now is a great time to share the discovery of something new in your local area and make lots of special memories as a family.
When life is busy and you’re in your regular routine, you can often overlook the fantastic opportunities for family fun and leisure that are right on your doorstep. A staycation (derived from the words ‘stay’ and ‘vacation’) gives your family the opportunity to enjoy local activities, explore new attractions, dine out in must-visit restaurants, and tick off some of those off-the-beaten-track areas that you’re often just too busy to get the chance to visit.
The benefits of a staycation
The beauty of a staycation is that you can make the most of even a short break. You don’t need to wait for leave from work as you can enjoy a staycation over a weekend or even just a single day off. Alternatively, you can enjoy a staycation over a longer period of time for an extended and relaxing break with the family, away from everyday stresses.
Also, being a ‘local tourist’ is a great way to connect with your community, learn about local history and stories, and support local businesses.
What makes a great staycation?
Involve the whole family in choosing a different activity or attraction for everyone to enjoy on each day of your staycation. Your itinerary could include:
- Attractions, ie museums, wildlife parks
- Free local destinations, ie park, bushwalk, playground, beach
- A festival or market
- Outdoor adventures, ie kayaking, horse riding, zip lining
- Take in a game at a local sports stadium or ground
- Exploring on a cycle trail
- Dining at a new restaurant
- Day trips to nearby towns or areas
Treat your staycation as you would any holiday and be sure to take lots of photos for family memories.
Not sure where to start? Head to the local i-SITE Visitor Information Centre for ideas on new things to see and do.
Your staycation is yours to create and enjoy. You could even embrace the tourist lifestyle and treat your family away to a night in a local hotel or other accommodation.
One day itineraries
To give you some ideas for your staycation, we’ve created a few itineraries that you could enjoy as a day trip within your city or region. Or if you live a little further away, why not add on an overnight stay at family-friendly accommodation?
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.
Auckland day trip
Morning: Head up to the top of the Sky Tower for a fantastic view and test your nerves on the glass floor.
Extra: From the Downtown Ferry Terminal, take the 12 minute ferry ride to Devonport.
Lunch: Take a short walk along the harbourfront to Torpedo Bay Cafe with a children’s playground and delicious food prepared fresh onsite.
Afternoon: Explore the military tunnels and bunkers at Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve (bring a torch!), then explore the walking tracks for views of Auckland city and Rangitoto Island, and nearby Cheltenham Beach.
Dinner: Take the ferry back and make your way to Swashbucklers Restaurant & Bar – a fun pirate themed dining experience in Westhaven Marina.
Wellington day trip
Morning: See over 100 species from around the globe at Wellington Zoo including African big cats, native species, monkeys, penguins, meerkats, and more.
Lunch: The iconic Chocolate Fish Cafe at Shelly Bay has indoor and outdoor seating with harbour views and flash sammies, plus salads, burgers and kids options.
Afternoon: Discover the magic behind the movies with a Weta Workshop Tour and see the artists at work.
Extra: Drive up to the Mt Victoria Lookout for a sweeping panorama of the harbour.
Dinner: Joe’s Garage is just a few minutes from the waterfront attractions, so you can venture down after eating to see the harbour at night.
Christchurch day trip
Morning: Zipline through the Port Hills, take in the city views from the chairlift, or hire a bike and experience the pump track at Christchurch Adventure Park.
Lunch: Grab lunch at the Christchurch Adventure Park before you head out to Banks Peninsula.
Extra: Take a short detour off the main route to Akaroa and stop at Montgomery Scenic Reserve to see the giant tōtara or venture a little further for great harbour views.
Afternoon: In Akaroa, jump aboard the award-winning Black Cat Cruises to see rare Hector’s Dolphins, penguins, sea birds, and volcanic sea cliffs.
Dinner: Finish your day with the perfect relaxed dinner from the world renowned and famous Akaroa Fish & Chip Shop.
Dunedin day trip
Morning: Check out the amazing views of Otago Harbour from the Signal Hill Lookout.
Extra: Walk up the world’s steepest street at the famous Baldwin Street.
Lunch: Stop in at Glenfalloch Garden Cafe & Restaurant for coffee and freshly baked treats in a stunning location.
Afternoon: Join a one-hour wildlife cruise with Monarch Cruises on the Otago Peninsula for stunning scenery, wildlife, and history. Spot sea lions, royal albatross, marine animals and more.
Dinner: You will be hard-pressed to find a more iconic venue for dinner than Cobb & Co. at the Railway Station with the traditional Cobb & Co. family-friendly hospitality in the beautiful Dunedin Railway Station.
- Find more fun family adventure ideas
- Made to share kai experiences around New Zealand
- Plan a trip to Wānaka and Cromwell with our destination guide
- Made to share nature experiences in Aotearoa
- Travel adventures with Richie & Gemma McCaw
Written by Kidspot NZ in partnership with 100% Pure New Zealand.