If exciting family-friendly outdoor fun is what you seek, then New Zealand is the destination for you. The country boasts of a wide array of activities that both adults and children will find interesting and challenging.
Milford sound at Sunset. Credit: Ken_Lecoq
The whole family will enjoy the varied wildlife and thrill-seeking adventures while experiencing diverse nature-based activities. There are many zoos and National Parks in New Zealand, where you’ll get to see playful penguins, meet the iconic kiwi and swim with seals or dolphins. The best part is that you can access many of these amazing outdoor activities for free. Travelling through NZ is easy to do with children, so take advantage of the following New Zealand adventures with your family.
A Queenstown Hiking Trail. Credit: Mariamichelle
The best destinations to enjoy hiking adventures in New Zealand include Franz Josef Glacier, Mount Cook National Park, South Westland World Heritage Area and Mount Aspiring National Park.
- Franz Josef Glacier: Franz Josef is New Zealand’s steepest glacier and its landscape is constantly changing. The glacier slopes down into a lush rainforest all the way from the Southern Alps. It moves at a speed above the average glacier, which has made for some incredible features like seracs, tunnels, crevasses and ice caves. If you’re lucky, you might even see a chunk of ice calve from the glacier and into the river (from a safe distance). Wear warm, waterproof clothing and pay close attention to the safety signs in the valley, as ignoring them could be hazardous. To be on the safe side in all your adventures, remember to get travel insurance Air New Zealand before taking off.
- Aoraki Mt Cook National Park: Aoraki / Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain and serves as a backdrop for many awesome hikes on the South Island. The mountain is surrounded by beautiful landscape, including tussock lands, snow-capped peaks, incredible blue lakes and glaciers. All of these combine to make it an astonishingly beautiful place for hiking.
- South Westland World Heritage Area: The west coast features some remarkable hidden treasures that you and your family can explore. For instance, you can hike the spectacular Fox Glacier and gape at its ice caves and crevasses. The podocarp forest and natural hot pools in Westland National Park are also delightful places to trek.
- Mount Aspiring National Park: If you want to see New Zealand’s backcountry, then go hiking in Mount Aspiring National Park, a large mountainous wilderness. It has hanging valleys, high mountains, wild braided rivers and alpine lakes, making it a spectacular hiking destination.
- Beaches and rainforests of the west coast: Auckland’s black sand beaches and verdant rainforests are also great places to hike. The coastal rainforest borders the entrance of the Arataki Visitor Centre, from where from where you’ll find beautiful panoramic views that extend all the way from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea.
Go Kayaking in Lake Mapourika
Kayaks ready for Abel Tasman National Park. Credit: BKD
The stunning views of Lake Mapourika will leave you speechless. A serene oasis enclosed by the Southern Alps with spectacular views of mountaintops and glaciers, Lake Mapourika connects with the famous Franz Josef Glacier. You can explore the area by kayaking down from the glacier. Paddling on the tranquil, mirror-like waters of Lake Mapourika during sunset is a relaxing experience like no other. Explore the edges of the forest whilst listening to the melodious tunes of the native bellbird. Hike through the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary and take in the views of glaciers, Jurassic forests and jagged mountains. No doubt you and your family will have a fantastic time here.
Go on a family rafting trip
The Shotover Jet in Queenstown. Credit: inas
The famous Shotover River in Queenstown is the number one place to go rafting with your family. The Grade 1 and 2 rapids promise little white water and some bouncing, but besides that a fairly easy ride. Negotiate sharp bends or rocks and work your way downstream with the help of a skilled guide. The fact that the rafting adventure is a mellow one does not in any way make it less impressive. Your kids will love every minute they spend here.
Jet Boat in the Rakaia Gorge
The gushing waters and rocky banks of the Rakaia Gorge are home to trout and salmon. Hold on tight as your driver manoeuvres the jet boat through the river. Feel the splash of cool water on your skin and powerful wind in your hair, as the boat twists and turns. The stunning scenery is a spectacular sight to behold.
In New Zealand, family days out are on a completely different level, making exciting discoveries and unforgettable memories.