Family Holidays in New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the safest and most beautiful destinations in the world today. Taking the children for a holiday in the Land of the Long White Cloud is an opportunity to get them out of the electronic trap- the computer- mobile phone attraction that ties the younger generation to the internet for most of their day. Instead, let them enjoy the fresh air and outdoor life. And the fun attractions that abound in this glorious little country.
The Beauty of Nature
New Zealand is a country where the Great Outdoors is an attraction on its own. From the beauty of the beaches in the north to the dramatic fjords in the far south, this country offers a wide range of landscapes that will delight the most jaded child.
Such a long narrow country means there are two coastlines with two opportunities to find a glorious beach, from the far North, near Cape Reinga, down to the West Coast and beaches as far south as Oreti Beach in Invercargill, and even Stewart Island is blessed with lovely beaches. Swimming and boating are just the beginning of water-based activities that will entertain the whole family. Kayaks and Jet-skis, sailing and diving may all become the dream holiday for all the kin.
What child cannot resist the adventure of a forest walk to see an ancient giant? Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest) is believed to be between 1250 and 2500 years old, but some of the other trees date back 3000 years. Their size is incredible. Also, in the forests is the brilliant sound of the native birds and their beautiful songs. Bushwalking throughout the country leads to some wonderful scenery and experiences.
Rotorua is the centre of Geothermal activity in the country but not the only place that the wild forces of the Earth can be discovered. Volcanoes are found right through Aotearoa, with the best views of an active volcano close-up seen on White Island. Geysers and mud pools are a thrill for everybody, while warm pools are everywhere. Visit the Coromandel's Hot Water Beach or hot pools in Hanmer Springs in the South Island.
Mountains- Central Plateau & Southern Alps
Take the family to the mountains and see the snow. In the North Island there are the mountains of the Central Plateau, and in the South Island, you are spoilt for choice. Mt Cook is the most well-known mountain but many others offer great destinations for parents and their children to have a fun time.
New Zealand is fortunate to have two of the loveliest glaciers in the world handy enough for visitors to get close without too much difficulty. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef are a great way for kids to get to see a frozen river, but New Zealand actually has more than 3000 glaciers in the country.
The Wonder of Animals
Although New Zealand does not have many native mammals (just bats and marine mammals) the country has a wonderful selection of birds that are unique to Aotearoa.
The most famous of the flightless birds in our country; so important that we call our countrymen and women 'Kiwi's. This bird is an amazing creature that lays a huge egg in proportion to its own size. Kids love going for night bushwalks to try and see Kiwi in their natural environment or to try and spot them in the dark house at the Zoo.
Dolphin and Whales
Dolphins are a favourite in the water and there are a number of places that offer close encounters or swimming with Dolphins. Whale Watching is famous in Kaikoura but these giants can be seen in a number of places off the New Zealand coast; and what a thrill for the kids to see these marine creatures in the flesh.
Aotearoa's dinosaur is rare on the mainland and probably only seen at the Zoo. However, it is definitely worth seeing one of these creatures with their ancient ancestry.
Tui, Kea, Kaka, Kakapo, and other beautiful birds
You may be lucky enough to see some of these unique birds in the wild, but there are also many places to view them in semi-captivity. A day in nature among the trees and with the song of the birds is one of the great freedoms of the New Zealand lifestyle.
Kelly Tarltons & Zoos and Wildlife Parks
Auckland offers kids a fantastic day out in the underwater Aquarium Kelly Tarltons. There is also the Zoo, and Hamilton also has a Zoo while Christchurch has Orana Wildlife Park. Otorohanga has a Kiwi House and Wildlife Park and there are other places as well that have animals for kids to get in close contact with.
The Fascination of Learning about History and Culture
There are a number of really interesting museums and sites in different places in the country where kids can learn about History and Culture in a fun and interactive way.
Te Papa in the Capital city of Wellington is the most well-known museum, but a number of museums throughout the country can be included in a list of child-friendly places to spend a day. Among these would be Coaltown in Westport, the Kauri Museum in Matakohe in Northland, the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch and the Army Museum at Waiouru to name a few.
For an adventure from the Gold Rush era of the years gone by, Shantytown in the West Coast is a place that cannot be beaten. The kids not only get to see history coming to life, but they can join in by panning for Gold and riding in a horse-drawn coach.
Northland Historical sites
The northernmost province of New Zealand, Northland, is where the European history of the country began. The oldest buildings still standing today are to be found in Kerikeri, while the historic Treaty House at Waitangi is close by. The local town of Russel (Kororareka) was the first Capital of the country, and the early Mission houses around the area are still open for visiting. Kids love the displays put on by local Maori at the Treaty House, and a visit to the famous Flagstaff at Russell by boat across the bay is great fun.
The Joy of Getting Active
Kids love activity and running about. Get them out into the sunshine and fresh air with all sorts of fun activities. With the many beaches and rivers around the country, there are plenty of places for swimming, rafting, boating and other water-based sports. The mountains are there for skiing and tobogganing. Take a hike through the forest or bushes or ride a horse or a bike. Have a family day of activity and fun for everyone to have the best time.
The Enjoyment of Entertainment
Sometimes it is just fun to go to a Theme Park or Amusement Playground, and New Zealand has a large number of areas designed just for kids.
Auckland has a very popular theme park called Rainbow's End where kids can spend a day enjoying the rides and battling with bumper cars and boats. Try the Log Flume!
Other Amusement Parks
A large number of other attractions are spread around the country with different activities from Paintball to Escape Challenges and other adventures. Look out for Velocity City (Rotorua), Puzzle World at Wanaka, Troll Cave at Waitomo, Christchurch Adventure Park or Game Over in Queenstown.
New Zealand is not only one of the most beautiful countries in the world; it has much to offer all the family, especially the young and young at heart. The variety of activities and attractions means there is something for everyone, each member of the family from the oldest to the youngest!
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