14 Day - Family Fun & Adventure

Family Kayaking

This 14 day trip includes many of New Zealands iconic attractions, but with a focus on matching the curiosity and energy levels of young travellers….. Think glow-worm grottos, boiling mud and geysers or soaking in volcanically heated springs.  We know kids don’t have fun with scenery alone, that’s why we’ve added some good wholesome fun, like gold panning, scenic kayaking, swimming with the dolphins and even the crazy ‘Zorb’.

Use this sample itinerary as a starting point. Pick and choose activities to suit  your family or add days to spend more time in an interesting spot.  The accommodation chosen is family friendly and can easily be changed to  5-star resorts to camping. We can even arrange your own private guide.

Day 1 - Kia Ora – Welcome to Auckland “The City of Sails”

Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. Add a mild climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, also known as the City of Sails. Settle into your suite at Quay West Suites; a luxury apartment hotel, ideally located in the very heart of Auckland city.

Whether it is the height of summer or a crisp winter's day, Auckland's sparkling Waitemata Harbour is a thing of beauty.  Take an afternoon or evening cruise which includes going under the Auckland Harbour Bridge and into Westhaven Marina for a glimpse of super yachts and the bustling viaduct.

Two Nights Accommodation at Quay West Suites in Auckland. These luxury apartments are ideally located in the very heart of Auckland city, just a stroll away from vibrant restaurants, harbour cruises and fabulous shopping.

Day 2 - Auckland’s Top 14 Attractions Tour

Kelly Tarltons family fun Auckland

A hop on hop off sightseeing tour with full commentary visiting Auckland's big 14 attractions, activities and shopping areas. The buses depart every 30 minutes in summer. Entrance fees are not included in the price as you choose where and when you want to get off the bus. The tour lasts as long as you do - take an hour to sight see or a whole day to visit all the attractions. Visit Mt Eden, Kelly Tarltons Underwater World, the Rose Park Gardens, Auckland Museum, Parnell Village, Auckland Zoo and the Sky Tower. This is a fabulous way to explore the city and its surrounds.

Sightseeing and activity options available:

 

Day 3 - Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves

Today head south to the green rolling landscapes of the Waikato,  yet this is one region in particular holds more than just surface appeal… literally. For Waikato also boasts an extensive labyrinth of underground caverns that formed over millions of years.

The caves at Waitomo are one of New Zealand's most commanding wonders – a celebration of nature's work over the last one hundred thousand years. There are hundreds of miles of labyrinthine caves, glow-worms, under ground lakes, stalactites and stalagmites, and all manner of limestone crustaceans - a lost world waiting to be discovered.

Choose a caving experience that suites you:

One Nights Accommodation at at the Hobbit Motel at Woodlyn Park. A worlds first, built alongside the now well established Train Carriage and Aeroplane Motels. A unique experience and don’t forget to, the Hobbits add yet another dimension to this unique complex.

Day 4 - Discover the Geothermal Wonderland of Rotorua

Your journey to Rotorua will take you through a mixture of farmland, lakeland and forest. You’ll know you’ve arrived in the city of Rotorua when you see (and smell!) the geothermal steam plumes.

Geysers, mud pools and thermal springs have been attracting visitors to Rotorua since the 1800s and the living, breathing landscape never fails to amaze. Perched on the edge of a large lake, in the crater of an ancient volcano, this picturesque city is also the heartland of New Zealand's Maori culture. With 16 sparkling lakes within 20 minutes drive of the city, as well as magnificent forests surrounding, Rotorua has earned the reputation as the North Islands outdoors adventure centre offering an exciting array of experiences.

Sightseeing and activity options available:

Two Nights Accommodation at the Novotel Lakeside Hotel. Witness the lifting of the Hangi (Maori food) and sample the traditionally steamed cooked food prepared in the Hotel's Hangi pit, along with experiencing Maori culture with the Matariki Cultural show. Relax at the end of the day in the contemporary designed Spa; the perfect retreat from the outside world with treatment facilities, a heated pool, and separate mineral pools - its simply divine!

Day 5 - Gondola Ride and Luge - Rotorua

Here is a couple of great family excursions to do today:

Skyline Gondola and Activities: Explore and enjoy the panoramic views of Rotorua from Skyline, reached by gondola. Head down the mountain by luge; it is a fun filled gravity ride on a 3 wheel cart. The unique braking and steering system provides the rider full control, cruise down the concrete sealed tracks that wind down through the redwood trees. Riders return to the top of the luge on a specially designed chairlift.

The Agrodome: This is a 160 hectare working sheep and cattle farm combined with an adventure theme park.  It gives you a real hands on experience of farming with sheep, goats, cattle, deer and baby lambs. If you want some adventure, try the Zorb; this involves rolling up to 30 kilometres per hour downhill inside a huge inflated ball. You have about 700 mm of air between yourself and the ground, that's about 2 feet... It’s a blast!

Day 6 - South Island, Kaikoura & Whales

Take a morning flight to Blenheim; in the Marlborough region in the heart of this premier wine making district. Enjoy lunch at a vineyard café before driving approx 2 hours to Kaikoura.

Few places in the world can boast of such natural wonders as those offered by land and sea in Kaikoura. Known as the “Serengeti  of the Sea” the undersea world of Kaikoura beholds a vast array of wonderful and unique marine creatures, from the smallest invertebrate through to the giant sperm whales. The rich diversity of wildlife found means that every day is a chance to see something different and unique - and you will.

Here in this marine playground is the mighty Sperm Whale. These resident bachelors dive to immense depths in search of Giant Squid, so accessible to Sperm Whales but still elusive to mankind. You will see unique seabirds to cetaceans (whales and dolphins), seals, or even Orca on this award winning Whale Watch Tour.

Marine Mammal encounters available are:

One Nights Accommodation in the Family Tree House at Hapuku Lodge. Sleep in a Tree House under the canopy of Hapuku Lodge's native manuka grove. Rising over 9 metres above the ground, the Tree Houses enjoy views of the Pacific coastline and Kaikoura Seaward Mountain ranges. This unique accommodation experience is matched with the luxury of custom crafted beds, spa bath, rain-fountain showers and heated floors.

Day 7 - Hanmer Springs - Alpine Thermal Resort

Drive south and enjoy a day exploring Hanmer Springs; located in an active thermal region, Hanmer Springs is famous for its Natural hot springs. Whether you want to relax - walk through quiet forest or soak in natural hot pools, mountain bike or horse trek there is something here for everyone.

Continue south on the short scenic drive to the "Garden City" of  Christchurch. The Garden City, has many well-tended parks, reserves and squares but the civic love of beauty is often more apparent in the fresh lawns and burgeoning gardens of the suburban streets. This is a city of contrasts, a place where its residents continue to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle amidst a natural environment it is world-renowned for. It really is the 'city that shines'.

Two Nights Accommodation at The George in Christchurch. The George is a luxurious award winning hotel that offers supreme comfort and is situated in the heart of Christchurch. The hotel also overlooks Hagley Park and river Avon, only steps away from the cultural precinct and key attractions.

Day 8 - International Antarctic Centre - Christchurch

Christchurch International Antarctic Centre

Today enjoy a personally guided 1.5 hour adventure with a real Antarctic pioneer. Visit Antarctic Attraction; a recreation of the environment of Antarctica, Hagglund Ride - the Antarctic all-terrain amphibian vehicle! Buckle up and experience travelling across wild Antarctic and visit the Little Blue Penguin Encounterthis is the smallest of all penguins at just 40 cms tall.

Spend your afternoon exploring the city and what better way than by Punting on the River Avon. Sit back and relax in a custom built beautifully upholstered punt as your boatman guides you past the sights. Then dine in the city; perhaps Lone Star, a great family restaurant where the BBQ ribs are to die for!

Some sightseeing and activity options available are:

Day 9 - Akaroa "The Riviera of Canterbury"

Dolphin swimming - great family fun

Drive approx 90 minutes to Akaroa, a picturesque harbour with many smaller bays indenting this spectacular coastline. In 1840, French settlers arrived at Akaroa, To this day; Akaroa remains unique as the site of the only attempted settlement by the French in New Zealand. Many streets have French names; this Riviera-style village has some wonderful colonial architecture, creative craft shops and excellent eateries.

To really appreciate the harbour take a scenic cruise and watch a rich variety of marine life including the unique and playful Hector's Dolphin and the rare Little Blue Penguin. This is the only place in the world that you can swim with the Hector Dolphins. A fabulous experience!

One Nights Accommodation at the Akaroa Cottages in the French Village of Akaroa. Nestled in New Zealand native bush these cottages offer stunning panoramic views of the harbour and sea.

Day 10 - Lake Tekapo – An Untouched World

Lake Tekapo, South Island

Drive South on Highway 1 to Lake Tekapo; a beautiful turquoise highland lake surrounded by a vast basin of golden tussock and the spectacular Southern Alps.  Spend the afternoon soaking in New Zealand’s only high altitude glacial water spa. This facility offers three open air hot pools, private hot tubs, sauna, steam room and plunge pool. There is also the European-styled Day Spa which offers therapeutic massage and mud wraps, an Alpine Springs Café and ice skating, curling, tubing or tobogganing at the Winter Park.

Check into Alpine Vista Bed & Breakfast. Then its time for a Stargazing Tour at Mount John Observatory; it is regarded as the best place for astronomy research and stargazing in New Zealand. It is the southern most observatory on the earth so you can observe amazing sites such as our own Milky Way Galaxy, the Southern Cross, and Alpha-Centauri. You may also see star clusters like the beautiful Jewel Box, awe inspiring planets and immense clouds of gas and dust.

One Nights Accommodation at Alpine Vista B&B Lake Tekapo. With panoramic views of the Southern Alps, this property overlooks the Lake and is within easy walking distance to the town centre.

Day 11 – Aoraki; Mt Cook National Park

Leaving Lake Tekapo, drive for approx 1.15hrs to Mt Cook its Maori name, ‘Aoraki’ which means ‘cloud piercer’ and at 12,016ft (3,755m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park. Take a unique guided experience by bus to the beautiful Tasman Valley followed by a 1/2hr gentle alpine walk. The board the MAC boat, and explore the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake where you will discover the ever-changing ice face of the Glacier and icebergs. Knowledgeable guides enhance your experience with their expertise and passion for this amazing alpine environment.  (Season – October to May Only)

Continue on for 2.5 hours to Wanaka; Otago's second resort town after Queenstown. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand's fourth largest lake reflect the snow-capped peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park.

Some sightseeing and activity options available are:

One Nights Accommodation at Oakridge Resort in Wanaka.  Soak in the heated pools exquisitely landscaped in rock and alpine tussock and dine in The Hub Restaurant - a true dining experience, infusing local ingredients with international flair amidst the glow of open fires and alpine surrounds.

Day 12 - Puzzling World Wanaka & Gold Panning Arrowtown

Panning for gold

This morning visit Puzzling World, one of the quirkiest theme parks. Check out the room with the sloping floor that makes you look like a giant from one end and a dwarf from the other! Best of all is the giant maze, where even grown-ups can get lost for hours.

Then drive to Adventure Capital, Queenstown. Be sure to stop and soak up the atmosphere in Arrowtown enroute; this town is a combination of striking seasonal changes, historic buildings and quiet charm.

Two Nights Accommodation at the Heritage Queenstown. Enjoy all the facilities and the amazing view of the Remarkables mountain range from your stylish villa.

Day 13 - Family Adventure Rafting and Kayaking

Ready to get wet? Today begins with a drive into the famous Skippers Canyon; this is quite possibly the most spectacular drive in New Zealand. Continue following the old gold mining trail then take to the water at “The Ford of Bruinen”, made famous by the Lord of the Rings and head down the grade 2 rapids in either guided rafts or inflatable kayaks. See gold mining relics and sheer canyon walls as we navigate the Shotover River, with photo stops, rapid swims and rock jumps.

Spend the afternoon exploring Queenstown… your activity options are endless so go crazy!

Here is a selection of the many options available:

Day 14 – Depart Queenstown or Extend your holiday?

With so many more activities to experience you could extend your holiday. Just let us know what you want to do - we are here ready to help.

 

 

VIRTUAL TOUR & DOSSIER

Please take the time to view our “Virtual Tour” for the 14 Day Family Fun & Adventure tour or download/print the detailed “Tour Dossier”. Both can be found on the right hand column of this page. Alternatively you can simply contact us. For a comprehensive list of all activities available in each location featured in this tour, please refer to the "Destination Guide" found at the top of this page.

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