I’m a little behind on this post, and I can’t find most of the pictures that go with it since my computer died last week 😦 Actually, the four of us went last year in April of 2015 to Auckland (North Island), and before that when we were a little family of three it was 2012, not too long after the earthquakes when we visited the South Island. Before that it was the first leg of our 12 month honeymoon 10 years ago so the adventures were slightly different 😉 And yet we still haven’t been during snow season!! Lol
Being from Australia, there isn’t too much of a language problem, but as far as traveling with children goes, the Maori homeland, place names and signage as well as heavy cultural art infusion into every day life is exciting!
To make it easier I’ll blurb on about Auckland and then Christchurch. Each holiday was 10-14 days as that was our availability at the time, but being so close (3-ish hours flying from Australia) it’s a nice getaway with cultural and scenic inspiration, which is what we look for when traveling as a family.
Auckland (North Island)
As I said before, we stuck around each of the main cities simply because we only had a short visit. But mind you, most adventures are never far away. The things I like about Auckland were; museums and art centers – always with a children’s exhibit or interactive experience. The Maritime museum was particularly good! Next was food – cafe and fine dining, if within your budget were also impressive, but aside from those the market eats are also hearty, fresh, and unique. The scenery is breathtaking, boat/ferry rides, hillside farms coated in morning dew, street art, kayaking, protected reef tours, magnificent beaches. NewZealand has a lot to offer and apart from some of the extreme adventure sports the kids can join in pretty much everything with you.
The day to day expenses are pretty much on par with Australia (no surprise there) but like in Oz you can save by selecting self catering accommodation options. We tend to stay with friends, use Air BnB, or go for simple hotels.
Christchurch (South Island)
We had a blast here – tailoring a lot of activities to “family outdoorsy” stuff. We hired a car and hopped between the main city, the Rare Breeds Farm Stay, and an organic small farm bnb where we slept in a yurt.
It was such a contrast to see the city half up, and half in ruins after the earthquakes. Heartbreaking to feel the low energy of some of the people trying to rebuild what was lost, but still the same famous smiles, service and hospitality of the friendly Kiwis.
We enjoyed the botanic gardens immensely, and simple dining while in town. However the real treats were the Rare Breed Farm Stay and the Organic Family Farm.
Imagine sleeping cosy in a converted barn in the middle of a farm with fields of Alpacas, Llamas, goats, chickens, rabbits, furry pigs, and more. An absolute treat for kids! You get a tour, the opportunity to feed the animals and learn, and genuine smiles from the hosts Chris and Elaine. Some of the breeds are so rare and some so unusual they were even used in the Lord of the Rings films. Just Google ‘Warwickz Farm Stay New Zealand’ 😉
During our stay at the organic farm we went sight seeing to the bays (and funnily enough could really notice the French influence) but also were able to dig up fresh potatoes, cook in the outdoor kitchen, and relax in the funky but fabulous yurt. We could enjoy the shared space (think drums, books, mats, music, guitars) and My family also loved the outdoor shower with a fantastic view – so much fun – and extra breezy!
Another hit with tourists is also the natural hot springs although we didn’t get there.
So whether you’re tripping around or just hitting the snow I highly recommend NZ for a family holiday! Friendly, beautiful, numerous family friendly activities, unique arts, crafts and fashion shopping, prominent culture offerings, and adventure activities. Win win win 😉
Sorry I have zero photos because as I said, dead computer and yes, I’m crying inside.
Happy holidays! The next review on the list will be Brisbane, Australia.