5 Fun Things to do in New Zealand with Kids
New Zealand has always been on my travel wish list. When my family and I decided to visit Australia, I figured if we were going that far, we were going to see New Zealand too! We decided on visiting the North Island for the short time we were there. Here are things to do in New Zealand with kids.
Where to go in New Zealand – North Island
After landing in Auckland, we took a regional flight to Rotorua. Rotorua is known for geothermal activity. We picked up a rental car at the airport and drove a very short distance to Te Puia. Located in the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, it is home of the world famous Pohutu geyser. See the native Kiwi birds, boiling mud pots, and Maori cultural performances. There is also a café and plenty of places to soak up the sun to combat the jet lag.
Looking for adventure? A short drive away is OGO. OGO is home to the human ball roll. Get inside a giant inflatable ball and roll down the grassy hill. There is a wet ride or a dry ride. We chose the dry ride since it was winter in New Zealand when we visited. Climb inside and roll down the giant hill like a hamster. My kids laughed the entire way down.
For dinner we went to downtown Rotorua. Beside the lake is Eat Streat. Eat Streat is a pedestrian-only street filled with restaurants. My tip is to go before 5 pm. Each restaurant had a happy hour special that was a fraction of the regular menu price.
The next day we drove to another major attraction in the area, Waitomo Caves. Take a boat tour through the caves and see the famous glow worms, Arachnocampa luminosa. The glow worms hang out on the ceiling of the dark cave and shine like stars. The glow worms are found only a few places in the world. The tour was our favorite attraction in New Zealand.
If there are Hobbit fans in the family, visit the movie set village, Hobbiton. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies movie set is located between Rotorua and Auckland. It is easily reachable on the drive to Waitomo Caves as well. Guided tours are offered daily.
Driving in New Zealand
We used a combination of regional flights and a rental car. Regional flights through AirNewZealand are very inexpensive and a quick way to get from one side of the island to another.
Driving in New Zealand is on the left hand side, but don’t let that be a deterrent. Automatic transmission cars are readily available and driving on the opposite side of the road isn’t as hard as it sounds. We also rented a GPS and had no problem finding any location. The roads are well-maintained and the countryside is so beautiful! I also suggest a one-way rental so time is not wasted backtracking. There are many tour companies in the area that will provide transportation as well, but I always suggest driving!
Where to Stay in New Zealand
Stay at Hilton Lake Taupo located between Rotorua and Waitomo Caves. Enjoy the lake activities and a short drive to North Island sites.
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Tricia lives in Phoenix with her husband, 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family’s favorite memories…