New Zealand is one of the bucket list destinations for many travelers. Most people decide to vacation in New Zealand during a vacation in Australia. The two countries are quite close to each other, which makes them perfect for visiting both during a two- or three-week family vacation. And yes, you really do need that much time if you truly want to experience the best of these two countries. However, I can plan a shorter vacation in New Zealand if you simply don’t have two or three weeks of vacation time to use right now. But first things first. Let me get started by sharing my travel guide to New Zealand. It is packed with everything you need to know before you jet off to New Zealand with your family.
New Zealand has quite a fascinating history. The Māori were the first people to arrive in New Zealand. Abel Tasman was the first Dutchman to notice this country. However, it was the British who claimed it as one of their countries.
Since 1840, British Law has ruled New Zealand. You can still visit the building where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. All the history of this country has culminated into the diverse culture New Zealand is now known for.
While all this history is fascinating, there is one thing you must know before you head over to New Zealand. This country is comprised of two main islands. The North Island and the South Island. There are more than six hundred other islands in New Zealand. However, you cannot visit some of them.
Depending on the length of your family vacation, you may be able to see either one or both of the main islands. If time allows, you may be able to check out one of the smaller islands as well.
The weather in New Zealand is similar to the weather in Australia. It is important to note that the seasons in this country are opposite what we have here in the US. To make this a little easier for you, here are the seasons and the corresponding months.
During spring in New Zealand, the temperatures begin to get warmer. There is a lot of rain in the spring, but the warmer days make it easy to overlook the downpours. Sunshine is prominent in New Zealand during the summer months. The days get even warmer, and the rainy days are fewer.
The fall season brings cooler temperatures, but still, lots of sunshine. The evenings do get cooler. But nothing a sweatshirt can’t fix. The winter months bring lots of snow to certain areas of New Zealand. You will want to plan your trip carefully if you don’t want to include snow in your New Zealand vacation.
The best time to visit New Zealand is during their summer months. December and January are quite busy in New Zealand. This is due to warm temperatures, lots of sunshine, and the ability to swim in the ocean.
You must keep in mind that all the locals are off from school, and some from work, during these months. Therefore, beaches and other local attractions will be packed with locals and other tourists.
If you are looking for fewer crowds, I recommend visiting during New Zealand’s spring or fall seasons. You will still experience nice weather, and the sun will still be out. Yes, you may experience a little rain. But those raindrops will be worth it when you have space to move around and breathe.
If you are planning a vacation in New Zealand for the warmer months of the year, you will be fine packing shorts and T-shirts. And don’t forget your bathing suit. Pants and sweaters may be necessary earlier in the day and later at night, especially during the spring and fall.
A raincoat or umbrella will be helpful during New Zealand’s rainy season. And sturdy walking shoes are always necessary, especially if you plan on heading out on a hike.
During the winter, warmer clothes are a must. As are winter coats, gloves, hats, and boots. Basically, anything your family will need for time outside in the cold and snow.
There are so many amazing activities you can do during a family vacation in New Zealand. You will find multiple forests in this country. And inside those forests are ziplining adventures. Imagine ziplining high above the trees, as your entire family takes in the sights below. Paragliding will give you the same results if you want to see even more views from above the land.
Hiking is another family activity in New Zealand that will allow you to see the countryside. You can tackle short trails or go all in and head out on a longer trail. There are even Great Walks that will take you at least three to five days to complete.
Natural hot springs can be found all over New Zealand. Soaking in these hot springs is an excellent way to relax and unwind. A lot of hot springs are located in Taupo and Rotorua, which are both on the North Island. Hanmer Springs is in Canterbury on the South Island. It is the next best location for finding hot springs.
Other activities to consider for your family vacation in New Zealand include:
With so many family activities in New Zealand, you may think you won’t have any time to check out the top places to see during your vacation. Well, trust me, I will make sure you do, as I am planning your trip!
Kaikoura, on the South Island, is the best place to see whales, fur seals, dolphins, and birds. It is a coastal village that will have you relaxing in no time at all. Well, that is when you are not hiking the numerous trails.
Over on the North Island, you must take the time to explore Auckland. This major city seems to have it all. Stores, restaurants, bustling city streets, sandy beaches, coves, and hiking trails. The last few surround the city, along with a few volcanoes. If you are not much of a country person, this is the destination you will want to spend most of your time in during a family vacation in New Zealand.
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers can be found on the South Island. These are two of the most accessible glaciers in the world. I can arrange for your family to take a guided hike that includes visits to ice caves and hot pools.
Other incredible places to see during your family vacation in New Zealand include:
Eating new foods is all a part of going on vacation as a family. The goal is to find new foods you all love. Of course, there are also funny faces and gagging noises made when the food isn’t what a person expected. Hey, you want memories while you are on a family vacation, right?? Well, you will get them when you all try new foods!
Māori hāngi is a dish that has been served in New Zealand from the very beginning. Meat and vegetables are placed in a pot and then buried underground to cook in an oven. It takes all day to prepare, so you will only be served this dish on special occasions.
A kiwi burger is not your regular burger. This New Zealand burger adds beetroot and a fried egg on top of the hamburger patty. You can find a Kiwi burger at almost every restaurant in New Zealand.
Jaffas are a type of candy. They are small chocolate balls coated in sugar. Jaffas have a slight orange flavor to them, despite the fact they are red.
Southland cheese rolls are also called Southland sushi. It is basically a slice of bread with cheese rolled up. It is then grilled until the cheese is all melted. You will only find Southland cheese rolls in Southland and Otago.
If you only want to try one dessert while on a family vacation in New Zealand, it must be hokey pokey ice cream. This is ice cream that is topped with caramelized honeycomb.
Now I don’t know about you, but I am all about desserts and chocolate. So, you won’t see me just eating ice cream one time while on vacation in New Zealand. Especially when I have the opportunity to eat chocolate fish. Marshmallows shaped like fish are covered in chocolate to make this sweet treat. They make the perfect snack when your body needs a little chocolate.
There are plenty of incredible festivals to choose from when you take a family vacation in New Zealand. Some of the festivals in New Zealand are more popular than others. I know you can find one that interests your family if you want to attend a festival while on vacation in New Zealand.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world when it comes to celebrating Oktoberfest. There is always a festival taking place. However, celebrating Oktoberfest in New Zealand will probably be a memory your family will remember for a lifetime. This festival includes lots of beer, as well as brats and live music.
This festival brings street performers from around the world to Auckland. Those street performers do everything from juggling and hula hooping to acrobats and comedy shows. You will see a little of everything over the course of this festival.
The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is the best food festival in New Zealand. This is an excellent festival to attend if you want to try local foods during your vacation. Most of the foods will be seafood and other wild foods.
As with any other destination, there are tips that will help you thoroughly enjoy your vacation in New Zealand. Here are my best tips for visiting New Zealand.
This is some of what you will need to know when you are getting ready to plan a family vacation in New Zealand. I can share more information with you if necessary as I am planning your family vacation.
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