As a travel advisor, my biggest goal is to help families like yours make memories. You know, those moments when you are all laughing, talking, and doing things together as a family. There are so many destinations around the world to make memories during a family vacation. One destination that is on many peoples’ travel bucket list is New Zealand. Traveling to New Zealand isn’t as easy as saying you are going to visit though. There are sixteen different regions plus one territorial authority in the country. So, you need to determine which New Zealand regions you want to visit prior to jetting off to this destination. Thankfully, I have done a little of the research for you and am going to share which regions in New Zealand you should consider for your next family vacation.
The regions in New Zealand are mostly divided between the North and South Islands. These two islands are separated by the Cook Strait. There are so many amazing things to do for families in each New Zealand region.
Out in the water, there are smaller islands you can also visit during your family vacation. Those islands may be perfect if you are looking to make a few unique memories with your family.
We can discuss those islands as I am planning your New Zealand vacation. Until then, let’s check out some of the best New Zealand regions.
Northland is at the very northernmost tip of North Island. This region of New Zealand is where you will find some of the best beaches in the entire country. Bay of Islands is the most popular attraction in this New Zealand region.
There are plenty of historical sights to see in Northland. Add in the spectacular views and you may never want to return home!
When you are finished visiting Bay of Islands, you may want to consider stopping into the towns of Whangarei and Kerikeri. They both offer a multitude of outdoor activities that will keep your family busy for days.
The largest city in New Zealand is Auckland. And it happens to be in the region with the same name. This region is full of magnificent scenery. The downtown area contains lots of cultural landmarks and historical sites for you to explore.
Away from the downtown area, your family can explore the local beaches and nearby volcanoes. Out in the Hauraki Gulf, you can check out numerous islands. The most popular islands include Great Barrier, Waiheke, and Tiritiri Matangi. Each island offers hiking trails, as well as kayaking adventures.
Over in the Waikato region of New Zealand, you will discover more of the gorgeous natural scenery the country is known for. I recommend starting out on the Coromandel Peninsula. That is where you can walk along paths or relax on one of the sandy beaches.
In the town of Hahei, you can visit Hot Water Beach. Participating in water sports at that beach is one of the most loved things to do in the area.
One of the best things to do in Waikato though is hiking down into the Ruakuri Cave. I suggest setting aside a few hours for this adventure, so you don’t rush through the experience.
The Bay of Plenty region is located right on a body of water that has the same name. The towns of Tauranga, Whakatane, and Waihi Beach are the highest up on the list for people to visit in this region. One of the best ways to experience Bay of Plenty is to take a boat or helicopter tour. This will ensure you see Mount Ruapehu and the other volcanoes in the area.
Heading out to White Island is an extraordinary day trip option. There is a green crater lake there, which makes for stunning Instagram photos.
Bay of Plenty is also known for its geysers and hot springs. Especially those within the town of Rotorua. If you don’t spend too much time in this region, Rotorua should be at the top of your list of things to do.
The Gisborne region is also known as Eastland. The reason for this is this New Zealand region is located on the eastern side of North Island. This was the very first region to be discovered in New Zealand. Captain Cook saw this section first and then took off on foot to see the rest of the island.
Gisborne is an isolated area. The only section that is not isolated is the city of Gisborne. During a vacation in the city of Gisborne, you can relax on the beaches, participate in water sports, or enjoy a glass of wine at the wineries.
Hawke’s Bay is also on the eastern coast of North Island. In the cities of Hastings and Napier, you can check out the Art Deco buildings. Outside the cities, you can wander around the orchards and vineyards with wineries. Don’t miss the Te Mata Hills. Those hills have some incredible scenery.
And if you want to visit the destination with the longest name in the world, head over to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukuppkaowhenuakitanatahu. It is located in Hawke’s Bay and is a must-see, if only to learn how to pronounce the name!
Amongst the Taranaki region is a volcano of the same name. Days spent in this region of New Zealand will be full of time at Egmont National Park. When you are not staring at the volcano, you will be checking out the wildlife living within the park.
The Manawatu-Wanganui region is full of valleys, gorges, plains, forests, volcanoes, and mountain ranges. One of the best places to visit in this region is Tongariro National Park. There are many Maori cultural sites within the park. You can check some of those out, as you are tackling the Tongariro Alpine Crossing hiking trail.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. A visit to this city will allow your family to make memories while exploring museums, visiting historical attractions, and attending a lively art and culture scene. I recommend heading away from the city to the Kapiti Coast for a day if you can. The coast is where you will discover laidback towns and plenty of sandy beaches.
Hutt Valley is another option if you plan on hiking during your family vacation. And wineries are plentiful over in Wairarapa.
The highlight of the region of Tasman is Abel Tasman National Park. It is within that park you can see Tasman Bay and both the Tasman and Matiri mountain ranges. This may be the smallest national park in New Zealand. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty of things to do during your visit.
I recommend checking out the two deepest caves in New Zealand while in Tasman. Those caves are Nettlebed and Ellis Basin.
Nelson has earned the nickname, Top of the South, thanks to its location on South Island. There are plenty of beaches on the coastline, which is perfect for all the sunny days this region has throughout the year.
Nelson Lakes National Park should be at the top of your list of places to visit here. Hiking trails continue for miles and will lead you to sparkling lakes and massive mountains. Other incredible places to visit include the towns of Takaka, Collingwood, and Mapua.
Awatere and Wairau Valleys are both located in Marlborough. Those two valleys are full of vineyards and wineries. This makes the Marlborough region one of the best places to visit if you want to sip on wine throughout your stay.
In Marlborough Sounds, your family can go on a dolphin or whale watching tour. Or you can kayak, sail, or participate in any number of other water sports.
The West Coast is where you will discover glaciers, forests, and mountains. The best places to see all three, along with the Southern Alps, is Mount Aspiring National Park and Westland National Park.
There are so many outdoor activities to enjoy in this New Zealand region. It will be difficult to narrow it down to what you can do during your family vacation. However, we should make sure Blow Holes and Pancake Rocks are near the top of your list of things to do while on vacation in New Zealand.
The region of Canterbury is where the largest city on the island, Christchurch, is located. Inside the city of Christchurch, you will enjoy visiting the historical sights, museums, and cultural landmarks.
The highest peaks in New Zealand can be found within Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and Arthur’s Pass National Park. Just don’t forget to look in other directions too. There are volcanoes on Banks Peninsula and snow-capped peaks in the Southern Alps.
Natural attractions are everywhere in Otago. This is what makes it the perfect destination for surfing, swimming, sailing, and so much more. Start your visit in the town of Oamaru since it is close to the water.
Head to the mountains for hiking or skiing adventures. And Queenstown is the perfect spot for thrilling family adventures. Especially if you all want to do a little mountaineering or bungee jumping.
Southland is at the southernmost point of South Island. The glaciers within Fiordland National Park are quite impressive. So, take your camera with you and grab those Instagram photos while you can!
The park is also full of waterfalls, rugged cliffs, and other impressive sights.
When you are not exploring the park, head to the towns of Mataura, Bluff, and Te Anau. They may be small, but they will give you a glimpse into the lives of the locals.
These are the New Zealand regions you should consider for your family vacation. Only you will know which regions in New Zealand will be at the top of your list of places to visit during vacation. As your travel advisor, I can help you find the answer if you are having difficulty deciding. Or you can easily visit them all if you have the time!
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