August 2014: Family friendly New Zealand

New Zealand is a safe and easy country to explore with a family. There are a range of exciting activities on offer to keep the whole family entertained, from adventure and wildlife to water-based activities and cultural encounters.

Picnic near Pelorus Bridge. Photo: John Doogan
Read more about family friendly holidays here. Below are some products you might like to consider for your client’s New Zealand holiday.
 
 

ADVENTURE

 
Luge
Skyline Luge (Rotorua and Queenstown) is a gravity fuelled fun ride. Invented in New Zealand in 1985, and having hosted over 30 million rides worldwide, the Skyline Luge is a unique wheeled gravity ride that provides riders full control over their descent on purpose built tracks. The Luge is a fun filled adventure suitable for riders of all age and experience. 
 
Zip lining
Rotorua Canopy Tours offers New Zealand’s only native forest zipline (flying fox) canopy tour. Two expert guides accompany each group with a maximum of 10 guests for a three hour experience. Minimum age of 6 years and 35kg (can be lighter but advance notice is required). 
 
Ziptrek Ecotours, Queenstown, offers visitors the choice of 4 or 6 line tours, the 6 line tour includes the steepest tree to tree flying fox in the world. Minimum age is 6 years.
 
Jet boating
Experiencing an exhilarating jet boat ride is a highlight for many visitors to New Zealand. There are reputable jet boat operators in Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo, Christchurch, Western Southland, Fiordland, Wanaka and Queenstown. For a jet boat ride with a twist your clients may like to try New Zealand Riverjet’s ‘The Squeeze’ (Rotorua).
 
Begin with a scenic jet boat ride through Tutukau Gorge, then disembark the boat in knee deep warm water and head towards a narrow gap in the cliff face to start the challenge of The Squeeze. After manoeuvring through narrow crevasses, climbing boulders, and wading through warm waist deep water guests emerge in stunning native New Zealand bush. Minimum age is 5 years.
 
 

MIDDLE-EARTH MAGIC

 
Hobbiton Movie Set, Waikato
Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. The two hour guided tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Your clients will then visit Bag End, where Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures began. Get lost among the hobbit holes and visit the Green Dragon Inn, the mill and the Party Tree. 
 
The Weta Cave, Wellington
Weta Workshop is a multi Academy Award winning company that brought The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy to life. The Weta Cave is a self-guided experience, including a behind-the-scenes DVD, mini museum and retail store. The Weta Cave Workshop Tour is a 45 minute guided tour through the famous Weta Cave and provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of Weta Workshop.
 
 

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS

 
Puhaka Mount Bruce, Wairarapa
Home to the only little white kiwi bird in captivity, Pukaha Mount Bruce is a wildlife centre set in 940 hectares of reserve. There are many other New Zealand birds and wildlife such as takahe, tuatara and eels at the centre.
 
Rainbow Springs, Rotorua
Set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams, Rainbow Springs is home to a huge variety of New Zealand’s most precious inhabitants. The entire experience is built around New Zealand’s largest and most successful kiwi conservation centre. Since 1995 they have released over 1,200 kiwis into the wild. Visitors are also able to experience the adrenalin rush of The Big Splash, explore the many free flight aviaries, feed the birds their breakfast, see tuatara, talk to Jenny the hand-reared kea, feed the large wild trout, and experience the wonder of the bird show.
 
Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd
Kaikoura is the Whale Watching capital of New Zealand, every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings of marine life vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whale Watch tour may also encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season visitors may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales.
 
 

CULTURAL SPLENDOR

 
If your clients are seeking a cultural experience for the whole family, a visit to Rotorua will not disappoint. Te Puia is home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and the world famous Pohutu geyser. At Whakarewarewa Thermal Village visitors can explore a unique living thermal village. Tamaki Māori Village offers visitors a three hour tour through a Māori village nestled in an ancient forest, visitors can also experience a traditional Hāngi meal and an overnight Marae stay. 
 
Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Waitangi
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the place where Māori chiefs first signed their accord with the British Crown - the Treaty of Waitangi - Te Tiriti of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. Visit treasures such as the Treaty House, Meeting House, Flagstaff and Ceremonial War Canoe. Gain a deeper understanding during a guided tour with a professional guide and enjoy a high quality cultural performance in the beautiful carved meeting house (Whare Rūnanga).
 
Auckland Museum – Tamaki Paenga Hira
This fascinating museum is renowned for its unique collection of Māori and Pacific treasures and is regarded as one of the finest museums in the Southern Hemisphere. The museum is located within one of New Zealand’s most iconic and outstanding heritage buildings.
 
 

SOMETHING UNIQUE

 
Huka Prawn Park, Taupo
On the banks of the beautiful Waikato River, just minutes from Taupo town centre, is the iconic and unique family playground, of Huka Prawn Park. With acres of land dedicated to the production of New Zealand fresh water prawns, and pure family fun, Huka Prawn Park offers a day of fun and excitement for all ages.
 
Roselands Farm Park, Waitomo
Have a unique hands-on experience cuddling, the now endangered, pure German Angora rabbits. Roselands offer a daily Angora rabbit shearing show at 11.30am. Visitors can also stroll around Roselands Farm Park and hand-feed and pet typical New Zealand farmed animals.
 
Cadbury World, Dunedin
Cadbury World Dunedin is a colourful, educational chocolate experience for the whole family.  A full tour takes approximately 75 minutes and includes entry to the visitor centre, theatre presentation, guided tour through the Cadbury Dunedin Chocolate Factory, unique Chocolate Fall, the retail store and plenty of samples to taste along the way. A shortened tour and centre tour are also available.
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