2019 FAMILY ADVENTURES IN NEW ZEALAND - TOP FIVE
We didn’t have to venture too far to have some awesome family adventures in 2019. Here are some of the best short holidays we found to get out and be active with children in New Zealand last year.
Kayaking in WENDERHOLM
I’ve always thought there are too many places to see in the world so why ever go back to the same place? Well, I confess not a year goes by without us taking a mini break weekend in Wenderholm regional park. Under an hour from Auckland (traffic playing nicely) and yet a world away its an easy way to chill, unwind and play without travelling too far. And its not too far back if you forget the tent poles……….who me?!
The Auckland council campsite borders the estuary which is a perfect safe haven for kids to paddle, swim and even walk at low tide over to the other side. Wenderholm beach offers play in the surf, large grassy areas for chucking a ball around and bbq sites for lunch/ dinner. Walking tracks through the bush and scenic headland have several short options perfect for families.
Flushable toilets and decent washing facilities make this a respectable no frills camping option but if you prefer a bit more comfort then the glamping yurts in their “exclusive” field offer a bit more luxury. More Details
We always throw in the paddleboards when going to Wenderholm but for a bit of extra adventure this time we took kayaks to explore the estuary which can be rented at the beach. Kayaks can be rented from Puhoi River Canoes.
In 2020 we plan to do the paddle from Puhoi to Wenderholm in double kayaks – a gentle 8km paddle in flat water. Want to join us? Just drop us a line for more details and we can organise it for you, hassle free.
Cycling the Tasman great taste trail in nelsoN
For a whistle-stop tour and a great way to see part of this beautiful region in less than 48 hours – take a bike! Picking up our bikes at Nelson airport meant we could hit the road the moment we landed. The flat trail along the estuary is quiet, flat and perfect for kids and the Nelson sunshine did not disappoint. Making our way to Mapua meant a ride through Rabbit Island with its fragrant pine forest trails and sandy beaches perfect for a dip. On reaching our evening destination the traverse of the estuary by boat was a novel end to a day in the saddle.
Mapua is a quaint, relaxing little town where the “thing to do” on a Saturday night was seemed to be getting fish n chips from the takeout and taking them into the wine bar across the road. Casual, cheap and perfect!
Of course being the Tasman Taste Trail there were plenty of amazing dining options all the way along the trip. Toad Hall in Motueka was the perfect lunch break stop where everyone’s meals from the huge menu were delicious, the kids playground keeps them entertained and the real fruit ice cream was a well timed encouragement (bribe?!).
The absolute favourite however had to be Jester’s House . With its large garden full of curious exhibits to play in and a stream full of tame eels to feed the kids will happily spend hours there, while the parents enjoy great coffee in the shaded garden. This year we are planning to stay a night in the unique “The Boot” B&B – a fairytale brought to life we can’t resist! Check out this video
For more information on cycling the Tasman Taste Trail with your family drop us a line. We can take the hassle out of organising your active family holiday and know all the ways to make it safe and fun for the children.
Skiing in Wanaka
Aged 7 I decided it was time to introduce my daughter to skiing. Having learnt as an adult I have always envied the fast, fluid downhill skills of my friends who were taught as children. Truthfully I wasn’t sure how it would go down and after trying to teach my daughter to ride a bike I didn’t trust my skills (or patience) in teaching her to ski! So I outsourced it to the pros.
Having researched it well we decided that the ski school at Cardrona was the best option. With the kids club and ski school the kids were happily taught, entertained and fed so that we could enjoy a morning or day of skiing without fear of rushing back for pick up almost as soon as we got stuck in our first lift queue. We easily got back to check on the kids at lunchtime and attempt an end of day ski together. The kids were split up based on ability well each day so that they didn’t get bored and progressed quickly off the travellator on the nursery slopes to experience the “proper mountain” with the help of the group instructors within a couple of days. Thankfully it means the 3 days of skiing were a roaring success to wet their appetite and ready to take on a week in the mountains next year.
The beauty of a ski holiday in Wanaka or Queenstown is that if the weather packs in there are plenty of other options for family fun (unlike Ruapehu where we found every family rush to the climbing wall and chateau!). And of course, there are always a few vineyards to enjoy! Here is our favourite at the moment – Akarua where the food was so delicious and the kids play area and garden gave them space to run about.
For more information on skiing at Cardrona please visit here: More Details
We are in the midst of planning a great itinerary of Wanaka and Queenstown family adventures so if you are thinking of a Queenstown family holiday get in touch and we can recommend some great indoor and outdoor activities for the children.
Paddling in Waihi Beach
Just a couple of hours from Auckland, Waihi beach has changed over the last few years into a hip little town with a few funky cafes / restaurants and some boutique style shops to browse amongst. Whether it’s the Flat White café where the kids can play on the beach, the Waihi Beach hotel café with kids playground or The Secret Garden with a lovely Bali style garden and lounging areas to chill there are plenty of good options.
Down in the estuary of Bowentown the beach is safe and family friendly for paddle boarding and a playground next door keeps options open. The flat and reasonably quiet road makes this a good area to get the bikes out for a family ride or walk up to the point with wonderful views.
We stayed at the Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Camp for its fantastic family facilities. A swimming pool, spa pool and games room keep everyone entertained even if the weather turns bad. And a playground and trikes to hire mean you barely have to leave the site all weekend.
For an early morning walk we took a stroll around to Orokawa Bay with beautiful views back over Waihi beach and beyond. It was a tad too cold for surfing by Easter time but we checked out Waihi Beach Surf School and next time you will find us in the water!
In fact if you want to escape down to this neck of the woods and try some of the adventures on offer why not join us on our Gold town adventure weekend where we introduce families to the NZ cycle trails with a pedal down the Hauraki rail trail from Paeroa to Waihi :
discovering the most family friendly campground in new zealand?
Holiday park or resort? When floating up to the swim up bar to order the next round of Proseccos and milkshakes at Lake Taupo Holiday Park you could be mistaken for thinking you are at some fancy hotel pool. With the kids play pool, fountains and sunken treasure and the adults spa pool area its hard to leave this amazing resort. In fact you don’t have to as you can order bar food and pizzas poolside!
We went down to partake in some family friendly cycling while watching the Round the Lake race – leaving the hard core stuff to the die hards and sticking to flat rides ourselves. But really in all honesty it was hard to leave the pool!