Family holiday in New Zealand: Taking the kids on a South Island

New Zealand Holidays with kids

New Zealand Holiday / July 24, 2018

Active volcanoes, world-renowned wineries, beautiful beaches and two of New Zealand's largest cities are all part of this seven day North Island New Zealand itinerary. While a week in the North Island isn't nearly enough to see everything it has to offer, with a little rushing and quite some driving, it is enough to see the highlights.

With the assumption that you'll be traveling here by car or campervan, we've put together a one week itinerary covering some of the very best in North Island destinations, wine, adventure and road stops from Auckland to Wellington. Auckland and Wellington are two of the easiest and most affordable points of arrival in New Zealand. With this itinerary you could arrive in either, but we're going to assume you arrive in Auckland. Those arriving in Wellington can follow the Itinerary backwards.

Day One

Auckland is New Zealand's most populated city. With a busy CBD and a plethora of shops and malls, it's a good place to start a New Zealand trip. The city has heaps of car rental companies to choose from and several stores to pick up any last minute road trip items like tents or maps. As far as activities, like any city there is no shortage of things to do here.

You can walk along Westhaven Marina checking out the most impressive yachts and sail boats docked in the "City of Sails". You can get to know Kiwi culture by visiting the Auckland Art Gallery. You can even get right into New Zealand's extreme activities with a bungy jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge or jump off the Auckland Sky Tower. It's a beautiful city by the sea, but the North Island has a lot more to offer, so see what you can of Auckland in one day, then get ready to hit the road quite early the next morning.

Day Two

The next day we leave New Zealand's most populated city, for its most geothermal city, Rotorua. The drive from Auckland to Rotorua is about three hours, we advise leaving Auckland between 7 a.m and 8 a.m. There are two very popular scenic drives in the North Island, one is the Pacific Coast Highway and the other is the Thermal Explorer Highway. For this journey, we'll hop on the latter.

Taking SH1 and SH5 from Auckland to Rotorua, this drive includes busy city roads, roaring farmland and even steaming bodies of water. Matamata, which is home to Hobbiton, better known as "the Shire" in Lord of the Rings is not far off this route. With only a week, you won't have time to stop for a Hobbiton tour, but you will get to see similar terrain and plenty of sheep.