Social Media

back

New Zealand Travel Guide: Your Family Itinerary To The North And South Island

New Zealand Family travel
TravelPost Category - TravelTravel - Post Category - Long HaulLong Haul - Post Category - GuidesGuides

Planning a trip to New Zealand? We worked with Jacada Travel to bring you a full family itinerary. Here are our top picks of where to stay, where to eat and what to do in the North and South Island…

The jaw-dropping landscapes, rich culture, and open-hearted Kiwi charm combine to make discovering New Zealand an absolute privilege. We were lucky enough to have the experts from luxury travel company, Jacada Travel, carefully create our 7-day itinerary. Though this specific one is best suited for older kids and teens, you can easily adapt the schedule based on your family’s needs. From mapping your route, working within your timeline, and helping you select the best accommodation, to proactively supporting additional needs, Jacada’s customer service ensures that you’re taken care of every step of the way. The company prides itself on combining bespoke design, authentic experiences, and responsible travel. The result? Meaningful and memorable laid-back luxury – perfect for every member of the family.

Editor’s note: Check out our sister site, Sassy Hong Kong’s video on our recent trip there:

Wondering what’s in store in the great outdoors? Think swimming in natural hot springs, snorkelling amongst wild dolphins, walking along natural wonders, spotting brooding volcanoes, climbing majestic peaks, navigating through dense forests, jetting down deep fjords, and lazing on sunny beaches. New Zealand has it all. For portions of our trip, we saw more sheep and stars than skyscrapers or people – and, trust us, your little ones won’t be complaining.

Jump To:

Getting started
The best time to visit
Queenstown
Christchurch
Kaikoura
Taupo and Rotorua
Auckland

Matakauri lodge - new zealand travel guide

Getting started:

Before you try to look into all the (more-stressful-than-fun) details, head to The Haven by Jacada Travel. You’ll be connected with your personal Travel Designer, who will walk you through your decisions in an exciting, approachable way. Our travel designer was Hong Kong-based Kit Wong, who was thoughtful, accommodating and super responsive to all requests.

After chatting through the process and pinpointing what we wanted, Kit took out a map and led us through her suggestions. We worked together to come up with a tentative outline of the trip, ticking off everything you could possibly hope for (expect vineyards, glow-worm caves, a day in the bush and more!). The next thing I knew, Kit was sending us the final itinerary to approve.

From visa reminders and packing checklists to making sure all the hotels were aware of delays, changes in plans and dietary requirements, it really was Jacada’s attention to detail that made our experience so easy. These travel experts think of everything (extra cot set up in the bedroom? Hotels with pram accessibility? Kid-approved menus? Check!). Jacada will even deliver a personalised leather “little black book” with your final itinerary, list of addresses, and emergency contacts, before a quick “Bon Voyage” email.

top things to do in New Zealand - Jacada travel itinerary

The best time to visit:

New Zealand’s summer runs from January into February, so while the weather is stunning, it’s the busiest time of year. Less crowded alternatives would be autumn (March to April) and spring (November to December), where the weather is still warm. For skiers and snowboarders, it’s worth heading out over your kid’s summer holiday, for New Zealand’s winter, from June to September. We chatted to Kit about the best time to visit based on the activities we were keen to do.

Booking flights:

We spoke to Skyscanner to get the most recent booking tips (May 2018), regardless of whether you’re starting on the North or South Island.

Hong Kong to Queenstown (South Island):

Best time to book in advance: 24 weeks in advance
Cheapest month to travel: June (Average return airfare: $5,800*)
Most expensive month to travel: January (Average return airfare: $11,600*)

Hong Kong to Auckland (North Island):

Best time to book in advance: 25 weeks in advance
Cheapest month to travel: May (Average return airfare: HKD$4,500*)
Most expensive month to travel: January (Average return airfare: HKD$9,700*)

The best bit? As a luxury travel company, Jacada Travel is leading by example and offsetting 100% of all carbon emissions from every trip sold (proving it may actually be possible to travel with a conscience!). By working with Sustainable Travel International, Jacada conducts assessments of the carbon footprint of trips and then supports portfolios of high-impact carbon offset projects. From deforestation prevention in Brazil to a zero-energy water filter production and dissemination project in Cambodia, there’s plenty being done behind the scenes.

Driving in New Zealand:

Driving in New Zealand is nothing like driving in Hong Kong. We drove for 2 to 6 hours (with stop-offs) most days, and it was actually one of the high points. Though New Zealand’s landscape is varied, it’s all equally beautiful, and even the most restless kids will enjoy the ride. With mountains rising out of the water, and calming open fields of green, you’ll be wanting to get out of the car every 15 minutes for a photo. Saying that, Jacada Travel organises car hires to make sure all pick-ups and drop-offs are saving time and energy. The Hong Kong-based travel designers completely understand the modern traveller’s need for covering as much ground as possible.

Sassy Mama tip: If your domestic flight is ever severely delayed in New Zealand, simply call or WhatsApp your on-the-ground contact from Jacada. They’ll make sure to change your car hire accordingly. This is an especially game changing touch if the delay means you miss your connecting flight and end up in a new location altogether!

what to do in queenstown

Queenstown:

First stop, Queenstown. Known as New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown is a stunning change to Hong Kong scenery. It sits contently on the shores of South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the Southern Alps. The town is a welcoming, bustling hub of international and local activity. From skiing in June to bungy jumping, canyon swinging, jet boating, mountain biking and white-water rafting, there is plenty to keep you entertained.

Where to stay in Queenstown:

Eichardts-private-hotel-review-jacada-travel-nz

Eichardt’s Private Hotel 

Best for: The Kiwi Charm

Eichardt’s Private Hotel is part of Queenstown’s history. Located in absolute prime position (right along Lake Wakatipu in the town centre), this iconic hotel is walking distance from busy restaurants, but still manages to feel exclusive and relaxing. For accommodation, take your pick between one of the seven luxurious Lake View Suites, the four Lakefront Apartments, The Residence or The Penthouse. The décor fuses classic elegance with modern twists. Oh, and the luxurious apartment-style boudoirs have walk-in-wardrobes the size of a modest HK apartment. Eichardt’s Private Hotel offers everything from packed picnic baskets for days out, to complimentary day-passes for the Queenstown Gym. Although Eichardt’s is a sophisticated retreat, children are welcome. Baby cots can be supplied for free and extra beds for older children cost NZ$260 a child a night. Family-friendly two and three bedroom apartments are also available.

Sassy Mama tip: Ask the helpful General Manager, James Cavanagh, or any of the accommodating staff, to use “The Vault”. It’s an extra room with late checkout, available to guests.

Matakauri Lodge Queenstown

Matakauri Lodge

Best for: The Most Breath-taking Views

It’s hard to believe that this private haven is a 10-minute drive from the centre of Queenstown. Matakauri Lodge’s take on luxury is thoughtfully understated, welcoming and breathtakingly beautiful. If it wasn’t for the attentive service, it would almost feel like dining in a billionaire’s holiday home. And at one of the three Robertson Lodges, in some ways, you are. Your bedroom, living room, bathroom (and bathtub) overlook “the big three; The Remarkables, Cecil and Walter Peak” – so the floor-to-ceiling glass windows were a wise choice. The private entrance to your personal deck and suite accentuates the remote, relaxed vibe. Though this one is best for a romantic getaway, the amount of activities in the area mean that older kids wont be disappointed. When it comes to food, Executive Chef Dale Gartland creates an ever-changing seasonal menu, highlighting clean and fresh produce. Key features of Matakauri include the private jetty (just a 10-minute walk away), the outdoor infinity pool and Jacuzzi, the gym, sauna and quaint spa.

Sassy Mama tip: Whilst the kids are busying themselves, it’s worth treating yourself to the Pounamu Pebble Pedicure (a unique New Zealand experience).

What to do in Queenstown:

Bob’s Peak: This is a destination of its own. Take the gondola or walk the Tiki Trail to this lookout spot. It’s full of restaurants and bars with postcard views.

Queenstown Hill: Make your way up this free walking trail. It’s a 500 meter, 2 to 3 hour climb with a decent incline.

Queenstown Underwater Observatory: Take a deeper look at what lies beneath Lake Wakatipu. You’ll see everything from diving ducks to Rainbow Trout for NZ$10.

Sherwood: This community hotel offers yoga, wellness activities, live music, and a buzzing restaurant and bar. We suggest going for dinner and ordering the market fish, the potato gnocchi and the pumpkin mascarpone side.

Amisfield Estate Winery and Vineyard: Head to this relaxing, family friendly vineyard for Central Otago wines, and two of the best cheeses we had on our trip: the homemade Amisfield Neufchâtel (a creamy black truffle soft cheese) and the Smoked Evansdale Tania.

Fergburger: Serving up the most well-known burgers in New Zealand, this joint is overflowing with customers at all hours (it’s open 21 hours a day). If you’re staying at Eichardt’s Private Hotel, the concierge can call and order it for you so you and your hungry family miss the queue – you can then eat in the hotel at your convenience.

Public Kitchen & Bar: Steamer Wharf ferry terminal is bustling with restaurants and bars, and this spot offers casual outdoor dining right by the lake. The mussels and chips are a solid bet!

Sassy Mama tip: Take a 2-hour (scenic) drive to Wilken River Jets in Makarora. You can arrange everything from a Helicopter Glacier Experience, to a Jet Boat and Wilderness Walk in a single day. If the weather doesn’t permit, you can still head out and walk the Blue Pools track. The pools are located in an alpine region, so the weather changes rapidly – bring layers and waterproof jackets! As a relatively flat walk, it’s suitable for kids of all ages. On the drive back, stop at Wanaka’s Wonderful World of Weirdness: A Puzzling World, an interactive play area for kids.

Christchurch

As the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, Christchurch has plenty to offer. Located on the east coast, the spot is known for its English heritage, The Avon River flowing through the city centre, and the urban parks along the river banks. A favourite tourist attraction is meandering the river, sightseeing in a small, flat-bottomed boat. After winding through the city, head out to one of the cycling paths, Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Sassy Mama tip: If you’re on a 7 to 10-day trip, and keen to spend as much time outside of the city as possible, spend the morning and afternoon exploring Christchurch and then drive straight up to Kaikoura. Your Travel Designer can organise flights according to your preference, and advise on the best times to be on the road. On your journey to Kaikoura, stop off at the Two Rivers Cafe, Restaurant and Wine Tasting Room. Sit in the kid friendly outdoor area (open until 5pm) or just grab hot chocolates and a loose-leaf tea to go.

Kaikoura guide - what to do, where to stay, where to eat

Kaikoura

The drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura is about 2.5 hours. The journey hugs the scenic New Zealand coastline and, even though the landscape is rich with life, there’s a serene stillness in the air. The renowned coastal town of Kaikoura is the best place for marine life encounters, seaside walks, and platters of fresh crayfish. Got an animal-lover on your hands? This quaint spot is known for its teeming wildlife, including sperm whales, fur seals, albatross, and dusky dolphins.

Where to Stay in Kaikoura:

Hapuku tree lodge - kaikoura travel guide

Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses

Best for: Escaping the City

This lodge quickly became one of our favourite places on the South Island. Located only 12 kilometres from the town of Kaikoura, this contemporary country hotel offers convenient luxury in a completely remote place. The family friendly tree lodges are the polar opposite to Hong Kong apartments. I can’t remember the last time I felt so blissfully removed from the city, drifting in and out of sleep beside the (real!) fireplace. The tree house rooms are set 10 meters above the ground, leaving you nestled in a secluded tree canopy, with views of the hills, sea and deer (the lodge is actually located on a deer breeding farm). There are also airy Lodge Rooms and the newly available Olive House which are also ideal options for bigger families with young children. The outdoor pool, sauna, incredibly fresh food, and relaxing, homely feel are bonuses to the rooms themselves! The exceptional service is paired with a naturally relaxed, laid-back feel that puts the guest’s desires at the forefront of every decision.

Sassy Mama tip: If you’ve got an early morning start, we’d recommend keeping the blinds half up at night so you wake to the breath-taking surroundings. It’s an atmospheric alarm clock. Then, head down to family breakfast and opt to sit in the outside area, tucked behind the cosy dining room.

White Morph Kaikoura - hotels and motels

The White Morph

Best for: Budget-friendly Convenience

For a budget-friendly alternative (from $700 a night), check out The White Morph, a self-contained waterfront hotel and motel accommodation in the heart of Kaikoura. If you’re looking for a no frills, no fuss spot in a prime location, this will get the job done. Plus, it’s located directly next to the Encounter Kaikoura activities meeting spot, so you can walk straight from your swim with dolphins into a warm bath. It’s a two-minute drive from the town centre, meaning there are plenty of activities and food options on your doorstep. And, as a self-contained apartment, this is a place you can stay in and cook too.

What to do in Kaikoura:

Encounter Kaikoura Dolphin Experience: Snorkelling amongst a pod of 40 dusky dolphins was an unforgettable experience. Encounter Kaikoura has a well-trained team, with crew members who are clearly passionate about the ocean, wildlife and sustainability. They lead snorkelers (of all ages!) through a seamlessly organised system, ending up with you kitted out in a well fitted, buoyant, wet suit, swimming 2 meters away from playful wild dolphins (unbaited, untamed, and completely in their natural element). Generally, pods from 50 to 1,000 dolphins can be found off the Kaikoura Coast. It’s every kids dream!

Kaikoura Penninsula Walkway: This walkway is scattered with viewpoints to spot seal colonies, and you may even be faced with bold seals blocking the path. Steer clear of getting too close, as seals can feel threatened on land.

Mt Fyffe Hike: Mount Fyffe and the Seaward Kaikoura Range are the two dominating features of Kaikoura’s natural skyline. You can opt for a 2 to 3-day excursion, an 8-hour return hike or a 45-minute loop. With young kids in tow, the last option may be your preferred option – no judgement!

The Green Dolphin: Independently run and family owned, this resto came with high recommendations from Jacada Travel. Run by a family of passionate cooks, this spot provides hungry guests with the finest, freshest local cuisine and Kaikoura hospitality.

SlamClub: This cool, rustic spot is still fairly under the radar for tourists. With a compact menu, boasting quality coffee and sandwiches, the friendly crew nail every dish. Tuck the little ones in bed early and head over for a quiz night to really get a feel for the Kaikoura crowd.

The Pier Hotel: This bustling hotel restaurant and bar is a staple for locals. And with rooms from $450, it’s a go-to for tourists too! It does have one of the busiest pubs in town, so make a dinner reservations in advance as the small kitchen only caters to a limited number.

Hislopes: A local café, serving up wholefoods and plenty of brekkie options. The eggs benedict with homemade hash browns, fresh salmon and wilted spinach is exactly what the family needs before a long drive back to the city.

Marlborough

Next up, your 2-hour drive to Blenheim, the most populous town in the region of Marlborough, before you catch a flight to the (equally as stunning) North Island from Marlborough Airport.

Sassy Mama Tip: If the kids get restless on the drive from Kaikoura to Blenheim, stop off at The Store for a quick bite. We recommend the cloudy bay clams. Blenheim is also filled with vineyards (including Hong Kong’s beloved Oyster Bay and countless other boutique New Zealand wines). It’s worth factoring in time for a little vineyard tour.

guide to rotorua and taupo - where to stay in taupo, what to do in rotorua

Taupo and Rotorua

The lakeside town of Taupo is near the centre of New Zealand’s expansive North Island. The outdoor sports (think skiing, jet-boat rides and trout fishing) are paired with crystal-clear views of Australasia, and a quaint, homely feel. As the centre of volcanic and geothermal activity, Taupo has countless hot springs, perfect for swimming and bathing.

From trout fishing to horse riding, Rotorua is equally as full of natural outdoor activity. Thick forests, make up this thermal wonderland; and the geothermal parks, hiking, mountain biking and glow worm caves are all worthy attractions for families.

Where to stay in Taupo and Rotorua:

acacia cliffs lodge - where to stay in taupo

Acacia Cliffs Lodge (Taupo)

Best for: A Personal Touch

The kind-hearted owners, Linda and Rick Whitlock will make your stay here unforgettable. The couple extend a warm welcome to all, and the love they exude for Taupo is palpable. The luxury lodge caters to up to eight guests in four boutique rooms, each with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a private deck or garden courtyard. Set on a plot high above Lake Taupo, the lodge offers an uninterrupted panorama of the lake, sharing its space only with clucking hens, grazing sheep and an abundance of green. Though stylised and modern, the interior puts comfort first – something we are always in favour of. A standard evening includes Rick whipping up family-style feasts, whilst guests are invited to gather around the shared dining table. The duo are skilled at creating a real community feel amongst travellers, and it makes their stunning property a sanctuary to stay in.

Sassy Mama tip: If you’re travelling with another family, you can opt for exclusive booking, and have the entire place to yourselves. Taupo airport transfers can also be included free of cost!

treetops lodge - rotorua guide - where to stay in rotorua

Treetops Lodge (Rotorua)

Best for: On-Site Activities

With its own expansive grounds, Treetops Lodge’s vast landscape offers tons of adventures and activities for guests. The local produce, glow worm caves, horse-riding, and long trail walks leading to remote waterfalls are all highlights for visiting families. This modern hunting lodge has 2,500 acres of 800-year old native forest, featuring rivers, lakes, waterfalls and 35 miles of hiking trails. The lodge offers ‘Signature Experiences’ every day, a relaxing Wilderness Spa, access to The Kinloch Club (an 18 hole Jack Nicklaus designed golf course), and helicopter adventures. When it comes to the full dining experience, Treetops Lodge was one of the most memorable. Fresh produce is used to whip up unique combinations. Our dinner favourites included fresh ceviche, and our breakfast go-to was the sweet potato hash brown. Celebrating a special occasion as a family or couple? Guests are invited to enjoy a private dining experience in the library. Candlelit and by a fireplace, it’s an intimate and calming way to spend your evening – a welcome change from overcrowded restaurants!

Sassy Mama tip: To guarantee you make the most of your stay, you can fill in this pre-arrival form before you even leave your HK apartment. And if you’re booking through Jacada Travel, your Travel Designer will make sure it’s all filled in on your behalf.

Kai Waho experience - new zealand maori experience

What to do in Taupo and Rotorua:

Kai Waho Outdoor Experience: The Māori words “Kai” and “Waho” can be combined to describe a master of the wilderness. That’s exactly what Tom Loughlin, the legendary “tangata whenua” (person of the land), is. The Kai Waho experience is all about sharing the Maori traits of respect and balance to guests that are eager to learn. As your host, Tom can pick you up directly from Acacia Cliffs Lodge, about 1.5 hours away, and take you through his tribe’s land, out in the New Zealand bush for a genuine cultural experience. Tom advises that this is more suitable for kids over the age of 9.

A day trip includes everything from a traditional Maori Hangi (where food is cooked in a pit under the ground) to exploring some of the 2,000 hectares of Māori-owned wilderness. Kai Waho prides itself in never offering the same experience twice, so each day is personalised to suit the guests’ interests. The natural flow of conversation means that you and the kids will be learning about New Zealand’s history and culture every step of the way.

Tom is an experienced Maori chef and search-and-rescue specialist (tracker), with a deep knowledge and understanding of Maori relationships. It’s clear that he feels a physical, emotional and spiritual connection with the land, and he’s passionate about sharing the true nature of New Zealand with his guests. He manages 5,000 acres of Maori land up in the Kaimanawa Ranges, and takes tourists, Maori groups and New Zealand youths out there to hunt, cook, hike and learn. Whether you’re taking a day trip or planning a longer stay, it’s an entirely unique experience. Book exclusively through Jacada Travel as it’s not available to big tour groups. And to make the most of it, go with an open mind, candid intrigue and a keen appetite.

Huka Falls: A short distance north of the town, The Huka Falls are a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River that drains Lake Taupo. The whole family can opt to walk or cycle there.

Otumuheke Stream: These natural, geothermal hot springs are in Taupo’s Spa Thermal Park, a natural “hot spot” on the banks of the Waikato River. Soak away in the pools before or after walking to Huka Falls.

Craters of the Moon: This geothermal area features accessible boardwalks meandering through steam vents and bubbling craters. Run by a small charitable trust, admission is only $8 per person.

Mt Ruapehu: The largest active volcano in New Zealand rests proudly in Tongariro National Park, a World Heritage National Park. Take the chairlifts up and check out New Zealand’s highest café, Knoll Ridge, at the top (often closed for the summer).

Vine Eatery and Bar: This New Zealand and Mediterranean influenced spot offers an extensive tapas menu, designed to be shared. We’d suggest 4 to 5 plates of seafood and fresh veg between two people.

Rotorua Museum: Learn about New Zealand’s heritage at the iconic Rotorua Museum (walking distance from the centre of Rotorua). There are currently free daily tours of the Government Gardens, where little learners of all ages can find out about traditional Maori culture and the battle history of the area.

Polynesian Spa: In need of a mama-only spa session? This developed geothermal spa facility in Rotorua offers the therapeutic benefits of the award-winning Polynesian Spa mineral water. The slightly acidic Priest Spring works wonders on muscle pain, while the alkaline Rachel Spring nourishes and rejuvenates the skin.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves: Take your pick between a walking tour, a black water rafting boat ride or shooting through tubes to witness the glistening glow worms in the world-famous Waitomo caves. Whether your family is after leisure or excitement, Waitomo’s underground caves give you the chance to observe these minuscule beings up close. While it may not look quite like the trending Instagram videos, the clusters of worms really do resemble a star-studded sky, and this cooling cave experience is unique to New Zealand. Whilst you’re in the area, the Jacada Travel-approved, Huhu café offers some homely hot chocolate, and typical New Zealand fare. The undercover outside area is a great stop-off for hungry kids (and parents!).

Sassy Mama tip: Conveniently, the glow worm caves are located on your drive from Rotorua to Aukland (it’s not a coincidence, the Travel Designers take that into account when planning your itinerary). Head straight from your day in the caves into the city. The drive from Taupo to Waitomo takes about 2.5 hours, and Aukland is another 2.5 hours north from there. Once the towering green trees are replaced with lamp posts and buildings, you’ve reached your final destination.

Mt. Eden - what to do in Auckland

Auckland:

It’s no surprise that Auckland is frequently listed as one of the most liveable cities in the world. The combination of culture, art, natural beauty and convenience make New Zealand’s largest cosmopolitan centre a hub for locals and tourists. As the narrowest part of New Zealand, this widespread, active city has easy access to nature. The main similarity it has to Hong Kong is that it’s an energetic city, with easy harbour access, and 30-minute drives to beaches. Although these West Coast beaches overlook the Tasman sea, between Australia and New Zealand, so the differences are vast!

Where to stay in Auckland:

heritage aukland hotel - what to do in aukland

Heritage Auckland

Best for: A City Stay

This well-known hotel is one of the Auckland’s most historic buildings. With 185 rooms across the two wings, you can take your pick between The Tower (offering modern, contemporary designs) or The Hotel (sporting a traditional take). The rooms are more spacious than you’d expect for a city hotel, with all your necessities on hand. If you choose to dine in, the Hectors Restaurant features local produce, and the chef and team are especially good at catering to necessary dietary requirements. With vegetation and vegan options, it’s working on developing sustainable habits. The Lobby Bar, rooftop swimming pool, gym, and tennis court are all well received additions.

What to do in aukland - NZ travel guide

What to do in Auckland:

On Time For You – Transfers and Tours: Whilst you might not naturally gravitate towards a tour guide, 2-minutes in the car with Robin will change your mind. The friendly and charismatic driver and guide has a wealth of knowledge about his home, Auckland. Robin effortlessly balances Auckland-specific insight with fascinating stories of his personal journey. Ask him about the time he took U2’s Bono for a tour of Auckland, ending with a drink at One Tree Hill (the U2 song “One Tree Hill” has a whole new context now). He’s an absolute gent, with a real passion for sharing experiences and listening to people’s stories. I admit, I had a preconception that Auckland would feel like “another city” but this tour completely removed that view. With four drivers and cars, the service is also able to cover transfers to and from Taupo, Rotorua, the Bay of Islands and Kauri cliffs. An ideal alternative if the kids are starting to tire you out! You can opt for a full day tour, with hikes and beach visits included, or drive around for a couple of hours, stopping at city highlights. On Time For You doesn’t even need a website to get bookings – you can book exclusively through Jacada Travel to really make the most of your time in Auckland.

Karekare Beach: Located on the West Coast, this beach is recognised for its isolated natural beauty. With thick rainforests, black sand, and unpredictable weather, Auckland’s West Coast is very different from the East.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: You could spend days here and still leave with more to see. We’d suggest heading to the Weird and Wonderful area, on the 2nd floor, to see the famous Moa bird. Kids will also love the cultural performances, which almost act as little crash courses about New Zealand’s history.

The Winter Garden at the Auckland Domain: This treasure is located right opposite the Museum. You’ll find a constantly changing selection of rare plants and flowers within picturesque Victorian-style glasshouses.

Cornwall Park: This is the biggest park in the Aukland, leading up to the volcanic peak, One Tree Hill. Driving through the entrance, try and get your little ones to spot the “Maori Christmas tree” – the Pohutukawa trees with its crimson needle-like flower. The entire park is packed with history, farm-life and places to explore.

Newmarket Shopping Centre: A premier shopping district with plenty of fashion and entertainment options. It’s located minutes away from Auckland’s Central Business District.

Mount Eden Hike: Claiming the title of the highest natural spot in Auckland, it’s worth taking a trip up to the top of Mount Eden (Maungawhau), one of the 48 volcanic cones.

Piha Beach: The seaside village of Piha in the west of Auckland presents a dramatic black iron-sand coastline. It’s said to offer the best spot for surfers in New Zealand!

Parnell Rose Gardens: With a quaint set up, you wouldn’t imagine these gardens are home to over 5,000 roses. You’ll experience bursts of colours and fragrances all throughout summer and autumn.

Depot Eatery: Expect Pinot on tap, oysters and sliders. This buzzing industrial-chic spot is full of friendly vibes and fab food. With no reservations available, it’s more suited for a date night or late family lunch.

Waiheke Island: As the most populated and second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke is an effortlessly enjoyable way to end your time in New Zealand. The inviting island is a 30 to 40-minute ferry away, and the entire place radiates a beautiful bohemian feel. Head to the Oyster Inn for live music and incredible seafood or check out one of the family friendly beaches. End your day sprawled across a beanbag at Cable Bay Vineyards, letting the kids cartwheel on the sea-view lawn. With space for the active members of the family to run around, nibbles for even the pickiest eaters, and a gorgeous selection of wine for you to sip your way through, you really couldn’t ask for much more.

jacada travel - what to do in new zealand

Sassy Mama tip: If at any point on your trip, your travel plans change, reach out to your on-the-ground contact from Jacada Travel, and they’ll make sure necessary arrangements are made. With a genuine passion for exploring new places, these travel experts really do make sure your trip is worry-free and meticulously thought-out. Here’s to your next adventure!

Read more: Tips & Tricks For Stress-Free Travelling With Kids From 5 to 11

Features image courtesy of Getty. Image 1 via Matakauri Lodge, Image 2 property of Sassy Media Group, Image 3 via Jacada Travel, Image 4 by Josh Withers on Unsplash, Image 5 via Eichardt’s Private Hotel , Image 6 via Matakauri Lodge, Image 7 via Getty, Image 8, 9 and 10 via Jacada Travel, Image 11 via Getty, Image 12, 13 and 14 property of SMG, Image 15 via Heritage Auckland, Image 16 property of SMG.

more sassy mama

What's New

We're social
You are totally twikle-tastic mama, keep shining ✨ 🎨@stacieswift #sosassy #sassymamahk
All this merry-making is tiring, who's ready for a nap? 📷 @lauraiz #sosassy #sassymamahk #homekong #explorehongkong #igworld #hkig #instahk #festivefatigue
So many trees so little time *The Best Festive Displays Around Hong Kong* is up on #sassymamahk. Link in bio! #sosassy #homekong #explorehongkong #igworld #hkig #instahk
What colour 🦄? Via our Sassy Sisters @sassymamasg 😂 #sosassy  #momquotes #sassymamahk
Our kind of Christmas tree by @cakeandconfetti 🍭 #sosassy #sassymamahk #homekong #explorehongkong #igworld #hkig #instahk 📷 @cakeandconfetti
How are you spending New Year’s Eve? *The Best Parties And Events To Ring In 2019* is up on #sassymamahk. Link in bio! 🎆 #sosassy #homekong #explorehongkong #igworld #hkig #instahk
Travelling to the UK this Christmas? *The Ultimate Family Guide To London* is up on #sassymamahk. Link in bio! #sosassy #homekong #explorehongkong #igworld #hkig #instahk

We're social

What we're up to and what inspires us