Jan 24, 2018 New Zealand – North Island
We spent one week on the north island of New Zealand with our 3 kids. Ages 6, 4, and 1. We flew into Auckland and branched out from there. You can see our Vlog of the North Island HERE. A lot of these activities are family friendly and perfect for older kids too. Just an FYI our travel pace is also slower for the children so you can adjust this to fit your pace.
New Zealand is beautiful and endless in its activities! The people are extremely friendly and it is an easy place to visit once you get use to driving on the left side of the road. My number one rule for New Zealand is keep a bathing suite with you at all times because you never know when you are going to need it – which is frequently!
We road tripped to three cities while there; Auckland, Rotorua, and Taupo. The drive through the landscape is amazing in itself. I Hope this helps you plan your adventure here!
We flew into Auckland. It is one of the major cities in the North. It is not a big city so one day/ half day to explore and combat your first day of jet lag makes this a great first stop. It sits on the water with two beautiful harbors that offer great restaurants, parks, and sights.
We drove out of Auckland to Rotorua where we planned to stay for a few days. We stopped halfway between Auckland and Rotorua to visit Hobbiton.
HOBBITON is the shire set for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. It is really cool to see if you are a fan of the movies. Our kids are a little young but enjoyed parts of the tour for sure. It is only available by guided tours which take a few hours.
Rotorua has a lot of geo thermal activity which is definitely a must if you are in the area. We went to Wia-o-Tapu Thermal Park and then WAI-O-TAPU / THE BRIDGE hot springs.
WAI-O-TAPU THERMAL PARK – The kids loved walking through this park viewing all the different thermal pools. Some are bright and colorful pools others are bubbling mud pots. They have a geyser that they set off every day at 10 am. You can take anywhere from 45minutes to 2.5 hours in the park exploring, we where there for a good 2 hours.
On your drive out of the park you will pass some hot and cold pools that are clearly marked called WAI-O-TAPU / THE BRIDGE.
WAI-O-TAPU / THE BRIDGE hot springs can be found under the road bridge just outside the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park. Its a great place to picnic and spend the rest of your day soaking and swimming. This is free to swim and enjoy.
We left Rotorua and headed towards lake Taupo. On our way out we stopped at Kerosene Creek.
KEROSENE CREEK is a natural hot-springs area with a waterfall, surrounded by dense forest. It’s beautiful and the most perfect hot spring I’ve ever seen. We packed a lunch and spent a half a day swimming at playing here. Then we continued onto Tapo to explore and spend the night. It is a public park so admission is free.
From Taupo we drove to see the beautiful Huka Falls and Spa Park.
HUKA FALLS are a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River. If you have small children like us its great because you can drive right up to the falls making it easy for all. You can take a scenic walk along the banks of the Waikato River, or simply explore the many lookout points at Huka Falls. You can take a 45 minute scenic walk up to Spa Park or drive 10 minutes down the road to it – We drove. Admission is free
SPA PARK is a hot spring that flows into the Waikato River. The further you get from the hot stream the cooler the water as it mixes with the cold Waikato river. So you can swim around to find your ideal temperature. It is a public park so admission is free.
We drove the 2 hours out of Taupo to the Waittomo Caves before driving back up to Auckland to catch our flight for the following morning to the South island.
WAITTOMO CAVES are famous for the thousands of glow-worms that light up the caves. There are several different tours you can take from river rafting and other cave adventures. We did a very basic tour of the caves and boat ride and it was perfect for our children. They loved this activity and I would highly recommend it for any age group.
Hope you find yourself adventuring here soon!