We spent 10 days exploring the North Island of New Zealand. Our kids are aged 12,8,5 and we travel with a wheelchair. It was our first time in New Zeland even though my Dad was born there. With amazing scenery, beautiful people, rich cultural heritage and adventure sports its the perfect place for a family holiday.
Kiw Iwi Lakes
Sitting having lunch in cafe Blah Blah Blah in Dargaville the owner encouraged us to explore these lakes. We were not sure what to expect but on seeing them were blown away.
Beautful clear water like a tropical island with no one else in sight. We parked the camper on the shore and spent the morning swimming in the cool water.
2. Ball Rolling
For kids over 6 this is a must do adventure when in NZ. In Rotorua we spent the afternoon at OGO rolling down the longest grass hill paths in NZ or even the world! I can still hear Pepper squealing from inside the ball and all of us laughing so much with the adrenlin rush.
Warning. You are going to get wet!
Once you are suitably dressed wait for the car to come and pick you up. It takes you up the hill in style! Once up the top you can wait in a hot tub and admire the amazing views of Lake Rotarua.
The ball is filled with water and in you jump! The gate swings away and off you go down the hill.
It was seriously the best fun for all of us! I couldn’t stop laughing and didn’t know which way was up or down! Both the kids loved the sidewinder course too which added more turns and twist to the typical straight run
Our top tips:
Bring your swimmers and towel Or you can hire them from OGO.
Bring an action cam to capture the thrills inside the OGO or you can hire them.
Thankyou Ogo for hosting us and enabling Cooper to tick off one of his big travel dreams.
3. Mud Pools.
Once you get past the sulphur smell this adventure is great for all ages. It is a unique experience in Rotarua with this amazing Geo Thermal activity.
The older kids really enjoyed the guided tour and learnt so much about the history of the area including Maori culture and the fact that there were fossils from coral right here next to the hot springs.
After the tour head to the change rooms and get in your swimmers. All your belongings can be kept in big plastic tubs which keeps them waterproof ( the day we went it was raining the whole day)
Soak in the mud for 15 minutes, shower, then laze in the sulphur pools.
Which kid wouldn’t want to play in mud?
Thankyou Hells Gate for Hosting our muddy learning visit!
4.Dig your own Hot Spa
Each day for two hours either side of low tide this beach is magical! While people are surfing others are relaxing in their own hot spa which they have dug themselves right there on the sand.
Grab a shovel ( they can be hired for $5 at Hotties or Top 10) and walk along the shore to where others are gathered just in front of a large rock in the water.
The water can reach over 40oC so always keep on eye and feel on where you are digging. Afterwards there are cold showers up near the carpark.
5. Travel to Narnia.
Walk along the beach were the children from …………. The 5km round trip trek down to Cathedral Cove is worth it. We would recommend for children 5 and up but we did see plenty of babies in carriers enjoying the view. It was hard going pushing a wheelchair too. At the end of the sealed path are 140 steps down to the sand. There is also the more luxurious option of doing a boat tour.
6. Eat the Best Fish and chips
Right on the water in Manganoui you can taste the best fish and chips in NZ! A great place to watch the sunset over the water and eat fresh fish straight off the boats.
7. Tamaki Maori cultural village.
One of the best things about travel is learning about local culture and customs. In NZ we loved learning all about traditional Maori culture in an amazing setting and evening of entertainment.
The fun starts from when the bus picks you up from your accommodation and ends when they drop you back. On the 20 minute drive we learnt a few Maori words and how to be respectful when watching the welcoming ceremony.
Under the canopy of forest trees you get a great insight of how the Maori people arrived and lived in New Zealand with great interactions from the audience members.
The singing was a huge highlight before a traditional Hungi dinner. The kids are still laughing about the bus trip home with Davey singing the Wheels on the bus!
Perfect for kids aged 5 and up. Thank you Tamaki Cultural Village for hosting our evening and teaching us all about the Maori culture.
8. Travel by campervan
We spent seven days exploring the North Island in a camper van. For all those stories head here. Heads up we loved it!
9. Rise above it.
The Auckland Sky tower is the perfect place to Auckland from up high. You can view the whole area 360oC from 220 metres up! We loved looking across towards the Coromandel and seeing where we had explored. I also love that it can give you a good idea of where things are placed for when you explore by foot. For a bigger adrenalin rush you can also walk along the edge or even jump from it!
Thankyou for hosting our visit, next time the kids want to try the jumping! ( FYI you need to be aged 10 and over 30kgs)
10. Street art self guided walking tour.
We love just walking around a new city and exploring by foot. The city of Auckland has some beautiful street art and you can do it yourself or book into a guided walk.