The 2020 school holidays will be a very different experience for many Kiwi families. As we adjust to life after the COVID-19 lockdown, the mid-year break is the perfect opportunity to become tourists in our own country. As well as making amazing memories, you will be providing welcome support for our hard-working tourism industry. To help get you inspired, check out our top five cities to explore.
Whangarei is the gateway to the ‘Winterless North’. Whether you are heading on the historic Russell or off-road to see Cape Reinga, this city is the perfect place to relax for a day or two to prepare for the journey ahead – or treat yourself to a longer stay and perhaps even take a ferry cruise around the Bay of Islands. The picturesque Whangarei Falls will be sure to delight the littlies, while a drive to Waitangi is educational for kids and grown-ups alike.
Rotorua is a ‘must-see’ New Zealand destination for so many reasons. Most well-known for its renowned thermal activity, Rotorua also offers many opportunities to learn more about Māori culture. Along with indulging yourself in the renowned thermal resorts and delicious food, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to family fun. Our favourites? Have fun with some friendly family rivalry on the luge.
Whether you are an adventure lover or have toddlers in tow, the famed caves in Waitomo make for a truly awe-inspiring visit (as does the legendary menu at the Waitomo Homestead on your way). Waitomo also has much to offer families above-ground including the Mangapohue Natural Bridge, a must-do New Zealand short walk (which also happens to be pushchair-friendly).
Aside from the incredible ski slopes on offer, Wanaka is a beautiful part of our country that can be easily explored at your own pace. For the best free activities around Wanaka, our pick has to be a walk around the Lake – with an obligatory photo in front of the famous Wanaka Tree, of course! Venture on a little further and sample the scone menu at The Edgewater. Feeding the eels off the jetty is another cheap treat for the kids, as well as testing out the beloved dinosaur slide nearby.
Always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon? The Clay Cliffs are New Zealand’s very own version. These jaw-dropping rock formations, a 20 minute drive from Omarama, are just one example of what the Waitaki region has on offer for visitors. Oamaru has something to delight those young and old – from Steampunk and the Victorian Precinct through to the majestic wildlife at the blue penguin colony.
Stay safe and well
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