Best things to do in New Zealand with family

by | Mar 2, 2022 | New Zealand Travel

If you’re looking things to do in New Zealand with family that are educational and do their part caring for the environment, we’ve got the perfect list for you. We’re lucky enough in New Zealand to have a lot of things to do in New Zealand with family that don’t disturb natural areas – these are low impact and improve the environment for the native creatures that call these places home.

Check our list of the top things to do in New Zealand with family:

  1. Rotorua Canopy Tours
  2. Sail Barbary
  3. Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve
  4. Waimangu
  5. ZELANDIA
  6. Rotorua Duck Tours
  7. Dive Tatapouri
  8. Sanctuary Mountain

1. Rotorua Canopy Tours

Rotorua Canopy Tours combines a thrilling zipline adventure with an engaging encounter with the natural world. This is one of the family activities mums and dads can get excited about too! You’ll explore ancient native forest via ziplines, cliff walks, tree platforms and swing bridges while your incredible guides teach you amazing things. A big part of what Rotorua Canopy Tours is all about is restoring the native forest back to its original state and every customer that goes on tour contributes to the conservation of the forest – they now have a massive pest trapping network covering 250ha!

rotorua canopy tours family photo
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Photo: Fly through the forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours and create unforgettable family memories.

2. Sail Barbary

On one of our more relaxing things to do in New Zealand with family is sailing across Lake Taupo. Discover our largest lake’s natural wonders and hidden treasures while cruising the crystal clear waters with Sail Barbary. You’ll see hidden maori rock carvings and hear the maori legend on their zero emissions yacht. They use the sustainable power of the wind or a gentle eco-friendly electric engine so you can sit back and relax or learn to sail knowing you are helping to preserve and protect beautiful lake Taupo.

3. Poor Knights Island Marine reserve

Have a tropical holiday without leaving New Zealand at Poor Knights Marine Reserve, a hidden paradise in Northland. Kids of all ages are sure to love this marine reserve which has over 120 species of fish. It’s a world renowned dive spot but with Dive! Tutukaka you can also go snorkeling, paddle boarding and explore the biggest sea cave on earth – you might even get to see dolphins or whales.

Poor Knights Island marine reserve - things to do in New Zealand with family
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Photo: The Poor Knights Island Reserve is a great family activity with snorkeling, paddle boarding and more.

4. Waimangu

Another one of our worthy things to do in New Zealand with family is Waimangu. See spectacular volcanic craters, rare and unusual plant life and a range of beautiful geothermal features at Waimangu, the world youngest geothermal system. You can choose to do a self-guided walk or go on a boat cruise to Lake Rotomahana where the pink and white terraces once stood. The team at Waimangu are committed to sustainability with their recycling, solar power and predator control practices.

5. ZELANDIA

The world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary, ZEALANDIA in Wellington, is home to some of New Zealand’s most rare and extraordinary wildlife. The ZELANDIA team are super passionate about wildlife and sustainability and have reintroduced over 20 species back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years! There are over 40 species of native birds, dozens of reptile species, hundreds of plant species and thousands of invertebrates to see.

Zelandia things to do in New Zealand with family
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Photo: Explore the eco-sanctuary of ZELANDIA and see some of the most rare wildlife in New Zealand.

6. Rotorua Duck Tours

Now for one of our top things to do in New Zealand with family that’s a bit different. Suitable for all ages, Rotorua Duck Tours is a one of a kind adventure that will take you from land to lake on New Zealand’s only genuine WW2 amphibious landing crafts. There are two tours to choose from and the kids will love their fully guided educational and entertaining commentary. Their newest 2-hour eco tour visits 4 lakes exploring the Tarawera area. They also work closely with the local council to stop the spread of aquatic pests

7. Dive Tatapouri

Get up close and personal with majestic sea creatures in their natural habitat at Dive Tatapouri in Gisborne. They offer an interactive marine experience with Short-tail stingrays (Whai), Eagle Rays and other reef dwellers with their guided Reef Ecology Tour. The natural flow of conversation means that you and the kids will be learning about the magical marine ecosystem and the local culture every step of the way.

Family activities Dive Tatapouri
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Photo: Get up close and personal with sting rays and other reef dwellers with Dive Tatapouri.

8. Sanctuary Mountain

The last of top things to do in New Zealand with family is for all the kids who are animal lovers. Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is a great place to get up close and personal with native bird life and tuatara in their natural habitats. Located in the Waikato, this ancient rainforest is surrounded by one of the world’s longest pest proof fences. It’s a sanctuary for some of our most endangered species including birds, skinks, geckos, frogs, bats and insects. Choose from the many walking tracks or take a guided tour to learn about why this conservation project is so special.

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