New Zealand

Put New Zealand on your family vacation bucket list

Last updated 10th February 2021

New Zealand recently ranked top in the Bloomberg Covid Resilience Rankings for the third month in a row, a perfect excuse to take a look at what else is extraordinary about the country they call the Land of the Long White Cloud. And from pristine beaches to ancient rain forests, glaciers and bubbling mud — plus kiwis, penguins and a whole lot of sheep — New Zealand is a place where extraordinary seems to come as naturally as breathing:

family vacation in New Zealand


Travel to the Shire with a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata to experience the magic of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Families can meander along pathways on the emerald green hillside to visit 44 miniature Hobbit holes — complete with round wooden doors, tiny mailboxes and flower-filled front gardens — or relax in the cozy, thatch-roofed Green Dragon Inn, where you can hoist a tankard of Southfarthing ale, cider or nonalcoholic ginger beer for a real Middle Earth moment, only in New Zealand. 

family vacation in New Zealand

Hot Water Beach

There are plenty of spectacular beaches on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, but Hot Water Beach might be the most fun. For two hours before and after low tide, you can dig a hole and watch geothermally heated mineral water gurgling up through the sand. Bring or rent a shovel, then settle in to enjoy the Pacific view.

family vacation in New Zealand


Geothermal activity beneath Rotorua produces bubbling mud pools, hot waterfalls and towering geysers. Try a mud bath or spa treatment (both the local mineral water and mud are renowned for their healing powers). Rotorua is also a great place to learn about indigenous Maori culture in New Zealand.

family vacation in New Zealand

Waitomo Glow worm Caves

If descending into a cave for a boat ride with tiny luminescent creatures beaming overhead like a million stars sounds like your idea of fun, then don’t miss the Waitomo Glow  worm Caves. Wander through Waitomo’s grotto to marvel at the dazzling display of Arachnocampa Luminosa (known as the New Zealand glow worm). 

family vacation in New Zealand

Fiordland National Park

This vast New Zealand national park — nearly 3 million acres with mountains, lakes, rain forests and 14 stunning fiords — offers edge-of-the-earth scenery: deep waters surrounded by towering mountains, with waterfalls cascading through rain forests. Fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, native takahe and kakapo birds and penguins also live here. 

family vacation in New Zealand

Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony

One of many wildlife wonders in New Zealand, this colony of blue penguins lives in the waters near Oamaru. They’re the world’s smallest penguins and only come ashore at night in groups (called “rafts”), providing a special opportunity to glimpse them in action. There are a variety of tours where families can watch the little birds swim up, get out of the water, then toddle across the beach and up a stone ramp to their burrows.

family vacation in New Zealand

Franz Josef and Fox glaciers

These towering sheets of blue ice descend from the Southern Alps toward the sea. The fast-moving glaciers produce abundant crevasses, tunnels and ice caves for exploring. The Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are easy to visit and among the most accessible glaciers in the world.


Looking for fun closer to home right now? Take a look at Florida National Parks open for family fun in February. And don’t forget to follow Family Traveller on Instagram and Facebook and share your travel plans – or just say ‘hi’.