Kiwi Family Self Drive Adventure - Kids 8 to 14 Itinerary



Haere Mai and Welcome to New Zealand!

Welcome to the 'City of Sails' - Auckland. Relax, you are officially on holiday!  We have arranged everything, collect your car from the airport, plug in the GPS and head to your central city accommodation. The remainder of the day is yours to do as you please. There is plenty to see and do or you can chill out with the kids, take a stroll around our beautiful Viaduct Harbour. Tomorrow is the beginning of your awesome New Zealand Family Adventure Tour.

Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:

Explore Waiheke Island    Island Kayaking Adventure    America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky TowerRelax on the BeachRangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine TourWhale and Dolphin SafariMuriwai Surf Beach

Accommodation Auckland - 1 night

Auckland Viaduct

Within a stones throw of the Britomart & Harbour side entertainment and dining precinct - your stay in Auckland will be a memorable one. Fully equipped modern serviced one, two and three bedroom apartments are perfect for short or long term stays within Auckland City. Full Kitchen Facilities - Oven & stovetop, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, cuttlery and cooking utensils and Internal Laundry Facilities allow you the freedom to stay as if you had never left home. Newly refurbished hotel rooms are perfect for shorter stays.

Nesuto Stadium Apartments, Located in Auckland Central Business District.


Coromandel Peninsula - Relax You're at the Beach!

The Coromandel Peninsula lies east of Auckland, on the other side of the Hauraki Gulf. An impressive, heavily forested mountain range runs right up the middle of this peninsula - it’s bordered on each side by miles of spectacular coastline. The idyllic seaside village of Hahei, (HA-hey) is a small settlement situated on the eastern side of the Peninsula.  Yes there are a couple of restaurants, cafes and fish and chippy but essentially this is a secret hideaway where Kiwi families take their holidays, with a sheltered and safe for swimming white-sand beach. Its resident population is only around 300, but in peak holiday periods the population can swell to 3,000.

Approximate Distance: 170 kms | 105 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Accommodation Hahei - 2 nights

Kid on the Beach - Coromandel Penensula

Nestled within 1.5 acres (half a hectare) of beautiful tropical gardens, Tatahi Lodge offers you space, privacy and comfort with all the little extras to make your visit to Hahei a truly memorable one. Conveniently situated being only a 400m (1300 feet) level walk to the white sands of Hahei Beach, 50m (160 feet) to local cafes, restaurants & amenities and within walking distance of Cathedral Cove, you won't need your vehicle again until its time to leave or to visit nearby Hot Water Beach.

Tatahi Lodge


Cathedral Cove - New Zealands Most Beautiful Beach

Your kids are going to love this…

Last year Cathedral Cove was voted by New Zealanders as the most scenic beach in the country - and we're sure you'll agree. Stunning Cathedral Cove is a small, intimate cove enclosed by steep cliffs. At one end of the beach is the famous cathedral rock formation that creates a spectacular passageway to the neighboring cove. The other end of the beach has a magnificent waterfall that cascades directly onto the sand and is a great way to rinse off the salt water after a refreshing swim. You can either opt for a very scenic one hour walk to the cove or take a 20 minute boat that leaves a nearby beach every half an hour.

Recommended excursions in and around the Coromandel:

Dive the Aldermans   Soak in the Lost Springs  Visit Cathedral Cove
Soak in Hot Water Beach  Rainforest Rail JourneyExplorer Cruise
Water Works ParkGuided Sea Kayaking Kauri Forest Guided Hike
Stunning picture of the famous Cathedral Cove.


Waitomo - Cave Country

It’s hard to believe when you drive through the idyllic peaceful countryside of the Waikato, that hidden beneath its surface lies a labyrinth of Glowworm Cave networks that house formations and creatures that are simply out of this world. Both educational and thrilling your kids will LOVE.

If you are interested in seeing galaxies of beautiful glowworms, then this small group personalized Spellbound Tour allows you to spend 40 minutes under glowworms. This tour is one of the most unhurried glow worm tours in New Zealand, with plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness - intensifying the effect of thousands of softly shining glow worms.

Sir David Attenborough on the BBC series 'Life in the Undergrowth' described the spellbound Cave as an “Astonishing Cave” And “one of natures most Magical Illuminations!” - This is an easy adventure everyone will enjoy.

A Gross Fact... about the New Zealand Glowworms

Approximate Distance: 222 km | 138 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours

Accommodation Waitomo - 1 night

Glowworm Caves Waitomo

These Wilderness Cottages were built to capture the unique beauty of its surroundings. This farm is a fantastic example of what Waitomo is renowned for: subterranean caves with glowworms, rough limestone out-crops, lush green fields and friendly people. There are a number of walking tracks through our native bush. There are also a number of rock climbing areas which are mapped out for those interested.

Wilderness Cottage


Fancy a Walk on the Moon - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro is New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area. This special place has outstanding volcanic features and is easy for the family to explore. It is a place of extremes and surprises ranging from herb fields to lush native forests, from tranquil lakes to desert-like plateau and active volcanoes - Tongariro has them all, an unforgettable place your family will remember.. The park also offers many hiking options from shorter walks to waterfalls and fascinating volcanic features, including the crater of Ruapehu or the eight hour Tongariro Crossing, features phenomenal volcanic scenery and fine views of Lake Taupo and Mt Taranaki.

Many natural hot-pools are found through-out the park, free for those wanting a soothing spa.

Popular Walks Include:

  • Lake Rotopounamu, 2 hours
  • Meads Wall, 30 min 
  • Mounds Walk, 20 min 
  • Taurewa Track, 3 hour 
  • Ridge Track, 40 min 
  • Skyline, 1 1/2 hours
  • Silica Rapids, 3 hours
  • Tupapakurua Falls, 5 hours  
  • Tawhai Falls, 20 min return
  • Tama Lakes, 6 hour return
  • Taranaki Falls, 2 hour loop
  • Whakapapa Nature Walk, 15 min

Department of Conversation (DOC) Information Office

When visiting any of our National Parks, it always pays to pop into the local DOC (Department of Conservation) office and register your intentions. These friendly folk will not only help you decide which walk suits you, but they will also keep an eye out for you - This service is free!

Approximate Distance: 185 kms | 115 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Accommodation: National Park - 1 night

Tongariro Crossing National Park
The lodge is a small boutique colonial inspired accommodation whose buildings date back to the early 1900s. The lodge is made up of just six well-appointed, large, warm rooms with their own bathrooms. The lodges focus is to offer guests an unforgettable stay which corresponds to and magnifies the amazing surrounds of the Central Plateau area. Whether you are coming to hike, bike, canoe, ski or just wanting to escape the rat-race and chill in and around the mountains.
Tongariro Crossing Lodge


Awesome Geothermal Park & Natural Hotpools

Wai-O-tapu Thermal Wonderland
Just south of Rotorua lies Wai-O-tapu, a wonderland of stunning geothermal activity and a really exciting place for both kids and adults to visit. Wai-O-Tapu means 'Sacred Water' and it is easy to see why as the hot pools range in colour from turquoise blue, rich green and gold to an almost olive/yellow, make the water at Wai-O-Tapu a dazzling kaleidoscope of natural colour caused by the many mineral salts in the water including arsenic, gold and silver. This is the home to the world famous Champagne Pool, seen by many as the most beautiful example of geothermal activity around. The steaming vents with New Zealand’s largest bubbling mud pool while being surrounded by huge volcanic craters make the experience very other worldly - but wait, there is more... the Highlight is the Lady Knox Geyser that spectacularly erupts daily at around 10.15am (ish) - The kids will love that.

Note: If you are interested in visiting some of New Zealand's Wild Hot-Pools  (non commercial so free) visit our Blog

Approximate Distance: 180 kms | 112 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 mins

​Accommodation Rotorua - 2 nights

Relax in Rotorua at the Silver Fern Accommodation and Spa, located just minutes away from the city centre and close to the tourist attractions, cafes, restaurants and golf courses. Silver Fern offers spacious, light and secure suites with a private spa pool or double spa bath to enjoy on those cold nights. Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, Sky TV and DVD/CD facilities during your stay. A continental or cooked breakfast can be delivered to your room every morning of your stay and an 11am check out will make your stay in Rotorua totally memorable.
Silver Spoon Rotorua.


Kids Rafting & Maori Cultural Evening - Rotorua

Scenic Rafting the Lower Rangitaiki River
Enjoy spectacular scenery with cascading waterfalls tumbling into the river, beautiful native forest views and sheer rock gorges clad in native bush. Ideal for families this is a relaxed rafting adventure, the Lower Rangitaiki Scenic trip offers gentle rolling rapids that never rise above Grade 2. Although this is a calm rafting experience and is suitable for families you still need to be physically active as there is a step-like rock formation to walk down to the raft itself - But dont worry we will be there to help out.      

Note: If your children are a little older, let us know and we can easily upgrade the rafting to a grade 3 to make it more exciting.

Maori Cultural Evening - Village, Hangi & Music
Spend an evening sharing and feasting on a selection of foods cooked the traditional Maori way - on hot stones in an authentic earthen oven (a Hangi). Understand the spiritual significance of the moko (facial tattoo) as warriors demonstrate with tools made of fine bird bone and sharpened greenstone and then perform a concert including the world famous ‘Haka’. An educational and enlightening experience, coupled with a ‘good feed’ and sing-a-long makes for a unique and entertaining experience!

Not for You? Well maybe it is? - Read our full review Tamaki Māori Village Experience.

Rafting Rangitikei River
Maori village


Fly to Sunny Nelson - South Island

Nelson, with a Mediterranean Climate and the highest sunshine hours in the country, all at a laid back pace – sound good? The area is known for growing excellent produce and artists! 

Nelson is your gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, as well as having other golden sand beaches to enjoy at Kaiteriteri and Tahuna. The area is known as a good place to bring up a family so there are plenty of things to see and do. 

Accommodation Nelson - 1 night

Flights additional to costing

The Palms Motel is a great choice for a comfortable place to stay in Nelson. Relax on the open patio, take a dip in the pool or visit the nearby amenities. Located in the centre of beautiful Nelson, The Palms Motel offers a modern, interior decorated self-contained apartments with full kitchen facilities. Everything you need to have a hassle free time in beautiful Nelson.
The Palms Motel Nelson.


Kayaking/Walking - Abel Tasman Overnight Camping Adventure

It is rare to find coastline as beautiful as that of the pristine and unspoiled Abel Tasman National Park. Explore this magical, sunbathed slice of the upper South Island with a fully-guided overnight tour that takes you along an inviting shoreline jewelled with small Islands, seawater in azure shades of green and blue, hidden coves and some of the top beaches in New Zealand. Following a trail into paradise, we peruse the landscapes and shoreline on foot, surveying spectacular views from the high vantage points and discovering secret coves that are sheltered from the elements by sculpted cliffs and native forest. Beckoning seas are best met with kayaks, so we take to the pristine waters of Abel Tasman and enjoy our exploration of the coast in the most wonderful way possible.

NOTE: Kids under 12 (depending on their ability) will have the option of some kayaking in sheltered waters, water taxi for a section and a pleasant beach walk.

* There are cabin options available for those who don't wish to camp.

Approximate Distance: 64 kms | 40 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 05 mins

National Park Abel Tasman.

Sorry due to the isolated nature of the Abel Tasman you have to experience an evening with no 'Mod Con's' - we doubt you will be able to have any internet connection. Bark Bay is another golden beach in the Abel Tasman National Park and has a beautiful tidal estuary which you can walk along. Bark was stripped from trees to be used in a Nelson tannery last century, hence the origin of the name of the bay (the bark has grown back)

Abel Tasman Camping Adventure


Return to Marahau

At the end of your overnight camping trip we highly recommend  trip to the Fat Tui burger cafe. Outstanding and tonight the kids will happily finish their meals!

Accommodation Marahau - 1 night

Abel Tasman Beach Walk

Located at the Southern entrance to Abel Tasman National Park are the Ocean View Chalets in Marahau. The blue-green sea and golden beaches are easily accessible with nearby walking tracks. Relax in tranquility amongst the native bush and peaceful surroundings. Each chalet is self contained and private with wonderful ocean views, all are free standing, comfortable and bright. 

Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets


Marahau to Punakaiki

Follow the Motueka River Valley and its bounty of hops, grapes and apple trees, before heading over the Spooners saddle in the Golden Downs forest. Follow SH6 to Murchison, although part of the Nelson Region, this will be your first introduction to the glory and green that is the scenic beauty of the West Coast and Buller Region.  Navigate the awesome Buller Gorge, where at Hawks Crag the road has been hacked out of solid rock – you’ll drive under a dramatic overhang. Continue on to Punakaiki, famous for its ancient Pancake Rocks and booming blowholes. It is the centrepiece of the Paparoa National Park, which is packed with a variety of stunning landscapes. 

Approximate Distance: 281 kms | 178 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours

Accommodation Punakaiki  - 1 night

Nestled in native forest on the edge of Paparoa National Park and just 1.2 kilometers south of the Pancake Rocks, we find Paparoa Park Motel. If you are looking for a self-contained motel accommodation on the West Coast, this Punakaiki motel is perfect with some with spectacular views looking across the bay to the Pancake Rocks/Blowholes others with wonderful New Zealand native bush views. They have a spectacular view of the Pancake Rocks/Blowholes and the wonderful native bush.
Paparoa Park Motel


The West Coast & Beautiful Fox Glacier

The rugged West Coast is hemmed between the Tasman Sea and the imposing Southern Alps, making for spectacular contrasts in the surrounding scenery. Fox Glacier, found in the stunning Westland National Park, is one of the most spectacular glaciers in this region. Sub-tropical forest and snow-covered glaciers vie for space on this narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps on the West Coast of the South Island. 

Approximate Distance: 240 kms | 149 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Fox Glacier - 1 night

Stunning Fox Glacier
Experience our warm hospitality and the mountain views towards the glacier valley. Enjoy our tranquil private setting surrounded by temperate rainforest edging the Westland Tai Poutini National Park.
Fox Glacier Lodge


Heli-Flight With Glacier Landing - Have a Snow Fight!

This is the ultimate glacial and mountain experience and this flight covers it all! You get close and see glacial icefalls, crevasses and neves, views from ocean to Alps - A must on a New Zealand family adventure tour. Get your camera ready for the spectacular snow landing and with rotors turned off, the silence is deafening. These frozen rivers of ice can travel up to 3 metres (10 feet) per day down the mountain valleys and when the rotor is off listen for the book of the glacier inching forward. 

As you farewell the beech forests of th Mt Aspiring National Park and traverse the Haast Pass - be prepared to view lakes and rivers coloured like rare jewels - emerald and sapphire hued, intensified by the contrast of the surrounding mountain and tussock clad hillsides. Eventually arriving in Queenstown, the centre of adventure in New Zealand, there truly is something here for everyone. Every possible mode of transport and adventure is available to explore Central  Otagos lakes (Wakatipu & Hawea), rivers (Shotover, Kawerau, Dart) and mountains (Coronet Peak, Remarkables, Ben Lomond)

Approximate Distance: 330 kms | 205 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 10 mins

Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights

Snow Fight Fox Glacier
Just 5 minutes’ walk from Lake Wakatipu, Blue Peaks Lodge offers heated rooms with satellite TV. The property offers free parking and 500mb of free Wi-Fi per stay. Blue Peaks Lodge Queenstown is 3 minutes’ walk from Queenstown Gardens, and 10 minutes’ drive from the popular Onsen Hot Pools. Queenstown Airport is a 15-minute drive away.
blue peak


Dart River Wilderness Funyak Safari Into MT Aspiring National Park

 1¼ hours of Jet Boating to the upper reaches of the Dart River, deep into Mt Aspiring National Park. After a full safety and paddling instruction, your Funyak journey begins. Paddle downstream on a crystal clear river amidst rocky peaks and dense rainforests.  After a wilderness buffet lunch, explore the Rock Burn Chasm and ancient beech forests.

NOTE: “Funyak” is an inflatable whitewater craft, appearing and functioning similar to a white water river kayak – a “fun” kayak. They are built for fun and stability for whitewater trips and are very stable. This trip is suitable for any child 1 meter (3.2 ft) tall and above - each child will be in a ‘Funyak’ with an adult. All safety gear is supplied.

Funyak on the Dart River


Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

The morning is yours to relax with a mid afternoon flight back to Auckland to connect to your flight home. We know you and your kids will love the New Zealand Family Adventure Tour and our promise to you is to make your travels in New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about 'The New Zealand Family Adventure Tour'  - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!

Bon Voyage New Zealand

What Michelle says about this tour: This is the trip I know my own family would have absolutely loved. There are so many fun activities included - that picking a favourite is going to be the hardest part of the trip! Dont delay - get in touch and we can get started planning this outstanding family vacation.
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