Boy that title is a mouthful! But couldn't think of a better one. It is almost the school holidays! Winter can be a great time to go on holiday to explore and avoid being stuck at home with high energy bored kids. And.... since we are unable to leave our lovely country for warmer temperatures, I thought I would compile a list of family friendly locations around New Zealand for the winter holidays. I haven't listed everywhere I have been, as I will be saving those locations for my summer holiday posts, however these are places I have been to over the winter breaks or they are places I really want to go to. So have a read and in comments below make sure you add to my list, as your suggestion may be my next family holiday destination! (Oh and any text that is green and underlined is the link, so you don't have to search), your welcome!
What better way to start then talking about the slopes available in the North Island, If you love the snow then Mt Ruapahu is the place to go, with 2 ski fields Whakapapa or Tūroa. You can ski, snowboard, sled, or even tube the mountain, or just hang out at the bottom if your like me and a little afraid of the heights. I tried snowboarding the mountain once, and literally when down on my butt the whole way! So now I am always in the kid area. Both ski fields hire out equipment as well as have lesson program's, which I highly recommend. There is a risk however going in July, as sometimes the whether doesn't play the game and there isn't enough snowfall for the fields to open in the holidays, so make sure you check out the reports.
If snow is not your thing then you can always head to Hamilton and check out the Waitomo Caves and enjoy the glow worms, or check out the Dinosaur rEvolution: Secrets of Survival exhibition at the Waikato Museum which runs until September 2020. Then finally get your Lord of the rings fix, and experience a tour and a dinner at the Hobbiton "Movie Set'. I have not done this, but really, really want to!
Love Water! Well Taupo has you covered, as it offers a lot during winter, especially when its cold, you can get into some pretty awesome hot springs, you can visit the Taupo Debret Hot springs, and pools to warm you through after checking out the sites at Huka Falls, Caters of the moon and then enjoy a day at the Huka Prawn park where you can catch your lunch.
If you are in the mood to see the capital this cold winter then Wellington has a lot to offer you and your little ones. Starting with Te Papa, not only does it have an amazing interactive kid zone, but there are levels of mind blowing exhibitions to check out, plus a pretty good cafe inside or go for a stroll along the water front to any of the cafes and restaurants available, or if you're like my family, just cross the road to McDonald, (my kids just don't get good cuisine). Then when your done there head over to the cable car and take a trip up to the botanical gardens, not only will you get some amazing views of wellington, but you get to see a beautiful garden, even when its cold its good! Feel like a cuddle with cute animals, then get some quality time with a close encounter at the Wellington Zoo and if the weather permits, make sure you take the time to check out Zealandia, it is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary.
That is all for the North Island, I haven't mention some other places as I am saving them for my summer holidays post. So lets talk South Island, I haven't really experience the south as much as I would like, 90% of my family live down there, so I don't really have an excuse honestly, however here are places I have been and would recommend.
Christchurch, an amazing city in the south, I love Christchurch, it has the International Antarctic Center if you want to have an Antarctic experience then this is the place to go without having to actually go to Antarctica, they also offer holiday programs, so make sure you check those out. If the freezing cold isn't your thing, then explore over 30 years of historic aircraft's at the Airforce museum, And I cannot forget the gorillas! If you love gorillas, like seriously who doesn't! Then Orana wildlife park is the place to visit as it is the only place in New Zealand that provides a home to gorillas. Or if you are a thrill seeker unlike me who would prefer watch, then Christchurch Adventure park is where its at.
Let head to Queenstown, They say that Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure capital, I don't know if I would go that far, but it defiantly has a lot going on, in the Winter you have to check out the Skyline Gondola, most amazing views! Have a lovely lunch, then take Luge ride back down, if the whether permits! Not far from Queenstown is 2 amazing ski fields, Coronet Peak,and The Remarkables. Totally worth checking out.
And finally on my list is Dunedin, you can feel like a King or Queen and stay or visit the Larnch Castle, this is totally on my bucket list, I haven't managed to tick it off, but when I do, OMG I am going be such a diva in the best way! Once you have got your royal fill, a great place to visit is the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, with a whole lot of exhibitions that will have you in aww, but if your kids are not into the history, then make a beeline to the Science Center, this will entertain and amaze's those little ones!
These are only some of the places in the South Island, that are incredible, if you have been somewhere in the South or the North, that you would recommend to visit in the colder days, then make sure you comment below, as I may just need to book a winter getaway there. Otherwise, I hope these ideas have helped you plan a wonder winter getaway for your family these coming holidays.