We have just got back from a marvellous holiday in New Zealand. We had our many 'first time' during this trip, such as our first time driving in a foreign country, our first time being away from home for 2 weeks, our first time staying with complete strangers in their home (privately run bed & breakfast), our first time seeing how apples and grapes were farmed, our first time experiencing snowing, our first time playing with snow, our first time seeing wild seals, and many more other 'first time'. It was an amazing experience that I ended up with 5 photobooks for the whole trip.
Here is our "kids friendly" 15 days 14 nights itinerary. I have included the name of all our accommodations which were carefully selected after reading many reviews on the internet. We hope our experience will help you with your planning. :)
Day 1 - Touched down Auckland, picked up our rental car from Apex office, did some grocery shopping at Countdown supermarket and headed to Devonport for evening stroll.
Accommodation: Surrey Hotel, Auckland. Free parking, with basic cooking facility.
Read more of our Day 1 adventure here.
Kids had fun having picnic, running around the beach, while being accompanied by the friendly birds.
The unique Devonport Village.
Auckland in the evening.
Day 2 - Departed from Auckland to The Hobbiton Movie Set at Matamata and drove to Rotorua after the tour.
Accommodation: Lakeview Heights Farm Stay, Rotorua. Farm tour and breakfast are included.
Read more of our Day 2 adventure here.
The tiny home of the hobbits.
Had a rest at the Green Dragon Cafe after the tour. Truly Awesome.
The kids room of our B&B. How the kids loved it!
Day 3 - Enjoyed our farm stay at Rotorua, visited Hamurana Springs, Redwoods Forest, Kuirau Park and we did some Rotorua city tour, sniffing on the strong sulfur smell. Haha... :)
Accommodation: Lakeview Heights Farm Stay, Rotorua. Farm tour and breakfast are included.
Read more of our Day 3 adventure here.
Farm tour in the morning. The farm is facing the beautiful Lake Rotorua.
Hamurana Springs was truly awesome. Baby Bear missed the experience as she was napping snuggly in our Onya baby carrier. :)
Don't forget to bring some breads to feed the ducks and the swans when you visit Hamurana Springs.
The lovely redwoods forest. It felt like walking through the Lord of the Rings movie scene. :)
Day 4 - Had another dose of the amazing Lake Rotorua and a fun Steamed Engine Train Ride before we departed for Lake Taupo. Dropped by Honey Hive Bee Farm and Huka Falls, before we stopped by Lake Taupo for picnic lunch. We then drove to Napier.
Accommodation: The Coach House, Napier. Free parking, free wifi, breakfast included, cooking facility is also provided. Superb.
Read more of our Day 4 adventure here.
The picturesque Lake Rotorua.
Choo... choo... getting ready to board the steamed engine train.
The magnificent Huka Falls.
The beautiful Lake Taupo. Can you see the snow capped mountains? Kids were excited that they were nearer to having snow fun! :)
Day 5 - Napier Art Decor City Tour. We then visited apple farm, Te Mata Winery and Te Mata Peak. Departed for Wellington after lunch.
Accommodation: Apollo Lodge Motel, Wellington. Free parking, limited free wifi, with cooking facility.
Read more of our Day 5 adventure here.
One of the vintage scenes of the Napier Art Decor City.
The black sand beach at Napier.
Our first time seeing how apples were farmed. The apples were so sweet and crunchy!
Another magnificent view of New Zealand - Te Mata Peak.
Day 6 - Bye-bye North Island, Hello South Island. Departed from Wellington to Picton via Interislander ferry, and headed straight to the beautiful Kaikoura to begin our seal watching and seafood hunting experience.
Accommodation: Kaikoura Cottage Motel, Kaikoura. Free wifi, with cooking facility. Laundry facility is available for a small fee.
Read more of our Day 6 adventure here.
Super awesome ferry ride - first class service and super amazing views.
Cook Strait is beautiful.
We were wondering whose house was that? Super awesome to have a house in the middle of a deep forest, along a strait.
Spotted our first seal on the way to Kaikoura from Picton.
Day 7 - Stopped by Seal Colony and we drove up to the point of lookout for the magnificent view of Kaikoura. Had another round of seafood before we headed to Pete's Farm at Rangiora (which is 40 minutes drive from Christchurch).
Accommodation: Pete's Farm Stay, Rangiora. Free wifi, with cooking facility, farm tour and breakfast. Washer is available in the self contained cottage too.
Read more of our Day 7 adventure here.
The view from the point of lookout of Kaikoura was truly magnificent.
The seal was comfortably sunbathing!
The awesome seafood. We had 2 rounds of cray fish and salmon.
Day 8 - Had a good rest at the farm and enjoyed the Kiwi's farm stay to the max! We went to the Warehouse to shop for snow boots for the kids and topped up more grocery needs at the New World supermarket.
Accommodation: Pete's Farm Stay, Rangiora.
Read more of our Day 8 adventure here.
It was a cold and frosty morning at Pete's Farm, Rangiora.
It was all sunny in the late morning.
Sheep shearing demo.
The alpacas were so beautiful with long eye lashes. :)
Pete has a nice playground for the children.
Day 9 - Departed from Rangiora to Lake Tekapo and after that, the remarkable Mount Cook. :)
Accommodation: Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge, Mount Cook Village. Free wifi. There is a well equipped communal kitchen for guest use.
Read more of our Day 9 adventure here.
Beautiful scenery along the way to Lake Tekapo from Rangiora.
The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo.
The spectacular drive on the Mount Cook road.
Our first snow experience. LOL
Day 10 - Touring Mount Cook Village. Then we departed from Mount Cook to Te Anau, via Wanaka and Queenstown. We stopped by Puzzling World Wanaka and en route from Wanaka to Queenstown, we had fun playing with lots of fresh snow! :)
Accommodation: Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park, Te Anau. Limited free wifi, with cooking facility.
Read more of our Day 10 adventure here.
Mount Cook from our lodge.
We were greeted by these scenic views all the way from Mount Cook to Queenstown.
Brother Bear was fascinated by the leaning tower of Puzzling World Wanaka.
Baby Bear was excited to see the mini snowman.
We took this picture while the kids busy playing with the snow. :D
Day 11 - The spectacular Milford Sound tour! We engaged a local company in Te Anau, called Fiordland Tour Te Anau. They specialise in small group tour, as it was low season in New Zealand, we had a private tour!
Accommodation: Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park, Te Anau.
Read more of our Day 11 adventure here.
We did some jungle trekking, which was easy even with kids in tow.
Milford Sound is spectacular.
Milford Sound is amazing from every corner.
One of the most beautiful rainbows we had witnessed in our life.
Day 12 - Departed from Te Anau to Queenstown. It was scenic drive all the way to Queenstown and it snowed as we hit the Coronet Peak Ski Resort in Queenstown. After had fun playing with snow, we headed to the historic Arrowtown.
Accommodation: Kemnay B&B, Queenstown. Free wifi and breakfast included.
Read more of our Day 12 adventure here.
The peaceful Lake Te Anau. We like this small town.
It snowed as we hit Coronet Peak in Queenstown. Look at the joy on her face!
Nothing would stop them from continue playing with the snow.
We had to drag them to the car to head to this historic place - Arrowtown.
The alpine setting walking trails.
The remains of the Chinese Miners Village.
Day 13 - Queenstown Skyline for gondola and luge ride AND another round of snow play at the Coronet Peak. :P
Accommodation: Kemnay B&B, Queenstown.
Read more of our Day 13 adventure here.
The view from our bathroom at Kemnay. I wish I could wake up to this view everyday!
The beautiful Lake Wakatipu.
The super fun luge ride for the whole family.
Kids enjoyed the chairlift ride so much.
Back to Coronet Peak for more snow fun. LOL
Day 14 - We flew from Queenstown back to Auckland via Jetstar Airways, picked up another rental car, had lunch and headed to Cornwall Park for super great fun! We loved Cornwall Park so much, a must do attraction in Auckland!
Accommodation: Aimee's 2 Bedroom Home at Ruawai Road. We booked through Airbnb. Free wifi, with cooking facility. Breakfast included.
Read more our Day 14 & 15 adventure here.
After weeks of mountains and lakes, we were fascinated by the greeneries of Cornwall Park. :)
The hairy cows.
The cutie sheep.
Baby Bear enjoyed the ride very much.
Fun and exciting ride for the bigger kids. As Baby Bear wanted to have a try, Papa Bear had to run along. Good exercise for him!
Day 15 - Had a wonderful breakfast at Aimee's place and it was time to go home. Thank you, New Zealand. :)
Papa Bear was preparing smoothies.
Beautiful home of Aimee.
We had fond memories of New Zealand. The locals are very friendly, they would smile or greet you 'hello" and often offered to take family pictures for us when they saw us taking pictures of each other. The country is beautiful and very well planned/organised, even in the smaller villages/towns. We begin to miss New Zealand.
Special thanks to 2 of my friends and some mummies of Mummies Connect (a support group for mothers on Facebook) for sharing me their experiences, especially Pui Hua who shared her wonderful experience in her blog - Fun with Little Ones. All these information help us a lot in our planning and I hope our humble experience will help you in yours too.
In case you need to change the route/itinerary, you can use this website - AA Travel to calculate the distance and time. Accommodations were booked directly through the official sites, booking.com, airbnb.com and bnb.co.nz - you just have to Google based on the names given above. :)