From Cape Reinga on the North Island to Curio Bay on the South Island, discover ten amazing New Zealand road trip destinations the whole family will enjoy.
Guest Post by Erin Thiem, Inn Town Campground
For more information about planning your own New Zealand road trip, don't miss Erin's companion post about her epic road trip through New Zealand.
Table of Contents
- 1 Cadbury World | Dunedin
- 2 Glowworm Caves | Te Anau
- 3 Queenstown
- 4 Lake Wanaka
- 5 Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre | Blenheim
- 6 Ninety Mile Beach | Northlands
- 7 Te Papa Museum | Wellington
- 8 Huka Falls | Taupo
- 9 Bay of Islands
- 10 Coromandel Peninsula
- 11 Map It!
- 13 Pin This Post!
- 14 Helpful Links
- 15 An Epic New Zealand Road Trip
Everyone loves a great road trip! When my husband Dan and I drove 11,000 miles from California to Alaska in a VW van, we realized we could go the distance. After moving to New Zealand to study and start a family, we knew we had to take an epic road trip of both islands before we returned to California. So with our two small children, a campervan, a tent, and desire to see more of New Zealand, we hit the road. Check out the Top 10 family-friendly New Zealand road trip destinations we discovered along the way!
Cadbury World | Dunedin
Set in the heart of downtown Dunedin, the factory tour is a fun, lighthearted way to see inside the working chocolate factory that makes classic New Zealand lollies like the jaffa, chocolate fish, and scorched almonds.
Update December 2018: We have learned that Cadbury World is currently closed, and we have been unable to verify whether the closing is temporary or permanent.
Glowworm Caves | Te Anau
Hop on a boat and float through a grotto filled with thousands of tiny radiating glowworms. There is a bit of a Disneyland feel to the attraction, but the boat ride across the Te Anau lake provides a great outing for all ages.
Queenstown is full of adventures, but a great activity for the whole family is to ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak and marvel at the breathtaking views of Lake Wakitpu and the Remarkables. Depending on your interest you can go hiking, mountain biking, or ride the luge.
Set in the heart of Central Otago, Lake Wanaka offers a small town feel to the next door neighbor of Queenstown, with beautiful lake activities, ski fields out your back door, world class mountain biking, and wine-tasting by the lake.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre | Blenheim
Featuring Sir Peter Jackson’s collection of World War I aircraft and artifacts, the small museum outside of Blenheim offers an impressive collection of early aviation history in an innovative and visually stunning way.
Ninety Mile Beach | Northlands
Stretching from Ahipara to Scott Point, this 88-kilometer beach is a great place to build a sandcastle. Whether you are out for a walk, fishing, or bodyboarding down the sand dunes, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in the sand.
Te Papa Museum | Wellington
This interactive national museum is a must for anyone who passes through New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington. The collections include art, history, the Pacific, Maori, and natural environment.
Huka Falls | Taupo
Taupo offers many great opportunities to get outside and explore. One of the more popular tourist destinations is Huka Falls, which gives visitors a chance to see hydropower in action, with 220,000 litres of water blasting by every second.
Bay of Islands
Whether you spend the day learning about the Waitangi Treaty or take a boat tour to the Hole in the Rock, you’ll either see wildlife or learn about ancient war canoes.
New Zealand is full of beautiful beaches, many of them without people. But if you get the chance to drive around the Coromandel Peninsula, a visit to Cathedral Cove is well worth the detour.
All Photos:Erin Thiem
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An Epic New Zealand Road Trip
For more information about planning your own New Zealand road trip, including both North and South Island itineraries, read Erin's account of her family's epic road trip through this beloved scenic country. As always we love hearing from our readers in the comments section below. Erin will be on board to respond to your questions regarding road trip travel through New Zealand.