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New Zealand’s best family-friendly attractions

Planning a New Zealand trip but not sure how to put your itinerary together? Here are four ideas that showcase the very different aspects of the country.

For film fanatics

Whether you’re a longtime Tolkien aficionado, or you were blown away by the visual extravaganzas dished up by Peter Jackson in his six blockbuster adaptations of the writer’s famous works, you’ll love getting a peek into the life of a Hobbit and discovering Middle-earth for yourself at the Hobbiton Movie Set (hobbitontours.com). Hobbiton is located near Matamata in the North Island. You can have lunch at Shire’s Rest Café, browse the Shire Store, and blow the froth off an ale at the Green Dragon Inn.

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For nature lovers

Among the world’s more remote and isolated countries, New Zealand was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. This gives the country a rich and distinctive biodiversity of animal, bird and plant life as well as an abundant marine life. Whales, seals, penguins and dolphins can all be spotted here, including the world’s rarest Hector’s dolphin, unique to New Zealand.

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Tip: Head for the historic coastal township of Kaikoura. You can book a whale-watching trip or visit a seal colony, before ending the day with a winery tour in Christchurch

For adventure seekers

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June to October is ski season in New Zealand, and Queenstown is the centre of activity, with the two main ski fields of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables experiencing big, happy crowds. Don’t forget to leave some time for bungy jumping (commercial bungy jumping actually started in New Zealand in 1986); there’s also sky-diving, canyon-swinging and other adrenaline-inducing activities that are available all-year round.

For culture vultures

Even if you’re not crazy about culture and heritage , it’s hard not be aware of how strongly the Maori culture impresses itself upon the contemporary life of New Zealanders. There are many amazing historic sites dotted throughout the country. You can watch a ceremony, book a stay on a marae (Maori meeting grounds) or try your hand at the famous haka. Rotorua in the North Island is a great starting point for learning the difference between a hangi and a hongi!

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For something completely different, the World of WearableArt (WOW). WOW is an annual international design competition held each spring, and also the country’s single largest arts event.


Interested in visiting New Zealand? See our Australia and New Zealand section for more stories like this!

This article first appeared in the Travel Guide 2017 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!