Active Family Adventure

Family fun in North & South Islands

An action-packed family adventure taking you from Auckland in the North to Queenstown in the South. Enjoy the wildlife, activities for adults and children alike, and the magical scenery.


  • Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater Adventure & Sky Tower
  • Visit to Hobbiton
  • Zorbing and luge in Rotorua
  • Volcanoes in central North Island
  • National Museum of Te Papa, Wellington
  • Golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Cadbury World
  • Seals, penguins and dolphins
  • Mighty Milford Sound
  • Action galore in Queenstown
  • Puzzling World in Wanaka



DAY 1: Arrive Auckland

On arrival at Auckland’s international airport, transfer to your hotel in the heart of Auckland. Take today to recover from your international flight; take a stroll along the waterfront, visit the Sky Tower for a view over the city, or enjoy a harbour cruise for a different perspective of the city.  Children will love Kelly Tarltons Underwater Adventure, or simply relax on the beach.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Sky Tower
  • Kelly Tarltons Underwater Adventure
  • Harbour Cruise
  • Americas Cup Yacht Experience
  • Beaches at Mission Bay & North Shore
  • Wander through Devonport
Photo: Kelly Tarlton's Underwater Adventures

DAY 2: Auckland

At leisure in Auckland. You have the whole day to take in some of the city sights or go further afield – a tour to the black beaches and rainforest of the Waitakeres, or a boat and hike on Rangitoto Island.  Auckland Zoo is a must see for the children, or take to the water to spot dolphins.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Rangitoto Island tour
  • Bush & Beach tour
  • Museum
  • Auckland Zoo
  • Rainbows End Theme Park
  • Dolphin Watch Tour

DAY 3: Rotorua

Pick up your rental car this morning and head south out of Auckland, in the direction of Rotorua. Stop off for a tour of Hobbiton and relive scenes from the Hobbit & Lord of the Rings.  Arrive in Rotorua with time to take a ride on the Skyline Luge, zorbing or a visit to Rainbow Springs and see a kiwi.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Hobbiton Tour
  • Skyline Luge
  • Zorbing
  • Rainbow Springs

Driving time: 3-4 hours

DAY 4: Rotorua

Rotorua has so much for the family.  A visit to the Agroventures Adventure Park will keep you busy there’s so much more. Biking in the forest, the geothermal wonders at Te Puia, e sheep shearing at Agrodome, or wandering through the treetops at Paradise Valley Springs.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Agrodome
  • Agroventures
  • Paradise Valley Springs
  • Te Puia
  • Cycling in the Redwood Forest
  • Zipline Canopy Tours
  • Waimangu Valley

DAY 5: Tongariro

In the morning drive to Taupo and visit the Huka Falls, maybe taking in a jetboat, or visit geothermal attractions.  Driving on to the Tongariro National Park, feeding a trout at the Tongariro Trout Centre on the way. Take a chair lift up to get up close at Ruapaheu’s volcanic terrain.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Hukafalls Jet
  • Huka Prawn Park
  • Rock n Ropes
  • Tongariro Trout Centre
  • Walking in Tongariro National Park

Driving time: 3 hours

DAY 6: Wellington

After a short walk in the morning, take your time to drive south to Wellington, arriving late afternoon in New Zealand’s capital city.  If time permits take a stroll along the waterfront or visit Te Papa Museum.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Te Papa Museum
  • Ferg’s Kayaks

Driving time: 4 – 5 hours

DAY 7: Wellington

Wellington has so much to offer for adults and children. Home to Weta Studios you might want to take a tour and find out all the secrets of the Lord of the Rings films.  Return to Te Papa for the latest exciting exhibitions, or visit Zeelandia, a haven for wildlife.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Weta Workshop Tours
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Zeelandia
  • Parliament Tours
  • Seal Colony
  • Wellington Cable Car

DAY 8: Ferry to South Island

An early start for the ferry to the South Island. If you’re lucky you might see dolphins on the way.  Drive via the Queen Charlotte Drive to Nelson. Take your time to stop off for lunch at one of the many vineyards, or take a detour via the Marlborough Sounds. Arriving in Nelson  go to Tahunanui Beach for an evening stroll.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Nelson Provincial Museum
  • Happy Valley Adventures for horseriding and quad bikes

Ferry: 3-4 hours
Driving time: 2 hours

DAY 9: Nelson

All day in Nelson and you’ll once again be spoilt for choice. Hire bicycles and take a leisurely ride on Rabbit Island and take the ferry across to Mapua. Visit Natureland and spend the afternoon on the beach. Feed the eels at Nelson Lakes or at Jesters Café, or visit Animal Farm.  If it’s a rainy day visit the WOW Museum or Nelson Provincial Museum.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Abel Tasman Cruise
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • WOW Museum
  • Feed the eels at Nelson Lakes
  • Natureland for wildlife

DAY 10: Nelson

One day is never enough so make the most of today with a full day out in the Abel Tasman National Park, taking the water taxi to visit the seals, and a short bush walk to a glorious golden beach.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Abel Tasman Cruise
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • WOW Museum
  • Feed the eels at Nelson Lakes
  • Natureland for wildlife

DAY 11: Hanmer Springs

Drive across the Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs, a beautiful Alpine village and popular with families and adults alike. Relax in the Hot Springs, or enjoy walks in the forest, jetboating or mountainbiking.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools
  • Mountainbiking
  • Jetboating
  • Quadbiking
  • Minigolf

Driving time : 4 hours

DAY 12: Christchurch

Drive the short journey to Christchurch.  As the city rebuilds there is still plenty to do, whether it’s a gondola ride to the top of the Port Hills, or checking out the penguins at the Antarctic Centre, or simply enjoying the green outdoors of Hagley Park and the Botanical Gardens.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Orana Wildlife Park
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
  • Antarctic Centre
  • Christchurch Gondola
  • Transitional Cathedral
  • Punting on the River Avon

Driving time: 2 hours

DAY 13: Dunedin

Head south to Dunedin, stopping at the pretty town of Oamaru on the way, and the Moeraki Boulders, great for photo opportunities.  Dunedin is a lively University Town, with bars, cafes and restaurants, and is steeped in Scottish history.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Cadbury World
  • Otago Museum
  • Royal Albatross Centre
  •  Wildlife Cruises
  • 4WD Adventures
  • Penguin Place

Driving time: 5 hours

DAY 14: Dunedin

The Otago Peninsular, is the wildlife capital of New Zealand. Enjoy a 4WD adventure tour to see yellow-eyed penguins and seals, or guided tour of the National Albatross Centre. Other options include the  scenic  Taieri Gorge Railway, a visit to New Zealand’s Larnach castle, or learn about the early settlers at the Otago Museum.  Don’t miss a visit to Cadbury World.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Royal Albatross Centre
  • Cadbury World
  • Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Toiatu Settlers Museum
  • Larnach Castle
  • Penguin Place

DAY 15: Te Anau

Take the Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins, for rugged coastline, temperate rainforest and refreshing waterfalls. Reaching Te Anau by the afternoon will give you time for short walks around the lake, or a visit to the glow worm caves.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Glow Worms
  • Ata Whenua Film
  • Scenic Flights
  • Guided Walks

Driving Time: 4 – 6 hours

DAY 16: Milford Sound

Today you visit the world famous Milford Sound.  Hand over the driving to the experts, who will give you a guided tour, stopping at points of interest on the way.  At Milford Sound enjoy a nature cruise out to the Tasman Sea, and a visit to the underwater observatory.  Alternatively, spend your day kayaking on the water instead, hopefully with a chance to get up close and personal with dolphins and seals.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Scenic Helicopter Flights
  • Milford Sound Kayaking
Lake Wakatipu (Photo: Destination Queenstown)

DAY 17: Queenstown

Depart Te Anau and take the beautiful route to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.  In the afternoon make sure to take the gondola and have fun on the luge.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Shotover Jet
  • Gondola & Skyline Luge
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship
  • Dart River Tour
  • Skippers Canyon Tours

Drive time:  2 – 3 hours

Summer Family Picnic (Photo: Destination Queenstown)

DAY 18: Queenstown

Take a half day trip to Glenorchy for a wilderness walk and jetboat ride, or try your hand at gold-panning in Arrowtown or a 4WD trip to Skippers Canyon.  Not to be missed is the trip across the lake to Walter Peak Staion in the old steamship TSS Earnslaw.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Dart River Adventures
  • Horseriding
  • Arrowtown trip
  • Mini-golf
  • Ziptrek Ecotours
  • Kiwi Birdlife Tours

DAY 19: Wanaka

Drive over the spectacular Crown Range Road to picturesque Wanaka, stopping for a coffee at the Cardrona Hotel. No trip to Wanaka is complete without a visit to Puzzling World, and make sure you visit the quirky cinema.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Puzzling World
  • Wanaka Cinema
  • Mountain Biking
  • Cinema
  • Clip n Climb
  • National Transport & Toy Museum

Driving time: 1 hour

DAY 20: Wanaka

Today is the perfect opportunity to get your hiking boots on and do one of the many hikes in this region – Rob Roy Glacier is to be recommended.  Mountain biking is a dream – hire a bike and take yourself off around the many trails around the lake.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Puzzling World
  • Wanaka Cinema
  • Horseriding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Cinema
  • Clip n Climb
  • National Transport & Toy Museum
Shotover Jet (Photo: Ngai Tahu Tourism)

DAY 21: Depart Queenstown

Leave Wanaka reluctantly behind and travel back to Queenstown in time for you domestic flight back to Auckland, and your international departure.

At Greenstone Travel we offer total flexibility. All our vacations are tailored to include accommodation and experiences that appeal to you. This sample itinerary is a great starting point, so please contact us so we can customize it according to your individual preferences.

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