30-Day Family Itinerary for New Zealand
A month-long family holiday to New Zealand is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make sure your family makes the most of that time. A good place to start planning is with this complete New Zealand family itinerary for one month.
With shorter drive times, longer stays in top destinations, and recommendations for the best family accommodation and activities, this 30-day family itinerary for New Zealand enables fun without the fuss. We also give quick tips for transport and recommend paid and free activities, as well as how to plan this itinerary the EASY way with First Light Travel.
Start planning your one-month New Zealand family vacation with the itinerary below.
New Zealand Family Itinerary for 4 Weeks: Overview
- Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Auckland Central
- Day 2 – Explore Auckland
- Day 3 – Auckland to Waitomo
- Day 4 – Waitomo to Rotorua
- Day 5 – Explore Rotorua
- Day 6 – Explore More of Rotorua
- Day 7 – Rotorua to Ohakune
- Day 8 – Explore Ohakune
- Day 9 – Ohakune to Wellington
- Day 10 – Explore Wellington
- Day 11 – Wellington to Picton
- Day 12 – Explore Picton
- Day 13 – Picton to Kaikoura
- Day 14 – Explore Kaikoura
- Day 15 – Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs
- Day 16 – Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
- Day 17 – Explore Christchurch
- Day 18 – Christchurch to Greymouth
- Day 19 – Explore Greymouth and the West Coast
- Day 20 – Greymouth to Christchurch
- Day 21 – Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
- Day 22 – Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
- Day 23 – Explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
- Day 24 – Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown
- Day 25 – Explore Queenstown
- Day 26 – Explore Queenstown
- Day 27 – Queenstown to Te Anau
- Day 28 – Te Anau to Milford Sound
- Day 29 – Milford Sound to Te Anau
- Day 30 – Te Anau to Queenstown Airport.
How to Get Around New Zealand in 1 Month with Kids
Most families come to New Zealand to experience the great Kiwi road trip. With that in mind, renting a car or campervan allows families to have full flexibility compared to using public transport or bus tours. However, parents who are on a tight budget might want to consider the national bus service. The best ways to get around, using the below itinerary, are as follows:
Rental Car or Campervan
Enjoy complete freedom to visit all of the stops we recommend in this family one-month itinerary by renting a car or campervan. As this itinerary starts in Auckland and ends in Queenstown, we recommend choosing a rental company that has depots in both cities – don’t worry, there are many. Start your research using The Guide to Renting a Car or The Guide Renting a Campervan in New Zealand.
National Bus Service
InterCity offers the cheapest way to get between the destinations mentioned in this family itinerary. The downside is that you are restrained by bus schedules. Find out more about the passes available in What’s the Difference Between InterCity Bus Passes?
This itinerary includes the ferry journey between Wellington and Picton. Learn more in our guide to The Ferry Between the North Island and South Island.
This itinerary includes a return train journey on the TranzAlpine. Find out more on the Train Network in New Zealand.
The below itinerary begins in Auckland and ends in Queenstown. Both cities have international airports and are well-connected with domestic flights. If you’re leaving from Auckland, you will need to consider booking a domestic flight from Queenstown to Auckland.
For tips to help make your road trip run smoothly, check out the 10 Ways to Relax on a Road Trip.
Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Auckland Central
Travel time: 40 minutes
Welcome to New Zealand! For your first couple of days in the country, we recommend taking it easy in Auckland. Pick up your car rental, if it’s at the airport, or use one of the airport shuttles to get to Auckland Central.
Family Accommodation in Auckland
- SkyCity Hotel Auckland
- Nesuto St Martins Apartment Hotel
- ibis Budget Auckland Airport
- VR Auckland City
- Kiwi International Hotel
Find out more about each accommodation in our 10 Best Family Accommodations in Auckland.
Day 2 – Explore Auckland
It’s day two of getting the family’s body clocks adjusted to New Zealand’s time zone, as well as a day to explore some of Auckland’s highlights. We recommend a ferry trip to one of the outer islands, whether it’s the volcanic island of Rangitoto or the bird sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi. However, we’ve listed some alternatives below, if getting on the water isn’t your thing.
Family Activities in Auckland
- Wise up about the world of technology at the kid-friendly MOTAT museum
- Learn about the Kiwi farming lifestyle at Sheepworld in Warkworth
- See the wild and wonderful birds of New Zealand on Tiritiri Matangi
- Watch a Maori cultural performance at the Auckland Museum (on Viator and Klook)
- Take a family road trip to one of Auckland’s regional parks.
Find out more about each experience in our 10 Things to Do in Auckland with Kids.
Day 3 – Auckland to Waitomo
Travel time: 2 h 20 mins
Travellers of all ages can’t help but be in awe of Waitomo‘s glowworm caves, which is your final destination today. Set off from Auckland in the morning to give you time to do a cave tour once you arrive. If you need to pick up supplies or want to grab a bite to eat, take a quick detour to Hamilton. You can also stop by the quirky town of Otorohanga which is the self-proclaimed “Kiwiana Capital of the World”.
In Waitomo, you have a wide array of tours available to experience its famous glowworm caves. Walking cave tours are suitable for all ages, while older kids might like underground tubing. Check out tour options in the 8 Best Waitomo Cave Tours.
Family Activities in Waitomo
- Do a walking tour of Ruakuri Cave
- Or enjoy a gentle boat trip through the Waitomo Glowworm Caves
- Figure out the puzzles of the Troll Cave
- See the filming locations of The Hobbit at Hairy Feet Waitomo
- Meet a kiwi bird and more at the Otorohanga Kiwi House.
For more details on each activity, take a look at the 10 Things to Do in Waitomo with Kids.
Family Accommodation in Waitomo
- Waitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park
- Woodlyn Park Motel
- Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge
- Glow Worm Motel
- The Loft at Te Kumi Tirohanga
For more information on our top picks, take a look at the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Waitomo.
Day 4 – Waitomo to Rotorua
Travel time: 1 h 55 mins
Start off your morning with any of the activities you might have missed in Waitomo. Then, the road to Rotorua is just under two hours. If any of your family are Middle-earth enthusiasts, however, you will need to take a mandatory 15-minute detour to the Hobbiton Movie Set. Check out Viator or Klook to book your tickets or head to How to Get the Best Hobbiton Discount for tips on how to get in cheaper.
An alternative place to stretch our legs is just a 5-minute detour to the Putaruru Blue Spring/Te Waihou Walkway. The walkway is stroller-friendly and free to see the brilliant blue waters of the spring flowing down a stream.
If you haven’t worn the kids out once you get to Rotorua, you can always check out the free geothermal Kuirau Park in the city centre. Check-in at your accommodation from the recommendations listed below.
Family Accommodation in Rotorua
- Holdens Bay Holiday Park
- Rydges Rotorua
- Arista of Rotorua
- Regal Palms Resort
- Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua
For more information on our top picks, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Rotorua.
Day 5 – Explore Rotorua
You have two free days in Rotorua to enjoy it according to your family’s interests. How about a sheep and farm show at Agrodome? Why not zip through the trees with Rotorua Canopy Tours (more info on Viator, Klook or KKday)? For something free to do, go for a short walk in the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest or one of Rotorua’s surrounding lakes like Lake Okareka.
Family Activities in Rotorua
- Experience the famous sheep show and farm tour of Agrodome
- Meet the kiwi birds, giant trout and more at the National Kiwi Hatchery (more info on Viator or Klook)
- See Rotorua’s highlights and lakes on Rotorua Duck Tours (on Viator and Klook)
- Do the family-friendly walks of the Whakawerawera Redwood Forest
- Experience that famous NZ adrenaline at Velocity Valley (on Viator or Klook).
For more information on each experience, check out the 20 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids.
Day 6 – Explore More of Rotorua
You have another day to tick the Rotorua must-dos off your family bucket list. Here are some more options to ponder over:
More Family Activities in Rotorua
- See the forest from a new perspective on the Redwoods Treewalk
- Take a day trip to the lakes of Rotorua
- Check out Rotorua’s amazing natural features at one of the geothermal parks
- Zip through the trees with Rotorua Canopy Tours (on Viator, Klook or KKday)
- Experience the Maori culture at Te Pa Tu (formerly Tamaki Maori Village – more info on Viator and Klook) or Mitai Maori Village.
Check out the 10 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids for more details on each tour.
Day 7 – Rotorua to Ohakune
Travel time: 2 h 40 mins
Even though you’re back on the road today, it will hardly feel like it with plenty of reasons to park up along the way. As you leave Rotorua, treat the kids to exploring a geothermal park. You have Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu Volcanic Valley (on Viator and Klook) and Orakei Korako.
Before reaching Taupo, check out the powerful rapids of Huka Falls or, better yet, take an exciting jet boat ride with Hukafalls Jet to the falls (more info on Viator and KKday). Or wait until you reach Turangi to do a family-friendly white water rafting trip on the Tongariro River with Tongariro River Rafting.
For some free stops along the way, take a quick detour towards Whakapapa Village to do the short Tawhai Falls walk, the Mounds Walk for excellent volcano views or the 2-hour Taranaki Falls. You’ll then reach Ohakune with probably some very worn-out little ones, so check-in at one of our recommended accommodations.
Family Accommodation in Ohakune
- Rocky Mountain Chalets Ohakune
- Station Lodge
- The Hobbit Motorlodge
- The Powderhorn Chateau
- Ohakune TOP 10 Holiday Park
For more information on our top recommendations, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Ohakune.
Day 8 – Explore Ohakune
Today can be as adventurous or relaxing as you wish. Short walks like the Mangawhero Forest Walk and letting the kids loose at the Ohakune Carrot playground are easy ways to relax. For something more epic, do a jet boat tour down the Whanganui River to the Bridge to Nowhere or, if it’s winter, head up Mt Ruapehu for some family skiing.
Family Activities in Ohakune
- Horse trek through streams and a historic town with Ruapehu Homestead Horsetrekking
- Hire bikes and ride the Jubilee Walkway, Mangawhero River Trail and more
- Let the kids loose at the Ohakune Carrot playground
- Tackle the indoor climbing walls at the Vertigo Adventure Centre
- Check out Dinosaur House in Raetihi
- Treat the kids to a world-famous chocolate eclair at Johnny Nation’s Chocolate Eclair Shop.
For more information on each activity and its location, check out the 10 Things to Do in Ohakune with Kids.
Day 9 – Ohakune to Wellington
Travel time: 3 h 45 mins
Once everyone is up and ready to go, it’s time to hit the road to Wellington.
The first town you’ll encounter on this journey is Waiouru, home to the National Army Museum. With all the tanks displayed outside, just try to pass without the kids begging to stop! Next, you’ll pass through Taihape with its giant gumboot sculpture. What’s not to love?
Before you reach Hunterville, we recommend taking the alternative route to Wellington stopping by Manawatu Gorge. This will just add 15 minutes to your drive time, but it’s well worth it to walk the family-friendly trails like the Tawa Loop Walk.
Finally, it’s a couple of more hours to Wellington where you can put your feet up at one of the recommended accommodations.
Family Accommodation in Wellington
Find out more about each accommodation in the 15 Best Family Accommodations in Wellington.
Day 10 – Explore Wellington
You have the whole day to explore the capital of New Zealand! The kids (and your wallet) will love some of the free activities including the Te Papa Museum and exploring the Botanic Garden. An activity well worth doing, however, is Zealandia Ecosanctuary. This affordable attraction gives you access to a predator-free reserve where New Zealand’s weird and wonderful birds can thrive. This fun educational sanctuary is ideal for all ages. But if that’s not your cup of tea, we have some other suggestions:
Family Activities in Wellington
- Get active on the high-wire course at Adrenalin Forest
- Spend the day at Wellington’s beaches
- Learn about the night’s sky at Space Place
- Meet the animals and birds at Staglands Wildlife Reserve
- See how the movies are made at the Weta Workshop (on Viator and Klook).
Find out more about each activity for families in 10 Things to Do in Wellington with Kids.
Day 11 – Wellington to Picton
Travel time: 3 hours
It’s time to leave the North Island behind and take an exciting journey to the South Island. Kids and adults alike love taking the Cook Strait ferry, not only for the stunning scenery of the Wellington Harbour and Marlborough Sounds but because driving onto a big boat is pretty darn cool. Learn more about the journey in our guide to The Ferry Between the North Island and South Island.
After a three-hour sailing, you’ll arrive in Picton, which just happens to be an excellent town for family adventures. Depending on what time of day you arrive in Picton, you might have time to visit the Koru Native Wildlife Centre or explore the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum. Then, check-in at your accommodation.
Family Accommodation in Picton
- Harbour View Motel
- High Street Living Motel
- Tasman Holiday Parks Picton
- Smiths Farm Holiday Park
- Beachcomber Inn
For more details on our top picks, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Picton.
Day 12 – Explore Picton
Make the most of the glorious scenery (and often glorious weather) of the Marlborough Sounds by taking a family-friendly cruise. Beachcomber Cruises and E-Ko Tours (more info on Viator and Klook) offer cruises looking out for dolphins on the way to Motutara Island, a native bird sanctuary that’s free from predators.
Alternatively, take a day trip to Lochmara Lodge. Use the free kayaks and SUP boards, see its frequent dolphin residents, play at the safe-swimming beach, see the lodge’s pigs, chickens and kakariki (small native parrots), take a ride on the giant flying fox/zipline and more!
If you prefer to stick to dry land, the mountain bike trails are pretty awesome. Not only because of the views of mountains emerging from sparkling waters but because they are also great for older kids. Check out Mountain Biking in Marlborough for more details. And if none of that suits, then you might like something from the below list instead.
Family Activities in Picton
- Walk the short walk in the Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary
- Take a trip to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre (more info on Viator or Klook)
- Visit the Koru Native Wildlife Centre
- Ride the Marlborough Flyer steam train
- Do a kayak tour in the harbour or on the Pelorus River.
For more information on each experience and more, head to our 10 Things to Do in Picton with Kids.
Day 13 – Picton to Kaikoura
Travel time: 2 hours
Round up the tribe to hit the road to Kaikoura. An interesting stop in Blenheim is the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre displaying realistic scenes of warplanes from World War Two. Find out more on Viator or Klook. You can also stop by one of the family-friendly wineries, like Wairau River, Cloudy Bay and Forrest Wines, that have games and/or toys for the kids while you enjoy a tipple from Marlborough’s famous wines.
Depending on how much time you have when you get to Kaikoura, relax with a potter around the Kaikoura Museum or play a round of mini-golf at The Emporium before checking in.
Family Accommodation in Kaikoura
- Alpine-Pacific Holiday Park
- Kaikoura TOP 10 Holiday Park
- Kaikoura Quality Suites
- Alpine View Motel
- The Fairways at Ocean Ridge
Find out more about each accommodation in the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Kaikoura.
Day 14 – Explore Kaikoura
Get your wildlife fix in Kaikoura today, whether it’s through family-friendly tours like Seal Kayak Kaikoura (more info on Viator and Klook), on a whale watching boat tour (on Viator and Klook), or looking out for seals on the free Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Need we say more?
Family Activities in Kaikoura
- Kayak with cute fur seals in their natural environment (more info on Viator and Klook)
- Ride the Coastal Pacific train
- Go on a whale watching cruise (on Viator or Klook)
- Or a whale watching flight (on Viator or Klook)
- Look out for seals on the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.
For more information on each activity, see our 7 Things to Do in Kaikoura with Kids!
Day 15 – Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs
Travel time: 2 h 30 mins
Today, you hit the road to the alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs. On your way into the town, stop by the historic Wairau River bridge to treat the family to a family-friendly jet boat or white water rafting experience (more info on Viator or Klook).
If that’s not your family’s thing, head straight to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools to indulge in one of the largest hot pool complexes in the country complete with a water park.
Then check-in at one of the family holiday parks or chalets of the town.
Family Activities in Hanmer Springs
- Experience the Amuri Jetboat or white water rafting experience for families (more info on Viator or Klook)
- Bond over an archery competition or hire some “rocket bikes” from the Hanmer Adventure Centre
- Soak and slide at the Hanmer Spring Thermal Pools
- Enter a world of whimsy on the Fairy Door Track
- Go on a llama trek with Hanmer Llamas.
For more details and the locations of each activity and others, head to the 10 Things to Do in Hanmer Springs with Kids.
Family Accommodation in Hanmer Springs
- Clear Ridge Apartments
- Alpine Adventure Holiday Park
- Settlers Motel
- Forest Peak Motel
- Hanmer Springs TOP 10 Holiday Park
For more details on our top recommendations, see the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Hanmer Springs.
Day 16 – Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
Travel time: 1 h 40 mins
Have one last soak in the pools before making your way to Christchurch where a stop on the road includes the jet boat, quad bike, white water raft, bungy jump and paintball experiences of Hanmer Springs Attractions – check them out on Viator or Klook. You can also pop by one of the beaches, like Leithfield Beach, Woodend Beach, Spencer Beach or Waimairi Beach. Or for a trip to the Antarctic, take a detour by Christchurch Airport to the International Antarctic Centre.
Once you have arrived in the city of Christchurch and checked in at your accommodation, there’s plenty of easy activities to enjoy if you have the time. Explore the Botanic Gardens with the little ones, who will love the duck ponds, interactive water features and running around gorgeous gardens. Next to the gardens is the free-entry Canterbury Museum with all sorts of artefacts and stories from the region surrounding Christchurch.
Family Accommodation in Christchurch
- Country Glen Lodge
- Tasman Holiday Parks – Christchurch
- Lorenzo Motor Lodge
- Fable Christchurch
- Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport
For more details on our top recommendations, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Christchurch.
Day 17 – Explore Christchurch
You have the whole day to recharge in Christchurch. Do any of the activities that we mentioned yesterday that take your fancy. Alternatively, kids will love touring the city using the Christchurch Tram (more info on Viator and Klook) or take a day tour to Akaroa to see the world’s smallest dolphins with Leisure Tours.
Family Activities in Christchurch
- Ride the chairlifts, find the fairy doors or zipline over the trees at Christchurch Adventure Park
- Do the treetop obstacle course of Adrenalin Forest
- Take a day tour to Akaroa with Leisure Tours
- Experience the Polar regions at the International Antarctic Centre
- Ride the Christchurch City Tram (more info on Viator and Klook).
For more details on each experience and others, see the 10 Things to Do in Christchurch with Kids.
Day 18 – Christchurch to Greymouth
It’s internationally recognised that kids love trains and adults will be impressed too, as today’s adventure is on a train ride often ranked as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Leave your rental vehicle at either the train station or your hotel parking or return it to its Christchurch rental depot – whichever you find more cost- and time-effective, and hop on the TranzAlpine train. Enjoy a break from the driving as our journey through the Canterbury Plains to the dramatic mountain and river scenery of Arthur’s Pass.
After descending through the 8.5 km (5.3 mi) long Otira Tunnel, you’ll emerge on the rugged West Coast of the South Island. Your final call is Greymouth, where we’ll go through things to do here tomorrow.
Family Accommodation in Greymouth
- Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park
- Alpine Rose Motel
- Scenicland Motels
- Greymouth Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels
- Noah’s Ark Backpackers
For more information on our top recommendations, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Greymouth.
Day 19 – Explore Greymouth and the West Coast
Get a taste of the West Coast by exploring in and around Greymouth. An awesome adventure is that with On Yer Bike, offering a range of kid-friendly off-roading tours through native forest and farmland. Alternatively, join a tour to West Coast highlights like the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks or Hokitika Gorge, available with Explore West Coast. Car rentals are also available in Greymouth should you want to explore independently.
Family Activities in Greymouth
- Go on an off-roading adventure with On Yer Bike
- Experience the West Coast like it used to be at Shantytown Heritage Park
- Tackle one of Greymouth’s short walks
- Take a trip to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
- Or take a trip to Hokitika Gorge.
For more details on each activity, check out the 10 Things to Do in Greymouth with Kids.
Day 20 – Greymouth to Christchurch
The train back to Christchurch doesn’t depart until the afternoon (usually around 2 pm), so you have plenty of time this morning to do any additional activities you might have missed in Greymouth yesterday. Get inspired with our list of 10 Things to Do in Greymouth with Kids.
Then you have the whole TranzAlpine journey to enjoy back to Christchurch, where you can check back into your Christchurch accommodation. Book your train journey or find out more information on Viator or Klook.
Day 21 – Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Travel time: 2 h 45 mins
It’s time to continue your way down the South Island. On your way out of Christchurch, stop by the town of Rakaia for refreshments and to see the giant fish sculpture. Next is Ashburton where the kids can burn off some energy in the Ashburton Domain. You’ll then come across the town of Geraldine with nearby attractions such as vintage vehicle museums and the Talbot Scenic Reserve – all ideal for families. Find out more in the 10 Excellent Things to Do in Geraldine.
A Kiwi-style savoury pie from the Fairlie Bakehouse is mandatory before you finally arrive in Lake Tekapo where you can soak in the blue lake and Southern Alps scenery or soak in the Tekapo Springs. The latter also includes a kiddies’ water play area, as well as large waterslides in summer and ice skating in winter.
Enjoy one night in your Tekapo accommodation (which you’ll need to book early due to the limited choice).
Family Activities in Lake Tekapo
- Have a splash a Tekapo Springs
- Take the kids up the ski fields of Mt Dobson or Roundhill in winter
- Do the easy Lake Tekapo Walkway
- Wow the family with a scenic flight from Tekapo to the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
- Take a pic of the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheepdog statue.
For more ideas, check out the 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Lake Tekapo.
Family Accommodation in Lake Tekapo
Day 22 – Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Travel time: 1 h 10 mins
It’s a short (at least shorter than others on this itinerary) and scenic drive to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park as you follow the vibrant turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki to a tiny village in the shadows of New Zealand’s highest mountain.
In Mt Cook, you have a selection of stunning short walks to enjoy, from glacier walks to bush walks. If your budget will allow, jump on an exciting boat tour to see giant icebergs on the Tasman Glacier Lake or take to the skies in a helicopter or ski plane (more info on Viator and Klook). Whatever you don’t have time for today you can always do tomorrow.
Family Accommodation in Mt Cook
- Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge
- Glentanner Park Centre
- The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook
- Aoraki Alpine Chalet
- Aoraki Court Motel
For more details on each recommendation, take a look at the 8 Best Family Accommodations in Mt Cook.
Day 23 – Explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
You don’t have to leave the spectacular scenery of New Zealand’s highest mountains and longest glacier just yet, as you have the whole day to experience Mt Cook your way. It could be checking out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre with its 3D dome cinema, relaxing with a family-friendly meal with grand views or doing the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier Lake Track.
Family Activities in Mt Cook
- See the Tasman Glacier on the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier Lake Track
- Roam around in the forest on the Governors Bush Walk
- Take the skies in a helicopter or ski plane (more info on Viator and Klook)
- Check out a planetarium and use powerful telescopes on a stargazing tour
- Whiz around a glacier lake with giant icebergs on a boat tour.
For more details on each experience, check out the 7 Things to Do in Mt Cook with Kids.
Day 24 – Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown
Travel time: 3 h 10 mins
It’s your longest drive yet, but there’s plenty of awesome attractions to break up the journey.
In Omarama, take a 30-minute detour to the Clay Cliffs for its otherworldly formations of pinnacles and narrow ravines. You can also sample part of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail if your kids a really active.
After Omarama is the Lindis Pass, which is often deemed the most beautiful road in New Zealand.
As you travel down the Kawarau Gorge, stop by the Goldfields Mining Centre to pan for gold or jump on Goldfields Jet for an adrenaline-pumping ride down the river.
By the time you get to Queenstown, you’ll probably need a good rest, so check-in at your accommodation. You’ll experience more of the adventure town tomorrow.
Family Accommodation in Queenstown
- Queenstown TOP 10 Holiday Park
- Peppers Beacon
- Holiday Inn Queenstown
- The Waterfront
- Whistler Holiday Apartments
For more information on each accommodation, check out the 15 Best Family Accommodations in Queenstown.
Day 25 – Explore Queenstown
Because there’s so much to do in Queenstown, we’ve given you two full days to tick off the items from your bucket list. It could be zipping through the trees with Ziptrek Ecotours (more info on Viator, Klook and KKday), learning about New Zealand’s unique wildlife at the Kiwi Birdlife Park, or racing each other on the gravity-fuelled go-karts of The Luge.
Family Activities in Queenstown
- Get the adrenaline pumping on an exciting jet boat ride
- Zip through the trees on a zipline tour (more info on Viator, Klook and KKday)
- Learn about New Zealand’s birds at the Kiwi Birdlife Park
- Watch the sheep being worked on the Walter Peak farm tour (on Viator, Klook and KKday)
- Race each in downhill go-karts at The Luge.
For more information on each activity, as well as a few more ideas, head to the 20 Things to Do in Queenstown with Kids!
Day 26 – Explore Queenstown
Have you taken the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship to Walter Peak farm yet? Watch sheepdogs working the sheep, see sheep shearing demonstrations and learn how wool is spun in this family-friendly experience. Find out more about Walter Peak on Viator, Klook and KKday.
If your family wants a taste of Queenstown adrenaline, try the family-friendly Kawarau Bridge Zipline and watch mum or dad do the Kawarau Bungy?!
We also recommend a day trip to Arrowtown where you can pan for gold, indulge in the many candy and ice cream shops and more. Check out the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Arrowtown for ideas.
For more information on all of the activities mentioned and more, head to the 20 Things to Do in Queenstown with Kids.
Day 27 – Queenstown to Te Anau
Travel time: 2 hours
Today you make your way to Te Anau, the gateway to Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park. Start with a picturesque lakeside drive down Lake Wakatipu, stopping at the lookouts along the way. You can get refreshments in Kingston and Lowther before continuing on to Te Anau.
In Te Anau, short but excellent activities include visiting the free-entry Te Anau Bird Sanctuary where they have New Zealand birds in rehabilitation. There’s also the Trout Observatory if you want to see fish and crayfish in their element.
If you have more time, the Te Anau Glowworm Caves are well worth checking out, accessible by boat which includes a guided cave tour among glowworms and underground waterfalls. Check it out on Viator or Klook.
Family Activities in Te Anau
- Delve into the Te Anau Glowworm Caves (more info on Viator or Klook)
- Watch the birds at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
- Check out the fish at the Trout Observatory
- Let the kids loose at the Lions Playground
- Visit Lake Manapouri and play on Frasers Beach.
For more ideas, check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Te Anau.
Family Accommodation in Te Anau
Check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Te Anau for more recommendations.
Day 28 – Te Anau to Milford Sound
Travel time: 1 h 30 mins
While most travellers rush to Milford Sound and back in one day, we find that the best way to experience it as a family is to take your time. There are a ton of short walks and stunning natural attractions to enjoy on the way to Milford Sound.
Recommended short walks on the road to Milford Sound include the Lake Mistletoe Track, Mirror Lakes Walk, Lake Marian Falls Track, the Lake Gunn Nature Walk and The Chasm. Find out more about these walks in the 10 Things to Do in Milford Sound with Kids.
Family Accommodation in Milford Sound
When you get to Milford Sound, check-in at the one accommodation available there, Milford Sound Lodge or, if you’re in a campervan or happen to have a tent, stay at one of the glorious campsites along the Milford Road. Find out more in the 10 Best Accommodations in Milford Sound.
Day 29 – Milford Sound to Te Anau
Travel time: 1 h 30 mins
We recommend enjoying an activity this morning before the tourist crowds arrive. You’ll be one of the lucky few who will get to see Milford Sound at a more peaceful time of day!
One option is a scenic cruise of the famous fiord where the boat dips under waterfalls, sails by seal colonies and takes in the breathtaking landscape carved by glaciers. Compare all of your options in the 6 Best Cruises in Milford Sound.
Another cool way to take in the glorious views of Milford Sound is via a helicopter tour. Milford Sound Helicopters departs from Milford Sound Airport, offering families several flight options. Flights are suitable for all ages and infant seats are available.
Family Activities in Milford Sound
- Look out for wildlife and see spectacular waterfalls on a Milford Sound cruise
- Stop by the Mirror Lakes
- Enjoy the forest and lake scenery of the Lake Gunn Nature Walk
- Check out the underwater observatory with Southern Discoveries (more info on Viator, Klook or KKday)
- See spectacular waterfalls on the Lake Marian Falls Track.
For more details on each activity and others, check out the 10 Things to Do in Milford Sound with Kids.
Then, you have the spectacular scenery of the Milford Road to enjoy from a new angle on your way back to Te Anau. Check back in at your Te Anau accommodation.
Day 30 – Te Anau to Queenstown Airport
Travel time: 2 hours
After one month in New Zealand, it’s time to wrap up this adventure with any of the activities you might have missed in Te Anau before heading to Queenstown Airport.
Remember to give yourself plenty of time to return your rental vehicle. There are connecting flights between Queenstown and Auckland if you are flying out of Auckland, otherwise, flights to Australia leave from Queenstown.
Plan This Family Itinerary with First Light Travel
If you like this one-month family itinerary but don’t like the hassle of planning everything yourself, then there’s a way to lighten the load. First Light Travel is an online travel agent specialising in self-drive family itineraries in New Zealand at no extra cost to you. Plus, using their service is super simple:
- First, send First Light Travel an enquiry by completing their online form
- Then, you’ll receive your customised family itinerary
- Review your itinerary and work with your First Light Travel agent on perfecting it
- Finally, First Light Travel will organise the rest including the bookings.
First Light Travel has access to more than 20,000 travel products, including almost all the tours and accommodations featured on this list (and more). With that and their local expertise here in New Zealand, they will create a well-catered itinerary to meet your needs while also suggesting some dream travel experiences that you may have never heard of. They only work with companies where their past clients have had positive experiences, so you know you’re in good hands.
What’s more, all of the bookings are arranged by First Light Travel, so instead of having to contact each individual accommodation and operator should your travel plans change, any amendments can be done through your FLT agent – easy! Did we mention the service is at no extra cost to you?!
For more information on planning your own New Zealand itinerary, see How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary. Or better yet, jump on firstlighttravel.com and start making your own itinerary there.
More About a New Zealand Family Itinerary for 1 Month
That’s it for our New Zealand family itinerary for 30 days. If that wasn’t the itinerary you were looking for, check out these alternative 30-day itineraries:
- New Zealand in a Month: Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand Budget Itinerary: 1 Month
- New Zealand Luxury Itinerary: 1 Month
- New Zealand Food Itinerary: 1 Month
- How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary
Finally, get advice on planning more of your family getaway with The Travel Guide to New Zealand for Families.