21-Day Family Itinerary for New Zealand
Three weeks is just enough time to experience both islands of New Zealand. Exploring the country by moving from destination to destination is the right way to make the most of this diverse country but moving too much can be exhausting if you have younger ones in tow. That’s why we’ve put together this New Zealand family itinerary for three weeks which includes stays at almost all destinations for a couple of nights. What’s more, the 21-day family itinerary hits exciting North and South Island destinations, while including accommodation and activity recommendations for all ages.
Start planning your 21-day family vacation in New Zealand with the itinerary below.
How to Get Around New Zealand in Three Weeks with Kids
New Zealand is best experienced as a family road trip – i.e. moving around the country. With that in mind, renting a car or campervan allows you to have full flexibility and comfort compared to using public transport. However, parents who are on a tight budget might want to consider the national bus service, while those who want fewer things to organise might prefer an escorted bus tour. The best ways to get around, using the below itinerary, are as follows:
- Rental car or campervan – This option gives you the freedom to visit all of the stops we recommend in this family 21-day itinerary by renting a car or campervan. As this itinerary starts in Auckland and ends in Queenstown, we recommend choosing a rental company that have depots in both cities – of which there are many. Start your research using The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand.
- National bus service – InterCity offers the cheapest way to get between the destinations mentioned in this budget itinerary. However, you are restrained by bus schedules and don’t have the option to do all of the road trip stops mentioned in this itinerary. Find out more about the passes available in What’s the Difference Between InterCity Bus Passes?
- Escorted bus tours – Let a professional guide drive your tribe around New Zealand on a fully guided experience, often including accommodation and some meals. AAT Kings offers a 21-day tour of New Zealand for families with children aged 5 years and above. However, escorted bus tours have their own set itineraries and will not follow the below itinerary.
- Ferry – 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.
- Domestic flights – 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.
If you’re new to long road trips with the kids, be sure to check out the 10 Ways to Relax on a Road Trip to help make the trip run smoothly.
Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Auckland Central
Travel time: 40 minutes
Welcome to New Zealand! For your first day in the country, we recommend taking it easy in Auckland Central, which is just a short drive away. Pick up your car rental, if it’s at the airport, or use one of the airport shuttles to get into the city.
Depending on what time your flight arrives and how eager the family is to start exploring there are a few things you can be doing in Auckland on your first day. Easy and short activities include going up the Sky Tower (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) and visiting the Auckland Museum (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). If you have most of the day free, we recommend a ferry trip to one of Auckland’s outer islands, whether it’s the volcanic island of Rangitoto or the bird sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook).
More tour and activity ideas are listed below so you can curate your ideal family day out in Auckland.
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 (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See the wild and wonderful birds of New Zealand on Tiritiri Matangi Island (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Watch a Maori cultural performance at the Auckland Museum (on Viator, Tripadvisor 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.
Family Accommodation in Auckland
- SkyCity Hotel Auckland
- Waldorf St Martins Apartment Hotel
- ibis Budget Auckland Airport
- VR Auckland City
- Auckland City Hotel
Find out more about each accommodation in our 10 Best Family Accommodations in Auckland.
Day 2 – Auckland to Waitomo
Travel time: 2h20mins
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 enough 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 city. 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 and teens might like underground tubing. Check out tour options in the 8 Best Waitomo Cave Tours.
Family Activities in Waitomo
- Do a walking tour through Waitomo’s limestone and glowworm caves (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook)
- Or enjoy a gentle boat trip through the caves (on Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday)
- Figure out the puzzles of the Troll Cave
- See the filming locations of The Hobbit at Hairy Feet Waitomo
- Meet a kiwi bird and other native wildlife 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
- Waitomo Boutique Lodge
- Glow Worm Motel
For more information on our top picks, take a look at the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Waitomo.
Day 3 – Waitomo to Rotorua
Travel time: 1h55mins
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 you’re a family of Middle-earth enthusiasts, however, you will need to take a mandatory 15-minute detour to the Hobbiton Movie Set. Check out Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or KKday 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 your 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
- Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park
- Jet Park Hotel Rotorua
- RotoVegas Motel
- Holiday Inn Rotorua
- Golden Glow Motel
For more information on our top picks, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Rotorua.
Day 4 – Explore Rotorua
You have a free day in Rotorua to experience its family-friendly activities. How about a sheep and farm show at Agrodome (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday)? Why not zip through the trees with Rotorua Canopy Tours (on Viator, Tripadvisor, 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 (on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday)
- Meet the kiwi birds, giant trout and more at Rainbow Springs (on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday)
- See Rotorua’s highlights and lakes on Rotorua Duck Tours (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Do the family-friendly walks of the Whakawerawera Redwood Forest
- Experience that famous NZ adrenaline at Velocity Valley (on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook).
For more information on each experience, check out the 10 Things to Do in Rotorua with Kids.
Day 5 – Rotorua to Ohakune
Travel time: 2h40mins
Leave Rotorua in the morning to allow enough time to enjoy a pitstop-filled road trip to Ohakune. As you leave Rotorua, treat the kids to exploring a geothermal park. You have Wai-O-Tapu (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Waimangu Volcanic Valley (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook) or Orakei Korako (on Viator or Tripadvisor) to choose from.
Before reaching Taupo, check out the powerful rapids of Huka Falls or, better yet, take an exciting jet boat ride to the falls (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor 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 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
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
- Snowman Lodge and Spa
- The Hobbit Motorlodge
- Ruapehu Mountain Motel & Lodge
- Ohakune TOP 10 Holiday Park
For more information on our top recommendations, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodation in Ohakune.
Day 6 – Explore Ohakune
Today can be as adventurous or as relaxed as you like. 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 head up Mt Ruapehu for some family skiing, if it’s winter.
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 Johnny Nation‘s chocolate eclair.
For more information on each activity and its location, check out the 10 Things to Do in Ohakune with Kids.
Day 7 – Ohakune to Wellington
Travel time: 3h45mins
Once the tribe is ready to go, it’s time to hit the road to Wellington with loads of interesting sights that the kids will dig. The first you’ll encounter 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 and Mangaweka makes a nice coffee stop.
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 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 10 Best Family Accommodations in Wellington.
Day 8 – 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. A paid activity well worth doing, however, is Zealandia Ecosanctuary (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor). This affordable attraction gives you access to a predator-free reserve where New Zealand’s weird and wonderful birds thrive. This fun educational sanctuary is ideal for all ages. But if any of our suggestions so far aren’t your cup of tea, we have some other suggestions:
Family Activities in Wellington
- Get active on the high-wire course at Adrenalin Forest (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- 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 (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See how the movies are made at the Weta Workshop (on Klook, Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday).
Find out more about each activity for families in 10 Things to Do in Wellington with Kids.
Day 9 – Wellington to Kaikoura
Travel time: 3 hours ferry, 2 hours drive
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 and prices in our guide to The Ferry Between the North Island and South Island.
Once you arrive in Picton on the South Island, 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, Tripadvisor or Klook. For parents who have been dying to experience a New Zealand wine region, 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.
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
- Bella Vista Motel Kaikoura
- Alpine-Pacific Holiday Park
- Kaikoura Gateway Motor Lodge
- Admiral Court Motel Kaikoura
- Kaikoura Cottage Motels
Find out more about each accommodation in the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Kaikoura.
Day 10 – Explore Kaikoura
Get your wildlife fix in Kaikoura today, whether it’s through family-friendly tours like seal swimming/watching (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), on a whale watching boat tour (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or KKday), or looking out for seals on the free Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the little ones’ faces light up at the wonders of nature.
Family Activities in Kaikoura
- Swim with cute fur seals in their natural environment (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Ride the Coastal Pacific train (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Go on a whale watching cruise (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or KKday)
- Or a whale watching flight (on Viator, Tripadvisor 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 11 – Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs
Travel time: 2h30mins
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 crew to a family-friendly jet boat (more details on Viator and Tripadvisor) or white water rafting experience (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
If adrenaline isn’t 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. What’s more, it has an awesome waterpark!
Then check-in at one of the family holiday parks or chalets of the town.
Family Activities in Hanmer Springs
- Experience the Amuri Jetboat (more details on Viator and Tripadvisor) or white water rafting experience for families (on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Bond over an archery competition or hire some “rocket bikes” from the Hanmer Adventure Centre (see Viator and Tripadvisor for more details)
- Paddle down the Wairau River in an inflatable canoe with Hanmer Springs Attractions (check them out on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- 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
- Alpine Holiday Apartments & Campground
- Greenacres Alpine Chalets & Villas
- Forest Peak Motel
- Hanmer Springs Scenic Views Motel
- Hanmer Springs TOP 10 Holiday Park
See the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Hanmer Springs for more details on our top recommendations.
Day 12 – Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
Travel time: 1h40mins
Have one last soak in the pools before making your way to Christchurch where a stop on the road could include the jet boat, quad bike, white water raft, bungy jump and paintball experiences of Hanmer Springs Attractions – check them out on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook. You can also pop by one of the beaches, like Leithfield Beach, Woodend Beach, Spencer Beach or Waimairi Beach. Or swap the beach for a more polar landscape by taking a detour to the International Antarctic Centre (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday).
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. For instance, 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 about the early Maori, wildlife, Antarctic exhibitions and more.
See the list below if you require more inspiration for Christchurch antics.
Family Activities in Christchurch
- Ride the chairlifts, find the fairy doors or zipline over the trees at Christchurch Adventure Park (more details on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do the treetop obstacle course of Adrenalin Forest (Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take a day tour to see New Zealand’s largest blue penguin colony (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Meet huskies, experience a polar storm and more at the International Antarctic Centre (Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Ride the Christchurch City Tram (Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook).
For more details on each experience and others, see 10 Things to Do in Christchurch with Kids.
Family Accommodation in Christchurch
- Country Glen Lodge
- Southern Comfort Motel
- Rydges Latimer Christchurch
- Tasman Holiday Parks – Christchurch TOP 10
- Garden City Motel
For more details on our top recommendations, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Christchurch.
Day 13 – Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Travel time: 2h45mins
It’s time to continue your way down the South Island, stopping by a few fun towns along the way. First, check out Rakaia for refreshments and to see the giant fish sculpture. Next is Ashburton where the kids can burn off some energy in the gorgeous gardens of the Ashburton Domain. You’ll then come across the town of Geraldine with nearby attractions such as horse trekking, alpaca farm tours and the Talbot Scenic Reserve – all ideal for families. Find out more in the 10 Excellent Things to Do in Geraldine.
A pie from the Fairlie Bakery is mandatory before you finally arrive in Lake Tekapo where you can soak in the scenes of the blue lake and Southern Alps or literally 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, head to the 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Lake Tekapo.
Family Accommodation in Lake Tekapo
Day 14 – Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Travel time: 1h10mins
It’s a relatively short yet really 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, Tripadvisor 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
- The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook
- Mt Cook Lodge and Motel
- 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 15 – Explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
You don’t have to leave the dramatic scenery of New Zealand’s highest mountains and longest glacier just yet, as you have the whole day to experience Mt Cook the way your family prefers. 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 any of the activities mentioned yesterday.
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, Tripadvisor 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 16 – Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown
Travel time: 3h10mins
It’s your longest drive yet, but there are many exciting reasons to break up the journey starting with the town of Twizel. Twizel offers plenty of cafes and the Twizel River Trail.
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 are super active.
After Omarama is the Lindis Pass, which is often deemed the most beautiful road in New Zealand. After the Lindis Pass is Cromwell where you can get refreshments including fresh fruit that the town is renowned for – they have a giant sculpture to prove it. You might also want to try the go-karting at the Highlands Motorsport Park (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
As you travel down the Kawarau Gorge toward Queenstown, stop by the Goldfields Mining Centre to pan for gold or jump on Goldfields Jet for an adrenaline-pumping ride down the river. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
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 Capital” tomorrow.
Family Accommodation in Queenstown
For more information on each accommodation, check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Queenstown.
Day 17 – Explore Queenstown
Because there’s so much to do in Queenstown, we’ve given you two full days to tick the items off your bucket list. It could be whizzing through the trees with Ziptrek Ecotours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday), learning about New Zealand’s unique wildlife at the Kiwi Birdlife Park (on Viator and Tripadvisor), or racing each other on the gravity-fuelled go-karts of The Luge (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Family Activities in Queenstown
- Get the adrenaline pumping on an exciting jet boat ride
- Zip through the trees on a zipline tour (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Learn about New Zealand’s birds at the Kiwi Birdlife Park (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Watch the sheep being worked on the Walter Peak farm tour (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Race each in downhill go-karts at The Luge (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For more information on each activity, as well as a few more ideas, head to the 10 Things to Do in Queenstown with Kids!
Day 18 – Explore Queenstown
If we hadn’t given you enough things to do in Queenstown yet, have you taken the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship to Walter Peak farm? 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, Tripadvisor, 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?! Find out more about the Kawarau Bridge Zipline on Viator and Tripadvisor.
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 10 Things to Do in Queenstown with Kids.
Day 19 – 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 drive on the lakeside of Lake Wakatipu, stopping at the lookouts along the way. You can get refreshments in Kingston and Lowther before continuing 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 to meet while they are in rehabilitation. There’s also the cheap Trout Observatory to see fish and crayfish in their element.
If the Waitomo Caves were a highlight of your trip earlier in this itinerary, then you have another chance to get your glowworm on at the Te Anau Glowworm Caves. The boat trip across Lake Te Anau includes a guided cave tour among glowworms and underground waterfalls. Check it out on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or KKday.
Family Activities in Te Anau
- Delve into the Te Anau Glowworm Caves (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or KKday)
- 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 5 Te Anau Must-Dos.
Family Accommodation in Te Anau
- Birchwood Cottages
- Anchorage Motel Apartments
- Bella Vista Motel Te Anau
- Aden Motel
- Fiordland Great Views Holiday Park
Check out the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Te Anau for more recommendations.
Day 20 – Day Trip to Milford Sound
Travel time: 3 hours
While most travellers rush from Queenstown to Milford Sound and back in one day, we find that the best way to experience it as a family is to visit the famous fiord from Te Anau so you can take your time. That way, there’s no stress visiting the ton of short walks and stunning natural attractions 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.
So how can you experience Milford Sound once you get there? 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 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) departs from Milford Sound Airport, offering families several flight options. Flights are suitable for all ages and infant seats are available.
Family-friendly 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, Tripadvisor, 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.
Day 21 – Te Anau to Queenstown Airport
Travel time: 2 hours
After three weeks in New Zealand, it’s time to wrap this adventure up 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.
More About a New Zealand Family Itinerary for Three Weeks/21 Days
That’s it for our New Zealand family itinerary for 21 days. If that wasn’t the itinerary you were looking for, check out these alternative 21-day itineraries: