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New Zealand with 2 LO's- any advice/ books to look up/ places to go???

(8 Posts)
RinkyDinkyPinky Sun 05-Jul-09 19:55:07

Hello, we are going to Australia next summer when BIL gets married and are thinking of seeing a bit of New Zealand- with a 2yo and a 4yo DDs. We haven't had a holiday since DD1 was tiny so we'd like to do something special, but affordable and obviously child-orientated.

How should we go about it? We'll have about 2-3 weeks max.

Should we get a camper van and drive around?
How child-friendly will we find places?
Any must-sees or places to avoid?
Things we really need and stuff to hire or leave behind?
Any books that cover things well?
Weather in August?

<<so many questions but am confident the well travelled MNers will be able to help>>

TIA smile

missmelly Mon 06-Jul-09 12:21:22

hi there, I'm from NZ, but struggling to answer your questions from a parents perspective as I havent been there since becoming one!
I can tell you that in August it will be cold, it's the end of winter, with Spring officially starting 1st Sept.

The South Island is more spectacular for scenery, and would be worthwhile looking into hiring a camper van. I've done it (not with kids though) and it's a lovely way to see the country. Depending on where you are in Aussie, you could fly directly into Christchurch and hire a van and go from there. We found campsites to be good value. Otherwise you could hire a car and drive yourselves, it's very easy.

In the North Island, places of interest I'd suggest would be Rotorua, which is a geothermal area (smells like rotton eggs!) lots to do there, and Waitomo, where you can go on a cave tour and see all the glow-worms. These are a few hours drive from Auckland, again, probably best to hire a car to get there.

sorry, that's all I can think of for now, I havent been a parent long enough to really know what to suggest for yours!
I always buy Lonely Planet books when I travel and find they are very good for helping plan a trip.

missmelly Mon 06-Jul-09 12:28:24

oh, and in the South Island, Kaikoura for whale watching

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Jul-09 12:45:07

Hi RDP
MN hasn't covered NZ in thetravel section yet
We went pre-DC and had a blast. It certainly seemed child-friendly but BIL and SIL took their 2 (who were a bit older, 4 and 6) and took a camper van and loved it.
HTH and bump for more

Kiwinyc Mon 06-Jul-09 17:46:15

Weather in August will be freezing - snow down south, rainy and windy and miserable up north. Short days too, dark by 5pm being mid-winter - i'm not selling it well am I? Good for skiing though, if thats your thing, however your little ones might be a bit too young and the roads up to the skifields are a bit terrifying too.

I haven't travelled around NZ with kids either but tbh I wouldn't do it at that time of the year. DH and tried to visit the Bay of Islands in July thinking that far north should be ok but it was pretty wet although it was nice when the weather cleared.

Catper33 Tue 07-Jul-09 09:53:54

Hi We live on the South Island down south with a nearly 3 year old boy and 18mth girl. It will be quite cold in August (last night it was -5 and reached about 4 degrees in the day), therefore think carefully about a campervan due to icy unfamiliar roads and road closures if it snows. If you are not comfortable driving long distances and the children are not good in vehicles I would suggest fly to an area and use a hire car to go on smaller journeys.
Skiing is superb at the moment so a good opportunity.

There are direct flights from Australia to Queenstown which is spectacular and has a good choice of ski fields or you can fly to some of the bigger cities.

Auckland is my least favorite city. Wellington and Christchurch are nice and have a variety of things to see and do. Dunedin is good and has a few small museums, cadburys chocolate factory plus penguin and albatross sanctuary's.
Rotorua has a lot of touristy things - Maori culture, thermal sorings,geysers, bubbling mud etc.

Almost everywhere is child friendly. NZ is an easy place to travel with or without children. There are plenty of places to stay from campgrounds to motel units/ holiday homes and a few large chain hotels in the major cities. The Winter Games (they are saying its the Winter Olympics practice event!!!) is on down here (Wanaka/Queenstown) in August along with some other snow based events so you would definately need to pre boook accomodation in this area if you ventured here- it sould be worth it though.

I would think about how much travelling you want to do bearing in mind the weather, what things you are interested in and whether this is to be a relatively relaxing trip or dash around to see as much as possible as it will help decide the best itinerary for you.

If you have any other specific questions let me know and I'll try and help.

RinkyDinkyPinky Wed 08-Jul-09 09:30:52

Sounds like NZ'll be too cold for the kind of thing I have in mind at that time of year- what's the climate like in summer? Is it more extreme than UK?

I'll wait until I have confirmation of when the wedding is but it sounds like summer would be more fun/ easier to travel.

Thanks for the place suggestions will keep them in mind...

BakewellTarts Wed 08-Jul-09 09:55:04

Hi,

We went to New Zealand this year with DD1 aged 3.5 and DD2 5 months. My brother and his family live in Auckland so we went to visit them mostly and had a great time. New Zealand IS very child friendly. Even "adult" environments such as wineries made our girls welcome.

We booked cottages on a weekly basis rather than travelling around as less disruptive for DD's and our main reason for going was to catch up with family. If you plan to travel then a van is a good idea but I've been told to check that you don't have to dismantle the beds every day as its a real PITA. Also there is a bit of a petty crime problem with vans being broken into. Certainly in the Waitakere Ranges we didn't leave anything in the car and the glove box open to show there was nothing to steal as there had been a spate of car break ins.

Summer on the North Island is HOT and certainly in the Auckland area humid. Even when we were there in March / April it was mid twenties and certainly warm enough for us.

A second for Rotorua really interesting area worth a visit.

We also visited Hawkes Bay. Great wine area with very nice vineyards to visit and Napier and Hastings are beautiful Art Deco cities.

Around Auckland the Zoo is just great a really nice size for our girls and lots of interactive stuff. We stumbled over a native wildlife encounter which was fantastic. 6 foot away from a live kiwi! Skytower is worth a look as is Kelly Tarltons. We also went Dolphin watching which whilst fun was pushing it a bit with the girls.

There are some accessiblish walks with young children in the Waitakeres. Some fab beaches like Karekare, where the Piano was filmed to explore but not swim in, and others like Cornwallis which are good for swimming. The Kiwis also have fantastic children's play areas usually with a great view attached.

As to what to pack, pack as little as possible. We took 72kg! with us and needless to say didn't use all of it. I had access to washing machines and driers though so could just wash what we used.

Anyway I've gone on a bit, sorry, but do go you'll enjoy it and its worth the journey hell to get there.

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