This post is also available in: German
For us there is no more exciting country than New Zealand! Together with my children Nicolas (11) and Mina (6) I travelled four weeks through “Kiwiland”. Here I present you our highlights – on the South Island New Zealand with children. Whether experiencing a dolphin tour, hiking in the national park or scooting in Christchurch – for families this journey is a real dream.
*This post must be marked as advertising due to links*
I would like to point out here that this blog post about the South Island New Zealand with children reflects my personal travel route. Of course you can’t see EVERYTHING on the South Island in 2 weeks. That’s why I left out the lower South with the scenic Milford Sounds and also did without a trip to the Franz-Josef-Glacier on the West coast. That would have been great, but also too much. The way we travelled, it was just right for me and my children.
CHRISTCHURCH – START SOUTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND WITH CHILDREN
We flew over Shanghai where we visited friends for three days. Definitely I would do that over again (or alternatively via Singapore), because then you slowly get into the time zone. After all, we had 12 hours difference to Germany!
At the airport I immediately bought a New Zealand SIM card, which was really worth it.
Because the constant googling for accommodations, locations etc. would have cost quite a lot of money, even if there are super many Wifi zones in New Zealand.
With a population of 340.000, Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island and suffered from a major earthquake in 2011. Therefore, the city still has to struggle with many damages like the collapsed cathedral. The first treat within the wonderful landscape of this country is the lovely botanical garden. You can easily explore the town on foot or take the historical tramway. We decided to take the cool Lime scooters which you can rent everywhere around the city and which you pay via app.
HANMER SPRINGS – WARM natural SPRINGS
Of course we were still quite worn out after two days so we first took a rental car for a relaxed stop over in Hamner Springs.
Hammer Springs is a small town with natural thermal springs. We stayed at the Heritage, a wonderful hotel in the middle of a vast park only two minutes away from the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. Almost 200 years ago, the New Zealanders discovered an underground reservoir here that is extremely hot. This has turned into an attraction by building different warm pools above the reservoir where we could relax. This was a smooth start on the South Island of New Zealand with children, and I would do it again immediately.
KAIKOURA – LAVENDER FARM AND DOLPHINS
We continued north to Kaikoura, which is known for its whale and dolphin tours. Unfortunately we were unlucky – due to the strong swell we could not book any whale tours. My tip: book longer in advance and for two days in a row, because due to the weather there are often cancellations. In addition there is a strong demand. But: we still experienced one of our biggest highlights here: we were allowed to watch dolphins in the ocean.
The tours into the open sea by boat are really recommendable. Duration: about three hours and if you like you can also snorkel and get even closer to the dolphins. The cute sea mammals are very trustful, did somersaults for us and swam next to our boat for a long time. A unique experience!
The same goes for our lodging. By coincidence, I’ve found the lavender farm owned by Myra and her family.
There she also rents lovingly furnished mini cottages – it couldn’t be more romantic.
Surrounded by the scent of lavender we spent two days there. My children were allowed to feed the sheep and chickens, play hide and seek in the lavender fields.
And of course we have also been dealing with the homemade lavender products from the small shop.
Nelson and Abel Tasman ParK
Our trip to Nelson, a kind of artist city, took us through great rural areas.
Past many wineries, because the vines here are world-famous, everywhere wine tastings are being offered.
At the national park Abel Tasman Park (round about one hour West from Nelson) we stayed for a couple of days which was the right decision for us city kids.
Here you can easily use one of the water taxis Abel Tasman Seashuttle, to make a day trip and ride to the dream bays with crystal clear water.
On our hike to the Cleopatra Pools we saw several animals.
To learn a little more about the unique flora and fauna we spent a day with Ecotours.
The New Zealanders have a very close relationship to nature and also integrate environmental protection into their teaching subjects.
For example, we got to know “sticks”, small insects that can camouflage themselves very well on the trees. The famous kiwi birds are unfortunately very rare and shy – but there are about 70 bird species in the national park.
I really enjoyed going to the small lagoons, drinking a coffee there, listening to our guide Stewart and enjoying the fantastic view!
A real must-do on the South Island of New Zealand with children, I think.
PICTON AND FERRY TRIP TO WELLINGTON
With a heavy heart we left this beautiful spot because we had already booked a ferry trip to the North Island with Bluebridge Ferry.
We started from the cute fishing village of Picton to Wellington.
The ticket should always be reserved a few days in advance, the route is in great demand.
And now I know why. Because here the path is the goal. The four-hour ferry ride is one of the most beautiful routes and leads through the Marlborough Strait with fantastic fjords.
Therefore I would advise everyone not to take any flights to Wellington, but to enjoy the ferry ride!
CONCLUSION SOUTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND WITH CHILDREN
Our time on the South Island was definitely too short, but all three of us fell in love with this country. The New Zealanders are very fond of children and helpful. When we had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, a family immediately helped us out. Many of them had extra tips for us regarding accommodations.
I usually booked them spontaneously on the internet, but sometimes we went directly to motels on the spot. It always worked out great! What I really like: most supermarkets offer free fruit for children at the entrance. So we often avoided the candy trap. There are many things which we experienced in this country that would do us good as well. And I’m not talking about the super Wifi network here;-)
South Island New Zealand with children was great – but there is more to come. About our trip to the North Island of New Zealand I’ll soon tell in our travel-category at TwoTell.