When the weather gets warmer and the sun begins to shine, New Zealand vacation rentals become a haven for beach trips, outdoor adventure and fun with the family. The many beaches and lakes offer opportunities for sunbathing and swimming with the kids and water sports like surfing, fishing, kiteboarding and sea kayaking for active teens. You’ll also have beautiful weather for wildlife safaris, nature walks, botanical garden trips and more. Whether you want to spend time on the beach with the kids, take a whale-watching tour, attend cultural events or find adventure with skydiving and jet-boarding, there’s something for everyone during New Zealand’s summer season. Find inspiration for the best holidays in summertime in NZ.
Auckland for fun with the kids
Surrounded by 2 harbours, Auckland is a major city on the North Island and home to numerous attractions and experiences to enjoy on a summer holiday with the whole family. You can explore Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, which is home to volcanoes and the Wintergardens. The Viaduct Harbour offers dining and nightlife, all within view of the harbour and its ships. In summer, Auckland’s many beaches give you a chance for sunbathing, beach picnics with the family and water sports adventures.
Bay of Islands for outdoor fun
Home to over 140 subtropical islands near North Island, the Bay of Islands is the ultimate in summer holiday destinations in New Zealand. The enclave of islands is home to remote, wild beaches and numerous Maori cultural sites, as well as the historic whaling port of Russell and its colonial remnants for a memorable holiday. You can swim, surf or sail on the beaches, explore massive dunes with Kauri trees or stroll along the promenade at the port to see historical landmarks. Another popular experience in the Bay of Islands, especially for families, is taking a dolphin safari to see the playful dolphins that frequent the area.
Rotorua for family memories
Known as the cultural hotspot of New Zealand, Rotorua is the best place to go to enjoy outdoor exploration and Maori culture with the kids. You’ll find many cultural shows that highlight the Maori culture and its influence on the city, as well as local museums and cultural sites. Rotorua is a prime destination for outdoor adventure as well, including zorbing, rafting and shweeb, perfect for families with older and active kids. While you’re there, be sure to take a nocturnal tour to see native birds and eels in the moonlight.
Hot Water Beach, Kawhia for natural spa retreats
Revealed at low tide, Hot Water Beach boasts a stretch of sand in the middle of the beach that brings hot water to the surface. When you visit, you can dig a hole and relax in the spa pool under the sun. The beach also has a headland with remnants of a fortified village, Ngāti Hei pā, and great surf breaks off the coast. Though the spa pools are one of the biggest draws of Hot Water Beach, you can also take part in water sports, sunbathing, swimming and beach picnics with the family during your visit.
Raglan for adventure
If you like surfing, Raglan is a must-visit destination for a summer holiday in New Zealand. The charming coastal town is nestled in the heart of the Waikato region of North Island and boasts a stunning black-sand beach, Ngarunui Beach, and a spectacular surf break in the bay. You could enjoy challenging treks in the coastal forests to see Bridal Veil Falls, or you could make your way to the summit of Mount Karioi for views of the Tasman Sea. There’s plenty of sightseeing for families in town, such as the Raglan & District Museum, which is home to surfing memorabilia and local-history artefacts.
Taupo for family lake fun
Located near the centre of North Island, Taupo is home to the spectacular Lake Taupo, a volcanic caldera. The lakefront destination is popular for families and couples looking for a lake retreat with sunbathing, swimming and water sports, especially fishing with the kids. If you want more adventure, Lake Taupo is one of the best places for jet-boarding and skydiving. You can relax in the hot springs that surround Taupo, such as the Craters of the Moon reserve, or spend your time hiking around the lake to take in the views of the water and the stunning Huka Falls.