We just got back from our first overseas holiday with the little guy and we thoroughly enjoyed New Zealand. It was a great introduction to a family holiday for us, as it isn’t too far to get to and it isn’t too “foreign” either, making it an easy trip with a baby.
Here are reasons for why New Zealand is such a great place to visit with the little ones:
- Great playground – It feels as if that the whole country was designed by parents with young children. In every single city we went to (and airports too, for that matter), there is at least one awesome play ground. Little E loved the play ground at the Christchurch Botanical Gardens most, as it not only has the usual slides/monkey bar/swings, it also has 3 paddling pools!
- Easy to get around – Everything is so easy to get to, and there’s a corner shop (or “dairy shop, as they seem to call it) in literally every corner in every street. We had no problems finding milk, fruit, snacks and other necessities for Little E.
- Beautiful scenery and culture – In all the places we went, we were surrounded by beautiful scenery. The people we met (and asked questions from) were friendly and helpful. The museums we went to were informative, yet fun and interactive – perfect for little people with small attention span 🙂
- Good choice of food joints – We didn’t get to do the fancy restaurants this trip, however, we weren’t short for choice of food places to go to. Little E was such a trooper and had no problems adjusting to the different food we offered him (he normally mostly lives on steamed vegies).
- The time difference is only 2 hours (during Daylight Savings Time, or 3 hours at other times) – Little E adjusted to the time difference straight away (both to NZ and AUS when we got back).
Tips and Tricks we found useful:
- Grab one of those New Zealand travel magazine when you arrived at the airport, it is filled with lots and lots of discount vouchers 🙂
- Do early morning flights to NZ so that you have the whole day to recuperate, before starting your trip the next morning
- Look at accommodations with a kitchen (or at least, a kitchenette) and a washing machine – I couldn’t believe how many dirty clothes we went through with Little E! It would cost us a fortune if we didn’t get access to free washing machines 🙂
- Bring your own portacot, each places we stayed in charges around NZD5-10 per night, which would add up. Most airlines allow you to bring them for free, and if you drive around the country, it only takes up a small space in the boot
- Fuel is expensive at NZD2.179/L. With the amount of driving people normally do while there, you would spend a lot of your holiday money on fuel. So I would suggest planning your trip carefully and perhaps even look at flying 🙂
- If you’re like us and used to cram as many activities as possible in a day, be prepared for not being able to do that with a toddler. We didn’t get to as many places we planned to go/do, mainly we wanted Little E to enjoy his time playing. In each city, we make sure that we go to the parks or playground and let him run free.
One thing that I noticed and made me fully appreciate the effort the Australian government has done in regards to limiting smokers area, is the number of people lighting up around children in NZ. There were a few times when we had the table next to us at restaurant with people smoking, even when they saw Little E sitting a mere foot step away.
All in all, I would definitely recommend NZ as a family holiday destination with young children – that is if they’re okay with a lot of driving 🙂 I will do a NZ travel series of blog posts in the next few weeks, just in case any of you would find it useful for your future trips 😉 I hope that you are all healthy and happy, I do apologise for the lack of posts during my travels. Though we got free wifi in most places, by the time we got to the hotel, I just want to lie in bed and be a blob 🙂
Have a great rest of the weekend, everybody!