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10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!

Los Angeles...
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10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!


We are going to NZ in April and are wondering what to do for part of our trip. We are seeing some friends and already booked our inner NZ flights so our options are somewhat limited. Please help with the specific below.

April 6th-April 9th

We will be in Blenheim on the 6th making our way down south as we have a flight from Christchurch on the 9th. Should we go to Kaikoura? West Coast? Abel Tasman? A few days in Christchurch? Our plan was Kaikoura for 2 days and 1 day in Christchurch, but is that the best bet?

April 9th-12th

We land in Auckland on the 9th and don't fly back to the US until the 12th. Should we stay in Auckland the whole time and do day trips? Head down to Roatura? What about the West Coast of the North Island? Perhaps Northern Auckland?

A few notes...

For the most part our son is great. We can go to nice restaurants, he's fine in long car drives. We want once a day for him to be in wide open spaces to run. Hiking is ok too as we wear him in our ergo and he's pretty mellow.

New Zealand
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1. Re: 10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!


As far as Kaikoura goes, there is not a lot there except whale watching tours, and the only other attraction between Blenheim and Chch is the Ohau waterfall.

I would suggest traveling through the Buller Gorge from Blenheim (do the zipline) visit Punakaiki (pancake rocks) and stay the night (or 2) at Greymouth, from there you could visit Hokitika (swingbridge in the gorge and free glowworm caves) and also visit Shantytown just outside of Greymouth. From there travel through Arthurs Pass (take a hour hike to see the Devils Punchbowl waterfall) and arrive in Chch.

As far as Auckland goes, it doesnt take long to get out of the city and visit the regional parks (e.g. Omana)

Driving from Auckland to Rotorua is about 4 hours, but there is quite a lot to do there (e.g. Agrodome, Zorbing, Geothermal sites etc) but i would explore north Auckland, and take a boat trip out to one of the islands ( e.g. Tiritirimatangi)

Have fun!

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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2. Re: 10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!

Hi royal,

By the time you reach Auckland, you may not be inclined to do any more than day trips. For children, Auckland has lots of parks and open space and some neat family attractions.

Kelly Tarltons aquarium and penguin enclosure enthrals young children. Mission Bay close by has a wonderful lawn picnic area, and children's playground, which are opposite some great cafes.

The Auckland Museum has short daily Maori concerts which you may be interested in. The museum is surrounded by the Domain for views of Rangitoto, while the mature park, and Wintergardens provide a great outdoors area for a relaxing day out.

Head over to the west coast beaches and visit Arataki visitors centre in the Waitakere ranges followed by a visit to a black-sand beach.

A harbour cruise or ferry trip is a popular activity. Devonport is a 7 - 10 minute journey to a lovely seaside suburb for a stroll and look around. North Head is just beyond Devonport for some gentle exercise and harbour views. There is a pathway leading to the top of this hill.

I'm sure the final days will be full without having to leave Auckland, as attractive as a side trip to Rotorua may seem.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: 10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!

THIS SOUNDS AMAZING! I can't thank you both enough!...I actually really wanted to go to Pancake Flats so this sounds great. You sure I won't be missing much in Kaikoura? It just looks so beautiful! But I guess everywhere you go is beautiful in NZ.

Any hotel recs? We like fairly higher end/luxury (not too much) but with wide open spaces for our son to run around.

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4. Re: 10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!

I hate to see Kaikoura dismissed, so will speak up. There's plenty to do there and the coastline is gorgeous. It's one of the few places on Earth that you can go swimming with dolphins by the hundreds. We went on an Argo tour on a sheep farm - the land was the portion of coastline right above Haumuri Bluffs. We walked the Peninsula Walkway at low tide. The next morning we headed up the coastline to Oahu Point and Waterfall and saw the seal colony and the pups. I would have liked to get some lobster (crawfish) at Nin's Bins, but it was too early. But we did stop for coffee at Kekerengu (The Store) and enjoyed the fabulous view. Next we drove up to Sawcut Gorge and waded the stream to the tallest, narrowest, gorge I've ever seen. We arrived just before 5pm in Blenheim, and made the choice of going to the chocolate factory (found out later that it stays open until 5:30, so should have gone to a winery first as they close at 5pm).

So maybe there isn't much that a 2 year old would enjoy except the seals. But I hate to read that there's nothing to do there but whale watch.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: 10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!

FYI all, we decided on the West Coast. Staying at Kapitea Ridge for 2 nights and then Christchurch for a night. Thanks for the recommendations and we are really looking forward to visiting and feel so much better about our choices.

6. Re: 10 Days in New Zealand with a 2 year old....where to go?!

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