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Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Beijing, China
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Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Hi there,

My family will be arriving via the ferry from the North Island right before Christmas. Given the children are a little sad to not be home for Christmas, I'd like to find a town with lots of holiday cheer and a memorable experience. Could anyone recommend a city? We can either stay in Wellington and postpone the ferry trip until after Christmas or take the ferry ahead of time.

Thanks! Erica

Wanaka, New Zealand
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1. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Wanaka is a great place for Christmas. It is laid back, beautiful scenery, lake to swim in, mountains to admire... We are always pleased to manage a Christmas at home here in paradise.

Wellington, NZ
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2. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Wanaka is two days travel from Wellington. . .

Wellington is very busy leading up to Christmas but is quite quiet on the day. Te Papa is still open and there will be plenty on the city beaches, if the weather is as nice as it has been in the last few years. There are some nice beaches north of Wellington. The Queen Elizabeth Park (known locally as the QE2) has picnic and BBQ areas. It's a sand dune park about 40 minutes out of Wellington. You could catch the train out to Paraparaumu and get off at the Paekakariki stop. http://www.gw.govt.nz/QEP/

Wanaka, New Zealand
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3. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Nelson or Motueka are great summed /Christmas places too.

Ballarat, Australia
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4. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

I would head to a place popular with Kiwi families over Christmas like Nelson/Golden Bay or Wanaka. There will be a party atmosphere there. In larger towns and cities everybody is having Christmas at home and things are very quiet.

New Zealand
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5. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Nelson :)

Nelson-Tasman...
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6. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Lochmara Lodge in Marlborough sounds. stunning scenery and can swim, kayak, feed the animals, look at the art. Have a great soak at the bathhouse and meal in restaurant.

Beijing, China
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7. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

This is very helpful, thank you! I will look into Nelson and Golden Bay. Do you know of any hotels/campgrounds/etc where there might be a lot of families over the holidays?

New Zealand
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8. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

Nelson/Golden Bay will be buzzing with families, many returning to the same spots for generations.

Plus this region has the highest sunshine readings in NZ - fun in the sun :)

Nelson-Tasman...
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9. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

generally most of the popular holiday parks in Nelson and Golden bay are booked out from boxing day, so you may get some spots up to boxing day. Kaiteriteri would be the regions most popular. the Kaiteriteri holiday is right beside the beach and a tourist spot. If it is full consider bethany camp, although a 5 minute drive from the beach and anything else OR try Old mcdonalds farm, in Marahau.

In golden bay pohara would be most popular. In nelson the tahuna motor camp is a total hit with the beach nearby, plus hydroslide, minigolf, animal park etc so plenty of activities.

Or there are lots of wonderful DOC campsites throughout the whole region.

Edited: 06 September 2013, 19:53
Wanaka, New Zealand
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10. Re: Where to Spend Christmas with a Family?

We are a family and have stayed at three of the camping grounds mentioned by poppy.

Kaiteriteri has the most awesome beach, but you will need to book now. There is a beach with waves, golden sand, and also a small lagoon where the creek meets the sea. This is popular with families with smaller children as it is safer. (Not that the main beach is unsafe, just a steeper drop off so not so good for little children). It is a 15 minute drive to the nearest supermarket and restaurants (in Motueka). There is a small store at the camping ground for basics, plus takeaways (I think).

Pohara is great too. The beach is quite different as it is a large flat area when the tide is out, hence the beach is much shallower, so ideal if you have very small children. The closest town for supermarket and restaurants is Takaka. It's a 10 minute drive away. Pohara would provide a good base to explore Golden Bay. There are some interesting places to sightsee: Farewell Spit, Whiririki Beach walk, Pupu Springs.

Tahuna is in the city itself - but beside the beach still. It would feel like less of a beach holiday as you are still in the city.

As poppy said, all of these places will be crawling with kids/families!