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Family fun itinerary

With so many fun activities suited to a wide-range of ages, this route gives wine-loving parents the best of all worlds. There's plenty of family-friendly places to stay as well so you can send the kids to the pool while you enjoy a few regional tastings.

Hawke's Bay (days 1 - 2)

Morning - day 1

Landscapes Ride Te Awanga Hawkes Bay NZ Low
  • Enjoy the morning fresh and some light exercise while you explore the Cycle Trails of Napier. Hire some bikes and then pick up a map at the i-SITE and you'll be on your way.
  • Get as close to the ocean as you can without getting your feet wet at the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Travel beneath the enormous oceanarium or take a behind the scenes tour to discover the abundant marine life living at the aquarium.
  • Explore that fascinating world of the humble honeybee in a modern and interactive environment at the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre.

Afternoon - day 1

Gannet colony
  • Visit the largest, most accessible, mainland gannet colony in the world on a unique eco-experience tour with Gannet Beach Adventures where you'll travel by vintage tractor and trailer.
  • Explore the wild side of wine country at Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge, offering adventure activities for kids of all ages from white water rafting and kayaking through to horse trekking.
  • Challenge each other at a round of mini put at Par 2 Golf which is located right on the beach front.
  • Finish your day with a relaxing soak in the hot pools overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Ocean Spa complex in Napier.
  • Treat yourself at Birdwoods Gallery & Sweet Shop and fill a tin, jar or your tummy with the delicious treats. 

Morning - day 2

  • Hand feed the animals at the safe, clean environment of the Hawke's Bay Farmyard Zoo.
  • Visit one of the world's largest '00' gauge model railways and Napier's beloved 60 year old Lilliput Railway at Trainworld.

Take a leisurely drive from Hawke's Bay via the Tararua District along State Highway 2, following the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail signs to Wairarapa.

Wairarapa (days 2 - 4)

Afternoon - day 2

Mount Bruce 1

Morning - day 3

  • Visit the popular beach destinations of Riversdale and Castlepoint for superb scenery, fishing, surfing and summer-patrolled beaches.
  • From Masterton head to Carterton and stop in at Paua World which incorporates paua shell with jewellery and homeware to create some stunning giftware. Paua is also available to purchase here for your own craft supplies - kids love to make their own paua necklaces.
  • Waiohine Gorge, south of Carterton, is a popular picnic and hiking destination where you can walk across one of the longest swing bridges in New Zealand.

Allow ninety minutes for the brief drive to New Zealand’s compact capital city, dubbed coolest little capital in the world by Lonely Planet.

Wellington (days 3 - 4)

Afternoon - day 3

Carter observatory

All day - day 4

OrientalBayPlayground Wellington NZ
  • Explore Wellington waterfront by strolling from Queens Wharf to Oriental Bay and have a swim at the golden sand beach, or hire some roller-blades and glide around the harbour. Otherwise there’s indoor rock climbing and abseiling or Frank Kitts Playground and Freyberg Beach Playground. Many prefer to grab a coffee or gelato and sit back and enjoy beautiful views of the Wellington Harbour and cityscape, perhaps while the kids have a go at the paddle-boats, or later yourselves on the paddleboards.
  • The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is an entertaining way to find out about New Zealand, arguably one of the best interactive museums in the world. Kids will love the interactive exhibitions, the 3D Colossal Squid and uncovering dinosaur bones in Bush City.
  • Meet the animals at Wellington Zoo. Try kiwi spotting in the nocturnal house or experience a personal encounter with one of the animals such as the red pandas, lions, giraffes and cheetahs.
  • Take a Seal Coast Safari across the rugged and remote south coast of Wellington. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the South Island. See animals including ostriches, wild goats and deer as well as a colony of New Zealand fur seals.

Cruise across Cook Strait and through the stunning Marlborough Sounds to the South Island on the Interislander Ferry. There's extensive viewing decks, an array of cafés and bars and plenty to keep the kids entertained.

Marlborough (day 5)

Morning - day 5

Pollard park
  • Visit Pollard Park in Blenheim and feed the ducks, play in the playground explore the extensive gardens.
  • Swim with the dolphins then take a guided walk on Motuara Island bird sanctuary in Queen Charlotte Sound with Dolphin Watch & Nature Tours.
  • Check out the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim, which brings to life the heroes of World War One aviation with an unparalleled collection and dramatic lifelike scenes. World-renowned Weta Workshop and Wingnut Films, responsible for Lord of the Rings, created the sets which make this attraction world class and of interest to anyone!
  • Explore the vineyards with Explore Marlborough. A choice of touring bikes for adults and children as well as helmets, comfort seats, bottled water and winery maps are provided. Child seats and tow-alongs also available to cater for all the family.
  • Stop at the Vines Village in the middle of wine country where there is something for everyone. Gifts, souvenirs, wine tasting, fudge, beer, liqueurs, a family-friendly café and children’s playground. Then continue down to Makana Confections boutique chocolate factory to see how they make their delicious chocolates, taste a few samples and shop for gifts.

Afternoon - day 5

Farmers Market11
  • On a Sunday, from October to June head on down to the A&P Showgrounds for the Marlborough Farmers Market. Taste your way around the stallholders, listen to the sounds of local musicians, see a local chef in action and listen to the resident storyteller.
  • Take a day trip to Lochmara Lodge in the Queen Charlotte Sound. Hand feed kakariki (NZ native parrot), see wetas and bees, enjoy the safe swimming beach with play equipment, kayak around the sheltered coastline and enjoy fabulous food in their café.
  • Visit the EcoWorld Aquarium and Terrarium on Picton’s foreshore.
  • Stop at the Picton Village Bakkerij for one of their famous cream and raspberry jam doughnuts.