New Zealand Cook Islands Family Vacation: Adventure Travel

Enjoy the ultimate family adventure in New Zealand! Get your adrenaline pumping with thrilling activities for the whole family. And then end in the Cook Islands for some beach time.

We designed this adventurous New Zealand Family Vacation for a family of 6. They had ventured to Australia with us 5 years earlier, and now they wanted to discover New Zealand’s beauty and adventure. From quad biking to mountain biking to an incredible canyon swing, this trip is truly the ultimate adventure experience.

They started their New Zealand Family Vacation in the lovely Bay of Islands at a beach resort in Paihia. While in Paihia, they took a catamaran cruise around the area.  Back at their resort, they enjoyed some relaxing massages and treatments after each adventure-filled day.

Next, after a short stop in Auckland, they drove to Rotorua, with its fascinating and varied natural features.  They explored the Hobbit holes, and visited a Kiwi Bird Hatchery.  They had a fun day of adventure in Rotorua, going mountain biking, and kayaking out to some natural thermal pools. They also had some free time to explore this geothermal wonderland on their own.

Continuing their New Zealand Family Vacation, they went south to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. From Queenstown, they took a scenic flight over spectacular alpine scenery and lush rainforest to Milford Sound. They took a nature cruise on the sound and returned to Queenstown via fixed-wing plane. The next day, they discovered Queenstown’s off-road terrain via jet boat and Funyaks.

They finished their New Zealand Family Vacation in the Scottish heritage town of Dunedin. They enjoyed a wildlife tour and cruise of the Otago Peninsula to see rare penguins, fur seals, and seal lions.

At last, their thrilling adventure came to an end. They drove to the airport and began their journey home, with a quick stop in the Cook Islands for 4 nights of relaxing, snorkeling and exploring the unique island of Rarotonga.  And they returned home, knowing they had taken on the best outdoor adventures New Zealand has to offer.

  • 3 Nights Blue Pacific Apartments
  • 1 Night Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park
  • 3 Nights Pullman Rotorua
  • 3 Nights Peppers Beacon Queenstown
  • 2 Nights Distinction Dunedin
  • 4 Nights Pacific RESORT RAROTONGA
  • Island and Wildlife Cruise
  • Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Redwoods Treewalk
  • National Kiwi Hatchery
  • Rotorua Mountain Bike Sightseeing Tour
  • Milfrod Sound – Coach/Cruise/Fly
  • Funyak Safari
  • Peninsula Encounters and Wildlife Cruise
  • Rental Car in New Zealand
  • Private airport transfers Cook Islands

Australia New Zealand Travel Agency - Laura Tober - Travel Agents

Laura, Luxury Travel Consultant
On a family holiday? Queenstown has some fantastic dining options that the kids will enjoy. One of my favorites is The Cow, a pizza and spaghetti house. Make sure you check it out!

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1
Welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival in Auckland, pick up your rental car and travel north to the Bay of Islands. Allow some extra time along the way to visit black sand beaches and stop at a waterfall or winery for a quick taste. In Paihia, you will be staying in spacious apartments and suites with gorgeous sea views and access to an excellent restaurant and spa. This evening, enjoy a complimentary 30-minute sauna or steam session in the spa.
Blue Pacific Apartments

Day 2
This day is yours at leisure. Paihia is an excellent base from which to explore the Bay of Islands. From the wharf, you can arrange a trip to the outer islands, hook into a fishing expedition or catch the ferry to Russell. Top local adventures include cruising to the ‘hole in the rock’ at the tip of Cape Brett, and sea kayak tours. Paihia is also just down the road from the historic Treaty House at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation. Just west of Paihia is Haruru, where you’ll find an impressive waterfall and a boardwalk.
Blue Pacific Apartments

Day 3
Today you will sail amongst the Islands on a 50ft spacious catamaran the sailing yacht. This vessel is purpose built for day sailing in the Bay of Islands. You can help set and trim the sails, relax on the spacious decks, watch for dolphins, penguins, petrels and other ocean birds. A BBQ lunch is held back aboard. 
Blue Pacific Apartments

Day 4
Off to Auckland for a quick overnight. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and is recognized as having the largest concentration of Polynesian people in the world. Auckland’s blend of a modern seaside city environment coupled with an island studded gulf, nearby rain forest, black sand surf beaches and wine country offers a huge range of leisure activities.
Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park

Hobbit Holes at Hobbiton Movie Set
Day 5

Today, drive south to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland and a sacred place for the Maori people. Your drive will take you through rolling green hills reminiscent of The Shire. And you will visit those famous Hobbit holes. Your guide will escort you through the ten acre site, telling you fascinating details of how the Hobbit set was created as you go. The Green Dragon Inn offers a complimentary drink in Hobbit style at the end of your tour. Upon arrival in Rotorua, settle into your luxury accommodations for some well-deserved relaxation after your drive.
Pullman Rotorua

Day 6
Ever wondered what a baby Kiwi bird looks like? You get to find out today at the National Kiwi Hatchery with your visit. And then end your day at the Redwoos Treewalk. Your Redwoods Nightlights experience offers the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by Trubridges’ bespoke creations to create an immersive and captivating environment. 
Pullman Rotorua

Day 7
Today exploring beautiful sights around Whakarewarewa, Titokorangi and the Redwoods. Starting from Mountain Bike Rotorua, make your way along the Whakarewarewa Forest Loop, part of the National Cycleway development, for an easy ride taking in beautiful sights and awesome stories of the local area. 
Pullman Rotorua

outdoor adventure travel - travel specialists - outdoor travel - adventure - vacation
Day 8

Start off today with a drive to the airport, where you’ll drop off your rental car and catch your flight to Queenstown on the South Island. Make your way to your luxurious hotel on the shore of Lake Wakatipu and enjoy the view of the Remarkables Mountains. Make the easy walk into town for dinner this evening.
Peppers Beacon Queenstown

Day 9
This morning, your New Zealand family adventure vacation continues! Travel by fixed-wing plane over spectacular alpine scenery, lush rainforest, and finally Milford Sound. Once on the ground at Milford, board a Real Journeys luxury vessel for a nature cruise of Milford Sound. Discover the stunning waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, and wildlife of this pristine area before returning to Queenstown on another scenic flight.
Peppers Beacon Queenstown

Family funyak adventure on Dart River New Zealand
Day 10

Your Funyak Safari is a truly unique experience starting with an exhilarating jet boat ride from Glenorchy up the Dart River with all the thrills of braided shallow river jet boating and famous jet spins before being dropped off at the Funyak starting point. You will be introduced to your Funyak which is a unique inflatable canoe. Paddle and drift (under the watchful eye of your guide) downstream, taking in all the awe-inspiring sights amidst the Dart River channels. You will stop amongst the ancient beech forest to enjoy a wilderness buffet lunch and explore hidden side streams, rock streams and rock pools.
Peppers Beacon Queenstown

Day 11
Today, pick up your rental car and drive east to Dunedin. Along the way, you can stop at some of the wineries of Central Otago for delicious pinot noirs. Or, you can allow some extra time to drive along the Catlins scenic coastal route to see native forests, several waterfalls, and perhaps even some sea lions on the beach!
Distinction Dunedin

New Zealand Fur Seal
Day 12

Enjoy a full-day tour of the beautiful Otago Peninsula with Monarch Wildlife Cruises & Tours. Take a scenic drive to the Royal Albatross Centre and go on a guided tour to see the rare yellow-eyed penguins and blue penguins. Then, get unrivaled viewing of marine life, including fur seals and Hooker’s sea lions, on a 1-hour wildlife cruise, and finally enjoy a leisurely harbor cruise back to the city.
Distinction Dunedin

Day 13
After having breakfast at your hotel, head to the airport to begin your journey to your next stop in the Cook Islands. Let the untouched charm of the beautiful Cook Islands capture your spirit and hold your heart through one of our handcrafted vacation packages. The 15 islands of the Cooks lie halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, scattered across 1.2 million square miles of breathtaking ocean. Boasting rare beauty, an idyllic climate, warm and welcoming people, and a pace of life unsurpassed for peace, the Cook Islands are pure paradise! After arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.
Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Day 14-16

During your time in paradise, you will be able to do as much or as little as you like. Lounge on the pristine beach with drink in hand; enjoy water activities like paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking; indulge in heavenly treatments at the spa surrounded by a tranquil water garden; or simply enjoy some quality time together in your luxurious villa. Other optional activities include tours to see the beaches and lagoon or immerse yourself in the local culture, a quad bike adventure, sailing on the lagoon, cultural hikes, village visits, unique dining experiences, and more.
Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Day 17
It’s time to say goodbye to your incredible island paradise. Enjoy a private transfer to the airport, where you will begin your journey home.

About this vacation
Cost Per Person

Does not include the cost of airfare

Based on
17 day stay
6 travelers

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