If you're anything like us and currently planning a family or whānau holiday in New Zealand, the gorgeous North Island offers a diverse range of experiences for the entire family to enjoy.
At Off The Beaten Track, we know that the best holidays are often unexpected, where you go somewhere new or experience something new. Whether that is staying in a unique location, hiking a track, visiting a beach, or taking a bike ride, or getting on a horse! All of these experiences can be enjoyed through an Off The Beaten Track family holiday.
For a little inspiration, we've pulled together some of our favourite spots for a North Island road trip for the family taking in the northern, central and eastern regions. Starting the journey in Northland, embarking on a family road trip down to the Mighty Waikato, and finishing in the Bay of Plenty. Buckle up, as we guide you through this family-friendly adventure!
Starting in Kaeo, Chalet in the Country is a secluded gem located on 5 acres of rural farmland with harbour views overlooking Waitapu Bay. The entire chalet can sleep up to 8 guests with a large outdoor entertainment deck and a private spa pool.
The property is located nearby the Wairakau Stream Track and an adventure filled 2-hour one-way hike with two stream crossings and rocky terrain. The track emerges at Lane Cove, and can be linked with the Duke’s Nose Track where you can take in magnificent views of Whangaroa.
Stay a few days in Northland before heading south to the Mighty Waikato region. First stop on the way; check out Rainbow Falls walk in Kerikeri. A quick 400m walk takes you to the waterfall on the Kerikeri River. This track is buggy friendly too! If you want some stops on the way, dont miss out on Waipu. The white sand beaches, and Waipu Caves or make this a lunch stop at the beachside cafe.
If you're keen to get down to the Waikato and settle in for the night, The Beach Cottage is the ideal next stop for the family. Located at Waikorea Beach on the west coast of Northern Waikato, this rustic cottage sleeps up to 7 and offers the perfect relaxing escape from city life. Stay a few days, get your feet in the sand before heading across the region to the next stopover.
Continuing on your journey, the Hamilton Gardens is a must-visit. This attraction (currently free to visit until March 2024), is the perfect spot to enjoy lunch, and offers ample space for the kids to run around. It features 21 gardens representing the art, beliefs, lifestyles and traditions of different civilisations or historical garden styles. These gardens are grouped into the Paradise, Productive, Fantasy, Cultivar and Landscape garden collections. Easy parking and buggy friendly too!
If you're a movie fan, have seen the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings make sure to stop at the world-famous Hobbiton Movie Set. For young and old this enchanting village is a must-visit. Join the guided tour and step into the Shire for a truly magical middle-earth experience.
Next stay is Warm & Cosy Log Cabin. Located in Waihi on 12 acres of park which you are free to roam at leisure. There is a choice of large swimming holes in a river adjacent to the property, a few smaller pools to splash about in and a river island to explore. At the southern border of the property is a number of Department of Conservation walkways and nearby the Hauraki Rail Trail for biking.
Waihi is located near the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park and borders the Bay of Plenty Region. The Karangahake Gorge within the forest park provides an opportunity to learn about the gold mining history of the region through a variety of walkways that include tunnels, battery, and an old pump house.
As you make your way across to the Bay of Plenty, and you're seeking another adventure stopover make sure you visit Waimarino Adventure Park. Try the blob, the pedallos, rock-climb, paddle board, or try out the hydroslide —a perfect family day of adventure and relaxation.
The final leg of the trip is a drive down the coast and stay at Luxury Country Cottage in Tirohanga. This quiet spot offers fantastic views of the countryside, sea and down the East Cape. The house sleeps 4 but with all the comforts of home including SKY TV, wifi and a coffee machine. A gorgeous final stop on the first of our unforgettable family road-trips across the North Island.
The check out more Off The Beaten Track experiences, or to find the perfect weekend getaway, visit us here