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Monday, January 20, 2014

Enchanting Family Holidays Discovering 100% Pure New Zealand

unnamed (17)As the country revels in the summer season, Tourism New Zealand is inviting families to come and experience the ‘land of the long white cloud’ and its amazing offerings of family-friendly activities.

Under the “100% Pure New Zealand’’ campaign, families can look forward to an abundance of educational and experiential activities for parents and children such as visiting farms and orchards, going on a seafood cruise up and down the scenic Milford Sounds, biking through vineyards, or hiking through ancient caves in Waitomo to see glowworms light up like millions of stars.
The Hobbit film set at Hobbiton near Matamata not surprisingly ranks among every family’s top ‘must see’ destinations. In rolling countryside untouched by the 20th century, the Middle-Earth location for JRR Tolkien’s saga is simply magical - complete with the Green Dragon Inn, where Hobbit Bilbo celebrated his birthday party.
Rotorua, the cultural and geothermal heart of New Zealand, combines the vibrancy and romance of native Maori culture with nature parks of hot springs and mud baths. Maori culture offers entertainment as well as an educational experience and Rotorua is unnamed (18)renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Holiday makers can go on a visit to a Maori marae (village) for a hangi (traditional dinner) and an evening of chants and songs, including the renowned Haka, made famous by the New Zealand All Blacks.
The International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch offers an insight into what explorers and scientists encounter near the South Pole, with attractions including a simulator of the freezing conditions, a colony of Little Blue penguin, exhibits on past expeditions and a ride in a Hagglung; the all-terrain vehicle used to traverse the hostile environment. 
Whale Watching in Kaikoura is one of New Zealand’s top wildlife experiences, encountering whales, seals and dolphins by boat in these coastal waters. Close encountering with wildlife and seeing local birdlife like the native kea parrot up close is also enchanting at reserves such as Willowbank, Wild Kiwi, Zealandia or Rainbow Springs.
In Oamaru and Dunedin you can watch penguins coming ashore every early evening after a day’s hunting for fish.
Enjoying nature at its best in golden sand beaches such as Kaiteriteri near the Abel Tasman National Park is an inexpensive way to spend the day outdoors with the kids. Take a picnic – with local cheese and wine, and remember to treat yourselves to delicious New Zealand ice cream! Hint: Try out the uniquely New Zealand Hokey Pokey flavour!
Of course, farms are everywhere and there are plenty of opportunities to see sheep, cows and deer as you drive through the rural regions. For a close encounter and opportunities to pet the animals, visit Agrodome in Rotorua or Walter Peak High Country Farm near Queenstown.
While in Queenstown, the world’s adventure sports capital, take in the sights from cable cars and watch as the stunning alpine scenery unfold beneath you.
Budding astronomers can also check out Lake Tekapo’s stargazing activities and learn more about the skies and heavenly bodies.
Equally thrilling is hot air ballooning over the Canterbury plains, as is sailing the ancient sunken river valleys, secluded bays and sandy beaches of the Marlborough Sounds.
In the winter, families can look forward to exciting activities as well. Adventure seekers can try out one of New Zealand’s many ski resorts while the little ones can go sledding or show shoeing. For a relaxing vacation, soak in a hot pool set amidst a stunning backdrop of white capped mountains.­­­ 
When travelling with children, family-friendly accommodation is also important, and New Zealand's family-style motels have kitchens to accommodate those wanting to cook their own meals. Many motels also have BBQ facilities, swimming pools and playgrounds for children.  
“New Zealand has all the ingredients for that special family holiday magic,” said Mischa Mannix-Opie, Tourism New Zealand Regional Manager for South and Southeast Asia. “Children love getting in touch with nature, exploring and learning. It’s simple and fun – and there’s so much diversity and interest, plus wonderful food and wine, that parents still feel like it’s their holiday too.”
“And road trips are absolutely the best way to go – they are discovery, adventure and relaxation all rolled into one.  A true down-to-earth experience meeting friendly local people, stopping anywhere or anytime you like. There’s never a dull moment and natural beauty is all around.”
Details of self-drive and coach holidays plus package tours are at

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places