New Zealand

Best New Zealand family hotels for year-round fun

New Zealand isn't just for adrenaline junkies. We've found the best family-friendly destinations around the Long White Cloud that are great getaways all year round.

Imagine yourself walking through a train tunnel lined with sparkling glow worms or racing down the hillside on the Skyline luge or kayaking through icebergs on a glacial lake, a perfect way to beat the heat of those hot Australian summers. New Zealand isn’t far to travel, but the cooler temperatures and the laid-back Kiwi attitude make it an ideal destination for your next family getaway.

We’ve thought we’d help you out and handpick the best New Zealand family hotels that will have spending your days soaking up the scenery, taking in an adrenaline-pumping jet boat ride (or two!) or touring a museum to discover what makes the country’s wildlife so unique. From a low-stress camping spot on the beach to luxurious five-star resorts, get ready for a family holiday like no other.

New Zealand's adventure tourism capital

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Known throughout the world as New Zealand’s adventure tourism capital, Queenstown conjures images of bungee jumpers hurtling off bridges and skiers throwing themselves down powdery slopes with panoramic views. But even if you’re not visiting during ski season or planning on jumping off a bridge, it’s a fantastic destination for families of all fitness and bravery levels.

Queenstown and the fast-growing neighbouring town of Frankton have family activities like go-karting, mini golf, and marine sports aplenty. Plus if you’re renting a car, it’s an excellent base for easy day-trip access to destinations like Milford Sound, Glenorchy, Wanaka, and both Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks.

Hotels in Queenstown

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A New Zealand family hotel for those who crave activity

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In Queenstown, stay at Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, especially during the summer months. Situated right beside the tranquil and beautiful Queenstown Gardens, the hotel offers free accommodation and breakfast for kids under 16.

During school holidays, they provide holiday activity packs and games. If the weather permits, you can catch an outdoor movie screening in their rose garden, where the kids can relax with a snack and Mum and Dad can enjoy a beer or a glass of Aotearoa’s world-class wine.

Walking distance from Queenstown’s small but busy downtown, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside is also directly opposite Queenstown Bay. If your kids are older and water confident, rent water bikes, kayaks, and book activities such as jetboating.

A short stroll along the lakeshore leads to a massive new playground as well as the Queenstown Gardens frisbee golf course, tennis courts, and the Queenstown Trails Trust network of cycling and pedestrian trails. And if you visit during the winter season, you can walk just up the path for a skate at Queenstown Ice Arena.

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Top rated
Queenstown
8.6 Excellent (4028 reviews)

A family holiday in the big city

New Zealand’s largest city may not be what immediately springs to mind when you hear the words “family getaway,” but don’t be so quick to judge. Auckland has a world-class zoo and sea life centre, as well as rejuvenated parks and urban areas. The Wynyard Quarter down by the harbour routinely hosts outdoor film screenings and also offers open play spaces, arts and crafts workshops, and pop-up market stalls.

Hotels in Auckland

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A fun-filled stay just outside of Auckland city centre

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If you’re looking to go a little further from the city centre, head out to Clarks Beach and stay at the Clarks Beach Holiday Park. Located on the shores of Manukau Harbour on a sheltered beach, it offers motel units, as well as cabins and camping options.

The park is built with active kids in mind, offering all kinds of sporting activities to take advantage of those long summer days. Play a round of putt-putt at their on-site minigolf, take a dip in the heated indoor swimming pool, or have a go at a round of croquet. You can hire a kayak or a dinghy and explore the beach, or take a short drive to Spookers haunted house or Rainbow’s End theme park.

Clarks Beach Holiday Park

Auckland
7.4(26 reviews)

A South Island destination that's off-the-beaten-track

About an hour’s drive outside Queenstown, Glenorchy is a holiday destination that’s still somewhat off the beaten track. Glenorchy sits on the doorstep of Mount Aspiring National Park and at the head of Lake Wakatipu. This convergence of mountains and lake means that nature- or fitness-minded families have all sorts of choices for activities from kayaking to jet boating to all levels of hiking and tramping.

Hotels in Glenorchy

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A New Zealand family hotel near Lake Wakatipu

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In Glenorchy, stay at the Bold Peak Lodge on Argyle street. It’s as central as you can get, close to the village’s two general stores as well as Dart River Safaris for booking your kayaking, jet boating, and horse trekking trips. It’s also a short walk down to the sustainable Camp Glenorchy, where you can learn about the resort town’s various sustainability features. The on-site restaurant offers hearty meals and real pints if you’ve exhausted yourself on a day hike.

Younger kids will thoroughly enjoy the Glenorchy Animal Experience, which is a short drive up the road (take the signs marked for Paradise). There, they can learn how a farm operates, the art of Kiwi-style sheep shearing, feed the animals, and enjoy the terraced landscape and wide-angle views of both the mountains and the lake.

Bold Peak Lodge

Glenorchy
8.1 Very good (177 reviews)

A family getaway made for fun and bonding

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Like Queenstown and Glenorchy to the south, Taupo offers many options for those inclined to explore the outdoors. There’s the incredible Huka Falls, the Craters of the Moon monument, and numerous thermal springs.

If you’re looking for a quirky experience, check out the bizarre but memorable Huka Prawn Park, an aquacultural attraction where you can learn all about the prawn industry. Take an interactive tour from the hatchery to the fishing ponds, take a seat in a purpose-built fishing shack, and have a go at catching some prawns. There’s also nature walks, paddle boats, a geothermal foot bath, and of course a restaurant featuring all kinds of prawn dishes.

A resort stay by Lake Taupo

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In Taupo, stay at Lake Taupo Holiday Resortsituated on 20 acres of gardens and park, it will make you feel like your miles away from the bustle of town life. It offers motel rooms, cottages, cabins, and camping options to suit all families and budgets.

Take a dip in the pool, play tennis, hire a go-kart, or explore their adventure playground and jumping pillows. They’ve recently installed a swim-up bar and they’re opposite two golf courses so parents won’t find themselves hurting for things to do either.

Lake Taupo Holiday Resort

Top rated
Taupo
8.5 Excellent (307 reviews)

Rotorua - a geothermal mecca

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Known for its geothermal activity, the mid-sized New Zealand city of Rotorua has a lot to offer for adults, but what about for families? Fortunately, there’s a lot more to Rotorua than spas and mud baths. Kids of all ages can enjoy the Skyline luge, the giant aMAZEme hedge maze, the Agroventures adventure park, or just simply, hang out by the lake or go for a bike ride.

A New Zealand family hotel near Skyline

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Sat on a sprawling park-like green with self-contained family units, Fairy Springs Motel is an ideal home base for exploring the Rotorua area. It features an outdoor playground with slides, swings, trampoline, playhouses, and a free private hot pool for the whole family.

Amenities include a BBQ for family cookouts, as well as portacots and high chairs for hire. Fairy Springs Motel is situated right beside the Skyline gondola and luge complex and Mini Golf NZ is just a few metres down the road.

Fairy Springs

Rotorua
8.3 Very good (350 reviews)

A perfect spot for fans of Lord Of The Rings

Hamilton is an excellent base to explore all the Waikato region has to offer, from the Hobbiton movie set to the glow worm caves at Waitomo. You’re also a short trip to the native birdlife and Tuatara lizards at Sanctuary Mountain. It’s a more affordable destination than Queenstown or Auckland, plus you’re less likely to run into crowds, even during peak tourist season.

Hotels in Hamilton

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A New Zealand family hotel near a waterpark

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Distinction Hamilton is the place to stay, especially during the summer as it’s only a 200-metre walk from the Waterworld water park. Be a big kid at heart and have fun on the hydro slides and huge splash pad, swim a lap or two in one of the pools, race your kids around the inflatable obstacle course or just sit back and relax while the kids jump around in the bouncy castles.

This great accommodation option was recently refurbished with travelling families in mind–it now has Superior Family Suites where kids can enjoy the privacy of their own bedroom adjacent to the lounge. Its popular on-site restaurant, Garnett’s, offers two separate kids’ menus, one for six to 12-year-olds and one with smaller portions and prices for kids under five.

Distinction Hamilton Hotel & Conference Centre

Hamilton
7.9 Good (458 reviews)

A New Zealand winter getaway that isn't Queenstown

If you’re looking for a winter getaway that isn’t Queenstown, check out South Canterbury. You’ll be close to the nearby Mount Hutt ski area and you’ll be within day trip range of Aoraki Mount Cook. At Mount Cook, choose a 4WD exploration, kayak amid icebergs on a glacial lake, go for a glacier walk, or just bask in the scenery and soak up views.

At night, you can take a number of different stargazing tours. After another couple days of skiing at Mount Hutt, drive to Tekapo to tour the Mt. John Observatory and the Dark Sky Reserve.

Hotels in Mount Cook Village

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A luxurious family resort

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To explore the broader region, we recommend Terrace Downs as a base. A high-end family resort that’s among the country’s most luxurious, it offers a variety of accommodation options including chalets with up to seven bedrooms if you’re travelling with a large group.

On-site activities include archery, supervised clay target shooting, and one of the country’s top golf courses. The friendly staff is always keen to help you out with renting a bike for the many nearby trails. After day trips to Mount Cook, Mount Hutt, Ohau, or Tekapo, you can come back and relax in truly five-star accommodation to recharge and get ready for the next day.

Terrace Downs

Top rated
Windwhistle
8.8 Excellent (200 reviews)

A stay in the country's capital

New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, has all the amenities you’d expect from a world capital, as well as a gorgeous and very walkable waterfront. You can take the cable car to view the harbour and bay from above or explore the Wellington Zoo and the wildlife at Zealandia. You can watch a kiwi scrounge for food or book an encounter at the Zoo to see some of their endangered species up close and personal, such as feeding the red pandas.

Hotels in Wellington

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A New Zealand family hotel on the waterfront

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In Wellington, stay at Quest on Thorndon for simple, yet stylish serviced apartments. You’ll be downtown and right on the waterfront, with handy apartment layouts so the kids (or parents) can get some privacy. They offer an in-house pantry shopping service for those who are strapped for time, or you can hop over to the city’s famous Underground Market for a snack.

If you’re travelling with little kids, you’ll be walking distance from the Space Place planetarium, which is a fantastic visit in tandem with Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. Come view a preserved Colossal Squid, learn about unique native flora and fauna, explore Maori history and artifacts, and explore its many rotating exhibits and artifacts on loan.

Quest on Thorndon

Top rated
Wellington
8.8 Excellent (903 reviews)