New Zealand is a truly beautiful place. The scenery, the culture, the people…it’s somewhere you just have to experience at least once in a lifetime. The good news is, you don’t have to put if off until the kids are older; it’s an easy destination with a baby!
We recently returned from the North Island with our little man in a last attempt to holiday before I return to work from maternity leave. The location appealed to us because it’s an English-speaking country with similar laws, they drive on the same side of the road to Oz and the flight is only a few hours!
Even though we only spent a week there, we crammed in just as many places and activities as we would pre-kids…which, for those who know how we holiday, is a lot.
So, here’s how we made travelling with a baby easy:
- Hire a car
Forget pre-organised tours, self-drive holidays in New Zealand are 100% the way to go! Before Benny we probably would have booked a campervan, but this time round we chose comfort over convenience and hired a car. Knowing you aren’t all trapped in a space the size of your kitchen 24/7 will be a blessing at the end of each day.
- Take your own car seat
Most airlines will let you take your car seat with you at no cost, so take advantage of it and cart your own along. Yes, it’s super annoying to lug through the airport, but your bub will appreciate having their familiar, safe place there, in what is otherwise new territory.
- Buy a travel pram
Before we went to the UK for our 5-week adventure, we invested in a second-hand pram from Gumtree to take over. We didn’t want our big (and expensive) pram getting damaged on the plane, plus it’s super heavy and chunky and would have been a nightmare to transport around while holidaying. A single-fold up pram is a good option for planes, as you can then transport your little one in it all the way up to the gate.
Another option if your little one is a bit bigger, is to simply purchase a cheap umbrella stroller while you’re over there, and then donate it before you depart. You can pick them up from The Warehouse in NZ for just $24!
- Use your baby carrier
Our baby carrier has come in very handy over the last 10 months, especially on the plane! It’s without a doubt the most convenient way to transport your bub around, especially while getting on the plane and going on short hikes. Face them out and they can see everything that’s going on and don’t feel like they are missing out on the action!
- Stay in Airbnb houses
This is by far the best decision we made! We were after places that had two bedrooms, so we could stay up after little man went down, and a bath tub and kitchen. All these factors meant we could keep bedtime routines the same, while the kitchen meant Benny didn’t have to do pouch food for an entire week. I was able to cook a lot of his food and freeze it so we could transport it between destinations. It also meant we were able to eat in for breakfast and dinner, and pre-pack lunches. It saved us so much money!
- Do your research on activities and attractions
Before we left, I researched all the places I wanted to go and all the things I wanted to do. Given we aren’t bungy jumping or skydiving kind of people, there wasn’t anything on our list that wasn’t family friendly. In the end there was nothing that was “hard” to do with a baby. Some places we used the pram, others we used the carrier, and sometimes we just carried Benny.
Here’s what we got up to:
- Hiked around the base of Mt Maunganui with Benny in the pram
- Picnicked at Papamoa
- Visited the animals at Marshalls Animal Park
- Ran off some energy on a rainy day at Chipmunks at Motion Entertainment
- Caught Lady Knox Geyser erupting
- Walked the entirety of Wai-o-Tapu with Benny in the carrier
- Explored the beautiful lakes around Rotorua
- Walked alongside Hamurana Springs with Benny in the pram
- Wandered through Middle Earth at Hobbiton with Benny in the carrier
- Ate at Eat Streat in Rotorua
- Hiked to the Rainbow Mountain-Crater Lake with Benny in the carrier
- Marvelled at the Huka Falls
- Ate amazing burgers at BurgerFuel
- Tried to win $10,000 at Hole in One, which Benny found hilarious
- Cruised Lake Taupo to see the famous Maori Rock Carvings
- Dipped our feet in the hot springs at Warm Water Beach.
- Keep your distances short
There’s nothing worse than a screaming child in the back seat, especially when you’re on holidays, so try to limit distances between destinations so you’re not spending all your time in the car. It’s super easy to do this in New Zealand. A lot of the major towns (on the North Island) are only separated by 1 to 3 hours, meaning you don’t have to spend too much time on the road and can enjoy the countryside on foot.
C Buzz x