The best journeys you can take as a family by transport – plane, ship, car, train
Family holidays should be fun, adventurous and a time of bonding and exploring. We show you four different journeys guaranteed to make everyone happy. By Nawaf Rahman and Douglas David
Visit the Land of the Long White Cloud
New Zealand is quite a trip away, but don’t let distance or jet lag stand in the way of one of the world’s best family holiday destinations. Famed for stunning landscapes, cultural vibrancy, good food and the very important fact that the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ movies were made here, this is a dream family destination.
HOW TO GET THERE The journey from Kuala Lumpur to New Zealand takes 11 hours and most international flights land in Auckland. Air Asia X flies to Auckland daily via the Gold Coast.
WHAT TO DO Auckland is a great city to explore for the family and you can start by visiting Waiheke Island ( waiheke.co.nz), which is easily accessible by fast ferry. With its vineyards, restaurants and incredible coast, Waiheke is ideal for the family to visit. For a family-friendly art fix, visit the Auckland Art Gallery ( aucklandartgallery.com) and the Auckland Museum ( aucklandmuseum.com). You can’t come to New Zealand and not see sheep – ratio of people to sheep is 1:7 – and Sheep World ( sheepworldfarm.co.nz) ticks off all the sheep experience boxes; it’s only 45 minutes drive from the city.
The clean air and stunning landscapes of New Zealand will entice you to do as much outdoor activities as possible, so pack hiking gear and head for the hills of the Waitakere Ranges or the black sand surf beaches of Whatipu, Karekare and Bethells Beach.
In the capital of Wellington – on the southernmost tip of the North Island – do the cultural thing and visit Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand; tepapa.govt.nz) which showcases the country’s history from the great migrations of the Maori to geology and natural history in a very interactive way, ensuring kids will actually be interested! Take the ferry, cross the Cook Strait, and hit the South Island running as you’re now entering a world of endless blue skies, roads where you may not see anyone else driving for hours, and enough sheep to make you want lamb chops for every meal!
We suggest renting a campervan particularly if you have older kids – toddlers and little ones will probably drive you nuts with incessant ‘Are we there yet?’ queries. There are several rental companies so shop around for the best deals. Roads are well maintained and signposted, and there are campervan parks with good facilities near all the touristic areas. Fjords, lakes, forests, farms and quaint towns await; or go bungee jumping, mountain biking or fishing.