In our family travel special on March 30, we asked you to share your favourite holiday memories for the chance to win a Bay of Islands private cruise. Here are some of our favourite entries.
A road trip to explore the far North. We were living in Waiouru at the time and decided that we should spend more time exploring our own backyard. Over a 10 day period, we explored Matakana, Mangawhai, Waipū, Ruakākā, Russell, Paihia, Kaeo, Kaitāia, Ahipara, Dargaville and Maungatūroto. We did all the touristy things including local tours by local guides. I think these were the best part of the trip. Locals, in all their Kiwiana glory, proudly marketing their area. Whilst we stayed in backpacker-type accom, this afforded us the opportunity to spend our money on enjoying the local fare ... and it was always fresh, always tasty and always served with love.
- Stephanie Craw
* Stephanie was the winner of the competition — she gets to take 19 of her whānau on an overnight sailing on The Rock Adventure Cruise in the Bay of Islands
Camping at Kai Iwi Lakes. My sister wanted to give her son, who has a brain injury and 24-hour care, a camping experience. He doesn't speak but can shout one word — "yay" — when he is happy. He woke up during the night and was so happy inside the tent he yelled "yay, yay, yay" over and over again and woke the whole campsite. My sister went to the office in the morning to apologise and the manager said: "No worries, if anyone has a problem with it they can leave"! His attitude made this holiday truly memorable and special.
- Sonya Hiki
Our two grandchildren aged 5 and 8 joined us in our motorhome and we had two weeks to get from Christchurch to Auckland, staying at many places, enjoying the special time we had with them. We taught them to forage and they ate wild spinach and kawakawa leaves. I made them a book each with photos of the fun times had.
- Pamela Waters
Walking the Kepler Track. Four days where my family of 5 could be together to reconnect. We live such a fast-paced life at home with work, school and sports, sometimes we forget to stop and remember who is the most important — whānau.
- Sarah Roil
We all went skiing last year in Queenstown and it was our first time there, which definitely refreshed and recharged our batteries. After the lockdowns from Covid, it was fantastic to get away and enjoy the South Island. We had so much fun skiing, there was loads of snow and we had some great meals out. We also went to the picturesque Arrowtown and went up the gondola on our last day, the views were magical. We have some fantastic memories from this 2020 holiday. "Can we please go back Mum?" they are asking.
- Stacey Coburn
Went to Northland at the start of this year with my family for three days and it was simply magical. It was the first family trip we'd had for three years and it was lovely to be in such a beautiful place to bring in 2021. Being able to spend that time with family as we slowly travelled from Auckland all the way to Cape Reinga was amazing and I would do anything to have that opportunity once again.
- Rickie Modi
A week in Taranaki to help me feel positive about a disability. The coastal walkway is great and one can do most of it with a wheelchair. The Len Lye Centre is great. Also, there is lots of good local food and very friendly locals.
- Brian Lenehan
Twenty-four years ago I took my parents, hubby, children (one was in-utero) and my aunt and uncle (from the USA) on a road trip around the South Island. We laughed together all the way. The scenery was stunning, and the people we met were super hospitable. My father, aunt and uncle have all passed on now, but the happy memories will last forever. I have an extra family now — eight lovely girlfriends who support and encourage each other through the ups and downs of life.
- Jocelyn Blackwell
A family holiday in central Auckland last year. It was our 5 and 7-year-olds' first trip to Auckland and first stay in a hotel. The sights and sounds of central Auckland were very exciting and a trip to the zoo was an absolute highlight.
- Kendra Borrie
Our family holiday when I was 15. My dad had just recently remarried and it was a great way to get to know our new stepmother and bond over the gorgeous views of the South Island.
- Awatea Wilson
Our last trip to Northland was one of our best. We explored up past Russell to amazing beaches we had never visited before that rivalled any we've seen in tropical resorts around the world. We also had our first go on the Waitangi bike park and cycled from Opua to Kawakawa. We can't wait to return!
- Mark Brent
Our last camping adventure to Tapotupotu was a blast! It didn't matter that it was super windy and the tent nearly blew away. Our kids had so much fun exploring rock pools, playing on the beach and doing manus off the little bridge at high tide. The moon was full, the view epic and the laughter was loud.
- Billie Higgison
Wellington for my birthday this year. My partner took me on the trip as a surprise and I had never been before. It was so incredible with all the art and vibe of the city.
The food was amazing and such a memorable experience overall.
- Daniel Thrasyvoulou
My most memorable family holiday was just last year over Labour weekend. We travelled from Auckland to Cape Reinga and back down again and the fact that we did it in a campervan (our first time) with four kids made it that extra bit special.
- Sheree Taylor
Taking our two kids along on an umbrella stroller from Tōtaranui to Awaroa lodge on the Abel Tasman Coast Track for the night. I had an extra "onboard passenger" in the form of being 16 weeks pregnant with William ... Many people looked on with incredulity at these crazy Kiwis, taking their kids tramping with a stroller!? It was like pushing a snowplough at times. It was special enjoying the night sky full of stars, finding eels to feed and glow worms. When the boat came to collect us the next day, it was nice to enjoy a less physical trip home. It was an experience my husband and I will not forget easily, and perhaps memorable in the mahi it took to get there.
- Sarah Hird
In 1981 I drove my mother, grandmother and aunt on a week's holiday around the middle of the North Island in my Datsun 120Y. We were four women chasing racing meetings: Auckland, Te Rapa, Matamata and one other I can't remember. We stayed in cheap motels sharing rooms and stories, and having the odd win at the races. Fond memories, not so much of the race meetings but of the stories, and finding out more about my family.
- Erin Russ
It would have to be our latest trip to Rotorua with hubby and my two young kids who are 7 and 3.5 years old. We visited a few kid-friendly attractions including Cat Cafe, Paradise Valley Springs, Luge, etc. But what was a pleasant surprise was a discovery of the Blue Lakes which had a spectacular view and kids playground. We have never been there so it was a nice discovery. What a beautiful country we live in and are lucky to be able to spend holidays together with family which isn't the case in some other countries.
- Reena Singh
Our most memorable New Zealand holiday occurred when three generations of our extended family gathered in Hawke's Bay. For five days, we explored this wonderful part of New Zealand — Cape Kidnappers, Te Mata Peak, Waimārama, Havelock North, Napier. Oh, the wonderful wineries, the friendly people, the warm and welcoming hospitality! It was spectacular. Our precious nana, and the matriarch of our combined families, had not visited these places for almost 40 years — and that is what made it all so special. We shared the joy of rediscovery for us oldies and new discoveries for the grandchildren; we explored beautiful beaches and climbed challenging hills — together, in our wonderful New Zealand. Within a year our nana had passed but that holiday, those places and the magical memories we created during our stay in Hawke's Bay made it the most special holiday of our lives.
- Pauline Larkin
Our first time last year being on the Maunga in Whakapapa 2020. It was our first time seeing and breathing in snow. My children had so much fun, falling over in the snow while trying to snowboard.
- Charlena Karetu
Queen Charlotte Sound walk with the kids. Three days walking amongst the best scenery in the world, playing cards with the family at night by the fire in a beautiful lodge. Hot showers, clean walking gear, then off we go again after a cooked breakfast - living the dream.
- Maria Brown
We took the four kids up to Waitangi and the top of NZ. Once to see the oceans collide and the other to learn about the history of NZ. It was really special. The sand dunes up there were epic too.
- Haydn Wright
During New Years 2020 I went to Ahipara in the Far North with all my whānau. I remember this particular holiday because the sun was burning hot and we spent most of our days at the beach, taking turns riding on quad bikes up and down. We were jumping off the rocks into the water and my uncles were fishing off the rocks too. It was the whole beach experience. It was so wholesome.
- Marissa Ampofo
We hired a motorhome for 10 days in the middle of winter about 10 years ago, when our kids were 4, 6 and 8 years, and drove around the South Island. It was spectacular, our kids had never seen snow before. They tobogganed on plastic bags, ice skated and swam at the hot pools at Lake Tekapo and built snowmen when it snowed. It was totally awesome and the kids still talk about it today.
- Kym Berry