Day three of the school holidays and already hearing cries of "I'm booooooooored"? Our travel writers offer some ideas to keep the whole family happy.


Taking children to Cape Reinga is to give a gift for life. This is the standing point before the jumping point, Te Rerenga Wairua, where Māori spirits leap from a gnarled pōhutukawa tree into an undersea current that carries them to a mythical homeland. If you don't want to freak the kids out with ghost stories, point out the crashing white water dance where the tough little Tasman Sea and the great Pacific Ocean meet, off where the humped-back, rugged cape dives into the sea. Amid these powerful spiritual and natural worlds the famous, lonely lighthouse is a symbol of maritime and European history in our remote southern land. To make the most of a far Far North day, take a bus trip one way along glorious Ninety Mile Beach and the other way via the 100km winding, scenic road to Kaitaia.

— Lindy Laird
2 If an overseas trip isn't in your budget, try taking the kids to a nearby hotel for a "staycation". There are some great deals available in winter. Many hotels have heated pools or spas and if the weather is bad you can spend the day in robes and order room service. Even a trip into the CBD can be an adventure for kids, or if you want to venture further afield go and explore a nearby (driving distance) city. My favourite staycation destination is the Hilton Lake Taupo. Great heated pool, gym and loads to do nearby if you want to venture outside.


— Belinda Henley
3 Last July, during the school holidays, my wife and I took our13-year-old daughter and her friend on a day trip from Auckland to Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves. We left around 6am to avoid the traffic and got back to Auckland around 8pm. It was a great way to see two top-class attractions close to Auckland that we often drive past on the way south heading to other places. We booked one of the first sessions of the day at Hobbiton, having breakfast at their cafe, and a late afternoon tour of one of the Waitomo caves. A highlight was watching the sunrise on the Hauraki plains.

— Neil Porten
4 Trampoline parks! You get a small window to catch up on emails and work while your kids wear themselves out with non-stop physical exertion. They're open rain, hail or shine but can get busy during school holidays so book ahead.

— Holly Reid