New Zealand with baby

By Nomad Mum

Travel New Zealand with baby: Top 7 places & helpful information 

New Zealand was the country we stayed by the longest (2.5 months) and it was absolutely worth it!
I honestly couldn’t pick a single country if you asked me which was one was our favorite but if you would fancy emigrating somewhere, New Zealand has the perfect package. Warm mediterranean climate, low humidity, beautiful nature, exotic jungle, stable government, low crime rate, low population density, friendly people, no deadly animals, no mosquito born diseases, good hygiene, good infrastructure and it finally is so far away from everything, that it is probably the safest place on earth.

North or South Island?

Of course it is a question of time if you want to travel New Zealand with baby. The North Island has better beaches in general and the South Island satisfies alpine enthusiasts. However, you can also find great beaches on the South Island and alpine trekking on the North Island. If you consider doing mainly the North Island and have bit of time left, I would strongly recommend to see the northern tip of the South Island (Marlborogh Sounds and Abel Tasman).
Although the South Island is so diverse and stunning there is one thing that really annoyed us: sand flies. The further south you go, the more sandflies you get. It can gets as bad as you cannot sit outside or lay on the beach.

Camper van?

If you imagine driving with a camper van through New Zealand you certainly associate some kind of freedom and adventurous feeling with it, as well as saving some money. Surprisingly, we found that all of the above is quite limited. Why? First of all, a lot of tourists have this idea and traveling with a camper van through New Zealand is „the thing to do“. Therefore, there are quite a lot of them. In order not to penetrate beautiful places with camper vans, it is often forbidden to camp at scenic areas. We met a couple of travelers with camper vans who either ended up camping on parking areas or on camping grounds. Moreover, it is quite expensive. Per night in a camper van you will pay approx. 150 NZD (the most common one is Juicy) plus the camping ground fee which is around 25 NZD.

Or Airbnb?

If you stay in Airbnb’s, you will get the chance to see how people live. We stayed in houses on farms, across beaches, in the jungle. Each of them with a warm and individual atmosphere. We almost always felt home. If you want to save some money, go for a private room in a shared house. With a little less comfort you will get to know interesting Kiwi’s, their stories and they are more than happy to show you around. A truly unique experience! We bought a car on (trade me) for 1500 NZD and sold it for 780 NZD. We could have easily sell it for more if we would have been a bit more flexible but we wanted to keep it until the very last day. On average we payed per Airbnb night 119 NZD (there were some very nice places included!) plus 9 NZD per day for the car.

What to bring for the baby?

You will need a car seat if you are planning to buy a car. The rental car and camper van companies offer car seats to rent. However, it is cheaper to bring your own.
Most Airbnb’s don’t have baby beds. Therefore, you need to bring something your baby can sleep on. A bulky option is a travel cot. We generally use a baby sleeping tent. As mosquitoes are usually not a problem, we just used two soft pads and a blanket as a mattress on the floor.

In most cafes and restaurant you will find high chairs.

Clothes: I would recommend to take both, long and short rompers. It gets warm during the day in summer but you might also have some chilly days and evenings.

Baby food

As you might have guessed, you will find diapers / nappies, wipes, baby food and formula milk in all supermarkets. Babyfood without added sugar or salt is also available.
When it comes to formula milk, you will find brands that are common in Australia and Southeast Asia. We used a brand that is widely available in Asia-Pacific, S-26. We had never problems with it, as it was well tolerated by our baby.

Save money

Although New Zealand with baby can get quite expensive there are ways to improve your budget 🙂 Try to get a house sitting for a few days or weeks. We were successful with Kiwi House Sitters and were sitting a luxury house incl. a pool with a great view!

If you want to make any kind of trip, e.g. sailing, Hobbiton etc., first check if there are deals available online. Especially bookme has great deals.

Finally, you get a place to sleep and food for 4 hours of work a day on helpX. Maybe someone needs a babysitter?

 

New Zealand with Baby – Top 7 places

1. Abel Tasman (South Island)

Turquoise water, exotic jungle, perfect white sand beaches. Even in high season it’s not difficult to find an almost empty perfect beach. This national park is an absolute highlight for everyone!

How to get around? Hop on a water taxi to one of the beaches and jungle tracks. They can pick you up at the same spot or somewhere else, if you want to hike. We recommend taking one of the big boats, as they have much more space for your baby to move around.
However, a sailing trip will give you the most unforgettable experience! Yes, we did it with baby. It was really easy. Really! Go for a catamaran boat as they have more space. We highly recommend Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures. They also offer swim wests for babies.

 

2. Coromandel Peninsula (North Island)

It’s a mountainous area with white sand beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. There are some junge tracks for hiking lovers, too. Moreover, there is a hot water beach where you dig a hole on the beach and warm water starts rising into it.
It is very baby friendly. You can access many beaches by car or walk for 30 minutes. Some beaches have shaded grass areas next to it- This is perfect for little peanuts! We also met a lot of parents with young children if you want to socialize a little.

 

3. Hobbyton (North Island)

Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings movie set) is probably the most cutest place to take baby photos. Your little one will look like a hobbit! I have to admit that you will not be the only one on the set. However, seeing such a famous movie set in real life and looking back at those adorable photos is worth it!

 

4. West Coast of the South Island

Just driving along the west coast will reveal nature’s pure dramatic beauty. You will find yourself between a rocky mountainous coast with wide unspoiled black sand beaches and wild jungle with lots of caves. As this area gets more and more popular among NZ tourists, check it out as soon as possible! If you are looking for a spot to stay on the way: Fox River is a prefect location. Jungle trecks, huge caves, beaches – everything around the corner and hardly anyone there! Of course the next supermarket is miles away and no reception at all. Yep, this is for nature lovers!

 

5. Bay of Islands (North Island)

Islands, beaches, sailing or boat trips – sounds like a perfect vacation spot, right? Although popular among Aucklanders, it’s not too crowded. The best way to get around are water taxis, ferries or sailing boats. Again, catamarans are the perfect baby friendly boats. We highly recommend Zig Zag Charters, as the boat is huge and has so much space for babies to crawl around. They provide baby life jackets, as well as an unforgettable delicious lunch. Or maybe it just tastes great as you get hungry on boats 😉

 

6. Marlborough Sounds (South Island)

This is an area with hilly islands and wine regions. There are few people who live there. Most of them moved there by choice to escape the city stress and wanted to get back to nature. The ones living on the islands live even more isolated and see other people maybe once a month! You won’t find there great beaches but it is still worth a visit for many reasons: There are great boat trips to show you around, a relaxed wine area and several hiking tracks. The most unique boat tour is a tour with the mailboat. You will see how people live on the islands and hear great stories by the mailman who probably has the most special mail delivery vehicle! However, be aware that the trip takes a whole day on the boat.
Moreover, the Queen Charlotte Trecka is beautiful hike along some nice beaches. Get a cheap boat taxi and hike back towards the start of the track.

 

7. Tongariro National Park (North Island)

This national park is a must for hiking addicts! This is the place of Lord of the Ring’s Mordor. Moreover, it is home to the most famous hike in New Zealand „Alpine Crossing“. Unfortunately, this 8 hour hike with often unstable and freezing weather conditions is not suitable for babies or small children. We started this hike beginning from the end for 3 hours. The people, that we met, were about to finish it and they didn’t look too happy. Nevertheless, there are a lot of hiking routes that are great with a baby carrier. There, you will also meet much less tourists! Our favorite was a hike passing a tremendous waterfall (Mangawhero Falls) and „Mordor“ with stunning views on the great volcano.

 

About us

When our first daughter was seven weeks old, we started traveling the world. That was almost two years ago. Today we have visited more than 14 countries with baby(s)/toddler and share our experiences and best tipps with you on this blog. Want to know more about us? – Read our story.

 

25 thoughts on “New Zealand with baby

  • Natalie November 16, 2017 at 1:57 am Reply

    Excellent post! My family is planning a trip with our 5 month old son. We will only be able to send 9 days traveling around NZ.

    A few questions:

    1. Which month is best for weather- March, April or May?
    2. Should we stick to just one island? Note we are American and this may be our only opportunity to see NZ.
    3. If yes to 2, which one?

    Background- We have lived in South East Asia for 3.5 years and have traveled all over Asia. We would prefer to see what is the best of NZ not necessarily sticking to just beaches or jungle or mountains.

    Thank you!

    • Nomad Mum November 25, 2017 at 6:26 pm Reply

      Hey Natalie,
      that’s really a tough question if you only have 9 days! I would do something where you don’t spend most of the time on the road. And even though you already seen great beaches in SEA, the beaches in NZ are really different and it’s more about the lifestyle there, too!

      So here are 2 routes I would recommend:
      1. (Landing in Auckland) Sleep maybe somewhere at the end of Huia Rd west of Auckland and do day trips to Auckland, then Karekare beach & waterfall, Piha beach, jungle etc. Then maybe 2 days Waiheke Island and then min. 3 days in Coromandel (a must!).

      2. (Landing in Wellington) Marlborough sounds 3 days, Abel Tasman 3 days, West Coast between Tauranga Bay and Pancake Rocks 3 days.

      Hope, that was helpful & enjoy your trip 🙂

  • Steven Liu March 23, 2018 at 7:15 pm Reply

    Hi!!!

    We are going to NZ soon and wanted to do the alpine crossing. Just curious, did you manage to do the entire track with your baby? We are going with our 18month daughter and would like to get an idea of feasibility…Thanks for any advice you can give!

    • Nomad Mum March 23, 2018 at 8:16 pm Reply

      Hey there!
      We only did the last hour hour of the track (starting from the back). It is definitely not recommended to do the whole track! The weather conditions might change very quickly up there, some parts are very steep, where you have to hike over rocks and might slide easily. The whole tracks takes about 8 hours without having major breaks in between. So it’s very long and dangerous and very cold, too. However, we did meet a family who did the whole hike with small kids. They did not look too happy though 😛

      • Steven March 25, 2018 at 4:28 am Reply

        Gotcha, thanks for the advice!!

    • Sara April 6, 2018 at 8:36 am Reply

      My husband and me did the track 3 years ago on a day where the weather was really good. I definitely would not recommend it with a toddler (we now have a 15 months old daughter) as it was already quite tough in good conditions and it does take really long.

      • Nomad Mum April 8, 2018 at 5:31 pm Reply

        Wow! So cool you did the hike back then!! And thanks for your advice – much appreciated 🙂

  • Sarah Read July 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm Reply

    Absolutely love your blog, so inspiring! My husband is lucky to have 3 months paternity leave and we’re due to have baby boy number 2 in November, our 1st son will be 2 1/2 by then. We are planning on doing an 8 week trip in NZ / Australia mid Feb – mid April 2019 but I just don’t know where to start with itinerary plans! So many options available!

    Do you have any itinerary / planning tips at all? We are coming from the UK and have been to Australia before covering Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Sydney, Fraser Island, Nosa and Byron but were thinking more the north of Australia – Whitsundays, Cairns etc but will also visit Sydney as we have friends there. NZ we haven’t been to at all previously but it all just looks incredible! Thanks 🙂

    • Nomad Mum July 23, 2018 at 7:02 am Reply

      Hey Sara, thank you so much! And congrats to your pregnancy 🙂
      We have been visiting Australia several times. And I wasn’t a fan of Cairns. Whitsundays really are beautiful. But I wouldn’t suggest staying in Airly Beach. It’s not pretty and lots of partying backpackers. Well, and Sydney is just an amazing place – lucky you to have friends there 🙂
      I think that Western Australia is underestimated by far! You have fewer tourists and it’s way more kids friendly! We loved Perth and it’s also worth traveling either to the far north or the far south (Esperance).

      New Zealand: If you have the time it’s all worth a visit! If you want to focus on just a few parts, I would suggest staying at least a week in Coromandel. You won’t get the vibes if you just rush through. That’s one of those places that spread some kind of magic. And all the people that live there are interesting to talk to 😉

      • Sarah Read July 24, 2018 at 1:51 pm Reply

        Thanks so much for the tips! Will definitely look more into western Australia and make sure we plan in a good amount of time in Coromandel 🙂

    • Lynny July 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm Reply

      Hi Sarah

      Congratulations!

      We’re planning a very similar trip but our son will be 10 months old. I don’t suppose you have got anywhere with an itinerary? Perhaps we could share ideas with one another.

      • Sarah Read July 24, 2018 at 1:53 pm Reply

        Hi Lynny,

        Thank you and to you too! Oh wow, we’ll be on matching trips then!
        I haven’t really got much further with exact itinerary planning, doing lots of research at the moment and just decided whats best – so many options! We could definitely share ideas though 🙂

        Sarah x

    • Jyoti October 11, 2018 at 9:02 pm Reply

      Dear Sarah

      We are also planning an almost identical trip. We are considering around four months spread across NZ and Oz with our 2yr 7 month old son and our 5 month old son. I wondered if we could share itinerary / travel tips – to sure the best way to do that though?!

      P.S. Nomad Mum – your blog has been incredibly helpful in planning. Thank you so much.

  • Lynny July 23, 2018 at 12:09 pm Reply

    This post is so helpful – thank you. Did you go further south on the South Island such as Kaikoura, Queenstown and Milford Sound with your baby? Do you know if this is advisable with a baby? Ours will be 10 months old.

    • Nomad Mum July 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm Reply

      Hey Lynny,
      thank you! We went half to the South Island (e.g. Christchurch). We did not go further south because of 2 reasons: it is getting colder and you have more sandflies! They were already annoying when we were half way through on the south island. All the travelers that we met told us, that it’s getting worse further south. Yes, it is absolutely doable with a 10-month old. New Zealand is probably the safest place on earth! But sandflies can get really annoying, especially because there is no insect repellent. You can only use oil (e.g. coconut oil), so it’s more difficult for them to land on your skin. If they bite you it feels like a very itchy mosquito bite. But they don’t transmit any diseases. I guess you have to decide if it’s worth it to go or not. It must be very beautiful though 🙂

  • Lynny September 1, 2018 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Hi we don’t have time for bay of islands and coromandel which would you recommend with a baby? We’ll be there at the end of February

    • Nomad Mum September 3, 2018 at 6:59 pm Reply

      So you have to choose one, right? I would definitely choose Coromandel.

      • Lynny October 29, 2018 at 9:24 pm Reply

        what’s your main reasons please? Thanks so much.

        • Nomad Mum October 30, 2018 at 10:22 am Reply

          Hi! Main reason for what?

      • Lynny October 31, 2018 at 8:49 pm Reply

        Yes that’s right, we only have time for one destination. Why would you recommend the Coromandel please?

        • Nomad Mum November 1, 2018 at 10:51 am Reply

          Because it’s perfect ;
          – Relaxed vibes
          – Beautiful nature + beaches
          – Friendly & interesting people
          – Not far from Auckland
          – Beautiful accommodation options
          – Few, but hip & relaxed cafes and restaurants

          • Lynny November 1, 2018 at 6:58 pm

            Thank you so much!! I think our trip is now planned – hoorah!!

  • Sarah September 4, 2018 at 8:21 am Reply

    Thank you so much for this – such a helpful post!
    We are heading over with our 9 month old in November, and i was just wondering where you stayed in the Marlborough sounds & Abel Tasman? Also how long do you recommend in each place?

    Finally how far down the West coast did you travel?

    Thanks

    Sarah xx

    • Nomad Mum September 10, 2018 at 7:11 am Reply

      Hey Sarah!
      Thank you 🙂 I think we stayed 1 week in Marlborough Sounds (close to Havelock) and about 5 days in Nelson from where we made 2 trips to Abel Tasman. Nelson is not as great as people will tell you – means that if you find a decent place closer to Abel stay there 😉
      For both places I would recommend at least 5 days, if you have the time obviously.
      Almost all of the places we stayed in NZ were Airbnb’s.
      Have a wonderful trip <3
      Val

  • Sarah September 4, 2018 at 8:24 am Reply

    Thank you so much for this – such a helpful post!
    We are heading over with our 9 month old in November, and i was just wondering where you stayed in the Marlborough sounds & Abel Tasman? Also how long do you recommend in each place?

    Thanks

    Sarah xx

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