Planning Your Family Holiday

Camping has been the holiday go-to in New Zealand for many years and for good reason–it’s one of the best and most affordable holidays for families! Whether you’re keen on swimming and strolling the beach, a quiet stay in a peaceful forest, or a more action-packed holiday exploring the local sites, there are plenty of great camping spots to choose.  


Check Out Some of Our Favourites: 

Nelson/Tasman to Marlborough blog post 

Canterbury to Kaikoura blog post 

South and West blog post 


Once you’ve picked your spot, it’s time to make some preparations. Planning goes a long way to making your camping trip an enjoyable one. 

Holidays with young children can be especially challenging–from car sickness to insect bites–you’ll all have more fun if you’re well prepared. 

Here are our tips for a smoother camping experience: 

Make sure to check the weather before your trip. New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable! We are known for “four seasons in one day” so it’s best to be prepared for anything and to have a plan B if the weather turns bad. Many campsites have cheap cabins available–a better option than tenting if it’s going to rain all week! 

Take at least one warm change of clothing, even if it looks like it’s going to be hot all week. Evenings can get chilly any time of year, especially if you get wet. 

Car trip:

Plan your route. South Island roads can be long and windy with big distances between fuel stations, towns or toilets. Take frequent stops where you can with small children and know where you need to fuel up. Car entertainment can be helpful, and stocking up on snacks and water is always a good idea. 

Be prepared for car sickness with the windy roads and place a container (empty ice cream containers are good) and a towel or two in the backseat for emergencies. Kids are less likely to get sick if they have small snacks, rather than big meals, while travelling. Timing travelling with nap times works really well with preschoolers! 

First aid kit:

The first thing you need in your kit, wherever you camp in New Zealand, is sandfly repellent. The South Island is particularly bad for sandflies and especially parts of the West Coast and Tasman. If you are near water and bush, they will be at their worst! They don’t carry diseases but their bites can leave you feeling very itchy and uncomfortable. There are a number of options: cover up with long sleeves and pants, use citronella products for your campsite, repellent wristbands, natural sprays or DEET products. 

Most pharmacies also sell products to take away the sting after you’ve been bitten (which is good to have in your kit for both bee stings and insect bites.)

Pack a basic first aid kit including: bandaids, large bandage and safety pins, eye wash, tweezers/needle to remove prickles, baby wipes, and wound dressings for burns or larger cuts.  

And don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses and hats! You can get burnt in New Zealand summers in minutes, especially between 10am and 4pm.  

Water safety:

New Zealand beaches and rivers are beautiful but can also be dangerous. Swim between the flags on beaches and make sure you check the depth of rivers before you swim.  Watch your kids at all times. If you can’t swim well, stick to shallow, slow moving areas or swimming pools with lifeguards.  

For more info on water safety in NZ check out there website

Floatation devices can be deceiving. Don’t let your kids play on floatation devices at the beach as they can quickly be swept far out to sea. Water wings are also a risk (they are not recommended in any water areas) as they don’t keep children’s heads above water. If you are concerned, lifejackets are a better option. Life jackets should always be worn by everyone when kayaking or boating.

Camping in New Zealand is a fantastic experience that families will treasure forever, especially if you plan well!