Planning Your Gramping Trip


Get the grandkids off their screens and give them an outdoor camping experience!

Kids are not getting enough time outdoors and recently, a wave of grandparents have decided to do something about it. Gramping, skip-gen camping, or gran-cation–whatever you call it– taking your grandchildren on holiday is a fantastic way to bond and help them explore nature the way you did as a kid. Leave their parents behind to work or take a break themselves! 

We’ve put together a list of things to consider when planning your Gramping Trip and have listed some great places in New Zealand to visit.

Go somewhere easy first

If you haven’t spent a lot of time outdoors with your grandchildren it’s best to test out the waters first with a small trip before you take them away for a week or two. 

Taking a day-trip somewhere close to home will give you a good idea of how they’re going to cope in the outdoors. It will bring out any food issues or other problems, which you can then plan for. Some kids need easing into the outdoors if they haven’t had a lot of experience! Bugs, no technology, and sleeping in a tent can be a big deal for first time campers. 

Be prepared to be playful

You want them to have fun and enjoy the outdoors, so come prepared to play. Think of the sorts of things you used to enjoy as a kid–playing tag, building huts, making sandcastles at the beach. Sometimes all it takes is setting them up with an activity and then you’re free to sit back and watch. 

Avoid the dreaded moaning about boredom and make sure you have a range of games and activities up your sleeve for wet and fine days. Children who are used to being entertained by technology can have a hard time shifting to entertaining themselves. A small stash of art supplies, board games, and a few toys are good to have ready for rainy days and down times. 

If you’re going to go swimming, make sure you know your grandkids abilities. Even children who are strong swimmers in a pool can get into trouble in unfamiliar lakes, rivers, and oceans. River shoes can make swimming in the outdoors a much more comfortable experience for kids and adults too. 

Remember to cover everyone up in the sun with hats, sunscreen, and long-sleeves (rash suits are great for swimming). The New Zealand sun can burn in a matter of minutes and between 11am and 2pm in summer it’s best to play in the shade.  

Finding the best spot for your trip

Finding a place that suits both busy kids and grandparents is easier than you’d think with camping. If you set up your tent or book a hut in a large camping ground the kids can be free to run around while you join in or supervise from the sidelines. 

Many campsites in New Zealand have playgrounds and some, like Quinney’s Bush, even have organised activities for kids. 

Here are some of our favourite family friendly camping spots:

Quinney’s Bush

Spencer Park 

Wellington’s Kiwi Holiday Park

Top Ten Greymouth