Follow the lead: Kiwi kids know what they want out of the holidays. Just ask them. Photo / Provided, Love Taupo
You want to know about the most perfect vacation in Aotearoa? Then you have to go to the experts.
We talk to kids across the country to find out what the best vacation they’ve had, and where they want to go next.
From ice cream to fishing trips to hanging out with the All Blacks, this is the dream getaway for Kiwi kids.
Mei-Ling, 6, Auckland
My dream vacation is Lake Taupō because I want to see how big the lake is. My teacher was just there on her day off. I will go with my mother and younger sister because we are family, I love them and we always have fun together.
For my last vacation we went to my cousin’s place in Palmerston North. I love it there because she has such cool pets – dogs and cats – and she dresses them up.
Max, 15, Wānaka
For my dream vacation, I’m going to fly to Auckland with my family, buy lots of Krispy Kreme donuts, then go see my older brother Ben who lives there. Then we headed to Waiwera, then Tāwharanui Beach for swimming. We used to go there every Christmas because it was close to where my grandpa and nana lived. Now they live in Wānaka. I remember sitting under the pōhutukawa tree and eating biscuits.
One day my friends and I wanted to go to Rotorua for a vacation so we could make lots of fart jokes. I also really want to go on vacation with our dogs, Stan and Jerry. They’ve only been to the beach once so we’ll take them somewhere like the West Coast or the Catlins.
Recently we went to Milford Sound. It was really cool – especially the boat trip into the sound, the snow on the mountains, and all the waterfalls. In the Homer Tunnel, we run into a kea we call Jerry, after our dog’s name, because they are both fat.
Olioni Taumoepeau, 15, Palmerston North
My favorite holiday is Christmas because it is a time for families to get together and have a good meal. My favorite place to visit in New Zealand is Rotorua.
Theo, 12, and Felicity, 8, Christchurch
Talent: My dream vacation is to go to Akaroa and live in a two-story house and swim with the dolphins and eat fish and chips on the beach. We’re going out with my cousins, my Porpor (Cantonese for mom), my friends Lily, Mum, Dad and Theo. I forgot Grandpa.
According to: I would go to Hanmer Springs to the hot tub and go to their cafe and eat hot chips, and then go white water rafting.
Talent: For our last vacation we went to Tekapo with our friends. We went to the hot tub and it was so hot that we had blocks of ice. We also descended a very, very big water slide and over the huge bouncy castle in our clothes.
Nathan Isaac, 12, Gisborne
I usually go on vacation with my mom and dad. On my last vacation we went to Te Waipounamu. This is my first time on the South Island. We traveled from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Maunga (Mount Cook). In Christchurch, I thought the graffiti art in the old and new buildings was pretty cool. The food at the Riverside Market is really good. I like to eat at places we don’t have in our hometown and try new foods.
We went for a day hike on the Hooker Valley Trail in Mount Cook National Park. The glacier ice lake at the end of the track was amazing. The mountains around the track are huge. I didn’t get to see the peak of Aoraki, because the clouds covered it, but it’s still amazing.
Silvi Withel, 9, Lyttelton
My dream vacation is to go to the Marlborough Sounds in the summer and swim in the water and see fish and so on. I might also like to get on a boat and go fishing, and maybe see some birds and maybe a dolphin if I have one, and maybe see glowworms as well.
Kye, 9, Golden Bay
If I could go on vacation with anyone in the world, it would be Richie McCaw.
I wanted to go to Alexandra for Southland sushi and cycling, and to Queenstown for gondola rides. I got a new bike on my last vacation and had a great time at Christchurch Adventure Park, it was great. I prefer to go up and down and not go up.
Jude Neate, 10, Nelson
On holidays I love to visit adventure playgrounds and eat ice cream and swim on the beach with my bulldog. I wanted to go in and feed the gorillas in Orana Wildlife Park and not just watch them through the glass.
Last vacation I went to visit my Grandfather in Whangamatā. That’s the best look at it. Mom told us to get up early to see the sun rise over the beach, which is also nice.
Emmy, 7, Wellington
On my last vacation I went to Masterton with Mummy, Daddy and Digby (little brother, age 2). We got in the car and stayed at the hotel which had a playground. We went to another playground which was huge and had lots of slides. Heavy rain. One day we did tenpin bowling.
I love Tauranga because it’s always sunny and I can see my grandmother and Tones and their dog, Monty. And I love going to my grandma and grandpa’s house in Timaru – their house has so much space and is luxurious. We saw my cousin there and we saw livestock.
Ivy, 12, Auckland
I’d love to stay on Great Barrier Island for a few nights so I can enjoy the views, swim at Medlands Beach, and take a walk in Windy Canyon. It will be an adventure, from a ferry ride, to the amazing things you can experience on the island, and most importantly because I’ve never been there before.
One of the most memorable places I have visited is Russell on the Bay of Islands. I love this vacation because we relax on beautiful beaches, explore villages and even learn new skills. We booked a fishing charter boat and learned to fish. The first fish I caught was John Dory, and then Mom, Dad and I caught a very large snapper.
Oliver, 6, Blockhouse Bay, Auckland
I wanted to drive around in the camper van because I had never done that before. I’m going to go with Mummy and Seko (my stepbrother) because Mum is really cool and Seko likes talking to us. Dad can go in his own camper van.
Ziggy, 7, Mt Roskill, Auckland
My dream vacation is to go to the wall climbing and Lego house and pizza. You know, a house made of all three, because I really like climbing and Legos and pizza. I want to go back to Rotorua because I have to zip-line and Zorb.
Keaan, 9, and Mila, 7, Auckland
Circumstances: My dream vacation is to Queenstown. I can ski and snowboard all day, every day, and teach Baz his dog to ski with me. I’ll add an extra day of running up the mountain to the Skyline Luge and racing down the red track trying to beat all my holiday mates and then running to the top of the mountain. And because my Big Buddy Blair is always traveling South Island, we can drive back to Auckland together and eat lots of good food and an unlimited amount of ice cream along the way.
The most important people (and animals) I love to vacation with are my Big Buddy Blair, Baz the dog, and of course my mother. My mom would make me invite my little sister but sometimes she’s fine.
I also wanted to get Beauden Barrett, Richie McCaw and Sonny Bill Williams so we could practice rugby.
I like to go out with my aunts, uncles, and brothers because we have fun and my aunts and uncles let us stay up late. My aunt says we don’t need to tell my mom but I always do.
Every year I go camping in Ōpoutere with my mother and brother. We met my mother’s friends and their families. My mother put up a tent (another dad helped) and broke down the car while my brother and I played bikes with the other kids. Last year we walked through the bush and found many beautiful beaches with clear water, soft sand and caves. We played on the creek, played paddleboard, swam, played board games and cricket. Before going to bed, we roasted marshmallows on the fire. The kids all went to bed and the adults stayed up late and sat around the fire telling stories, we could hear them laughing. I can’t wait to come back.
This story was first published in the New Zealand Herald Travel on September 29