Archive for June, 2012
Are children becoming the boss of their parents? Sometimes we get frantic calls from parents wanting to change an inspirational itinerary because “mountains are soooo boring”. OR a beautiful guided nature walk needs to be cancelled cos the playstation beckons. Ok, it’s not our place to say how others should raise their children. It’s WE who need to adapt to changing family dynamics. Here’s a few suggestions for travelling families where EVERYONE gets a great vacation:
How about Sea Kayaking tour for Children in the Coromandel area. Cathedral Cove Kayaks are extremely stable and to allow children to safely enjoy their kayaking experience with an adult paddling right behind them.
Recently, we came up with a great option for a family of six. The adults wanted to do a wine tour – understandably the kids rebelled. So the adults got their wine tour and the kids went on a 4-wheel trike adventure tour near Queenstown. One adult from the party chose to go with them to supervise, however if your kids are old enough, you can sign a waiver and put them under the care of the trike guide. OR the whole family can achieve some bonding time by doing it together.
For a bit of magic, the “Hobbiton” Lord of the Rings Tour near Matamata (North Island) combines fantasy with spectacular scenic beauty so popular with overseas filmmakers. And as the Hobbiton Movie Set is located on a real New Zealand farm, everyone gets to cuddle and bottle feed the pet lambs.
Kids love a farm tour. In New Zealand we have farm station tours where the kids (and the adults) get to experience a huge working farm by interacting with the animals e.g. feeding the sheep and bambis (small deer). And an absolute highlight is a working dog in action -fascinating. Having done it myself, I thoroughly recommend the Walter Peak Farm Tour across from Queenstown. Would you mind if your kid got to meet this big guy?
Think by having kids, you’ve struck gold? Hmm, you must be thinking about goldpanning. There are a few places you can do this – Central Otago and Shantytown near Greymouth, and it’s safe, in a controlled environment and the guides are ‘locals’ with the inside knowledge of the area.
Explore your child’s creative edge with Maori Flaxweaving. Under expert guidance they’ll create something precious to take back home to show their friends and plus, they’ll gain a cultural experience. Want something relating to nature and New Zealand conservation – here’s an Eco-Tour near Wanaka where everyone is given the opportunity to plant their very own tree on beautiful Waho Island – an untouched paradise. A short 15 minute walk with frequent stops, planting a tree on the way and having a lot of laughs with this cool dude!
Just a few suggestions folks – there’s plenty more to be had. Some sample travel itineraries to get you started…
- Family Adventure Holidays – 14 Days North and South Island
- Family Fun Vacation NZ – 10 Days North and South Island
- Luxury Family Holiday NZ – 14 Days North and South Island
Be warned. the Ziptrek tour is only accessible via Gondola, for which you must pay the Gondola Company a 2-way ticket ) even though you’re only using the gondala 1-way). The Ziptrek Company along with the others sharing the site, are working hard to have this policy changed. But please don’t let that put you off or you’ll miss the thrill of a lifetime. Actually the trip up the gondola is very smooth. Here’s Michael…um.. enjoying the spectacular views (forgot about his fear of heights).
So what’s it all about? The Ziptrek Kea Tour involves 6 differently graded Flying Foxes plus a 20 min walk. I’m relieved that it’s broken down (poor choice of words folks) into 6 different flying foxes with varying speeds and lengths. Good intro to the longer and faster ones to come. The staircase beckons..gulp…I’m not mentally prepared despite the great orientation. The staff are young, fit and goodlooking. Tom, a cheerful Brit, helps me get the safety harness up pass my bum (don’t mind if Tom’s helping, right?).
..yeah, I know, it’s a bit of a forced smile. The first flying fox is the easiest, but the hardest in which to overcome your fear. Taking those last three steps off the platform is an act of faith - but I have no intention of looking back. I breathe deeply to accommodate the sudden rush of air into my lungs and suddenly I’m suspended in a moment of sheer joy. The valley echoes to my happy squeals.
Sometimes you get to bond really well in a small tour group and today we’re struck gold. It’s jokes all around and we encourage each other. The tour guides are loving it.We’re ziptreking with some lovely ladies from the USA with very strong southern accents. The word “hang” sounds like “hi-ang”. Like me, they were apprehrension at first but after the first experience, they’re hungry for more. One of them, a spritely 70-year old, accepts a challenge to “hi-ang” upsidedown all the way on this one:
About three-quarters of the way through, the guides give a brief chat about sustainability, keeping it short and to the point. It’s just enough information to retain and achieves a good balance to the tour. I Won’t forget the kindness of the wee Asian lady who helped one of our party down a steep part of the track. Nor will I forget the Americans who look forward to the response of their children and grandchildren when they see the photos on facebook. Look at how we laughed at our fears: