Have fun in the snow these holidays. © David Wall

Top 10: Our picks for the school holidays


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1. Good to glow

Slipping down the Waitomo River in a boat, in the dark (of course!), then peering up to see a cave wall aglow with lights? There’s not much that can beat that. It's why the Waitomo Glowworm Cave has been an international attraction for over a hundred years.

The conditions here are near perfect for the cultivation of the species and they take to the conditions like, um, worms to walls. The cave is a truly magical experience for adults and kids alike. You’ll see the whole ceiling lit up like the night sky with these little guys. Breathtaking. 

2. For the thrill-seekers

New Zealand’s original theme park, Rainbow’s End, has over 20 rides ranging from family to thrill rides. From Kidz Kingdom to AA Driver's Town, the classic Log Flume to the Corkscrew Coaster right through to the Stratosfear, Fearfall or Power Surge for the thrill-seekers – there’s something to keep the whole family entertained.

AA Members also receive 20% discount on one full-priced Adult superpass ticket, purchased online or at the gate. To get your discount, enter your AA Membership number when purchasing an Adult superpass ticket on Rainbow's End's website, or present your AA Membership card at the gate.

3. New Zealand on show

‘Rich with symbolism and accessible to all’ say the curators of Te Papa Tongarewa. Our national museum sure has been deliberately designed to cater to the modern museum visitor. Te Papa delivers, amongst other things, a truly inspiring and interactive look at New Zealand’s history and culture. 

Exhibitions change out regularly, so check it out and see what grabs you. The bookshop and a couple of brilliant cafés will give you a chance to recap over a cuppa or pause for breath as you make your next move. You could do days here: there is, after all, three rugby fields’ worth of dedicated exhibition space.

4. Soak it up

The alkaline mineral pools of Rotorua have given rise to some serious spa centres – the best known and located being the Polynesian Spa on the lake’s edge. Soaking in a pool at twilight while looking out over the lake – does it get any better than that?

If you’re indulging in all the extreme sports on offer in the region during the day – rafting, mountain biking, luging – you’ll have earned that soak at the end of it all. Lie back and think of... well, probably nothing very much at all. Now you’re on holiday.

5. Beside the seaside

On a sunny day, it’s easy to while away the afternoon strolling down Napier's Marine Parade. You’ll find a wide bike path, ice cream shops and a waterfront full of sights and activities, especially if you have children in tow.

Start at the Soundshell and head towards the National Aquarium, where you can admire kiwi and tuatara, see penguins being hand-fed and even swim with the sharks.

6. On the big screen

If the weather’s not looking too flash or you’ve got kids to entertain on a rainy day, why not take a trip to the movies.

EVENT Cinemas have 18 cinemas nationwide, and as an AA Member, you can enjoy the latest movies for less. Save up to 40% on adult movie tickets when you pre-purchase cinema vouchers online. AA Members are can also get savings on candy bar vouchers and special prices for children, senior and family tickets.

THIS JUST IN: A fresh trailer will drop tomorrow for #incredibles2 🤯

A post shared by Event Cinemas (@event_cinemas) on Apr 12, 2018 at 1:34pm PDT

7. Kiwis and critters

Hokitika is home to the National Kiwi Centre, where you and the kids are guaranteed to spot a North Island Brown Kiwi in the nocturnal habitat of the Kiwi house. 

Watch kiwis forage for worms and bugs, meet New Zealand's living dinosaur, the tuatara and discover West Coast creatures like whitebait, native and tropical fish, freshwater crayfish, frogs, turtles and axolotls. 

8. In hot water

New Zealand’s very own alpine sanctuary, more Swiss Alps than Southern Alps, Hanmer Springs vies in a very beautiful country for the ‘most beautiful place’ prize.

Folk have been taking the waters here for over a century. The thermal pools themselves come in a range of temperatures and expressions: there are soaking pools, rock pools, mineral pools, sulphur pools – depending on your mood and need, you will be well catered for.

9. Cars and planes and trains

Explore MOTAT, Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology, where you'll find interactive exhibitions on the history of New Zealand transport, technology and Kiwi ingenuity.

During the July school holidays, the Science Roadshow is back with a great line up of hands-on science experiments, activities and live demonstrations. And from little to big, everyone loves a ride on the vintage tram between MOTAT’s two sites, alongside the beautiful Western Springs park. 

10. Snow days

With more than 1000 hectares of terrain to tackle at the country’s largest ski fields, Mount Ruapehu also offers visitors the unique opportunity to ski on the slopes of an active volcano. On the south-western side, Tūroa is home to New Zealand’s highest chairlift, with a massive 722m of descent. Learners can have a go at Alpine Meadow, with its 120m user-friendly carpet lift. At Whakapapa, Happy Valley is a separate beginners’ slope with a slow chairlift, easy ski area and free tobogganing chute for those who just want to mess around in the snow. 


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