luxury family voluntourism New Zealand

It’s wonderful to travel with your family and so much more so if it involves different generations. Often complicated, planning a trip with a big family and adjusting to all their interests is often a challenge. That is one reason to leave it in the hands of a luxury intergenerational-family travel specialist such as Hands Up Holidays.

New Zealand

Let’s start with the family-friendly New Zealand. It is a great vacation spot for families with plenty of things to do for kids and the kids-at-heart. Small in size, nevertheless New Zealand is a giant of the great outdoors. Your family will surely fall in love with the country’s wildlife and majestic scenery that will give you a plethora of memories.

Start in Rotorua, the land of geothermal rocks, bubbling mud pools, hot springs, and glorious geysers. Take a private boat charter on one of the magnificent lakes, and encounter the rich Maori culture with your expert guide. Fly to – and land on – an active volcano off the coast, and finish up with an indulgent spa treatment. Kids will also love the luge, which involves going up a hill by gondola, then riding down on a sled type device with brakes. The amphibious “duck tour” in an old jeep is charming, and kids can re-enact being Ewoks in the suspension walk high in the redwood forest canopy.

Only an hour away are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you can see the lovely flow of the underground Waitomo River as thousands of the endemic glow-worms radiate their luminous lights on the cave roofs.

On the East Coast, whilst relaxing at the superb Farm at Cape Kidnappers, your intergenerational family can make a difference by helping raise sea bird chicks.

Play your part in a ground-breaking environmental conservation project to help save native birds, including kiwi. situated on privately owned land on the iconic peninsula of Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay.

The vision is to restore many of the plant and animal communities that existed on the peninsula prior to human colonization.

The project is being undertaken on a large scale and across a mosaic of different habitat types. It is large enough to accommodate viable populations of most forest birds (including kiwi), and the movement of species which range widely over a variety of different habitats).

The large size of the preserve enables it to potentially support at least 400+ kiwi pairs and makes it the largest kiwi area protected from predators in Hawke’s Bay.

When to help?

The best time for you to assist at the sanctuary would be early December until early January, and early March to early April.

During these dates there are seabird chicks of two species (Cook’s petrel and Grey faced petrel) on site.  The chicks have come from offshore islands where colonies still exist naturally, in the absence of predators.  You can help hand-feed the chicks on alternate days until they fledge after about three weeks and head out to sea.  Feeding involves teams of 5 or 6 volunteers each time.  It is a fantastic experience, ideal for families.

You also get to help carry the chicks from their burrows to the “Petrel Station” where they are weighed, measured and fed a “sardine smoothie”, mimicking what they would be fed in the wild by their parents.

If you come any other time of year you can assist with the day to day running of the sanctuary, which would involve pest control work (servicing bait stations, checking traps, running tracking tunnels).

The South Island

The TranzAlpine Railway leaves from Christchurch on a five-hour journey through landscapes passing from east to west, traversing pastureland, the Southern Alps and subtropical rainforest. On the wild West Coast, commission your own work of art carved from ‘pounamu’ (New Zealand greenstone) and experience a heli-hike on the glaciers before making your way to Queenstown for bungee jumping, skydiving, skiing, and fabulous Pinot Noirs. If the kids didn’t get enough of luge rides in Rotorua, they can do it again here. A scenic heli-flight to Milford Sound, with some paddle boarding in the Sound, followed by a glacier landing on the return leg rounds out an epic family day.

You can even stay at Minaret Station, a high country working sheep farm that doubles as a luxury lodge – which you can only reach by helicopter!

Making a difference in the South – conserving penguins

About 4 hours drive from Queenstown, past Mt Cook, lies charming Oamaru, with its historic buildings, sublime boutique wineries, artisanal food producers, and a colony of Little Blue Penguins…and you can help conserve them!

This Blue Penguin Colony has two sites, each home to a population of approximately 700 penguins.  You can help maintain the habitat in those areas.  You would be able to enter the colonies, and work on vegetation and habitat restoration programs.  This could involve anything from planting new trees to clearing undergrowth, to assisting with the construction of new nesting sites, to working on erosion protection.  Predator protection work may also need to be done.

The work would be quite intense and may involve heavy lifting and gardening.  There would be no direct interaction with the penguins themselves as those activities are restricted to trained staff.

Children are more than welcome and quite often there are up to 40 kids working on habitat projects at any given time.  There is work to be done all year long, with June to September being the prime time for habitat and environmental work as there are fewer penguins on land during the day.

So from four, fourteen to forty, young and old, from mild to wild, New Zealand has it all. No wonder it’s on the bucket list for so many intergenerational luxury family travelers.


Get in touch with one of our specialist New Zealand advisers who can prepare a luxury itinerary tailor-made to your intergenerational family’s unique requirements.

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