Think of New Zealand holidays and chances are that images of snow-capped mountains, bubbling volcanic lakes and mud pools, beautiful beaches and compelling cities such as Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch will spring to mind. Since the South and North islands that comprise New Zealand are virtually vast, natural and exciting adventure playgrounds in their own right it’s a surprise that the country has any need for theme parks at all. That said – who can resist the thrill of a decent theme park when they’re on holiday? Here are New Zealand’s top ten theme parks.

  1. Rainbow’s End, Manukau, Auckland

    Home to New Zealand’s only corkscrew rollercoaster, Rainbow’s End near Auckland promises family fun thanks to a collection of white-knuckle rides as well as a log flume, pirate ship, go-karts, dodgems and stacks more attractions. corkscrew coaster at Rainbow’s End, Manukau, Auckland Live entertainment shows and plenty of places to eat mean you can easily while away a day here.

  2. Agroventures Adventure Park, Rotorua

    It may only boast five ‘attractions’, but Agroventures rides really are thrilling; not to mention unique. Here you’ll find the world’s only people-powered monorail system, ride in New Zealand’s fastest speedboat (at 100km per hour) and defy gravity and fly in the country’s only vertical wind tunnel. Plus there’s a 43-metre bungee jump and the truly heart-stopping ‘Swoop’ super-swing.
  3. Spookers, Auckland

    Despite promising family fun, Spookers might be a bit much for the kids. New Zealand’s self-proclaimed “No. 1 haunted attraction scream park” offers thrills of a different kind as ‘victims’ squeeze through the pitch black tunnels of ‘Claustrophobia’, are driven insane in the disorienting 3D maze known as ‘Disturbia’ and try to avoid the horrors that lurk in Spookers’ Haunted House.
  4. Splash Planet, Hastings

    Everybody loves a waterpark and Splash Planet has a superb range of rides and attractions (both wet and dry) which includes several monster water-slides, bumper boats, an adventure-filled pirate fortress, mini-golf, beach volleyball and loads more. When it’s time to eat the park has a selection of restaurants or, if you prefer, you can bring your own picnic or hire a barbecue.

  5. Puzzling World, Wanaka

    If head-scratching curiosities and conundrums are your thing; Puzzle World is the theme park for you. For more than four decades the park’s crazily-designed buildings have bewildered guests with optical illusions, forced perspective tricks, a giant maze, and a hall of 3D holograms where nothing is quite what it seems. Even the park’s café is packed with puzzling amusements to enjoy when you stop for a bite to eat.
  6. AE Fun Park, Whangarei

    The theme here is outdoor adventure; primarily a paintball park, AE Fun Park is the only place where you can drive your own paintballing tank! It also boasts the longest treeline zip-wire – the Flying Fox – on North Island and hosts many more outdoor activities including archery, clay-pigeon shooting, laser tag, pitch and putt and target shooting.
  7. The Waterworks, Coromandel

    The perfect place on a hot summer’s day, the theme here is water, and visitors are more than likely to get wet, but the Waterworks isn’t your conventional waterpark. Instead it’s a collection of seventy crazy inventions and attractions which feature the use of water in some way; here you can ride bikes which have been converted into giant water pistols, fire water cannons by jumping on them, have mini-boat races or simply marvel at the park’s enormous water-powered clock and musical box.
  8. Sheep World, Warkworth

    Don’t laugh – Sheep World is actually a fascinating day out that interactively and entertainingly traces the journey of wool from sheep to sweater. A large farm in a beautiful setting, Sheep World’s attractions include an eco-discovery walking trail, a mini-farm filled with all kinds of animals including alpacas, emus, possums, goats, ponies, deer and donkeys, a natural adventure playground for the kids, a shop and a café.  sheepworld
  9. Action World, Auckland

    They’re not kidding with that name; at Action World there’s a whole heap of inflatables to bounce yourself dizzy on, plus you can try your hand at free-climbing, high-wire walking, bungee-running and a host of other dare-devil activities including – for the truly brave or foolhardy – a harness-free trapeze (don’t worry; it’s still perfectly safe).
  10. Shantytown Heritage Park, Paroa

    Opened in 1971, Shantytown is both fun and educational and is a full-scale recreation of a pioneer gold mining town from the 1900s. Here you can ride a vintage steam train, explore various locations in the town such as the sawmill, blacksmith, fire station and livery stables, enjoy an exciting hologram theatre show and even pan for gold! There’s also an adventure playground for younger children and the opportunity to walk in the nearby rainforest.

Travelling, whether we like it or not, will always be a part of our travels. However although we can’t avoid travelling altogether, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to skip unnecessary travelling time. Here are a few of the best ways to make the most out of your European holiday.

Plan the shortest route
Once you have arrived in Europe, you should make sure that you are taking the most efficient route possible. If you are driving on the continent, use a website which allows you to
plan your driving route so that you can take the shortest path.

Use the fastest mode of transport
For this tip, you really need to weigh up the cost of transport against the time that it will take. If you compare the prices of transport methods, make sure that you consider whether they will give you another whole day to your holiday or not. For example when travelling from the UK to France, you might want to consider using the Eurotunnel to drive across the channel – not only is it faster than a ferry to France, it also means that rather than waiting around for a ferry you can enjoy many more hours of your holiday. You might end up spending slightly more on transport, but if you can reclaim a whole day’s worth of travelling time altogether, it is definitely worth the extra expense.

eurotunnel cars on train

Check in before you arrive at the airport
If you are lucky enough to be flying to your destination, make sure that you have checked in before you arrive at the airport. Gone are the days when you have to wait around for 6 hours before you can check-in: as long as you are at the airport an hour or two in advance, you can check in online and avoid the queues. Remember to check-in before you are departing for your return flight also – you can get a few more hours in at the beach that way!

Know exactly where you are going
The ultimate tip for minimising travelling time has to be to plan! Check websites which can provide you with
free train timetables and download or print free atlases of the countries you will visit. By ensuring that you have every travelling detail planned, you can make sure you are spending more time doing what you enjoy rather than worrying about making it to your destination on time. Although we live in a world where smartphones have taken over from the good old pen and paper, never underestimate the value of having a printed itinerary of your flights, train tickets or car route: we all know how unreliable technology can be, and so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to travelling.

With its main religion being Islam, Morocco has a rich culture that is blended with Arab, Berber, African and European influences. If your family loves the outdoors, a trek in beautiful Morocco will take you to the untouched Atlas Mountains and provide you with real insight on traditional mountain culture; as well as offering some pretty stunning views.

Agadir-Morocco

Before you embark on a hiking trip, with kids, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

  1. You can find a certified English speaking guide who will show you the ins and outs of the trip, and his team will be available to cook your meals and help you with your luggage… so don’t worry too much about your kids being weighed down with a pack all day. However, reasonable physical shape and willingness for adventure is the minimum recommendation. Vehicles will be left behind and you will have nothing but your legs and a mule to aide you in the journey.

  1. The village inns, locally known as gites, have showers, kitchens and reasonably comfortable beds; but Morocco is the only known country with a hot climate and no insects. Pack a sleeping bag and sleep under the stars with the kids.

  1. If breakfast isn’t complete without a cup of tea, bring your own. Moroccan tea is a blend of Gun powder green and lots of sugar.

The Ourika Valley

After you have explored Marrakech and heard the story tellers in the Djemaa el Fna square, head out and discover the real Morocco. There is no end to the excursions you can have out of Marrakech with the Draa River to the south and the Imlil Valley and Ourika valley and Zat valley only an hour away.

The Sahara desert and Atlas Mountains combined.

Nowhere else but Morocco can you see the wondrous Atlas Mountains and the sand blown dunes of the Sahara in one go. You can go up the Atlas Mountains with the help of mules then down into the desert and ride camels in true Moroccan style. If you are lucky enough to meet with some nomads along the way, they will most likely invite you and your family to share a cup of gunpowder tea.

Not only a remarkably beautiful place, Morocco is also full of unforgettable memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. If a trip to Morocco sounds like something your interested in, you can book a holiday online through a holiday supermarket and save yourself a great deal of money!