We know that holidays should be quality time for everybody in the family. But finding activities and trips to suit everybody is tough. And before you know it, someone is hungry and needs to run to the loo or forget the backpack. Here's a survival guide for your family holiday.
Kiwi families like a challenge, but sometimes finding the right adventure to keep both parents and kids happy can be tricky. Will the route be too difficult? Will it be too easy?
Tip number one is to go easy! You do not have to go far, cook on a stove or do a multi-day trek. Take it one thing at a time. Start with day trips, small distances and long breaks.
Start by saying, "we are going on a trip together", instead of "I will take the children on a trip". Let the children be involved in the planning. Hear their opinion on everything from the destination, activities, what to bring with you clothes, books and food to what you can do along the way. Help the children to visualize the trip for themselves before you take off. Tell them about the terrain and what will happen along the way, for example, where you can take a break.
It's no secret that food, snacks and drinks have a huge impact on your own and your children's mood, and you generally need more than usual when you're out tramping. Plan your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks, and make sure you take more than usual. Re-pack as much food as you can to save space. Breakfasts can be everything from granola, porridge with nuts to muesli bars or some fruit. If you're feeling fancy, you can prepare pancake mix in a bottle and whip it up in the morning. Wraps, sandwiches, crackers with cheese, veggies and salami are great lunch ideas, and who can say no to a warm dinner such as a stir-fry or your favourite one-pot pasta dish. Don't feel limited about cooking in the outdoors. You don't have to live off dehydrated food, and involving kids in outdoor cooking can sparkle their interest in cooking at home.
Make sure to bring plenty of pocket snacks. Raisins, bliss balls, fruit, nuts, muesli bars, lollies. Whatever works for you and your children. A quick snack along the way is a good distraction if your children are getting tired, and it will keep them from being hangry - and you from being at ease. Let the kids lead the way. It's easy to keep an eye on them and watching if they are tired, falling or going in the wrong direction. Give them time and permission to take a closer look at the interesting things along the way while giving them responsibility. Set up camp If you are taking on a multiday-trip, create a fixed camp and do smaller missions each day. Staying in one place gives the children - especially younger ones - something familiar and safe to come home to every day.
Reaching the end goal is not the most important thing. Instead, focus on keeping everyone happy here and now. Think about alternative routes in advance if the weather and wind (or bad mood) put an end to the original plans. And remember - it's not a shame to turn around in good time. It's better than risking an unpleasant experience later. Do your part to preserve the magic of the trip!
If you don't want to carry food, handle logistics and do all the planning, Wanaka based Aspiring Guides can take you and your kids on one of NZ's most memorable treks in Mt Aspiring National Park. The 4 Day Upper Wilkin trek is a great place for a family holiday with no stress. Logistics, food, planning, guiding. Everything is sorted so that you can enjoy some quality time with your kids. The beauty of the Upper Wilkin Experience is that it can cater to a range of abilities. A scenic helicopter flight gets you into the remote Top Forks Hut, where you're spending all three nights. Each day you can hike in a different direction.
The Upper Wilkin is known for its gorgeous glacial lakes, dense forests, steep waterfalls, and beautiful viewpoints. There is plenty of time to stop and enjoy the scenery or have a refreshing swim in the ice-blue lakes as Lake Diana, Lucidus, and Castilia. Because there isn't a new daily camping destination, you have the flexibility to go as far and as hard as you'd like or turn back early if needed. You can even stick closer to the hut and enjoy the riverside, playtime, and good books. After exploring the Upper Wilkin, the trip ends with a fun jet boat ride back to civilization. In March and April, Aspiring Guides offer 50 per cent off kids on this trek.
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