What makes a memorable and happy family holiday? In New Zealand many of us have fond memories of summers spent at the beach or river, enjoying all those fun things you can do in the outdoors (without a cellphone anywhere in sight of course!)
Now there seems a lot of pressure for families to head overseas for memorable holidays, including paying for big ticket items like day trips to theme parks, boat trips and more. But the classic camping holiday is still a great option, and of course you can make the most of it right here at Hanmer Springs TOP 10.
We have given you a few tips to consider if the idea of camping with your family for a week or more makes you anxious!
How to Keep the Kids Happy in Hanmer
1) Arrange to holiday with another family, which has kids of similar age to yours (and make sure they all get on before planning to spend a week of your precious holidays together!)
2) Make a deal in advance with your kids about use of devices while you are away. That might include limiting screen time per day - and encouraging them to bring books and other non-digital forms of entertainment.
3) Be up for family board games and/or jigsaw puzzles. Pick a few favourites or introduce the family to the games you loved as a kid. You might never want to do these together any other time of year, but this is your chance to have some low key fun with the family in the evenings. Also include a few games that can be played alone to fill in the times when no-one else wants to play. At least one pack of cards is essential!
4) Throw in bikes or scooters if you have room, or else ask about hiring bikes at the Park. Kids can happily fill in hours entertaining themselves when they are mobile.
5) Bring favourite foods and snacks along with you, and in fact, maybe save some holiday foods just for camping trips as an extra thing for your kids to look forward to. Toasted marshmallows (and s'mores) are a classic example of camping foods you are unlikely to have at other times of year.
6) Book family package tickets with the return option to the Hanmer Thermal pools, so you can go in the morning and back again in the afternoon on a good day. Loads of things to keep the kids entertained and a chance for the adults to relax as well.
7) Make sure you plan for all weather eventualities, especially if you are camping in a tent. Indoor activities and outdoor activities, plus a list of places within an hour's drive you can visit in a car trip if the weather really gets bad!
8) Involve the kids in planning the holiday so they are actively thinking about the things they want to do and enjoy on your trip. Include the car trip to your destination as well - get yourself a holiday scrapbook the kids can add things to to help keep them occupied. The Road Trip Bingo one in the banner above is kiwi made and a great option. (If you are flying into Christchurch, pick up the holiday packs for kids at the airport - they are a great option as well!)
9) Depending on the age of your family, have a camping kit for each child in your group that includes their own mini sunscreen or colourful zinc, a torch, a few snacks, some bandaids, insect repellent and something fun (and old school) like a compass, a printed map of the place you are staying (ask at reception for our Park maps) and perhaps a plastic poncho in case of rain. This kit from Kathmandu is a good option as a starting point.
10) Do your homework on things to do in advance. Check our Fun Things to Do with Children in Hanmer blog for more ideas.
How to Keep the Adults Happy
Now that we have the kids sorted, time to make sure the adults have a great time as well. So how can you achieve both?
1) Keep it simple. As simple as you can. Keep the food easy and uncomplicated - and leave the cookbooks at home. This is the time to stick to family favourites and not worry about whether the family is getting their 5+ a day in! Choosing a location like Hanmer Springs TOP 10 means you can make the most of our free BBQ facilities - either the shared BBQs or if you are booking our new apartments, they each come with their own Weber BBQ on the deck outside. And of course we also have a pizza oven onsite, and there's a freezer full of gourmet pizzas in reception, so all you need to do is heat and eat! We also have an arrangement with Hanmer 4Square to get some great food platters, so have a chat with our reception team if you would like to pre-order these.
2) Don't deprive yourself of caffiene! If you are dependent on caffeine to get you through your working day, holidays are not the time to try and quit! We have espresso at reception, and many of our units have Nespresso machines. From January 2020 all the apartment units will have their own Smeg espresso machines in the kitchen, so holiday life just got even better!
3) Stock up on your wine supplies (if you enjoy a good NZ wine or two). There are plenty of great wineries on the way to Hanmer and in the general vicinity, so plan to have a few stops en route, or else a winery expedition or two during your holiday. Our Wineries blog is a great starting point.
4) Book yourself in a few adult activities - perhaps a game of golf at the local golf course or a spa session, to feel like you are really getting some time out. This is the perfect time to get the family you are travelling with to look after your kids for the afternoon (with the offer of returning the favour of course). And of course you can book sessions in our very own wood fired hot tubs onsite. So easy and so fun. We provide the towels, wine glasses and the atmosphere!
Whatever your preferences, we are always happy to help make sure you have a great time when you stay with us - so don't be afraid to ask!