Auckland is all about embracing the great outdoors, with stunning black and white sand beaches, sprawling parklands, bushwalking, rafting, mountain bike trails and an abundance of adventure activities for every age and ability.
One Tree Hill, a 182-metre volcanic peak and The Domain are two favourite spots for families, while more adventurous kids can take on harbour jet boating, Auckland’s Sky Walk, Sky Jump or The Auckland Bridge Climb and Bungy, which will see them dangling over the harbour. Or take a 35-minute ferry ride out of town to zip line on gorgeous Waiheke Island.
You’ll find a huge variety of attractions from incredible animal parks and zoos to theme parks, mini golf and entertainment complexes boasting fun zones designed specifically with kids in mind. You’ll also find dozens of great kid friendly cafes and dozens of fantastic state-of-the-art playgrounds and parks with activities for kids of every age.
But if you want to head inside, Auckland boasts an incredible collection of museums and galleries that offer excellent learning opportunities, and specially curated children’s exhibitions with easily accessible parents’ rooms. The Auckland War Memorial Museum, The Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Museum and MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) are a few favourites, with special programmes and interactive exhibits to keep the kids entertained. Shoot for the stars at the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, where you will find planetarium shows, telescope viewing and awesome astronomical exhibits. They can even ski, snowboard or snow tube at an indoor ski slope, whatever the weather.
Auckland has a fantastic range of family activities for every age and every budget. Here are ten of our favourites.
There is no shortage of parks and playgrounds in Auckland. In fact, the toughest thing is choosing which one kids will love the most. Tahaki Reserve has an excellent playground with swings, a flying fox, monkey bars and tic tac toe, as well as a toddler playground. Owairaka Park has an awesome flying fox, hexagonal climbing wall, swings and roundabouts as well as a junior bike track with speed bumps. The Barry Curtis Wetland Playground includes climbing equipment and wet play areas and even a skate park. And at One Tree Hill, you’ll find a small train track with a push-along train as well swings, a rope climbing structure and an accessible liberty swing. The pyramid towers of Tui Glen Park in Henderson are popular as is Rocket Park with its rocket-shaped climbing structure and awesome roundabout, and Snakes and Ladders Park, where there’s a giant snakes and ladders game set on a hillside.
Though there are four distinct seasons, Auckland’s climate can best be described as unpredictable. Summer in Auckland, from December to February, is an outdoor lover’s paradise with consistently bright and sunny weather that is perfect for visiting its glorious beaches, as well as hiking or biking on the cities many purpose-built trails. But you’ll need to book ahead to procure family-friendly accommodation and campsites, lakes and beaches will be crowded.
Between May and September, things get a lot chillier. During peak season, from November to March and school holidays, be prepared for inflated prices and you’ll need to be prepared to contend with a lot of other tourists. However, if you are seeking a bargain, along with pleasant weather, the shoulder months of May and September offer both warm days and a lack of crowds without the higher peak season costs.
The food of New Zealand is influenced not only by British, Maori, Mediterranean and Pacific Rim cuisines, but is also driven by its abundance of local seasonal ingredients, fresh from the land and New Zealand’s 15,000 kilometres of coastline.
The modern food scene caters to every taste and budget with a variety of cuisines from Asian and Mediterranean and you will find no shortage of restaurants and cafes that welcome kids with open arms. Many offer special menus and even entertainment and play areas for the kids. Local favourites include a big bag of good old-fashioned fish and chips, luscious lamb and irresistible honeycomb studded Hokey Pokey ice cream. And for a cultural cuisine experience head to Waiheke Island to enjoy the smoky flavour of a traditional Maori hangi, a feast cooked in an underground oven, an essential culinary experience for families.
January - Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival
A celebration of Māori history, heritage and contemporary culture.
January - Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta
Enjoy the spectacle of one of the largest one-day regattas in the world.
February - Splore Music and Arts Festival
This three-day music and arts festival features live music, markets, workshops and loads of kid-friendly activities.
March - Auckland Lantern Festival
Hundreds of handmade Chinese lanterns illuminate The Domain at this annual celebration of Lunar New Year.
March - Auckland Arts Festival
Join in the fun of this world renowned 19-day festival of theatre, music, cabaret, dance and visual arts.
March - Pasifika Festival
An annual celebration of Auckland’s Pacific cultures.
April - Royal Easter Show
Enjoy a massive line-up of entertainment, circus acts, carnival rides, sideshows, exhibits, and agricultural displays at this iconic annual event.
December - Christmas in the park
A free annual music festival with fireworks, Christmas tree lighting and a jolly red-suited special guest.
Get notified about new articles