Fun things to do in Auckland with your family
We have updated our fun things to do in Auckland with your whanau article to take into account Covid-19 and its current impact on New Zealand.
Auckland is packed with things to do, so your family will be spoilt for choice. From beautiful zoos and underwater experiences to exhilarating theme parks and interesting museums, you can tailor your day’s activities to suit your children’s interests.
Planning a safe day out with the kids, to take a break from your routine and help local tourism get back on its feet? Here are a few precautions to remember especially in Covid times when you’re out with pre-schoolers:
- Always wear a face covering (except for children under the age of 2).
- If you’re showing any symptoms at all of being sick, stay home
- Keep up good hygiene by washing your hands regularly and carrying your own sanitiser.
- Track where you’ve been and who you’ve come into contact with, scan QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing (use the NZ COVID Tracer app).
- Visit Unite Against COVID website for the latest updates on the pandemic.
We’ve categorised activities in Auckland that the whole family can enjoy this summer and included some precautions to keep in mind for each type of outing.
Nature and wildlife
- Auckland Zoo
Address: Motions Rd, Western Springs, Auckland.
For latest information, visit: www.aucklandzoo.co.nz
Why it's so cool: It’s home to about 150 different kinds of animals that kids will love getting to know. The rainforest area with birds and monkeys is an impressive immersive experience. Over at the sea animals’ area, there are seals and penguins that you can watch being fed. Parking is never a hassle and free parking is available. You can take your own picnic, but there are also plenty of cafes and stalls to choose from. The zoo also has a playground for children.
We love: The annual family pass. If you have children who are keen on animals, it’s likely that they’ll want to visit more often. An annual family pass gives you real value for money.
- Butterfly Creek
Address: 10 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland Airport
For latest information, visit: butterflycreek.co.nz
Why it's so cool: Butterfly Creek is packed with attractions that kids will love. Besides an aquarium and a butterfly house with over 500 butterflies, the park is home to two big salties and an ‘encounter’ is staged at 1 pm every day. Kids can watch goats being milked and interact with bunnies at Buttermilk Farm. The park has a steam train and a playground for children as well. The Dinosaur Kingdom is a new exhibit that children can explore to learn more about these giant creatures that roamed the earth millennia ago.
We love: That it’s spread across a huge area and that there are plenty of open-air exhibits that you can safely discover with your children.
- Kelly Tarlton’s
Address: 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei, Auckland
For latest information, visit: www.kellytarltons.co.nz
Why it's so cool: It’s not just a visit to an aquarium; it’s a whole underwater experience. The most popular feature is the underwater viewing tunnel that you can walk through or ride through on the travelator. It’s a glass tunnel, enabling you to see incredible sea creatures up close. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a shark. Boxes are thoughtfully provided for the little ones so they can get a better look. At the touch pool, kids can hold real coral and starfish to see what it feels like.
We love: The imaginatively designed spaces give you an immersive experience. Whether you’re an adult or a child, magical memories are made here.
- Auckland Stardome Observatory
Address: One Tree Hill Domain, off Manukau Rd, Royal Oak, Auckland
For latest information, visit: www.stardome.org.nz
Why it's so cool: The night sky is a source of fascination for many kids and the Auckland Stardome Observatory is the perfect place to channel this interest. The evening show is a real treat as you can see the night sky via the telescope at the observatory.
We love: The special holiday shows for pre-schoolers are a great way to introduce children to the magic of the stars.
Planning and precautions
- Buy your tickets online in advance so you can have a contactless entry into these spaces.
- You need to be careful of what you touch in public, but kids may have a hard time with this. It helps to turn it into a game that encourages them not to touch and to also keep an eye on one another.
- Visit the website/social media pages of the attraction you’re planning to visit to get the latest information and read up on the COVID precautions they expect you to follow.
- Plan your visit at a time or day when the attraction is likely to have less of a crowd.
- Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
Address – MOTAT 1: 805 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland 1022, New Zealand
MOTAT 2: 200-208 Meola Road, Western Springs, Auckland 1022, New Zealand
For latest information, visit: www.motat.co.nz
Why it's so cool: Delve deep into NZ’s past at the Museum of Transport and Technology. Explore restored settler houses, original locomotive engines and a large tech area. There are horse-drawn cart rides available inside, as well as a free tram ride. A second MOTAT is just around the corner and it houses war planes and early aircrafts for those interested in aviation.
We love: The programmes set up for children during school holidays and the tactile dome.
- Auckland Museum
Address: Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
For latest information, visit: https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/
Why it’s so cool: The Auckland Museum was one of the first museums set up in NZ. Its exhibits tell the story of NZ, its people and its place in the world. A visit to this museum enables you to walk through the country’s technological advancements and you can visit the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum to learn about our maritime history. It also has a War Memorial.
We love: Three huge galleries that are dedicated to beautiful finds from our natural world and treasures of the Maori people.
Planning and Precautions
- Since these are indoor activities, it’s all the more important to take precautions like wearing a face covering.
- Scan QR codes to keep track of those with whom you come in contact.
- It’s always a good idea to check the websites before you go, not just to check their COVID precautions but also to see what exhibits are on display at the museums.
- Keep your distance when inside and carry sanitiser to maintain good hygiene.
- Rainbow’s End
Address: 2 Clist Crescent, Manukau, Auckland
For latest information, visit: rainbowsend.co.nz
Why it's so cool: Rainbow’s End has something for every member of the family and your entry ticket gives you unlimited access to the rides. You can take a picnic with you or visit one of the theme park’s many food outlets.
We love: That there’s a big area with rides for the little ones. These include a bouncy castle, car rides, a carousel and plenty more to keep the kids happy.
Address: 91 Small Road, Silverdale, Auckland
For latest information, visit: https://snowplanet.co.nz/
Why it’s so cool: It’s snowy in here all through the year. Get the thrill of winter sports right here in Auckland, whenever you feel like it. You can go skiing, snowboarding and, if you’re a beginner, sign up for lessons with instructors. If you’re happy just to play in the snow, you can do that too.
We love: That this is a great place for the entire family to experience the joy of playing in the snow. It’s a huge property that spans over 8000 square metres.
Planning and precautions
- Make reservations in advance by contacting the theme park – they may be operating at a reduced capacity in order to comply with social distancing requirements.
- Carry your own sanitiser.
- Sanitise often-handled objects regularly (such as your phone).
- Keep your Bluetooth tracker on so that you can keep track of those with whom you come into contact. Scan QR codes on arrival.
- Ensure that everyone who can safely wear a face covering does so.
- Teach children the importance of social distancing and how to practice good hygiene.
Beaches, Islands & Parks
For latest information, visit: https://www.aucklandnz.com/visit/discover/beaches
Auckland boasts of a number of lovely beaches that are ideal for a day in the sun. Rather than gathering at a crowded beach, look for a secluded cove. This way, you have less reason to worry about coming into contact with strangers as you enjoy a picnic on the beach. You could also consider going for a walk or a hike along the beach to spot sea creatures or wildlife, in order to stay away from the crowds. It must be noted that mask should not be worn when in the water, a wet mask makes breathing difficult. One must be extra cautious of maintaining social distancing in the water. Remember to check ahead on whether the beach you want to visit is closed for any reason.
For latest information, visit: https://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations/rangitoto-island/
Rangitoto island is just a short ferry ride away. Sign up for a tour so that the whole family can enjoy a journey through the incredible Pohutukawa forest. This is a native forest with unique terrain. The kids will love learning about this volcano from the knowledgeable tour guides. For exhilarating panoramic views, you can sign up for the walk to the summit.
For latest information, visit: https://www.aucklandnz.com/visit/discover/parks
Auckland is home to twenty-six national parks, all ideal for a day out in the summer. Pack a family picnic to enjoy after exploring native forests or grasslands. You can also discover sheltered golden beaches for a paddle in the water (signs will tell you if it’s safe for swimming). The Awhitu National Park is an excellent choice for a day trip. It offers white-sand beaches, biking and hiking trails as well as serene picnicking and barbecue spots. If you’re looking for forests instead, the Hunna Ranges Regional Park is home to the largest native forest in the Auckland area. Walking trails range from easy to hard and there’s the Hunna Falls to seek out for its breath-taking beauty.