The weather in spring may not be predictable, but Mother Nature is pretty reliable when it comes to seasonal excitement in the great outdoors! Baby animals and gardens beginning to bloom are just some of the wonders kids will enjoy if you pack them up and take them out on a spring-time adventure! Here are some ideas for outings in and around our three major centres. If you have some favourite places to visit in your community, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Take a family stroll around Panmure Basin. It takes about half an hour to walk around this volcanic crater, but it's mostly a flat walk so take the scooters and bikes. As well as the view, you'll appreciate the access to three playgrounds. There's also a train ride on weekends. Go to walksinauckland.com for more details.
If it's fine, go and enjoy a beautiful beach walk at Miranda, an hour south of Auckland, before jumping into the warm waters of the Miranda Hot Springs. Go to www.mirandahotsprings.co.nz.
There are lots of springtime babies down on the farm at Kiwi Valley in west Auckland - lambs, piglets, chicks, ducklings and rabbits. The price of admission also gets you and the kids into feeding and patting the animals, pony rides, a farm walk and hidden caves. Go to www.kiwivalley.co.nz.
Head into the city for a ride on the Dockline Tram in the Wynyard Quarter and while you're there take the kids over to the playground nearby which has proved a hit with parents and kids since it opened in August last year. Go to www.aucklandtram.co.nz for tram information.
Spring has sprung in the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa and there's always plenty going on to amuse the kids. Go to www.aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nz to check out school holiday events.
Kids go half-price for the school holidays (except weekends) at Staglands Wildlife Reserve in Akatarawa Valley, an hour's drive from Wellington city. There are cart rides, a swing bridge to the Old Bush Settlement and a flying fox and play area. But the main attract is the birds, other wildlife and beautiful native bush setting. Go to www.staglands.co.nz.
Zealandia in Karori is running a photo competition for spring so get snapping when you visit the eco sanctuary. This is the place to get a rare shot of takahe, hihi, saddleback or little spotted kiwi in their natural habitat. Go to www.visitzealandia.com.
There's plenty of wildlife to be seen on the Seal Coast Safari from the comfort of a four-wheel drive which leaves daily from the Wellington Visitor Centre. You'll travel through private land to see seals, wild Kaimanawa horses, goats and pet ostriches, go to www.sealcoast.co.nz.
Wellington's week-long Spring Festival launches on 30 September with Tulip Sunday. The accent is on gorgeously colourful and fragrant flowers in the gardens and Otari-Wilton Bush. There's something on every day, including a Colour the Cable Car Competition and a cable car ride with Fairy Trina. Go to www.wellington.govt.nz/services/events to download a brochure.
With the city still reeling from last year's earthquakes, it could be a good time to head out of town for a fun holiday activity for the whole family.
Pohatu Penguins in Akaroa, which offers a range of tours, is home to the largest little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Go to www.pohatu.co.nz for more.
Castle Park in Leithfield, 35 minutes north of Christchurch has school holiday specials on its list of attractions. It offers carousel rides, steam train trips, play areas and a chance to pat the animals. For more go to www.castlepark.net.nz.
Ever taken a wander through Riccarton Bush with the kids? While the historic Riccarton House is currently closed due to earthquake damage the house grounds, bush and the colonial Dean's Cottage remain open. Riccarton Bush is the last remnant of a kahikatea forest, which is 600 years old. Go to www.riccartonhouse.co.nz
Published 21 September 2012