Family-Friendly Activities in Auckland
At first glance, the bustling city of Auckland might not seem like the best place to take kids. However, with 26 regional parks, amazing islands to discover by ferry and a wealth of educational yet fun museums, Auckland can provide an awesome time for families. Whether you’re looking for things to do around the Auckland region or just sticking to the city centre, we have compiled a list of activities to suit your travel style in this list of things to do in Auckland with kids!
For more Auckland inspiration, check out The Guide to Auckland for Families.
1. Take the Ferry to Rangitoto Island and Learn More About Auckland’s Newest Volcano
Experience a day away from the urban buzz, by taking the ferry to Rangitoto Island. Head down to the Downtown Ferry Terminal at the end of Queen Street and enjoy a scenic sailing to one of Auckland’s most prominent islands. Ferries depart daily to Rangitoto Island, a 600-year-old volcano with family-friendly walking tracks – the most popular trail will take around an hour to climb one-way. Have a picnic, cross the impressive lava fields and even explore the lava caves if your kids are brave enough!
2. Wise Up About the World of Technology at the MOTAT Museum
Auckland has a wealth of family-friendly museums well worth visiting. A stand-out is MOTAT in Western Springs, otherwise known as Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology. The museum is one of the best options for kids thanks to its interactive displays where little ones can learn about impressive planes, railways and other transport. After you’ve had a look inside, visit the birds at the lake just outside of the museum.
3. See Whales and Dolphins in Their Natural Environment on the Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari Cruise
More ways to get on the water in Auckland is via a whale watching tour. Whales and dolphins excite both young and old, so treat your tribe to a cruise on Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safaris. The half-day tour takes you out onto the Hauraki Gulf in search of playful bottlenose dolphins, majestic Bryde’s whales, and an array of seabirds. Find out more about Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari on Viator and Tripadvisor.
4. Learn About the Kiwi Farming Lifestyle at Sheepworld in Warkworth
As you may have told your kids before arriving in New Zealand, New Zealand has a lot of sheep! Enjoy the novelty of this “Kiwi” stereotype at Sheepworld in Warkworth. Kids from urban areas especially love discovering this side of New Zealand, where visitors get a taste of the farming lifestyle and see how farms harvest wool through live demonstrations. Find out more about Sheepworld on Viator and Tripadvisor.
5. Spend the Day Swimming and Making Sandcastles at One of Auckland’s Picturesque Beaches
For a relaxing day for the whole family, get out and discover some of Auckland’s beautiful beaches. On the west coast of the region, discover black sand beaches with rugged cliffs and picture-perfect coastlines. On the east is a selection of white sand beaches which tend to be safer for swimming. Auckland’s most popular beaches are lifeguard patrolled in summer, giving you reassurance for your family. Check out some of our top beach recommendations in Where to Find Black Sand Beaches in Auckland.
6. See the Wild and Wonderful Birds of New Zealand on Tiritiri Matangi Island
As you travel around New Zealand, you’ll discover the emphasis the country puts on protecting its native species. A good place to start this education for both the kids and adults alike is the island of Tiritiri Matangi. Bird feeding stations around the island make it easy for even the noisiest bird-watchers to observe New Zealand’s array of colourful and quirky birds. The island allows visitors to get a taste of what New Zealand was like before human migration to these remote South Pacific islands. Pick up ferry tickets from Viator or Tripadvisor. Plus, find out more in The 10 Best Islands in Auckland to Visit.
7. Watch a Maori Cultural Performance at the Auckland Museum
An easy museum to reach from the city centre, the Auckland Museum sits in the Auckland Domain – an attraction in itself with play areas, walking tracks, gardens and tons of room for the kids to run around. In the museum, children love the Maori exhibitions with traditional weapons and carvings on display. What’s more, it’s also the only venue in central Auckland where you can watch a Maori cultural performance. Find out more about the Auckland Museum on Viator and Tripadvisor.
8. Take a Family Road Trip to one of Auckland’s Regional Parks
Seeking a family road outing? You have a wealth of options in the Auckland region thanks to a whopping 26 regional parks available! For example, enjoy an easy walk to the breathtaking Hunua Falls in the Hunua Ranges, camp or go to the beach at Shakespear Park, discover the fascinating gannet colony at Muriwai Beach, and the list goes on! Check out our top Auckland regional park recommendations in 20 Auckland Parks You Can’t Miss.
9. Check Out the Views from the Top of the Sky Tower
You can’t ignore this prominent feature of the city skyline and the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building, the Sky Tower. It’s worth checking out the views from the top by getting a pass to the Sky Tower Observation Deck where interpretation panels point out the main features of the surrounding city and landscape. More information can be found on Viator and Tripadvisor. For those families feeling more adventurous, experience the adrenaline of the SkyJump (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or the SkyWalk (on Viator and Tripadvisor) for kids aged 10 years and over.
10. Learn How to Ski at the Indoor Ski Slope, Snowplanet
Snowplanet in Silverdale district of Auckland shows that you can still experience snow whatever the weather is doing outside! Book the little ones in for some ski lessons or hone your family’s skills before hitting some of New Zealand’s amazing ski fields.