Family-Friendly Activities in Invercargill
New Zealand’s southernmost city is certainly a place where you can enjoy some real quality family time. Whatever the weather is doing, there are experiences to keep little ones active, educated and amazed. Explore the city’s vast gardens, try something new like operating an excavator, and enjoy sweet treats straight from a chocolate factory. All of this is possible and more in Invercargill. We’ll go through some of our favourite family activities in this list of things to do in Invercargill with kids.
1. Check Out the Cars and Wearable Art at Transport World
A must-do for families come rain or shine, the Bill Richardson Transport World is an all-weather activity in Invercargill you can count on. Check out one of the largest private collections of vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere, spread across various hangers with lots to explore. Don’t worry if you’re not a petrolhead, as there’s the World of Wearable Art exhibition to admire, as well as a Construction Zone LEGO Room for families. Kids can enjoy interactive fun around the museum, including dress-up costumes and a New Zealand Police Paddy Wagon to play in, as well as educational programmes on the iPads provided. End a visit with a relaxing drink or food at American diner-style The Grille Cafe.
Location: 491 Tay Street
2. Get Some Fresh Air at Queens Park
For a fun and free thing to do in Invercargill, explore the jewel of the city, Queens Park. There’s plenty at this city-centre park to keep the little ones entertained, from sculptures to find to an aviary full of fascinating birds. Find more outdoor spaces to enjoy in the city in 5 Glorious Reserves & Parks in Invercargill.
Location: Invercargill city centre
3. Visit the Animals at the Mautara Petting Zoo
Escape the city for the day for a taste of the Kiwi farming life at Mautara Petting Zoo. Take a guided tour of the farm, where kids will get to interact with sheep, goats, alpaca, pigs, ducks, chickens and more. There’s also the opportunity to groom ponies and cuddle pet rabbits and guinea pigs.
4. Enter the Weird and Wonderful World of Demolition World
For something a little bit quirky, head to Demolition World. See a mock-up town made from buildings and kitted up with furniture and fixings of years gone by, all of which have been saved from demolition sites over the years. It’s certainly a place to get the imaginations of the little ones running! Other ways to please the kids are at the children’s play area and seeing the farm animals.
Location: 290 Bain Street
5. Operate an Excavator at Dig This Invercargill
Speaking of demolition, is your family ready to wreak some havoc? Get behind the controls of bulldozers, excavators, mini excavators or skid steers at Dig This Invercargill! This heavy equipment playground allows even those without a driver’s license to operate heavy machinery. The Mini Dig option is the best choice for kids over five years old, while the Big Dig Excavator is an awesome option for mum and dad to stack 2,000lb tyres and play “bucket basketball”.
Location: 84 Otepuni Avenue
6. Check Out the Motorcycles on Display at Classic Motorcycle Mecca
If you can’t make it to Transport World, then there’s another vehicle collection to browse right in the heart of Invercargill at Classic Motorcycle Mecca. If you have young-uns who are into their cars and motorbikes, then they’ll love checking the treasure trove of more than 300 motorcycles!
Location: 25 Tay Street
7. Tackle the Climbing Walls at the ILT Stadium Southland
For the active family, challenge yourselves at the climbing walls of the impressive ILT Stadium Southland. Within the confines of this huge sports complex, which also contains a velodrome and 11 indoor sports courts, there’s a clip ‘n climb climbing wall presenting a fun challenge for kids and adults alike. For more experiences like this, see 10 Things to Do in Invercargill on a Rainy Day.
8. Build Sandcastles at Oreti Beach
Oreti Beach is just a few minutes drive from Invercargill city centre, making it a great place to spend some time outside. Described as a coastal highway, Oreti Beach is one of the few beaches in New Zealand that you are able to drive straight onto with your car – however, we wouldn’t recommend it without a 4WD or in a rental car. The huge beach has plenty of space for walking, building sandcastles and watch some gorgeous sunsets.
Location: End of Dunns Road
9. Treat the Kids to Some Sweet Treats at the Seriously Good Chocolate Company
For sweet treats that both the kids and adults are bound to enjoy, relax at the cafe of The Seriously Good Chocolate Company. The artisan chocolate manufacturer makes all the chocolate sold here on-site, where there is a wide array of chocolates to make your own selection box. They also serve up some of the naughtiest hot chocolates in the country!
Location: 147 Spey Street
10. Go on a Family Road Trip to The Catlins, Stewart Island and More
Invercargill is perfectly positioned for some amazing road trips exploring Southland. The Catlins is 1h15mins-drive from the city, offering numerous waterfalls and wildlife encounters. Bluff is where you can walk to the top of Bluff Hill and catch the ferry to Stewart Island. You might also want to check out the surrounding towns and their beaches and museums, such as in Riverton or Tuatapere. Get more information on each of these destinations in 5 Amazing Day Trips from Invercargill.