Family Activities in Napier
Pack the kids’ swimwear (or “togs” as the locals would say) and head to the seaside city of Napier! Yep, there’s a waterpark, there’s a waterfall walk, there are beaches and even the waterfront walkway is full of water features that kids can’t resist running through. Needless to say, you’ll earn a lot of parent points taking them to this urban and nature playground. But when you do want to slow down, there are family-friendly museums and food tours to enjoy. Find out more in this list of things to do in Napier with kids!
And for more things to do in Napier with kids, as well as help to plan your trip, check out The Guide to Napier for Families.
1. Walk From One Family-friendly Attraction to the Other on Marine Parade
Yes, just walking along the waterfront of Napier is a fun and free family activity to enjoy! Marine Parade spans along the waterfront incorporating an array of features that kids love. The children’s playground is packed with tunnels, toddler and big kids’ slides, swings, sand and water playgrounds and more. The Sunken Gardens has shallow water features that kids like to paddle in while the walkway is easy to approach with a stroller. Speaking of water features, there are heaps along Marine Parade so don’t expect your kids to come out the other side dry! There’s also a junior bike track should you be travelling with bikes, scooters, etc, as well as a mini golf course. See more activities like this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Napier.
Location: Marine Parade, Napier city centre.
2. Meet and Feed the Animals at the Farm Parks
Animal-lovers are spoiled for choice with these two fantastic petting zoos within 20km (12 miles) of Napier. Funky Farm, in Mangateretere on the way to Hastings, has all sorts of animals and birds to feed at their petting zoo. Hawke’s Bay Farmyard Zoo in Haumoana also offers kids the opportunity to feed the animals, as well as take pony rides, hire bikes and take a tour of the farm via a Thomas the Tank Engine-inspired train.
Location: Funky Farm – 236 State Highway 51, approximately 16km from Napier city centre. Hawke’s Bay Farmyard Zoo – 32 East Road, Haumoana, approximately 17km (11 miles) from Napier city centre.
3. Witness the Wonders of Nature at the Cape Kidnappers’ Gannet Colonies
Moving onto Napier’s natural inhabitants, seeing the majestic gannets of Cape Kidnappers is a memorable experience for the whole family. Join Gannet Beach Adventures for a unique tractor tour along the beach of Cape Kidnappers to marvel at amazing cliff formations on your way to a gannet colony where you can marvel at these seabirds and their chicks up-close. Learn more about Gannet Beach Adventures on Viator and Tripadvisor. Alternatively, Gannet Safaris Overland offers bus tours on the clifftops of Cape Kidnappers to see New Zealand’s largest mainland gannet colony. More information on Gannet Safaris Overland can be found on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Gannet Beach Adventures – 475 Clifton Road. Gannet Safaris Overland – 396 Clifton Road, both approximately 22km (14 miles) from Napier city centre.
4. Spend a Summer’s Day at Splash Planet
If you’re visiting Napier and the Hawke’s Bay region in summer, don’t miss the outdoor waterpark Splash Planet! Based in the neighbouring town of Hastings, Splash Planet not only has an array of fun waterslides and water playgrounds for toddlers and big kids, but they also have hilarious bumper boats, a lazy river, go-karts, kayaking, a train ride, mini golf and much more. Get ready for a fun-filled day ahead!
Location: 1001 Grove Road, Parkvale, approximately 21km (13 miles) from Napier.
5. Play on the Old-timey Transport of The Faraday Centre
If you find yourself in Napier on a rainy day or just have curious kids, check out The Faraday Centre. This is Hawke’s Bay’s Museum of Technology where kids and adults alike can discover the technology and transport that shaped New Zealand. It’s a place where you are encouraged to touch, play with, drive, press buttons and pull levers to learn about the items, rather than reading. See more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Napier on a Rainy Day.
Location: 2b Faraday Street, Napier city centre.
6. Take a Tour of a Chocolate Factory
Some of Napier’s fantastic family-friendly indoor attractions are orientated around food that both kids and adults adore. To start with, visit Silky Oaks Chocolate for their tours through their chocolate factory, their chocolate museum and, of course, including lots of chocolate tastings! Afterwards, indulge in their famous “Extreme Chocolate” drink and other delights in their on-site cafe. See more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Napier for Foodies.
Location: 1131 Links Road, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Napier city centre.
7. See the Honeybees in Action at the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre
For an alternative child-friendly food experience, head to Havelock North and you’ll find the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre. The centre is home to one of New Zealand’s top honey brands where your family can learn about the honeybee, their role in the food chain and how they make honey. Watch the bees at work through the observation hives and taste the good stuff! What’s more, the attraction is free!
Location: 66 Arataki Road, Havelock North, approximately 22km (14 miles) from Napier city centre.
8. Walk to Stunning Waterfalls in the Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve
In true New Zealand style, there are plenty of family-friendly walks around Napier to keep everyone active while enjoying the stunning scenery. A couple of easy-going walks lie within the Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve. There are two fantastic waterfall walks; Te Ana Falls only takes 30 minutes return, while Tangoio Falls is a 60-minute return where kids can enjoy splashing around in the pool. There’s also the 2-hour Tangoio Walkway for families with older kids looking for more of an adventure through various types of forest. Be careful on the stream crossings on this last walk.
Location: Tangoio, State Highway 2, approximately 27km (17 miles) from Napier city centre.
9. Take a Self-guided Tour of Napier Prison
If you have kids with active imaginations then they’ll love the historical Napier Prison. An affordable activity for the whole family, Napier Prison offers self-guided tours with an audio device and map so you can learn about the prison’s stories as you explore the cells, undulating corridors, graveyard and more. One of the audio tour options is the “Prison Kids Tour” with all of the gory aspects removed.
Location: 55 Coote Road, Bluff Hill, approximately 1km (0.6 miles) from Napier city centre.
10. Swim, Play and Build Sandcastles at Ahuriri Beach
What is a New Zealand family getaway without some beach time? One of Napier’s best beaches for families is Ahuriri Beach, where you’ll find a small safe-swim beach for families and the nearby Spriggs Park Playground. Build sandcastles on the beach, swim or do whatever it is your family like to do at the beach, then wander along the boardwalk lining the beach leading to the scenic Perfume Point and the rockpools off Spriggs Park that kids love to explore. There are also cafes along the boardwalk.
Location: Car park where Nelson Quay and Hardinge Road meet, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Napier city centre.