Family-friendly Activities in Tauranga
Whether you’re bound to the harbourside city for a family weekend away or as part of your family road trip around New Zealand, Tauranga presents a welcome retreat where kids will be entertained while you can effortlessly stick to your budget. While scenic parks, gardens, beaches and more offer free sights ideal for all ages, if you want to treat your family to something special, such as a treetop obstacle course or a glowworm kayaking tour, it won’t cost you the moon. So, see what you and your family could be getting up to with this list of things to do in Tauranga with kids.
1. Climb Through the Trees at Adrenalin Forest
An exciting adventure activity for the whole family, Adrenalin Forest is a high-wire obstacle course just outside of Tauranga. Tackle over 100 obstacles throughout the pine forest, from the child-friendly to the ultra-challenging. When you’re done, check out the paintball and motorsports also on site. Note that kids need to be over 1.4m (4.5ft) tall to participate.
Location: Weld Road, approximately 35km (22 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
2. Let the Kids Loose at the Waimarino Adventure Park
On the family bucket list for Tauranga should be the Waimarino Adventure Park, home to New Zealand’s largest catapult, the country’s only kayak slide, climbing walls, inflatable playground and much more. Make sure you bring your swimwear to this adventure park by the Wairoa River. If you have kids who are eight and above, we also recommend joining the team for their evening glowworm kayaking tour. Compare with other kayak tours in the 10 Best Kayak Tours in New Zealand.
Location: 36 Taniwha Place, Bethlehem, approximately 8.5km (5 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
3. Go for a Walk and Have a Picnic at McLaren Falls Park
McLaren Falls Park has plenty to do to keep the family entertained for a few hours. What’s more, it’s free! On the way into the park, marvel at the waterfalls tumbling into the dam, then make your way into the park itself where there are short walks to enjoy to more waterfalls, picturesque picnic areas, a cafe and more! If you do have a little more room in your budget, visit Marshalls Animal Park where the kids will be able to hand-feed the farm animals and play on the flying fox (zipline) and playground.
Location: McLaren Falls Road, approximately 20km (12 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
4. Have a Beach Day at Mount Maunganui or Papamoa Beach
While you’re in Tauranga, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy some beach time at the Main Beach in Mt Maunganui or at Papamoa Beach. They are excellent beaches to enjoy simple pleasures like building sandcastles and exploring the rock pools, while there are also boardwalks, Leisure Island accessible from Main Beach and opportunities for ice cream never too far. We like Copenhagen Ice Cream (14 Adams Avenue)! See more affordable places to eat in the Cheap Eats in Tauranga & Mt Maunganui.
Location: Main Beach, Mt Maunganui, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Tauranga city centre. Papamoa Beach Road, approximately 15km (9 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
5. Discover the Playground, Bombing Platform and More on the Tauranga Waterfront
If you find yourself in Tauranga city centre, be sure to spend some time on the waterfront with the kids. There’s a huge playground that they’ll thank you for, as well as a sandpit and a bombing platform. You’ll also see a spectacular ceremonial waka (Maori canoe), while Kiwi kids might recognise Hairy Maclary and friends in bronze statue form ready to be climbed all over!
Location: Tauranga Waterfront, i.e. The Strand, Tauranga city centre.
6. See Warbirds and Fighter Jets at Classic Flyers NZ
It’s hard not to be impressed by the iconic warbirds and fighter jets of the Classic Flyers Museum. This classic aircraft museum in Mt Maunganui is a rainy day saviour, as well as an interesting place to visit with the kids. Aside from getting up-close to the aircraft, you can also strap yourself into the cockpit on one of the simulator challenges.
Location: 9 Jean Batten Drive, Mt Maunganui, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
7. Feed the Birds at Katikati Bird Gardens
No matter their age, nature-lovers will appreciate seeing the amazing array of native and exotic birds at the Katikati Bird Gardens. Hand-feed emu, ducklings and doves and see majestic exotic birds like pheasants and peacocks. It’s also a good place to see native birds in their natural environment, like little shags (cormorants), royal spoonbill, white-faced herons, paradise shelducks, black teal, wood pigeon and more. When you’re done meeting the birds, relax at the cafe and let the kids run wild in the playground.
Location: 263 Walker Road East, Aongatete, approximately 33km (21 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
8. Wear the Kids Out on the Climbing Walls of Rocktopia
If the kids need to burn off some energy, take them to Rocktopia in Mt Maunganui. This clip and climb indoor climbing wall facility offers an exciting range of climbing walls for kids and adults alike! The clip and climb system means that the kids can climb independently while keeping safe. It’s also another fantastic all-weather activity to rely on in Tauranga.
Location: 9 Triton Avenue, Mt Maunganui, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
9. Have a Splash at the Hot Pools
Visiting in winter or when the weather isn’t playing ball? With the mantra that you’ll get wet anyway, how about a day at the hot pools? You have a few excellent child-friendly options in Tauranga, such as the Mount Hot Pools with some fun water features and shade sail at the kiddies pool. The Oropi Hot Pools is a more relaxing and affordable option with a children’s sandpit, playhouse and cafe. Alternatively, there’s plenty of room for kids to play in the large hot swimming pool of Fernland Spa.
Location: Mount Hot Pools – 9 Adams Avenue, Mount Maunganui. Oropi Hot Pools – 1 Warner Road. Fernland Spa – 250 Cambridge Road.
10. Explore Te Puna Quarry Park
Explore a labyrinth of short trails through Te Puna Quarry Park, a disused quarry transformed into attractive gardens. Wander through the bush and flower gardens, as the kids climb over the old log train and quarry machinery. There’s even a large dragon sculpture to meet, a butterfly house, a giant wooden xylophone and more! That’s yet another free activity for the family to enjoy. Check out more like this in the 19 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Tauranga & Mt Maunganui.
Location: Te Puna Quarry Road, Te Puna, approximately 14km (9 miles) from Tauranga.