Family Activities in the Coromandel
Treat the little ones and yourselves to an adventure around the Coromandel Peninsula. Prepare to experience fun cruises, railway journeys, interesting walks, gold mining activities, farm parks and much more. In between relaxing at the accommodations we recommend in the 10 Best Family Accommodation in the Coromandel, complete your family getaway with these amazing things to do in the Coromandel with kids!
For more help planning the perfect trip, see The Guide to the Coromandel for Families.
1. See the Underwater World of Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove is on everyone’s bucket list when road tripping in the Coromandel. However, a unique way to experience with the little ones is through a glass-bottom boat tour. Join Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga for a two-hour cruise past volcanic scenery, rocky pinnacles, caves and the famous Cathedral Cove. You’ll get the unique experience of seeing the abundance of fish through the glass panels and enjoy the option to snorkel if the kids want to get closer to nature. Find out more about Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga on Viator and Tripadvisor. Check out more things to do in the area with our 10 Awesome Things to Do in Whitianga.
Location: Tours depart 13 Esplanade, Whitianga.
2. Enjoy a Thrill Ride in Whitianga
Another way to experience Cathedral Cove is on an exhilarating banana boat ride with Banana Boat Whitianga. They offer kiddies cruises, ideal for the younger ones, while the scenic rides, thrill rides and others are a great option for older kids. Located at the Esplanade Beach in Whitianga between December 26 and February 6, the crew set up a volleyball net and put on some music for families to enjoy too.
Location: Esplanade Beach, Whitianga
3. Feed the Animals, See the Birds and Explore the Museums at Bullswool Farm Heritage Park
For a real Kiwi experience, don’t miss Bullswool Farm Heritage Park between Karangahake Gorge and Paeroa. Not only does this attraction have a farm park where kids can feed the animals, but there’s also farm museums and displays, a kauri museum, a native bird reserve and a huge children’s playgrounds. Be prepared for hours of fun! Find out more about Bullswool Farm Heritage Park on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: 240 Rahu Road, RD4, Paeroa.
4. Ride the Driving Creek Railway
On the bucket list for families should be Driving Creek Railway and Potteries. Their Railway Tour is a one-hour journey, taking you through tracts of native forest, while your train driver tells the interesting story of how this railway came to be. Travel through tunnels, over viaducts and more surprises along the way up to the “EyeFull Tower” lookout. Tours to the attraction are also available with Coromandel Adventures, which you can find more information about on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: 380 Driving Creek Road, Thames.
5. Learn About Goldmining
Yes, there’s a lot of ways to learn about gold mining in the Coromandel, so here goes… Thames Goldmining Experience (Moanataiari Road) offers guided and self-guided experiences taking you underground into an old stamper battery. Alternatively, get your mining fix at the Gold Discovery Centre (126 Seddon Street, Waihi), which offers tours to experience modern-day gold mining up-close. Or head to the Thames School of Mines & Mineralogical Museum (Corner of Brown and Cochrane Streets) where you can join a cheap guided tour to learn more about the school.
6. Walk the Old Mining Tunnels at Karangahake Gorge
Keep the holiday budget to a minimum with some of the free activities in the Coromandel. A fantastic option with kids is the walks at Karangahake Gorge. The Karangahake Tunnel Loop Walk (45 minutes loop) which takes you through a 1,100m (1,203-yard) railway tunnel. You can also walk along the Historic Walkway from the Eastern Portal Bridge following old railway track to Owharoa Falls, which is a stunning cascading waterfall also worth checking out and even for going for a swim (just be careful of the slippery rocks). For more free activities, see the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel.
Location: Karangahake Domain Car Park is on State Highway 2 between Paeroa and Waihi.
7. Do Archery Tag, Kids Quad Biking and More
Let the kids loose at the family adventure park, Fun Zone Whitianga. Younger kids love the “Kidz Quadz”, miniature quad bikes that they can ride around a fun track, while “Soccer Golf” is a fun sport for the whole family. There’s beginner’s archery, outdoor laser tag, target paintball shooting, clay bird shooting and a 4WD buggy tour taking you around the amazing grounds of the park through native bush and across the Kaimarama River.
Location: 108 Kaimarama Road, Whitianga
8. Play with Unusual Inventions at The Waterworks
If you drive the 309 Road between Coromandel Town and Whitianga, don’t miss The Waterworks. The quirkiest theme park you’ll ever see, The Waterworks is a park of water-powered inventions that offers an interactive experience for the whole family to enjoy. The park is set in the ground of native bush, making for a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours, especially with a coffee and the on-site cafe. While on the 309 road, check out the Waiau Falls, a short walk from the roadside to a stunning waterfall.
Location: 471 309 Road, Waiau
9. Dig Your Own Hot Pool at Hot Water Beach
A fun and free experience that will intrigue the youngsters is digging your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach. The beach is famous for its hot water spring running under the sand in a spot that’s accessible at low tide to dig your own hot pool. If you don’t have your own spades, spades can be hired from the nearby Hot Water Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park.
Location: The main parking area is along Pye Place, Hot Water Beach.
10. Build Sandcastles, Hire a Kayak and Eat Ice Cream at the Coromandel’s Beaches
Speaking of beaches, there’s a lot more of that in the Coromandel. Enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding or simply building sandcastles at places like Whangamata Beach, Hahei Beach and more. Check out the 10 Coromandel Beaches You Can’t Miss for more ideas.