Family-Friendly Activities in Wanaka
Treat yourself and your loved ones to an amazing family adventure in Wanaka. From jet boat excursions to weird and wacky indoor attractions, Wanaka really has it all. There are experiences to enjoy all year round, whether you want to take advantage of the ski fields in winter or enjoy cruising around the lake in summer. Either way, when the weather doesn’t play ball, there are plenty of back-ups in the town’s fantastic family-friendly indoor attractions. Check out some of the highlights for families in this list of things to do in Wanaka with kids!
While you’re here, get more advice in The Guide to Wanaka for Families.
1. Meet the Animals at a Working Deer Farm
Visit the animals and admire the views at Criffel Station. This family-run deer farm enjoys stunning vistas over the Wanaka Basin, providing more photo opportunities along with taking photos of your little ones with the animals. Join the Explore Tour to meet the alpacas, feed the sheep and view the majestic deer grazing in the fields. More information is available on Viator and Tripadvisor. Alternatively, a 4WD tour is available to take you higher onto the station where you’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch at the peak! Check out this tour on Viator and Tripadvisor.
2. Learn to Ski or Simply Enjoy the Snow at one of Wanaka’s Ski Fields
If you’re visiting Wanaka in winter, don’t miss out on hitting the slopes! Seasoned skiers need only get a lift pass and rental hire for Cardrona or the Treble Cone ski fields – learn more about the ski fields here. On the other hand, first-timers can pick up a “First-Timer Package” at Cardrona Alpine Resort. The package for adults and kids includes two beginner lessons, a lift pass, rental gear and fittings. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor. If your kids don’t fancy skiing, then the Gondola Sightseeing Passes is another great option for just playing in the snow, making use of the cafes, the views and for hiring a snow tube for the little ones. Check out sightseeing passes on Viator and Tripadvisor.
3. Boggle Your Minds at Puzzling World
One of the most popular all-weather attractions in Wanaka, Puzzling World is a complex of bizarre buildings, gravity-defying rooms, illusions around every corner, and home of The Great Maze. Most of the attractions are inside, taking you about 30-45-mins to explore where even the toilets are worth checking out, while The Great Maze is outside, taking anywhere between 10 minutes to two hours to solve! All in all, it’s a must-do for families! Check out Viator and Tripadvisor for more about Puzzling World.
4. Sail the Skies Above Lake Wanaka in a Parasailing Experience
For an exciting activity for ages 4 to 104, join Wanaka Parasailing for their breathtaking flights across Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawera. Take a tandem flight with your little one and be amazed by the scenery and the feeling of gently flying together. Parasailing is a soft adventure activity, which most don’t find scary (unless you’re afraid of heights).
5. Challenge Each Other at Archery, Mini-golf, Claybird Shooting and More
Enjoy some quality time with the family at Crossfire! Archery, a golf driving range, a rifle range, claybird shooting and mini-golf: it’s all here for a day of competing and trying some unique sports. Many of the activities at Crossfire are undercover, ideal for when the weather isn’t playing ball, so head toward the Wanaka airport and enjoy a fun and affordable day. With prices starting at NZ$5, it can easily be considered one of the cheap things to do in Wanaka. Find out more about Crossfire on Viator and Tripadvisor.
6. Delve into the Mt Aspiring National Park on a Jet Boat Tour
Experience an iconic New Zealand invention, the jet boat, for the reason it was incepted: to follow the South Island’s shallow rivers into the remote wilderness. Join Wanaka River Journeys for their half-day jet boat and walking tour to do just that! The family-friendly tour has you zipping along the braided Matukituki River into the majestic Mt Aspiring National Park. Admire views of Lake Wanaka, Mt Aspiring and experience a 50-minute guided walk around the awe-inspiring Avalanche Glacier. Find out more about Wanaka River Journeys on Viator and Tripadvisor.
7. Oggle at More than 60,000 Toys at the National Transport & Toy Museum
An attraction that impresses all ages, The National Transport & Toy Museum is one of the largest collections of vehicles, aircraft and toys in, not just New Zealand, but the world! There’s something for everyone here with more than 60,000 toys for the kids to oggle at and adult-sized pedal cars the “big kids” to play on. Have a go on the military guns, let the kids pretend that they’re driving a car from yesteryears, and enjoy a picnic by the children’s playground.
8. Be Welcomed to Lake Wanaka with a Traditional Maori Powhiri Ceremony
Get a taste of the Maori culture with a welcome from WanaHaka. The Maori tour company invites you and your family into Wanaka the traditional way with a “powhiri”. Experience the full powhiri, including a challenge to your tribe’s leader (so elect someone you trust with this important duty!), a welcoming speech in the Maori language, and receive a Maori bone carving to remember the experience. Find out more about WanaHaka on Viator and Tripadvisor.
9. Be Transported into Another Reality at Wanaka VR Complex
Leave Lake Wanaka behind and jump into a new universe at Realm Virtual Reality Centre. This VR indoor attraction is New Zealand’s largest fully immersive VR experience using cutting edge technology to make you feel like you’re in another world. There are experiences for ages 7 and up, such as defending your castle from Orcs, creating 3D art, saving the world from zombies and countless other experiences. More information is available on Viator and Tripadvisor.
10. Let the Kids Loose at the Wanaka Dinosaur Park
And finally, for a fun free thing for the kids to do in Wanaka, spend some time at the Wanaka Dinosaur Park. The playground with a fun dinosaur theme is right on the lakefront of Wanaka town, featuring plenty of apparatus to wear the little ones out! The playground can be accessed off Ardmore Street or off Lakeside Road.