Family Activities in Whangarei
New Zealand’s northernmost city is more than just a quick escape from Auckland. Whangarei is the ideal family getaway thanks to its mix of adventure, educational, outdoor, indoor and free activities! From treetop obstacle courses to nature parks with kiwi birds, there’s plenty to stimulate even the fussiest kids in and around the city of Whangarei. Check out some of the highlights of Whangarei’s family activities with this list of things to do in Whangarei with kids!
For more travel advice, don’t forget to scroll through The Guide to Whangarei for Families.
1. Cruise and Snorkel at the Poor Knights Islands
For the active family, one of the highlights is the Poor Knights Islands. This collection of 11 million-year-old islands harbour an array of wildlife both above and below the water’s surface. Join one of the dive operators in Tutukaka for a family-friendly cruise through the islands’ arches and giant sea caves formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Scuba diving, of course, is an option for the adults, but with snorkelling gear, kayaks and/or SUP boards also included in the trips, the whole family can enjoy these islands and their vibrant marine life. Yukon Dive and Dive! Tutukaka both offer trips for families, while group tours are also available from Auckland with Cheeky Kiwi Travel, which you can learn more about on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Tutukaka, approximately 28km (17miles) from Whangarei city centre.
2. See Kiwi Birds at Kiwi North
What child doesn’t adore birds and animals? Kiwi North, Museum & Heritage Park offers viewings of kiwi birds in a special nocturnal kiwi house, the “living dinosaur” the tuatara, and geckos usually creeping up on unsuspecting flies. The complex also has a small indoor museum, as well as an outdoor heritage park, so you and your family can learn more about the local history.
Location: 500 State Highway 14, Maunu, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Whangarei city centre.
3. Get in Some Family Beach Time at Ruakaka Beach
You can find fantastic beaches in all directions from Whangarei, many of which are situated down the Whangarei Heads road. However, if you venture south on State Highway One, you’ll find the stunning 13km (8-mile) long Ruakaka Beach and its quaint seaside village. The expanse of sand and shells features amazing views of the Whangarei Heads in the distance, which you can enjoy along with safe swimming thanks to the surfguard patrols in summer. See more beaches in the area in the 10 Best Beaches in Whangarei.
Location: Off State Highway One, approximately 30km (19 miles) from Whangarei city centre.
4. Zipline Through Adventure Forest
For families who prefer to keep dry on their adventures, check out the treetop playground of Adventure Forest. The hire-wire obstacle course will have you and your family ziplining from tree to tree, traversing wobbly bridges, balancing on tightropes, swinging into nets and the list continues. The lower weight limit for the course is 40kg (88lbs). Note that they have reduced hours in the winter.
Location: 160 Maruata Road, Glenbervie, approximately 10km (6 miles) north of Whangarei city centre.
5. Admire Whangarei Falls
Waterfalls are always a hit with kids and adults alike, and the 26m (85ft) Whangarei Falls is arguably one of the most memorable falls in the North Island. Just 5km (3 miles) from the city centre, the Whangarei Falls walk has viewpoints from the top, side and the base of its plunge pool. You can extend your walk further along a flat forested riverside trail that’s suitable for strollers. Check out the 12 Whangarei Walks You Can’t Miss for more information.
Location: Ngunguru Road, Tikipunga, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Whangarei city centre.
6. Let the Kids Loose at the Quarry Gardens
Quality outdoor time is what the Whangarei Quarry Gardens are all about! This old quarry turned sub-tropical oasis features an array of tropical plantlife, many of which seen nowhere else in New Zealand, while the short walks here are suitable for strollers. A trip is not complete without a coffee at the cafe and a browse in the art gallery. Check out more free activities like this in the 18 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Whangarei.
Location: Russell Road, just off State Highway One, approximately 4km (2 miles) from Whangarei city centre.
7. Enjoy a Scenic Horse Trek
Take in the amazing coastal scenery and rolling farmlands of Whangarei and Whangarei Heads with one of Whangarei horse riding tours. Tours such as Tuidale Stables, Sandy Bay Horse Trekking and Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads offer short trips for first-time riders. These trips are best suited to children ages eight and over.
Location: Tuidale Stables – Bream Bay, Sandy Bay Horse Trekking – Matapouri, and Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads – Whangarei Heads.
8. See Giant Kauri Trees at the AH Reed Kauri Park
You can’t visit Whangarei and the Northland region without admiring the largest trees in New Zealand! Kauri can only be naturally found in the north of the North Island, where the AH Reed Kauri Park allows you and your family to get up-close to the giants of the forest. The treetop boardwalk takes only 25 minutes to complete, making it an easy one to tackle with the little ones. Learn more about this walk and others nearby the city in the 12 Whangarei Walks You Can’t Miss.
Location: Whareora Road, Tikipunga, approximately 4km (2 miles) from Whangarei city centre.
9. Ride on “Monster Scooters” at Heads Up
More outdoor adventures await at this unique attraction along the Whangarei Heads Road. Heads Up is a mountain bike and monster scooter trail park with fun tracks to navigate the native bush with mountainous scenery. While older kids can enjoy the trails by bike, younger kids – even toddlers – will have a blast on the motorised Monster Scooters.
Location: 189 Whangarei Heads Road RD4,
Onerahi, approximately 11km (7 miles) from Whangarei city centre.
10. Play Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf
A rainy day saviour or just a fun way to unwind at the end of the day, Extreme Miniglowf World is a popular choice for families. The 18-hole glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course has you swinging in glowworm caves, ancient ruins and many more surprises.
Location: 2 Reyburn Street, Whangarei city centre.